The largest himmeli ornament hanging from the ceiling and during building

This captivating ornament is a Himmeli.

Not only that, but it's in fact the largest Himmeli ornament ever, created by the Estonian Folk Art and Craft Union (Estonia) on 10 November 2019. The colossal craft measured a whopping is 5.96 m³ (210 ft³ 821 in³).

Originating from the Swedish word himmel, meaning heaven or sky, these traditional ornaments can be found in Nordic and European countries.

The record-breaking Himmeli ornament was made up of smaller octahedrons that contained 12 reed pieces. 

looking up at the volunteers from the fair building the ornament

1,834 of these small octahedrons where used to build the full size Himmeli ornament, which consisted of 22,008 reed pieces all together. 

By the end of the attempt, the ornament weighed a hefty 12.00 kg (26.455 lbs).

Crafting Himmeli ornaments is a long tradition in Estonia, which is why the organisation chose to build this structure. 

an example of a traditional himmeli ornament

“In Estonia we have had great traditions in Himmeli crafts for more than a hundred years and we decided to popularize this eco-friendly craft,” said Urmas Veersalu, a member of the Estonian Folk Art and Craft Union.

For the attempt, they used common reed (Phragmites australis) found on Estonian islands and coastlines to construct the ornament.

They broke this record at the St Martin's Day Fair, which is Estonia's largest handicraft and folkloric lifestyle event.

The finished himmeli displayed at the craft fair

20 volunteers taught fair makers how to build the smaller octahedrons, which were then attached to one another using linen thread to build the record-breaking structure. 

In preparation for the attempt, they created a Himmeli which was a quarter of the size in order to test its structural integrity and the logistics of attaching the smaller Himmeli together. 

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the attempt. 

“Everything went like we had planned till noon on Saturday [when the] large Himmeli fell down.”

They realised the traditional linen thread was not strong enough to support the structure – but determined not to give up, they made some adjustments and fixes to continue their attempt. 

two women measuring the finished himmeli

“We braided a special cord using linen thread and strongest braided fishing line.”

“We strengthened [the] large Himmeli from top and upper sides with a new cord, fixed damaged parts and continued our GWR attempt.”

Once back on track, the record-breaking Himmeli ornament was created and displayed at the fair. 

Watch the mesmerising building process: