Since setting up and posting pictures of my entry to the Sheep River Health Trust 2018 Avenue of Trees, I’ve had a few questions regarding the pom-pom garland I used on my tree. “Did you make it?” Yes! “Every single pom-pom?” Yes! “Got a lot time on your hands?” No! But like most designers, I enjoy the process of coming up with an idea and figuring out how to bring it to life. And sometimes I like to do that with yarn and paper straws. So, in the spirit of holiday craftiness, here is my first ever DIY tutorial. May it not be my last.
Here’s What You’ll Need
The stiffer the yarn, the better the pom-pom (there’s a joke in there somewhere). I used 5 different skeins of yarn. Three of them were ombre, giving me two different shades of the same color in each skein and 8 different colors total. I wanted to make a rainbow garland so the colors I used were: Red/Coral Ombre, Yellow, Green, Peacock Blue/Light Peacock Blue Ombre and Dark Purple/Light Purple Ombre.
Change up the yarn colors to create a more subdued or neutral version that works with your tree/décor. I’ve used Krylon Glitter Spray in Magical Multi-Color to give a white pom-pom garland a subtle frosted look.
This year I bought the large ($11.49) and small ($9.99) Clover Pom-Pom Makers from Michaels. Each pack comes with two sizes, so it’s really more of an XL/LG set and a SM/XS set. Last year I made a pom-pom snowball garland by winding yarn around two empty toilet paper rolls, which is a fine alternative to buying the makers.
I used red and white striped for a festive feel.
Big enough to fit yarn through the eye for stringing the pom poms and straws.
I used a 5-inch pair of crafting scissors, they are the perfect size for cutting the pom poms.
Here’s How You Make It
By far the most time-consuming part of making the garland is first making the pom-poms. For this garland, I made 6 XL (3⅜”) pom-poms of each color, and 6 LG (2½”) pom-poms of each color, working out to 96 pom-poms in 8 different colors. More or less may be required, depending on the pattern in which you decide to string them.
Pro Tip: I made the pom-poms while watching Netflix and drinking wine.
The instructions on the packaging for the Clover Pom-Pom Makers are a little confusing, so I suggest taking a quick look at this tutorial. The written portion is much better than the video. After winding your pom-pom and cutting it, tie your pom-pom in the middle using the same yarn you’ve used to make it. I tried embroidery thread but didn’t find it held tight enough. After the first knot, I also like to twist the string once to kind of keep it “locked” while I double knot it; it’s the equivalent of having someone put their finger on the knot to hold it in place. This will keep your pom-pom nice and tight and prevent it from falling apart when you separate the maker which, when you’re making 96 of them, can lead to tears…or so I’ve heard.
Now that we’ve got the grunt work out of the way, it’s time for the fun part, assembling the garland.
- Separate your pom-poms by size and color. For instance, I put all the XL red pom-poms next to all the LG red pom-poms but kept the sizes separated.
- Put the piles in the order you are going to string them. My garland went in order of colors of the rainbow and I alternated XL red, LG red, XL coral, LG coral, XL yellow, LG yellow and so on.
- Cut each paper straw into quarters. I used about 25 straws.
- Pick one of the yarn colors to string the garland. It really doesn’t matter which color is used as the straw pieces will cover it. If you’re really particular about it, you can string the garland with fishing line, although it does tangle more easily.
- Thread the darning needle with the yarn and first pass it through a piece of straw, then choose your first pom-pom and thread the yarn through the center, ensuring it is impossible for the pom-pom to fall off the garland. Think of it in the same way as threading the needle, with the eye being the yarn used to cinch the pom-pom.
- Follow the first pom-pom with another piece of straw.
- Thread the second pom-pom, followed again by a piece of straw.
- I decided on a pattern of straw, XL pom-pom, straw, LG pom-pom, straw, but pattern choices are endless, keeping in mind some may require more or less pom-poms.
- Continue the pattern of stringing the garland until you reach your last pom-pom. Thread your last pom-pom and finish with a piece of straw.
- Start and finish the garland with pieces of straw for ease of knotting the garland ends.
- ARE WE ALL SICK OF THE WORD POM-POM??
- Makes one approximately 24′-0″ garland.
So that’s it! My genius (?) laid bare. I hope to not hear, see, say or write the word pom-pom for a very long time. The options are endless in terms of ways you can change it up with this garland. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, and if you make one, send me a picture! I’d love to see how you make it your own.