How To Make Kids’ Surprise Balls
Graphic designer, illustrator and Mom of two boys, Erin Jang shares how to create delightful surprise balls for kids – the perfect way to wrap small treasures.
- Erin Jang
- Written By
- Erin Jang
I love making surprise balls for kids. There are few things more delightful than watching a child’s face full of glee and awe, as they unravel layer after layer of colorful paper to discover hidden treasures just for them. While you can buy all kinds of beautiful pre-made surprise balls, I find it worth the extra effort to make them myself (even if they turn out with some bumps and less “perfect” than a store-bought one!). It’s so much more meaningful to choose the candies they like, and the toys and surprises that I know a child will especially love playing with (instead of plastic trinkets that will be forgotten or thrown away).
To make a surprise ball, you will need:
● Crepe paper sheets, cut into strips (You can also use crepe streamers for the inner part of the surprise ball if you’d like — but near the end, as you finish wrapping the outside of the ball, I suggest using nice crepe paper instead of streamers, for a more finished, smoother look. The crepe paper has more stretch and sturdiness that works best for wrapping around the various items in the ball.)
● Glue stick
What to wrap in the surprise ball:
● Small toys, surprises and favorite candies
● For toys and small gifts, I try to keep the size under 3”: Mini nail polish, fun jewelry, hair barrettes, a small container of air dry clay, erasers or pencil sharpeners, matchbox cars or tiny wooden vehicles are fun to include.
● I like including handwritten notes, jokes or “coupons” for fun activities, or a tiny notebook (I just cut scrap paper, fold and staple them together for a tiny 2x2” notepad).
● If you have a sheet of stickers or temporary tattoos, cut them up into smaller individual pieces to tuck under several different layers.
How to make the surprise ball:
Start off with the largest or most awkwardly-sized item, and wrap with the crepe paper. Keep wrapping and when you get to the end of a strip of crepe paper, dab a bit of glue stick to the end, and adhere it to the wrapped ball. Get a new strip of crepe paper in a different color and continue wrapping the ball, tucking in more treats or candies.
As you go, gently press the ball and tuck in small candies or toys into any indented spaces to maintain a round shape as best as you can (the surprise ball with have some lumps and be imperfect, but that’s part of the charm!).
Near the end, I like to use flatter items (stickers, tattoos, notes, or candies with more bend, like gum or Airheads), to even out the shape. Wrap with crepe paper, keeping each strip taut and smooth as you finish.
Once you finish covering the ball with a single color paper, you can choose to embellish it with additional strips of paper. If you want to get fancy, you can cut these finishing strips with a scallop or zig-zag edge.
Give to a child!
Erin Jang is a graphic designer and illustrator in New York City and Mom of two boys, ages 6 and 11. She’s the author of You, Me, We! a creative fill-in book for parents and kids and How Are You Feeling?, a board book introduces emotional literacy to toddlers. In her multidisciplinary studio The Indigo Bunting, she works on a wide range of creative projects, from art direction, magazine design and illustration, to branding and toys.