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Upcycled Life: Make a traditional Finnish Himmeli decoration at home with plastic straws

Multiple himmeli of different shapes can be arranged together for a fun grouping. (Photos by Katie Patterson Larson/For The Spokesman-Review)
Multiple himmeli of different shapes can be arranged together for a fun grouping. (Photos by Katie Patterson Larson/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Katie Patterson Larson For The Spokesman-Review

Save those tiny straws from your drinks for this modern take on a traditional craft.

Himmeli (him-el-ee) is a Finish handcraft using natural straw from the rye harvest. Today, these geometric mobiles are often made with copper, paper or plastic straws. Although himmeli began as a holiday decoration, these simple designs are beautiful year round.

Materials and tools

8 coffee stir straws or cocktail straws

Waxed thread

Spray paint (optional)



How to

1. Wash and dry the used straws.

2. Cut four 6-inch lengths and eight 3-inch lengths from your straws.

3. Cut about 6 feet of thread (for me this was a generous arm span).

4. Thread three 3-inch straws onto waxed thread leaving a 6-inch tail on one end.

5. Form a triangle with the straws and tie a knot making sure to distribute the straws evenly and securely without over stressing the joints.

6. String two more 3-inch straws onto the longer thread.

7. Form a triangle with the edge of the existing triangle and tie a knot to join the two triangles.

8. Repeat the last two steps adding two more straws and forming a third triangle.

9. Thread the long tail of string through the straw on the right end to position it at the bottom.

10. Thread the remaining 3-inch straw and then thread the string through the left side of work, pulling the triangles together forming a pyramid.

11. Now string two of the longer straws onto the thread and join the end onto the pyramid at the opposite corner forming a taller peak. Tie a knot here to secure the joint and travel the thread through the adjacent straw.

12. Add a 6-inch straw and tie a knot at the peak.

13. Add the final straw and join it at the fourth corner of the smaller pyramid.

14. Hide the loose ends by threading them into a straw.

15. Add a scrap of string at the top to hang. Add a small potted plant, air plant or other small accents for fun.

16. Optional: Spray paint your himmeli a metallic or other desired color.


Experiment with other shapes and making larger mobiles with multiple shapes together.

Use a rotary cutter to cut a bulk of straws to the same length.

If you need more structure, use 26 gauge wire instead of waxed thread.

Repurpose the smaller straw scraps for stitch markers in your knitting.

Contact Patterson Larson at

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