Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tutorial Tuesdays - Pom Poms

Pom poms may be best known as a googly eye substrate and for adding that retro-fabulous look to knitted accessories, but why stop there? There are so many crafty uses for these suckers. Think cute decorations for a small woodland-themed Christmas tree, an easy way to add flair to your packaging, or as clever eco-friendly cushioning when shipping gifts or items sold in your shop. Not only that, but they’re super quick to make, and cost practically nothing. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

Time required: making template, 5-10 minutes

making each pom pom, 5-10 minutes

Supplies: template (see below)


yarn needle (or other large-eyed needle)

scrap yarn, one piece ~2.5 m long, and one short piece

The first thing you’ll need to make your pom poms is a template. You can buy plastic templates at craft and big box stores, but making your own is easy! Simply cut two identical doughnut shaped rings from light cardboard (such as a cereal or granola bar box). Use a protractor or trace around something you have on hand - a cup, shot glass, bowl, spool, anything round, really. The possibilities are endless.

There are just two things to keep in mind when making the template. First, the size of the finished pom pom depends on the width of the “doughnut” part. Secondly, when you’re making the hole in the middle, be sure to poke through the center with scissors rather than cutting the outer strip, otherwise your yarn won’t stay wrapped.

Now that you have prepared the two template rings, you’re ready to go. Gather the rest of your materials: scissors (a small, sharp pair work best), yarn needle, and a long piece of yarn, and a short piece of the same yarn.

Hold the two template rings together. Thread the long piece of yarn into the needle and wrap the yarn around the template. Take the needle underneath and up through the center hole, then around to the outer edge of the template.

Continue in this way until the entire template is covered, working neatly, and trying not to leave any gaps.

Now comes the tricky bit. Keeping a firm hold on the center, insert one blade of your scissors between the template pieces. Cut the yarn all the way around.

Still holding the yarn so that the pieces don’t fall away, pick up the shorter piece of yarn. Taking it between the template pieces, wrap it around the middle of your cut yarn segments . Pull tightly, and tie a firm knot. This can be difficult and may take a little practice, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Carefully pull the pom pom free of the template. It will look a little flattened and uneven at first. Gently shape the pom pom into a sphere, easing the strands into place around the yarn you used to tie it. Cut any long yarn pieces and trim the ends all around.


Different types of yarn will behave in different ways when cut. Some will fray dramatically and look more like pre-made pom poms, others will look fuzzy but maintain their individual threads, some won’t fray at all. The size of the pom pom also affects the finished look. Larger pom poms tend to fuzz out less than smaller ones. Try out lots of different scrap yarns and template sizes to find your favourite!

Here is an example of how to use pom poms. Be sure to send a photo of your crafty ideas!

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