What is Yarn Bombing? (with pictures)

C. Daw
C. Daw

Yarn bombing is an artistic form of outdoor decorating, similar to graffiti, but it consists of using yarn that has been knitted or crocheted into various patterns. The designs are formed by connecting numerous colors and styles of yarn to form specific patterns and designs. These pieces of art can last for many years, but they are considered to be temporary because they eventually fade and unravel. Unlike paint or chalk, they are also very easy to remove when needed, which makes it appealing to artists and victims alike.


This form of artistic expression is said to have started being an art in Texas when crafts people began experimenting with different variations in order to use leftover yarn from their craft projects. David Cole, in 2009, produced numerous pieces of work during the Big West Arts Festival in Australia, but it was vandalized and destroyed within the first few nights. Even so, this broke the ground for artists all over the world to begin making yarn bombing masterpieces.

Yarn bombing is a type of outdoor art using the knitting material.
Yarn bombing is a type of outdoor art using the knitting material.

Since yarn is so easily molded to the shape of the foundation used, yarn bombing can be used on almost any type of surface. The majority of people attach their works of art to trees, walls, fences, and even across lawns and gardens. The decorative aspects of bombing is unmatched by any other type of exterior decorating designs, and since they can so easily be removed, the styles can change whenever the artist wants them to.

The major benefit to this form of graffiti is that most home and business owners are not distressed when their property gets tagged. Unlike paint and chalk, the pieces of yarn that are used for yard bombing can be removed without any complications if the owners choose to do so. Since this form of expression is harmless to the environment and buildings that they are attached to, there is no substantial damage done to the property.

Yarn bombing is not expected to ever become as popular as other forms of graffiti because of the time that needs to be taken in order to make, and attach, the artwork. Graffiti artists from all areas have found that bombing takes more time, and requires more effort, than painting or chalking does. Of course, true artists use this technique because since it is harmless to the foundations that they are attached to, they are less likely to get into trouble for vandalizing other people’s property.

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Discussion Comments


@StarJo – This anonymous bomber reminds me of my friend. She decided to take up yard bombing while she was unemployed. She wanted to be doing something useful with her time, and she had a large collection of yarn that she hadn't used in years, because she hadn't had time.

She decided to bomb a retirement home. She made several beautifully crocheted blankets and left them on the porch swing of the facility. She also made several toboggans and shawls and hung them from the porch railings.

She drove by the place last week on a nice day and saw several of the residents wearing her creations. One lady was sitting outside in her wheelchair with the blanket draped across her lap. This made my friend very happy.


Yarn bombers can give generously while remaining anonymous. My neighbor has seven children, and the family is very poor. A yarn bomber keeps knitting clothes for the kids and leaving them on their porch posts and door knobs.

They are excited to walk outside and find gifts attached to their house. Whoever is doing it must know their sizes, because she leaves sweaters, gloves, hats, and scarves, and I have seen all of them wearing them at one point or another.

The yarn bomber even made some clothing for the parents. I suspect that it is either a retired person with lots of time on their hands or a stay-at-home mom. I know they get joy from this fun game of giving, even though they get no recognition.


@orangey03 – I think that most yarn bombers put their creations around things. I have heard of crocheted objects pulled over door handles and poles.

If people have the time, they can stand there and knit the final loops to attach the piece around something. Some yarn bombers knitted sweaters to go on the trash cans outside the local mall, and they made the final touches to secure the sweaters around the bins on location.

I also heard of one clothing store getting yarn bombed with a couple of knitted belts hung from their door handle. It's a pleasant thing to find on your business.


What do most yarn bombers use to attach the yarn to things? I know that it could easily just cling to a tree or grass, but it would fall off of a wall if not somehow secured, wouldn't it?

I had never heard of yarn bombing before reading this article. The closest thing to this that we have in my town is rolling yards with toilet paper. It clings to the trees and can be wrapped around mailboxes and cars.

My puppy must have known about yarn bombing, though. She found some yarn in the barn behind the house, and she pulled it all over the yard. She actually wrapped it around the house several times, and she looped it around the trees as well.

The yarn clings well when wrapped or looped around objects. However, I know that if you are actually creating words or flat drawings with it, you must need some sort of adherent.


@indemnifyme - I see your point. However, if you used cheap yarn and only made small pieces, it wouldn't be so much of an investment. But you should knit whatever you want to knit!

I actually read an article in the newspaper about this a little while ago. There is an installation artist who covers various objects or landmarks in knitted fabric. But this artist doesn't consider her work yarn bombing! In her opinion, what she does it art, and yarn bombing isn't.

I thought this was a very narrow minded way of looking at things myself. It sounded more like the artist was feeling defensive about her medium to me!


@ceilingcat - I'm a knitter too and I remember reading about this idea on the yarn harlot blog awhile back. I think it's preferable to most other types of graffiti because it doesn't hurt anyone's property.

However, as a knitter, I can't imagine putting that much effort into something that won't last. I mean, once you put your knitting on something outside, anything could happen to it! Someone might cut it down, or the elements might get to it. I think I'll stick to knitting stuff I can wear and keep track of!


I'm a knitter, so obviously I love this idea. I heard about using knitting yarn to make street art awhile ago and I've always wanted to do it. Sadly I've been too busy knitting sweaters to get around to knitting a stop sign cozy or something like that.

However, I have seen some examples of yarn bombing in my city. I drove by a tree that had been "tagged" near our local art school a few weeks ago (I'm not surprised that art students would find this appealing.) Also, there are some stop signs and trees tagged near one of the city yarn stores (again, not surprised.)

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    • Yarn bombing is a type of outdoor art using the knitting material.
      Yarn bombing is a type of outdoor art using the knitting material.