I love these DIY pom poms for two reasons. One- because they literally make something from nothing. They use completely up-cycled materials. Two- they’re poms poms, which are just beyond adorable and useful in so many crafting occasions!
Upcycled pom pom materials…
I’m going to show you two different types of poms poms here. The first type is made from t- shirt yarn. T-shirt yarn is nothing more than yarn made from an old t-shirt using a few very specific cuts to create one long continuous piece. The other is made from plarn or plastic yarn made from cutting a bag in a very similar manner to the t-shirt above. See directions for plarn here. Both are simple and create a usable crafting material from something that would have been hitting the garbage can. Score!
You’ll need some heavy scrap cardboard, like an Amazon box, And, for the plastic yarn version, you will also need some kind of string or twine to secure the pom pom. That’s it. Let’s get started!
Making a homemade pom pom maker….
There are plenty of store bought “pom pom makers” out there. I’m sure they work just fine but you don’t need to buy something extra just to make pom poms. Basically you need something somewhat sturdy to wrap yarn around and a way to cinch it in the center.
Sturdy cardboard is perfect for this. We used the ends flaps of Amazon boxes. The piece of cardboard should be as wide as as you want the diameter of your pom pom and about twice as tall. Cut a small line of cardboard out of the middle of the pom pom maker that doesn’t go quite to the top. This cut will allow you to easily cinch the pom pom in the middle.
How to make pom poms…
Above you can see an example of t-shirt yarn wrapped around and around the pom pom maker. This can take a bit of experimenting to see exactly how many time you need to wrap the yarn for the look you want. The width of your t-shirt yarn will also make a difference here. Thicker yarn means less layers around will be needed. In general, wrap a few more times than you think you need. You can’t go wrong with full, puffy pom poms.
To secure the pom pom you’ll need to take a piece of yarn that’s already been cut and wrap it around the layers of the pom pom. Cinch it as tightly as you can in the middle and tie it tightly. This is what secures the pom pom when it is removed from the cardboard so you want this to be tight.
I like to leave this string nice and long. If you want to hang your pom pom from anything this will give a nice long string to do it with!
Removing your pom pom from the maker….
Once you’ve cinched the pom pom in the middle and tied it tightly it’s time to take the pom pom off of the maker. Use very sharp scissors to cut through the layers of yarn along both long edges of the cardboard pom pom maker. When the pom pom has been cut through it will be lodged there. Gently slide the pom pom off of the cardboard and fluff the yarn up.
There may be some pieces of yarn that are a bit longer than others. Now is the time to give your pom pom a haircut. Trim any shaggy pieces so your pom pom has an even round look.
Plastic bag pom poms….
The above pictures show how to make pom poms using recycled knit t-shirts. Below you can see pics of poms poms made using plastic bags. I’m talking the cheapie plastic bags from WalMart or the Dollar Store.
Read about the method for making a continuous strand of plastic yarn from a plastic bag here. Once you’ve made your “plarn” the method for creating the pom pom is exactly the same as when using the t-shirt yarn. The only difference comes after the yarn has been wrapped around and around the pom pom maker and it’s ready to be cinched.
Do not attempt to use the plastic yarn to cinch the pom pom. You need to be able to pull and gather the layers as tightly as possible. The plastic yarn will break and stretch if pulled tightly. Skip the plastic yarn for some real yarn or twine for this step!
How to use DIY pom poms…
Ummmm, I think the question is where would you not want these adorable up-cycled pom poms! I can imagine these hanging from gifts, as part of a mobile, or a dream catcher, or hanging from window frames. No matter what you make these pom poms from they’re pretty and playful and a NO cost craft!
Send me pics of how you decide to use your finished DIY poms poms- I’d love to see them!