Making pom-poms is a fun and slightly addictive form of craft therapy. Settle in and be patient and you’ll end up with a great new skill and hopefully, a pretty new wall hanging, key chain, garland, or mobile. It takes a minute to get the hang of the pom-pom, but once you do, you won’t want to stop. Pro tip: start with a small pom-pom so that you don’t waste too much yarn if you make mistakes early on, which inevitably will happen. Later, once you’ve mastered the skills, you can size up and use a larger template. Most importantly, have fun!
Materials you’ll need:
- Yarn of your choice
- Thin cardboard sheet
- Fabric Glue
- Thick crafting needle
- Cord (for garland)
- Bar of your choice (brass, dowel, branch, etc.)
Create your template for the pom-poms using the thin cardboard. Draw out a C shape, like the one in the photo, and cut out two identical C shapes that you will use together to wind your yarn on.
Take the tail of your yarn and start winding the yarn (with an even and not-too-tight tension) around the templates. You will continue to do this until you have a dense bulge of yarn covering your shape.
You can cut the yarn and start a new color if you want to add some stripes or marbling to the finished product. You can also wind multiple colors at the same time to expedite the process and add a kind of speckled pattern to the pom. I encourage you to experiment with different colors to see what the various effects will be. You don’t need to tie any knots when you change the color, just simply cut the yarn and start winding with a new color.
Note: Do not wind with tight tension as you will later be cutting through this yarn and if it’s too tight, it will be very difficult to cut through. Also, be sure to leave a bit of space on either end of the template so that when you cut through the middle of the bulge, you have a place to hold on to as well as to guide you as the yarn splits open and things get a bit messier.
Once you have gotten it to your desired thickness you will cut a separate piece of strong yarn to be used for tying it all together—put it aside, but keep handy.
Take the end the of the C shapes and gently split them down the middle, creating an area that you can slide your scissors through and start delicately cutting through the middle of the bulge of yarn, from one end around the round section of the C to the other. Everything should be loose now and about to fall through the open section of the C—don’t let it. Keep the yarns firmly gripped and carefully tuck all the loose threads back into the inside of the template, inside of the C, via the opening.
Flip the C shape and push all those loose ends as much as you can into the open section of the C so that you don’t lose those yarns.
Take the tying string that you set aside and protect those loose threads by wrapping that string around, back through the middle of the templates and tie one set of very tight double knots at the middle section of the round part of the C. Then take that same string back around to the open section of the C and tie a second set of tight double knots at the open section of the C, securing all your loose yarn.
At this point, make sure you cut all the yarn that was wound around the template, and you should be able to easily slide out the templates and have a shaggy pom. Shake it out and make sure it’s fluffy.
Now it’s time to give your shaggy pom-pom a haircut. Start trimming carefully around the whole pom-pom, you can keep it as shaggy as you want, or you can keep trimming so it becomes tighter. The more you trim, the rounder you can get it. This is where the patience kicks in. You can also save those trimmings for other craft projects later on. It can get messy here, so best practice is to trim directly into a bag or trash can. Be sure to trim slowly and not to trim too much so that you see your tying thread, if you start to see that tying yarn, you’ve trimmed too much and it may fall apart.
Once you have a group of poms that you made, you can string them on your cord however you please. You can string them like beads, or you can tie little clusters of knots or nubs that work as stoppers if you want spaces between poms or groups of poms. I like to use a thick crafting needle and thread through the middle of the pom-pom with my needle and cord. This is how you start to create your garlands.
Once your garlands are complete, you can arrange nails on the wall, in any configuration you want and simply tie the garlands to the nails. You can have them hang straight or you can drape them, scallop them, hang them from the ceiling, hang them from a branch, or dowel. Your choice!
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