Pompoms are small balls of tufted yarn — decorative bits of fluff which are used on woolly hats, shoes and clothes. Pompoms are also the much bigger balls of fluffy material or strips of coloured paper that cheerleaders wave about1.
This Entry will tackle the smaller, fluffy pompom. Pompoms are an easy way to introduce children to the world of crafting and to keep them busy, as the final product can be achieved during one sitting. Also, there are not many fiddly bits for them to get irritated and impatient with.
How to Make a Pompom
Yarn - Any type of yarn2 can be used, depending on the type of pompom required.
Cardboard - Stiff cardboard is best so that it will not warp when the yarn is wound around it.
Scissors - For ease of cutting, these should be sharp.
Needle (Optional) - The needle should have an eye large enough to thread the yarn and a blunt end3. A needle will be useful in the case of smaller pompoms or for finishing off4 your pompom. With larger pompoms, you can easily wrap the yarn around.
Cut two cardboard doughnuts5. The size of these cutouts will determine the size of your pompom. The diameter of the hole depends on how packed you would like your pompom to be — the larger the diameter of the hole, the fuller the pompom. For an average pompom, the centre hole is approximately one-third of the circle's diameter.
Hold the two cardboard pieces together.
Wrap the yarn evenly around the cutouts, working around the cardboard. Keep on doing this until the hole is full. Don't worry if you happen to run out of yarn. Just leave the 'tail' on the outside and start with a new length of yarn. A note of caution: do not wrap the yarn too tightly, as this will hinder you when cutting the yarn.
Once the wrapping is complete, use the scissors to cut along the edge of the doughnuts a few layers of yarn at a time until you reach the cardboard.
Pull the two cardboard pieces apart slightly. Using another piece of yarn, wrap it a few times along the middle and tie tightly. Leave the ends alone, as you may require these later6.
Pull out the cardboard pieces7 or cut a slit through the cardboard pieces so that they can be pulled away easily.
Fluff up your little pompom. Trim any excess yarn.
For more colourful pompoms, different-coloured yarn can be used. For a speckled effect, the different colours can be wrapped together; for a striped effect, the colours can be wrapped one after the other.
What else can I do with these little balls of fluff?
Pompoms are usually attached to woolly hats and are used most commonly by knitters to decorate bits of their work. However they can also be used to decorate hair extensions and make disco snakes or Christmas tree ornaments8.
They can be also used to make little pompom animals. For example, if you wanted to make a pompom bunny, you would make a small grey pompom for the tail, a bigger grey pompom for the head and a still bigger grey pompom for the body. Tie these pompoms together tightly. Glue little plastic eyes and pieces of felt9 (cut out to the necessary feet and ear shapes) to the pompoms. Voila! A little furry pompom bunny.