Decoration Station Relocation!

 Creativity is contagious. Pass it on. — Albert Einstein

A highlight for many attendees of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh are the Decoration Stations sprinkled throughout the New Year’s Eve celebration.  What is it that draws the Highmark First Night crowd to the various stations?  Is it the chance to be crafting outside with the city as your backdrop or the opportunity to bring home a hand-crafted memento from your memorable night? No matter the reason, the Decoration Stations will be in full spirit during this year’s Highmark First Night event.

But why wait for a Highmark First Night Decoration Station on New Year’s Eve to get the creative juices flowing? Keep reading for a step-by-step tutorial that lets you bring a Highmark First Night Decoration Station to the comfort of your own home. This unique craft even shines a light on what this year’s event theme will be. (Our lips are sealed until December 4th so use this craft to keep guessing until then!) When you’re done crafting, post a picture of your creation on the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust  Facebook page with the caption: Highmark First Night Decoration Station to enter yourself in a chance to win 2 FREE Highmark First Night Buttons!

Repurposed Light Bulb Hot Air Balloon

* adapted from Rook No.17


1 old light bulb
Fabric Scraps
Mod Podge or 1 Tbsp Elmer’s All-Purpose glue mixed with 1 Tsp water
String, Yarn, or Twine
Acrylic Paint
Wide-mouthed bottle (for drying rack)
Plastic water bottle cap
An awl and a bamboo skewer
Small plastic animal



1.  Measure the top center of the light bulb to the base with a piece of yarn. Cut four petal-shaped pieces of fabric to the length of the yarn.  Cut another four petal-shaped pieces in a coordinating fabric.

2.  Using a small flat paintbrush, brush Mod Podge or thinned glue on a portion of the bulb (where you’ll place the first petal of fabric).  Set fabric petal in place and brush glue on top.  Use the brush to push out any air bubbles or wrinkles.  Continue with a second fabric petal on the opposite side.  Glue remaining fabric petals in place on the left and the right.  There should be a petal-shaped gap in-between each piece.  TIP:  Start by gluing the lighter colored fabric in place.

Step 3.  Repeat with the darker fabric petals

Step 4. Set in a wide-mouthed bottle to dry for at least 1/2 and hour.  After 1/2 and hour, flip light bulb upside-down and dry for another 1/2 hour.

Step 5. While the bulb is drying, use an awl or sharp pointed tool to poke four holes evening around the plastic cap. I used a pair of scissors to make the hole large enough. Be careful when using the sharp object! Widen the holes by running a bamboo skewer all the way through. *Make sure you do this completely before you paint the cap. I had to make my holes bigger once it was painted and the paint chipped off *

Step 6. Apply a base color of acrylic paint to the outside of the cap and let dry. Paint the inside and let dry.

Step 7. Brush outside of cap with glue (not the diluted batch), then dust with glitter.  Dry.  Repeat on the inside of cap

Step 8. Cut two lengths of string.  (Height of the bulb x 2 plus 12 inches)

Step 9. Tie a loop in the center of the string. Hold loop in place at the top of the bulb.  Brush non-diluted glue on the string, taking care to line-up either side with the seams of the fabrics.

Step 10.  Tie the second piece of string around the top knot.

Step 11. Brush glue on the remaining strings, all the way down to the line where the bulb meets the metal base.

Step 12. Dry upside-down.  While the glue is drying, paint the metal base of the bulb with a complimentary acrylic color.  Dry.

Step 13. Use non-diluted glue to set a piece of ribbon or ricrac in to place around the neck of the bulb.

Step 14:  Using your forefinger and thumb, rub some glue on each piece of dangling string.  Twist ends slightly to make them easier to pass through the holes in the cap “basket”. Let dry for a few minutes.    

Step 15: Thread the stiffened string through one of the holes in the cap “basket”.  Tie a knot in the end.  Repeat with the string on the opposite side, taking care to tie the strings evenly so the basket will be level.  Repeat with remaining strings.  Trim excess string off of each knot.

Step 16: If you’re feeling extra crafty, glue a small plastic or polymer animal inside the basket.

Step 18:  Hang balloon with clear elastic string and away you go! Don’t forget to head over to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Facebook Page and post a picture of your hot air balloon to enter yourself in a chance to win 2 FREE Highmark First Night buttons!


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