diy mambo yarn trees

DIY Mambo Yarn Trees

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These DIY Mambo Yarn Trees are a fun and simple craft that can be made in colors that are perfect for farmhouse or vintage Christmas decor!

diy mambo yarn tree on a table

A Man Discovers the World of Yarn

It should come as no surprise to you that I’m not up on all the current trends in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of yarn.

In fact, until recently, my knowledge of yarn could be summed up in two bullet points:

  • Old ladies in rocking chairs use it to knit shawls and blankets.
  • Cats like to play with it.

This myopic worldview exploded in soft, furry colors last year when Handan brought me to Joann to buy loop yarn for me to make a winter wreath.

I remember walking through the yarn department and saying to myself, “What the duck!”

How could this much yarn exist?

Every color, every hue, every size from the most gossamer spider silk to yarn so chunky it could double as rigging on an 18th century whaling ship.

diy mambo yarn trees

Who the hell used all this yarn?

Was there some sort of old lady surplus that I wasn’t aware of?

Or perhaps this was, in fact, just a big, vibrant cat-toy department?

My mind reeled at the implications of all this yarn, but my fingers instinctively grabbed each—each what?

What were these things called?

I pulled out my phone and Googled it.

Ah ha!

diy mambo yarn trees

My fingers grabbed fluffy white skeins and squeeeezed.

I grabbed blue balls and red balls and rainbow-colored balls and juggled them around with glee.

And I yanked a hank from its perch high up on a shelf and delighted in its impossible softness.

Up and down the aisles of yarn I drifted, occasionally stealing my eyes from the hanks and skeins to give a conspiratorial wink to passing knitters—my new fellow yarn enthusiasts!

I’d been granted access to a soft new world that was full of promise and possibility.

A Man Discovers Mambo Yarn

I was Yarn Man, and though I’d never knitted a single stitch (or whatever the heck you call it with yarn), I felt I was getting a pretty good handle on the myriad types of yarn.

But then Handan sprung a new one on me. It was a yarn I’d never heard of, and she explained that we’d be using it to make all sorts of trees for our winter and Christmas decor.

She called it Mambo Yarn.

Oh, what a name!

My mind drifted to Cuba…

I showed this video to Handan—this kind of music is right up her alley, you know.

And the Mambo Yarn Dance was born!

Handan and I made a whole bunch of Mambo Yarn trees during several crafting sessions, and to kick off each session, I played the video above.

Nothing makes crafting more fun than seeing my babes dancing around to Cuban music!

Okay, enough of my yapping. Let’s get to it!

diy mambo yarn trees
mambo yarn and a paper mache cone

A Man Makes DIY Mambo Yarn Trees

Look, if you like simple—and I mean simple—crafts, then sister, Mambo Yarn trees are for you!

Step 1 – Pick up a cone

Okay, see that paper mache cone in front of you? Doesn’t matter which one. How about the 10 1/2 incher? Yep, that’ll do.

Now pick it up.

Huzzah, you’re practically done!

Excellent work, madam. You’re a natural!

Step 2 – Dab a little glue near the tip

With the cone in one hand and a hot glue gun in the other, put a little dab of glue just down from the tip of the cone.

putting hot glue on the tip of a paper mache cone

You don’t have to use gold glitter glue unless you want to be as fabulous as I am in this picture. Just look at those thumbnails! What a hunk! I’m sure you’re all swooning and fanning yourselves right now.

Madam, please stop looking at my thumbnails and pay attention!

Step 3 – Attach the Mambo Yarn

Okay, next, grab one end of your Mambo Yarn and press it onto the glue as shown in the picture below by those lovely purple hands.

attaching mambo yarn to a paper mache cone with hot glue

Step 4 – Wrap the Mambo Yarn

Start wrapping the Mambo Yarn around the cone. Be careful with those first couple of wraps, madam! Keep them tight and tidy!

wrapping mambo yarn around a paper mache cone

Once you have the tip looking prim and pretty, start wrapping the mambo yarn around the cone.

wrapping mamo yarn around a paper mache cone

Some things to keep in mind as you continue on this grueling task of repetitive wrapping:

  • Don’t wrap too tightly. Let the Mambo do the walking! (Whatever the hell that means) Nobody wants a flat Mambo Yarn tree.
  • Keep the yarn straight. As you can see, Mambo Yarn has two long doohickies that run down either side and those short thingamabobbers that go across the yarn. Doohickies and thingamabobbers – those are technical terms. Anyway, keep your doohickies straight!

Wrap wrappity wrapwrapwrap.

making mambo yarn trees

As you continue to wrap, you’ll soon notice that you are running out of cone.

Fear not! I’ve planned for this!

making diy mambo yarn trees

Step 5 – Glue Mambo Yarn to base

Grab your glue gun, peel the yarn back a bit, and give the base of the cone a little blob.

finishing a diy mambo yarn tree

Carry on wrapping, stopping a few more times around the base to apply some more hot glue.

making mambo yarn trees
finishing a tree made of mambo yarn
making mambo yarn trees

Step 6 – Trim and glue end

For the very last bit, cut the yarn at an angle…

cutting the end from a mambo yarn tree

Then push the yarn up a little bit from the base – just enough to expose some paper mache. Dab that spot with a tiny bit of glue, and then press the cut end in place.

base of a mambo yarn tree

Voila, madam! You’ve done it!

diy mambo yarn tree

Now do it again and again and again until your house is full of Mambo Yarn trees and your heart is full of cheer!

diy mambo yarn trees
diy mambo yarn trees
diy mambo yarn trees

Okay, okay, fine. You caught me.

I told you there were two rules to follow when making these Mambo Yarn trees, and here I’ve gone and broken one of the rules with the tree pictured above.

I twisted the yarn!

But here’s the thing – when I wrapped it according to my aforementioned rules, it looked…I don’t know…too stripey. So as I stared at it with befuddled eyes, trying to figure out exactly why I didn’t like it, Handan suggested that I do it over, but this time, let the yarn twist as I wrapped.

Have I mentioned I married a genius?

You are certainly welcome to try the twist method with the other colors. We didn’t like it, but what do I know?


diy mambo yarn trees
diy mambo yarn trees
diy mambo yarn trees
diy mambo yarn trees
diy mambo yarn trees
diy mambo yarn trees
diy mambo yarn trees

Okay, I know it’s a teeny tiny bit early for anything remotely resembling Christmas, but we were so excited about these Mambo Yarn trees that we couldn’t wait to share them with you – I hope you like them!

So tell me what you think!

I’ll be lounging around in the comments section waiting for you to drop in and say hello.

Oh, and if you make some of these Mambo Yarn trees, be sure to take a pic and post it on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag us @TheNavagePatch!

We love it when you share our posts on Facebook and Pinterest!

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  1. Greg,
    Seriously! You cost me so much money! I LOVE these. I will be making these to coordinate with my gnome-themed family room this year. And, I might add, I’m beyond running out of space to store everything I have and make! But, please continue to inspire me and all of us that follow your every move; well, at least your craft moves. 🙂

    1. LOL, we’re right there with you on the “out of space” problem, Audrey! Funny you should mention gnomes – we’ll be making some this year, too! 🙂

      1. Great! I’ll be looking forward to those, too. Now if we could only add more hours to the day! So much to do, but so little time for myself and crafting. So, I only sleep between Midnight and 6 a.m. What a waste, right? I’d better reconsider allocating that time. LOL Who needs to be alert at a full time job? Bring on the gnomes!!!!

    2. Hello,
      I just stumbled upon this amazing post. I recently fell in love with gnomes. I purchased some and was given some for Xmas. I noticed that you mentioned you have a gnome themed room. Would you be willing to provide me with some decorative ideas of what you put with your gnomes. I have mostly neutral colored. But I do have a couple that have red hats more for Xmas. I’m just at a loser of what I can do to be able to have them out year round buy maybe only changing a few things to bring them into the season. I think these trees are what I need. I will be able to make them in different colors and textures. Any suggestions I would be greatly appreciative.
      Thank you

  2. I pride myself on knowing about a lot of crafting products. Bit of a Jack of All Trades when it comes to crafts. But Mambo yarn? I’ve never heard of such a thing! What a strange thing it is, too. I’m not even sure how one would knit with it? Is it even for knitting? All questions for the universe.

    You’ve found a great use for it, though. Maybe a Mambo yarn wreath to go with the trees! I think my favorite is the natural color, but the twisted green is also very nice.

    1. Very nice, I will be making a few of these. I have a liking for all kinds of Christmas trees. I am making a feather tree right now. Also, I love the rocking horse nd the table in your photos as well. May I ask where you acquired/created them?
      Thanks for all the ideas,

        1. Thanks so much, I did find your console table DIY, very nice. I may make one that would be narrow to fit behind my couch so I can decorate it. Our couch rests against a wall and we have a narrow living room so can’t make it deep. I LOVE the first horse, but like you cannot pay that price. The other 2 are lovely as well and may be on my purchase list!
          Thanks again,

  3. Cute trees! But, ugh… Christmas already?!
    I think you and Handan should remake that mambo video post that!
    Love your stuff!

    1. LOL, yup – the times are changing! Hobby Lobby, Michaels etc. brought out the Christmas stuff at the beginning of October (maybe even September). Gotta keep ahead of the curve! 🙂

      1. Haha! I know, right? I did see Christmas stuff out at the beginning of October when I was looking for Halloween stuff. So really, no judgement! I do love your projects, and you do give us a good headstart on getting stuff started for the upcoming season! It does stink when someone posts a great idea/craft/project on Christmas eve and there’s no way you can get it done.
        And now… that mambo video?

  4. Mambo yarn? Who knew? Where would we be without Handan? 🙂 I love these trees, they are perfect for my anniversary clocks-turned cloches. 🙂

  5. You outdid yourself on the manicure spot today. LOL! Sometimes I don’t know which is better…the craft or the commentary. So thankful for both. And here’s another craft I have to try!

  6. Good Grief, Charlie Brown, you did it again! I will be making these before the day ends. For years I have been making and collecting little Christmas trees. I love this! BTW, Red Lion website has this Mambo yarn on sale right now for $1.59 from $5.00. Some of the colors vary by a few cents. Maybe your readers will see this comment and check it out. Shipping for me is $5.00+ to Florida. Hugh savings. Oh yes, you can get three skeins for $5.00!!! This was a very doable, inexpensive and adorable post guys!!! Love you both!

    1. Woohoo, we did it again! 😀 Thank you so much, Linda, and thanks for the tip! We’re linked to Lion Brands, and they’re selling them for $1.37. 🙂

  7. Mambo yarn, never heard of it until now. Tee heels, now I picture those trees dancing around while the occupants of the house sleep.

  8. I just LOVE you two!! This is the only blog post that I read and save all the time. You have the best craft ideas, the blogs are such fun to read and my Hubs has decided I definitely need a she-shed for all my crafting supplies, lol!! Thanks for the smiles and inspiration.

  9. Tip for cone-less crafters: I couldn’t find paper mache cones so I cut up a paper towel roll and SHAZAM instant cone.

  10. I can’t decide which I like best — the cool, easy, reasonable priced and fabulous idea, or the wonderful commentary that goes along with it. I find myself enjoying the posts every time. Without fail. Good ideas, and a lot of laughter. Thanks.

  11. I LOVE the white tree but that color doesn’t come in the mambo yarn. Would you mind telling me what you used for that one? Looks like you definitely twisted that one.

    1. Ahhhh, I’ll tell you, Wendy, but you’ll have to wait about a week to read it! I’ll be posting about all the other types of trees on that table then! 🙂

  12. Greg I love the ideas you and Handon come up with. You crack me up about your thumb nails and what not. Love reading your posts. Thank you so much. God Bless and have a great day.

  13. I’ve had a few skeins of this yarn-no idea it was called mambo yarn-laying around the house for ages. This is perfect! And it’s never too early for Christmas, in fact this Saturday is the first day of Hallmark Christmas movies 🙂

    1. I agree! The earlier, the better, though anyone who works in retail may want to shoot me for that statement. 3 months of cheesy carols might be too much for anyone to bear! 😀

  14. Cute trees!! I can’t wait to read about the furry-looking ones!! The white one with the thick yarn…looks like the yarn that people crochet blankets from that use their arms as the crochet hook! Such fun. Perhaps this will be my Christmas tree this year!

  15. Of course we are swooning and fanning ourselves reading your post. It is flu season after all! Lol! JK!
    I absolutely love these tress! So easy I can make them with my younger relatives. Thank goodness Handan is the creative genius she is! Between her smarts and your humour I love reading about all of your projects!

    1. Hi Faye, yes you could use polystyrene. Just be careful with the hot glue – I’d keep it on the low setting to avoid melting the cone. Have fun!