Pom poms are so much fun to make, with people having enjoyed making them from before I was a girl. With home decor and clothing trends including them, they’re an easy craft to teach to children, whether for Christmas decorations, trims for sewing projects, or making little animals or key rings. Here I share how to make pom poms 5 different ways
- What you need to make a pom pom
- How to make perfect pom poms
- How to fluff and shape a pom pom
- What can you use pom poms for?
- DIY pom pom troubleshooting
- Where can I buy wool from?
Back in the day we used to make them with 2 cardboard donuts – but the problem with that is fitting the wool through the hole in the centre. If you’ve never made them before, or want to teach your children how to make pom poms, then pick your method below. And find my hints and tips to make them round, fluffy and secure.
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What you need to make a pom pom
- Sharp scissors
- Optional for fluffing – corrugated cardboard
Depending on the method: 2 toilet paper cardboard tubes, pom pom maker*, fork or cardboard (the type from cardboard boxes is good, cereal packs are a bit thin and flexible, although you could stick several layers or cardboard together if using thinner cardboard.
How to make perfect pom poms
Method 1: Toilet paper roll pom poms
For large pom poms you can use 2 toilet paper roll tubes.
1, Hold one end of your wool against the 2 loo roll tubes, start wrapping around the 2. Don’t pull the wool too tight otherwise you’ll lose the shape of the tubes and struggle to tie the pom pom together. Keep wrapping – for this size you want at least 150 wraps for a good full pom pom.
Tip: Try using 2 strands of yarn at the same time to wrap faster.
Don’t take the wraps too near to the end of the tubes (I only had one toilet roll inner so cut it in half, but you can’t wrap as much doing it this way, I forgot to take photos of the full size version I did!)
2, Once you’ve got enough wrapped around, cut the end of the wool.
3, Take a new piece of wool about 15 cm long, and tie it around the centre of the wraps through inbetween the toilet rolls. Tie in a double knot.
4, Carefully remove the loo roll tubes, then tie this wool back to where it began the other side and tie again in several knots.
Tip – for really secure knots, tie by crossing the wool over twice before pulling tight. The repeat again. This makes much tight knots.
5, Holding the trailing tied ends out of the way, cut the loops of the wraps to open then up. Fluff up your pom pom, then use for whatever project you have.
Method 2: Mini pom poms using a fork
For tiny pom poms you can use a fork to wrap the wool around. These are more fiddly, but look really cute and could be good for making key rings or trims for cushions or other decor.
1, For ease of tying later, put a strand of wool through the middle prong leaving one end each side of the fork (just keep the ends out of the way when wrapping – you could wrap this round the fork handle temporarily).
2, Wrap wool around the fork prongs until thickly wrapped. Don’t let the wrapped wool fall off the end of the fork prongs. Cut the end of the wool..
3, Take the original piece of wool, and use it to wrap around the middle of the wrapped wool and tie tightly. Pull the wraps off carefully and tie around again.
4, Cut through the 2 wrapped sides to create the pom pom. Then fluff up/neaten off with the scissors.
Method 3: Finger pom poms
Using 2 fingers or 3 (makes a larger pom pom), wrap wool around your fingers while holding them together. Don’t wrap too tight otherwise your circulation will go! Once you’ve got enough wraps (around 80+) of wool, ask someone to tie around the middle and tie several times (or remove carefully from your fingers and tie). Then cut through the 2 sets of loops before fluffing into a pompoms shape.
Method 4: Cardboard u shaped template
This method uses a strong cardboard template in a u shape, using the same method as with the fork method. You can use any size of template to make different sized pom poms.
Create your template from corrugated card, then wrap and tie as in the fork method.
Method 5: Using a pom pom maker
If you’re going to make a lot of pom poms, then a set of these plastic pom pom makers* are the way to go. They usually come in packs of 3 or 4 different sizes and aren’t too expensive.
1, Open up the 2 pieces, hold them together, and wrap around the semi circle of one half.
2, Keep wrapping – generally you want to wrap until the central ‘hole’ has wool that’s horizontal. But no more or the pom pom maker won’t be able to close. Cut off the end.
3, Repeat for the second half.
4, Close the 2 semi circles up and clip closed in a circle. If it won’t close you might need to unwrap a little either side.
5, Cut inbetween the 2 pieces around both semi circle sides of the tool.
6, Take another piece of wool – around 15 cm long. Tie it around the centre of the pom pom in the gap between the 2 pieces of the pom pom maker. It will be a bit resistant to tie, but tie it tight in a double knot, then reverse it back around and tie at the opposite side to secure in several knots.
7, Unclip the ends of the pom pom maker, and gently open up and remove, leaving the pom pom behind. Fluff and neaten the shape.
How to fluff and shape a pom pom
Even if you use cheap wool you can still make them soft and fluffy rather than straggly. At first when you make them they can look a bit misshapen and uneven, but it doesn’t take much to make a perfect round fluffy pom pom.
The first rule for fluffy pom poms is lots of wrapping. More is more when it comes to wrapping pom poms.
You can trim a pom pom into shape freehand, but it’s easier and more consistent to use a template to trim around. This will make your pom pom smaller so when deciding on the size to make, always start with a larger pom pom that you can trim down.
To make a pom pom trimming template, you just need 2 circles cut out of corrugated cardboard. It’s worth having a few templates of different sizes cut out and to hand – from 6 to 9cm to give different options and sized pom poms. Draw around glasses, small plates or use a compass and pencil. In the centre of one of the 2 circles, prick out a hole, large enough to push wool through.
To trim and fluff
Once you have your pom pom, choose a card circle template that’s just a little smaller than your pom pom.
Push the 2 tied ends through the circle hole, then sandwich the pom pom with the 2nd circle on the bottom (holding the strand ends out of the way).
Trim any uneven parts or random sticking out strands to shape it to the circle template size. This will automatically make the trimmed ends fluffier as well as making the pom pom more spherical.
Then remove the top card and re-sandwich at the sides of the pom pom before trimming again.
Once trimmed, give the pom pom a shake and bit of a fluff up. You should end up with a nice fluffy circular pom pom. The fluff will go everywhere, so do this over a piece of paper.
Tip: Keep all the trimmings for stuffing for other craft projects.
I’ve never tried it but you can put them in a mesh bag or pillowcase, and in the tumble drier on a lower heat to fluff them up.
I’ve also seen someone suggest fluffing up by using a natural hair brush to softly brush over the wool ends – just make sure you’ve really tied it together well, as you wouldn’t want the wool strands being pulled out.
So 5 ways of making pom poms. None of them are difficult, although the cutting through the large amount of wrapped wool can be tough to do. It’s a nice craft to do in front of the tv, or set out on the table to make with kids.
What can you use pom poms for?
Pom poms can be used in lots of different projects:
- Pom pom mobile – criss cross sticks or use a wire wreath frame, and hang pom poms from them before handing from the ceiling.
- Pom pom wall hanging – similar to the mobile but use a pole or stick that will sit against a wall, and hang pom poms from it.
- Pom pom rug – make hundreds of pom poms and tie to a rug backing. Try the tips at Little Yellow Wheelbarrow
- Pom pom wreath – Add pom poms to either a wire wreath frame or for an easier more temporary version to a homemade cardboard frame.
- Pom pom animals – stick or tie different size pom poms together, add felt or pipecleaner additions to create your characters. Try hedgehogs, penguins, rabbits,or snowmen.
For multicoloured pom poms, try using two or more colours in stripes to create different patterns. Or even a multicoloured yarn.
- Christmas decorations: Make a Christmas pudding, try one half to two thirds in brown, the other half or third wrapped in white or yellow. You might need to check where your tie strands are coming out as this will need to be in the middle of the white/yellow part which is the custard or brandy butter on top of the pudding. Add felt or card holly and berries stuck on.
- Or try a robin – you need to use a pom pom maker for this as you only want one patch being red, not all the way through the pom pom on both sides. Wrap the rest brown, then add beak, eyes and pipe cleaner legs.
DIY pom pom troubleshooting
What wool or yarn should I use? Acrylic wool* is the best for pom poms. It’s cheap and easy to get hold of. It will fluff up fine by trimming and ensuring you’ve plenty wrapped around.
How to stop my pom poms falling apart? If you’re tying securely, (and there’s enough wool in them), they should stay together. Use the double tying knot method – when you’re knotting, tie twice around the other piece of wool rather than just once, pull tight and then repeat to double knot. Pull tight carefully as you don’t want to break the yarn.
Can I wash pom poms? If you’ve used acrylic wool, they will be washable (and if you’re making a rug you will likely want to wash it at some point). Ideally wash them in a pillowcase or mesh bag in case they do unravel on a low heat wash. Alternatively, leave them to soak in warm soapy water, before squeezing the water out. They can be put in a pillowcase or mesh bag and tumble dried on a low heat.
My yarn broke when tying my pom pom? If you’ve not cut the loops, just retie. If you’ve already cut, it’s hard to re-tie up because you need to find exactly the middle to capture all the strands in the tie. If you manage it, I’d avoid using it for any heavy use pom poms just in case it falls apart over time.
How can I make pom poms faster? Pom pom makers are so much faster to use – although the loo roll option isn’t too bad – with the latter you’ll likely need to spend more time shaping and trimming. You can use more strands of wool which will wrap a lot faster for full pom poms. Try 2 or even 4 strands. It just means more balls of wool are needed. I would also batch make in stages. So make all the pom poms you need, then do the trimming afterwards.
You don’t need a lot of concentration for pom pom making though, so they’re easily made while watching tv. Why not get friends around for a social craft and chat evening if you need more made fast! Or set kids a challenge to see how many they can make.
Where can I buy wool from?
Wool (or yarn if you’re in the US) is readily available. You don’t need expensive good quality wool to make pom poms. From a standard size skein of wool you should get around 5-6 medium size pom poms from it. But if you’re looking to do a big project of single colour wool, I’d recommend buying a few balls of wool. You don’t want to run out and not be able to get the same colour again.
- On the high street you try discount stores like Poundstretcher or Home Bargains, or craft stockists like Hobbycraft or The Range.
- Watch out for Aldi special buys for craft supplies.
- Local independent sewing and knitting shops might have bulk or discount offers on cheaper acrylic wool.
- Online – independent wool retailers, or Amazon will also stock wool.
- Ask around friends and relatives, work colleagues – you never know who might have unwanted wool at home.
- Try local selling groups or Freecycle. Lots of people end up clearing out craft suppliers, or have colours they don’t use, often you can get them for free.
- Charity shops
Check out my heart pom poms tutorial.
Let me know what you make and which method of pom pom making you use.
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