The Details: How to make a pompom

The Details: How to make a pompom

It occurred to me as I was shooting my beret the other day that I’ve never posted about how I make pompoms, although I’ve taught it in my classes. Here’s the tried-and-true method for making pompoms that I’ve been using since childhood, no special tools required:

1.) Wrap yarn around the fingers of one hand (or piece of cardboard, a spatula, anything that’s a bit bigger than you want your finished circumference to be). It takes more yarn than you might think. For a loose, shaggy pompom, use less yarn. For a denser, fuller pom, use more. Experiment!

2.) Carefully slide the bundle off your hand and lay it across a separate strand, then use that strand to tie a knot around the belly of the bundle. Pull it tight, but don’t break the yarn. If you need your pompom to have tails for attaching to something else, leave them long and keep them out of the way as you proceed.

3.) Insert your scissors into the clump of loops on each side of the belly band and cut through them, being careful not to cut the strand holding them together. You now have a limp, shapeless pre-pom.

4.) Start pruning! Trim the ends just like you would a hedge, shaping it into an orb. The more you trim, the denser the pompom will be. (Especially if you use a loosely plied yarn that unplies as you work.) Again, experiment to see what suits you! 

The Details: How to make a pompom (free tutorial)

That’s it! For a hat, run the tails down through the top of the hat, secure on the underside and weave in the ends. (Pictured above is my version of Courtney Kelley’s April Hat, a free pattern.)

If it’s going to be attached to any surface, I like to leave the bottom a bit flat. For any other purpose, you’ll want to make it fully round. Pompoms are a great use of yarn leftovers, and you never know what you might find to use them for!


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6 thoughts on “The Details: How to make a pompom

  1. How come your version looks so much easier than the one with pompom makers? I had no idea it could be so simple. Thanks for sharing this seemingly ‘obvious’ trick I was not aware of.

  2. I have always used a piece of cardboard. That works well. And you can make any size pompom you want.

  3. My mum taught me using two rings cut from a cereal packet, wind the yarn round and round until you can’t get it through the centre hole any more. Cut through the yarm around the outside circumference, ease the two card rings slightly apart and tie tightly around the centre then remove the rings and fluff the pompom.

  4. Exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks. I’d forgotten exactly how to do this.

  5. I always save the trimmings from pompom making, too, to use for stuffing toys, draft excluders, etc. I love using even the leftovers of yarn scraps!

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