Himmeli is a traditional Finnish handcraft that is generally done at Christmas time. Back in the day it would be hung above the dinner table to ensure that next year’s rye crop would be plentiful. Traditionally, himmel ornaments were made by threading string through cereal straw and creating 3-dimensional sculptures. Himmeli are generally rotationally symmetrical and they are hung from the top point by thin sewing thread upon the ceiling. Himmeli will spin with a slight flow of air. The name himmeli comes from the Germanic word himmel (sky).
For Barnesklubb this month, we explored this traditional handcraft and everyone – adults and children alike – enjoyed creating their own unique sculptures. For convenience sake, we utilized common plastic straws. Each family brought their own, so we had a large variety of colors and sizes.
- straight plastic straws (snip off any bendy parts)
- embroidery floss
- long wooden BBQ skewers (or a needle and a magnet) to aid in threading string through the straws (optional)
There are numerous online tutorials. With the kids, we started out with a simple 4-Sided Pyramid or tetrahedron. For a challenge, you may wish to try a Decahedron Himmeli Mobile or the Himmeli Star Mobile.
Get creative! Try using straws of varying lengths to create different geometric shapes and linking numerous pyramids, hexagons, and decahedrons together to create more elaborate mobiles. In Finland, it was believed that the larger the himmeli, the larger the crop in the coming year.
I loved that this activity integrated culture, history, mathematics (geometry), art, and homemaking (decorating). We all had a great time and have continued creating additions to our mobiles for days.