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# A Circular Fabric

This plaiting method is usually attributed to Marvin Hardy.
The most basic product of circular plaiting is what Marvin refers to as
a *sunburst * in his book *The 260Q
Decorator*. The sunburst drawings below are taken from *Twisting History - Lessons
in Balloon Sculpting* by Larry Moss, where it is used in a bird cage
sculpture.)

Several balloons are twisted together at their midpoints. The actual number of
balloons used can vary. In this example,
three balloons
are used. The balloons are then placed on a flat
surface and arranged so that the angles between adjacent balloons are equal.
These balloons
can be thought of as the spokes of a wheel, radiating outward from the hub.

While not necessary, a small ear twist made in one of the
balloons at the hub will help to hold all of the spokes flat.
Additional balloons can then added in a circular pattern around the hub.
Start by tying the nozzle of an inflated balloon to one of the
spokes, approximately one inch from the hub. The first few times
you do this, use one color for the spokes and at least one other color for
the rings. It is much easier to follow the pattern you are making
when different colors are used.

Make a one inch bubble and twist it into the next spoke. Continue around,
connecting successive bubbles until you return to the first spoke. Break
off any remaining ring balloon and tie it.

To form a complete sunburst, continue adding new ring balloons as you did the
first. Just tie each one to a spoke, then twist ring bubbles and connect them
to successive spokes.
As you progress outward, each new ring is started with a new balloon.
As the sunburst diameter grows, you will eventually reach a point where
the circumference of the sunburst is greater than the length of a single
balloon. This isn't a problem since any place that a twist occurs, a new
balloon can be tied on.

Sometimes, for different effects, you'll want to add rings spaced further
apart than pictured above. Larger creations can be made with fewer balloons
if this is done.

## Ensuring that your sunburst stays flat

The most common problem at this point is that the sunburst doesn't stay
flat. In the example given above, six spokes are used. Any number of
spokes will work, however when using six, the length of bubbles in each
ring will be approximately equal to the distance of that ring from the hub.
A very little bit of math is all it takes to see why this is true.
The circumference of a circle is equal to 2 * pi * the radius of
the circle, or

*C = 2 * pi * r*

*C = 2 * 3.14 * r*

*C = 6.28 * r*
We can't have 6.28 spokes, so we round that down to 6 spokes and slightly
increase the length of the bubbles in each ring to compensate.

See a video clip demonstrating the
information on this page.

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