• Mary Jane

How to Pom Pom - the technical!

The pom pom is a very clever little thing. It's simple to make and uses up scraps - usually of wool, but to be honest, you can wrap anything around your pom pom template - things like narrow strips of old T-shirt or plastic bags. Cheerful and adaptable, pom poms always bring a smile to the face and can be used for all sorts of things: children can make Easter decorations and garlands, and you can make sophisticated home decorations and couture fashion accessories!

I need to level with you at this point. I'm going to break my homecraft rules and say that the easiest way to make pom poms is to invest in a pom pom maker like this one. I know it's a bit of plastic, but you'll use these gadgets over and over again, and they really speed the process up. If however you're searching for ways to keep children occupied (or are a bit of a stickler for tradition), then there are two ways to make pom poms: the way I was taught to make them as a child, and my modification, which is slightly faster but a little more fiddly (better for older children and adults).

Bigger pom poms are easier for small hands to make by the way. Keep it simple!

For the first method (pic 1 below) cut out two discs from cardboard (the size of your disc will be roughly the size of the finished pom pom). Now take the longest piece of wool you can manage and start winding it round the cardboard and through the hole in the middle. You'll need a needle to do this - the child-friendly plastic ones work well. Go all the way round the circle, keeping the wrapping nice and even. Keep adding more wool until you can't squeeze the needle through the middle any more. Next, take some small sharp scissors (you'll need to help children with this as it's quite tricky and the scissors can slip) and cut round the outside edge of the circle through the wool to the cardboard. Take a length of wool and thread between the layers of card tying very tightly in the middle. Then remove the card. Hey presto! You'll have a pompom! Trim to neaten.

For the second method (pics 2 & 3) fold ONE card circle in half as illustrated to create a semi-circle with a hole in the middle. Tip: cut little nicks on either side of the fold so that when you start winding your wool it won't slip off the ends. Place a double strand of wool (for strength) in the fold and then start winding wool up and down the card nice and evenly to create a big fat slug. Hold everything carefully in place and then pull the two strands of wool towards the middle, pulling through the card edges as you go. Tie very tightly in the middle. It actually helps to have someone else tie your knot as it's fiddly - no good if you're self-isolating I'm afraid! Take some small sharp scissors and carefull cut through the wool on the outer edge revealing the card. Remove the cardboard. Fluff up and trim to neaten.

You can add lots of layers of different colourerd wool if you want to create rainbow pom poms or simply stick to one colour. Don't worry if you have loose ends as you work, just secure them underneath the next layer of wool.

I'll be back with ideas for what to do with your pom poms in the next installment. Meanwhile, take care and happy pom pom making! MJ x

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