On a hat, hanging from a garland, or in a bowl on the table, pom poms are nothing but fun!
Here we show you all our tricks for making a perfectly dense and fluffy one-color pom pom, using our Pom Pom Maker Set. For tips on making fancier designs, like polka dots, color blocks, and sprinkles, pick up our Pom Pom Pattern… Or, get the Maker Set, Pattern, and six skeins of Pocket Posy all together in our Pom Pom Kit!
- A U-shaped pom pom maker. We used Purl Soho’s Pom Pom Maker Set.
- Some yarn. Amount depends on weight of yarn and size of pom pom. Here, we used approximately 28 yards of Purl Soho’s fingering weight Pocket Posy in Heirloom White to make a 2-inch pom pom.
- Embroidery floss, for securing the pom pom (or some of the yarn you used to make your pom pom, if it’s strong)
- Very sharp scissors
This tutorial explains how to make pom poms using Purl Soho’s Pom Pom Maker Set and our fingering weight Pocket Posy yarn, but these instructions apply to all U-shaped pom pom makers (even ones you cut out of cardboard!) and almost any yarn.
Determine the Size
Your pom pom’s size depends on the size pom pom maker and trim guide you use. The maker determines the initial size of the pom pom and the trim guide determines the size of the finished pom pom. Our Pom Pom Maker Set includes two pom pom makers and six trim guides.
Here’s what size pom poms to expect from these tools…
NOTE: Before you begin, if your yarn is in a skein, be sure to wind it into a ball. For tips on how, please visit our tutorial.
To start, tuck one end of yarn into the notch on either arm of the pom pom maker. (Our makers have notches, but if yours doesn’t, just use your finger to pin the end against the maker as you begin.)
Now wind the yarn around the pom pom maker’s arms. The number of revolutions you make depends on the size pom pom you want, i.e. on the trim guide you intend to use. For nice, dense pom poms using fingering weight yarn, refer to the following chart for the number of revolutions we recommend making. (Adjust the number of revolutions for the yarn you’re using: more revolutions for thinner yarn and fewer for thicker yarn.)
NOTE: You can use two ends of yarn at the same time so that you only need to wrap half the number of revolutions. If you’re working with a ball of yarn whose other end is buried, just roll that ball into two!
Once you’ve wrapped the yarn, tuck it into either notch and cut the yarn.
Cut an 18-inch length of embroidery floss (we’re using red here for clarity, but we used ecru for our actual pom pom), and thread one end through the space under the wraps of yarn. Pull the floss a bit more than halfway through.
Bring that same end of the floss up and over the center of the wrapped yarn, and thread it back through the same space once more. Bring that end up and over the wrapped yarn again.
Bring the two ends of floss together, making sure the floss is centered on and perpendicular to the wraps. Now tie a surgeon’s knot by making a half granny (like the first step of tying your shoes), but wrapping the end through the loop twice. Pull the knot to the surface of the yarn, but don’t pull tight just yet.
Carefully slide the yarn from the pom pom maker and now pull the knot as tight as possible without breaking the floss. Use a spare finger to anchor the surgeon’s knot and tie a half granny knot.
Bring the ends of the floss to the back side of the pom pom, making sure to pass the floss through the middle of the loops without catching any. Tie another very tight surgeon’s knot, and secure it with a half granny. The center of the pom pom should feel very firm. If it doesn’t, repeat these steps to tie another set of knots.
Now trim the embroidery floss, either close to the knot if you plan to use your pom pom like a bead (on garlands, for example), or leaving some length if you plan to tie your pom pom to something, such as a gift or zipper. In that case, be sure to not cut the embroidery floss when you’re trimming your pom pom, which is next!
Now trim through the center of all the yarn loops. Be sure to also cut through the little loops that may be buried closer to the center of the pom pom.
Holding the pom pom flat, center the trim guide on the pom pom. Gripping the guide firmly in place, trim along its perimeter, making the cuts straight down, perpendicular to the guide. Place the trim guide on the center of the back side of the pom pom and trim around once more.
Now fluff up the pom pom. It should be a bit of an oblong at this point. Holding the pom pom so the long side of the oblong is facing you, place the trim guide on the center of the pom pom and press it flat. Trim around the guide as before, both on the front and back sides.
Fluff up the pom pom again and give it a final once over, trimming off any little yarns that are still sticking out and cleaning up uneven patches. That’s it, one beautiful pom pom!