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A DIY pom-pom is an easy way to add a fun touch of personality to any knit or crochet project. Do you want to learn how to make yarn pom-poms at home? In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to make a pom-pom using our free template – all you need is yarn and some scrap cardboard. Let’s get started!
Making a yarn pom-pom is a great way to use up scrap yarn and add a fun pop of color to any craft project. You can add pom poms to hats, scarves, sweaters, and blankets, or use them to make a garland or wreath. You can even make them in different sizes and colors for a fun look.
The good news is that making a yarn pom-pom is easier than you think! You only need a few supplies, like your favorite yarn, some scrap cardboard, a sharp pair of scissors, and our free cardboard template. Read through this step-by-step tutorial, and you can get started in minutes.
How to Make Pom Poms
There are a few different methods to make fluffy pom poms, and each has its own set of pros and cons. You can use a store-bought pom-pom maker, a DIY cardboard template, or even a fork to make cute mini poms.
Pom Pom Makers
If you want to make a lot of pom-poms quickly, then buying a sturdy pom-pom maker is a good choice. Plastic pom pom makers come in different sizes so that you can make small or large pom poms. They’re also relatively inexpensive, and you can find them online and at most craft stores. (I have the Clover pom pom makers, which work great.)
DIY Cardboard Templates
Another way to make pom poms is to use DIY cardboard templates – aka, what you’ll learn in this tutorial! Cardboard templates are a great thrifty option if you want to make DIY pom poms and don’t want to spend extra money. You can make different sizes of pom poms by cutting the cardboard to the desired size. The only downside? The cardboard will eventually wear out, and you’ll need to cut another template.
If you don’t have a pom pom maker or cardboard template, you can still make pom poms with a fork. Yep, all you need is a regular dinner fork and some yarn. The size of the fork determines the size of the pom-pom, so this method is best for making mini pom-poms.
Best Cardboard Template for Pom Poms
This tutorial will show you how to make a pom-pom using a DIY cardboard template. Our free template makes it easy to get perfect, evenly-sized pom-poms every time.
It’s a little different than other cardboard disc or cardboard circle templates you might have seen. It’s design is actually based on a commercial plastic pom-pom maker, and its unique construction makes this template super easy to use. I really like how the semi-circle arch shape makes it easier to wrap the yarn around the template quickly and evenly.
Pom Pom Supplies
- cardboard (I like to use thinner cardboard from cereal boxes)
- sharp scissors (I like to use fabric scissors to cut the yarn – just be sure to use regular craft scissors to cut the template so that you don’t dull your fabric scissors. Yikes!)
- printable template
- binder clips or paper clips
Best Yarn for Pom Poms
You can make pom-poms with almost any type of yarn. But for the fluffiest pom poms, you’ll want to choose fluffy yarn. Makes sense, right?
I’d recommend choosing a medium or bulky weight yarn made from wool, wool blends, or acrylic. For extra fuzzy pom-poms, you can go with a single-ply or roving style yarn.
I generally avoid using cotton yarns – especially mercerized cotton yarns – since they aren’t as fuzzy and don’t fluff up as well. But hey, you might love the look of cotton yarn – so I’ll leave the choice up to you.
Once you have your supplies, you’re ready to get started.
How to Make a Pom Pom with a Cardboard Template
First, you will need to gather your supplies. You will need some yarn, scissors, and a cardboard template. I like to use thinner cardboard from cereal boxes, but you can use an old cardboard shipping box in a pinch.
Make the Cardboard Template
Next, download our printable template. This template is a PDF that can be downloaded and printed at home. Once you have printed out the template, cut out the arch shape, and trace it onto the cardboard. You’ll need to cut four pieces.
Then, draw a little line to mark the tabs so you know where to stop wrapping the yarn. If you want, you can fold the tab sections up now before you start wrapping the yarn.
Draw your own template. If you can’t print out our template, that’s totally okay. You can make your own template by tracing around household items. Trace around a small circular object – like a lid or cup – to make the outer circle. Remember, the size of your circle will determine the size of your pom-pom – so look for something in the 2-3 inch range. Then, trace around an even smaller circular object for the smaller inner circle. Divide the circle in half and extend the lines a little to make the tab sections.
Wrap the Yarn
Now that you have your supplies, it’s time to start making your pom-poms!
Put two template pieces together, shiny sides facing in, so that you have two pairs. Each pair makes one half of your pom-pom maker.
Then, wrap the yarn around each half-circle section until it is completely covered. Wrap the yarn as evenly as you can, and avoid wrapping yarn around the tab sections.
The more wraps you make, the fuller your pom-pom will be. Wrap a little more yarn than you think you need at first – you need a lot of yarn for a fluffy pom-pom.
Assemble the pom pom maker.
Once you have finished wrapping, it’s time to assemble the pom pom maker. Take the two template pairs, and fold the tabs outward as shown in the pictures above.
Bring the two halves together to form a complete circle, as shown. At this point, your pom-pom maker will look like a little yarn doughnut, cute!
Use binder clips to clip the tabs together, which will hold the circle in place while you cut the yarn in the next step. You can use office binder clips, paper clips, or sewing clips like you see in the photos below. If you don’t have any of those, I bet hair clips might work. Give it a try!
Cut the Yarn
Now, insert your scissors into the space between the two cardboard pieces, and cut the yarn. Work your way around the template, and be careful not to cut the cardboard. Sharp scissors are your best friend here – I like to use fabric scissors for this step. (Save the fabric scissors for yarn, though – cut the cardboard with craft scissors.)
Tie the Pom Pom
Once you have cut all the way around, cut a 10-inch length of yarn to tie around the middle of the pom pom. Slide the piece of yarn into the slot between the two sides of the cardboard template (This is the same place where you just cut.) Tie the yarn with a tight knot to secure. (I like to use a surgeon’s knot.) You can cut the excess yarn, or keep it to tie the pom-pom onto your project.
Now you can remove the clips and the template pieces. Looks pretty good, right? If you’ve wrapped the yarn evenly, your pom-pom should already look pretty round. But, we can make it even more spherical with a little haircut.
How to Trim Pom Poms
If your pom-poms look a little lopsided, don’t worry. To get perfect pom poms, all you need to do is give them a trim.
First, give the pom-pom a good fluff before you start trimming. This will help the strands of yarn spread out, and reveal any high spots.
Then, pinch the pom-pom in one hand, and trim the yarn around the edges of the circle, wherever it looks too long. If you smoosh the pom-pom down, it makes it easier to see where it’s out-of-round.
Keep rotating the pom-pom around, looking at it from different angles, and trimming any high spots until the pom pom has a more uniform shape. It might seem like you’re cutting off a lot of yarn, but this step is important! Trimming your pom poms will give you more defined and dense-looking pom-poms.
And that’s it! You now know how to make a perfect, fluffy pom-pom using our easy cardboard method.
Tips for Making Yarn Pom Poms
Now that you know how to make a yarn pom-pom, here are a few tips to help you get the best results:
- Use more yarn than you think you need. It’s better to have too much than not enough.
- If your pom-poms look a little flat and scraggly, you probably need to wrap more layers of yarn. Use more yarn to make nice, full pom poms.
- If your pom-poms come out lopsided or looking like a football, you might not be wrapping the yarn around the half-circle templates evenly. Try to keep your yarn warps evenly spaced so your pom-poms come out nice and round.
- Use a sharp pair of scissors when trimming your pom-poms. This will make the timing process go a lot faster, and give you the cleanest results.
- When trimming your pom-poms, avoid cutting into the center of the pom-pom. You don’t want to clip the center yarn accidentally – otherwise, your pom-poms will fall apart!
FAQs and Troubleshooting
Here are some common questions we get about making yarn pom-poms.
Why does my pom-pom keep falling apart?
If your pom-pom keeps falling apart, it might be that you’re not tying the center yarn knot tight enough. Make sure to pull this yarn tightly, and try using a strong surgeon’s knot instead of your usual double knot.
My pom-pom is not round. What can I do?
If your pom-pom is not round, make sure that you are wrapping the yarn evenly around the half-circle templates. If you wrap too much in the middle, but not enough on the sides, your pom-pom will come out football-shaped.
You can also try trimming your pom-pom to give it a more uniform shape.
How can I make mini pom-poms?
Yes, you can use this cardboard template to make small pom poms and big pom poms. To make mini pom poms with this method, you will need a smaller pom-pom template. The size of the outer circle diameter roughly corresponds to the finished diameter of the pom-pom. So if you want a 1-inch pom pom, use a 1-inch wide template.
Can I use this method to make other shapes of pom-poms?
Yes! You can use this method to make any shape of pom-pom you like. Wrap the yarn and assemble the pom-pom as usual. Then, create the shape during the trimming step.
Do you have any questions about how to make a yarn pom pom? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to help! And be sure to check out our other tutorials for more great crafting ideas. Happy crafting!
More Yarn Crafts
If you love a good yarn craft, you may be interested in these related articles.
- How to Knit: Complete Guide for Beginners
- How to Crochet for Beginners: A Complete Guide
- How to Macrame: Get Started with this Easy Beginner’s Guide
- How to Make Friendship Bracelets
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- scrap cardboard
- pom-pom maker template
- binder clips, paper clips, or sewing clips
- Download the pom-pom maker template. Cut out one piece, and trace it onto cardboard four times. Cut out each piece. Mark the tab sections with a pencil line.
- Place two template pieces together to create one half of the pom-pom maker. Wrap the yarn evenly around each half, avoiding the tab sections.
- Fold the tabs outward, and bring the two halves together to form a complete circle. Use clips to hold the tabs together.
- Insert scissors into the space between the two template pieces, and cut the yarn all the way around the template.
- Slide a piece of yarn into the slot between the template pieces, and tie a knot around the pom-pom to secure.
- Remove the clips and the template pieces. Trim the pom-pom to even out the shape.
You can trim the center knot strings - or leave them on to use them to tie your pom-pom onto your project.
Sarah Stearns has helped thousands of makers find their next craft project with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials on her blog, sarahmaker.com. Read more.
Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.