I’ve always been intrigued by puzzle balls. There used to be one on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, but I think it’s currently in storage. These days the use of ivory is quite rightly frowned on, but I still have to admire the skill required to carve one ball inside another.
I started with the innermost ball, and then put that inside another mould and wove another ball around that.
Then I repeated the process, so I had three balls in total.
Some of the ivory puzzle balls had as many as 20 balls, but as I wasn’t sure how this would work I thought that three would do to start with. 😉
Removing the moulds from the outer layers was reasonably straightforward, but it was tricky getting – and keeping – the holes in the balls lined up to get the mould out of the innermost ball. However, with a bit of persistence and a pair of needle nose pliers I finally managed it.
I was really pleased that the principle worked! However, there were a few problems, which I will work on next time.
- On the middle layer I used a red Sharpie pen to mark where the holes should be. But the red rubbed off on the paper yarn, as you can see in some of the pictures. So on the outermost layer I just used masking tape to mark the position of the holes. But this wasn’t very exact, and some of the holes were too large and the size was inconsistent. I think I shall use some sticky labels cut to shape next time.
- The outer balls are too large – I need to make the outer moulds smaller so that the balls nest inside each other more snugly.
Onward and upward!