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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cool Crafts: Temari Balls

I've known about Temari for a few years. I even have a book on it. Recently I have rediscovered the craft of Temari.

Temari comes from the 8th century Chinese ball game called "kemari". Originally it was made of deerskin and was mainly used by dudes in the Imperial Court. The game caught on in Japan. As time moved on. The balls were used for juggling. Later, the female servants of the Ladies of the Samurai class competed against each other in decorating the balls.

Temari balls have been used as girls toys, props for children's games, keepsakes, and charms.

What I like about the design of the balls is the focus on geometric pattern. It really reminds me of Islamic art. I often wonder if in fact this craft has spread to the Muslim world, and other cultures. Let's get started!

What you will need

A Spherical base:

ping pong balls, Styrofoam circle, tennis ball, wooden bead. A sock or stocking filled with a soft, dry material( ie Styrofoam balls, pillow stuffing, more socks and stockings).


You can use thread from anything, even old scarves, sweaters, etc.

Needle/Your Hands

Temari designs can be accomplished both by wrapping and a little stitch-weaving(is that a real term? I dunno).

Sewing Pins

These mark off the poles and sections of your ball. They are used as a guide and hold the treads in place while crafting your ball.


  1. The sock/stocking should take the form of a sphere once you begin wrapping it with yarn/thread.
  2. You can have a hollow center if the shell of the ball is strong (YES, even those balls at the McDonald's play area).
  3. You can make them as small or as large as you can manage!

Temari balls look very complicated, but you can get a complex-looking design without very much heartache.

Think you can do it? Have a ball!



  1. Salaam 'Alaikum

    Those are beautiful!

  2. Walaikum as salaam,

    Aren't they? The first time I saw them, I was intimidated by them. It looked complicated, but it's actually not that hard. The ones in the picture are from a Russian temari convention. More picks are on flickr if you are interested.



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