How to use those plastic pom pom makers (lots of helpful pics)

I bought a set of knitting looms online and they came with four free pom pom makers. I’d made pom poms as a kid with two circles of card, or plastic cut from ice cream containers, so I had the basic concept of pom pom making down, but initially I was baffled by the plastic pom pom makers because these were the instructions that I received with them:

The instructions that I received with the pom pom makers were vague and unclear so I decided to make a pom pom tutorial

I was able to figure out how to use the pom pom maker from the instructions enclosed but I had a whoopsie or two along the way, so I decided I’d make life easier for other people by creating a step-by-step tutorial here on my blog.

The 9 steps to make a pretty pom pom

To make a pom pom using your plastic pom pom device, you need to follow these nine steps:

  1. Open one side of the pom pom maker. (One side = two curved arms)
  2. Wrap with yarn, allowing your ends to be longer than the outside of the curve. It’s okay if they are quite long; they’ll get trimmed to size in the last step.
  3. To make a super squishy and dense pom pom; wrap the curve with yarn until there is no more room inside the curve to squeeze in more yarn. To make a more hairy-looking pom pom, use less yarn, but be sure to wrap your yarn all along the length of the curved arms.
  4. Close the pom pom maker. Don’t worry if it doesn’t close super tightly, just hold on to it. The smaller pom pom machines don’t close as tightly as the larger ones.
  5. Start cutting the yarn along the outside of the pom pom maker. Cut a few threads at a time until you have cut all the way down to the plastic. Keep your scissors in line with the centre of the pom pom maker.
  6. Wrap a piece of yarn tightly around the centre of the pom pom (between the two halves of the pom pom maker) and tie a double knot. Repeat 3 times to secure all the strands of yarn in the centre of the pom pom.
  7. Swing the curved arms open on both sides.
  8. Gripping in each hand one of the plastic circles at the centre of each half, pull the pom pom machine apart to release the pom pom.
  9. Use a sharp pair of scissors to trim the yarn and shape the pom pom into an adorable fluffy ball.

Detailed instructions for pom pom making

Below is each picture from the picture tutorial above, with more detailed instructions and a couple of extra pictures for each step of the pop pom making process:

Step 1: Open the pom pom maker

Hold the pom pom maker in one hand and use your other hand to swing open two of the arms on the same side of pom pom maker.

Hold the pom pom maker in one hand and use your other hand to swing open two of the arms on the same side of pom pom maker
Your plastic pom pom maker has two sets of arms that swing out from the body of the machine like lever
Your plastic pom pom maker has two sets of arms that swing out from the body of the machine like levers. We’ll be wrapping these sets of arms individually to create the two sides of the pom pom.

Step 2: Wrap your yarn around the opened arms

I used three different colors of yarn to make the pom pom in the pictures, and I wrapped my pom pom maker with all three at the same time.

To start wrapping, hold the end of your yarn against the pom pom maker arms with the thumb of one hand and use your other hand to wrap the yarn around the arms. Once you have wrapped the yarn over your starting end, you can hold the pom pom maker by the body while you wrap.

Press your yarn against the curve of the pom pom arms with one hand and start wrapping the arms with yarn with the other hand

Step 3: Fill the pom pom maker with yarn

The smaller the pom pom maker is, the more you need to overfill the machine to make a dense pom pom. Keep wrapping your yarn around the pom pom maker arms until you have filled the center of the curve on the big pom pom makers, and overfilled it on the smaller pom pom makers. When you close the machine, the wrapped yarn should sit snugly between the plastic circles at the center of the pom pom maker.

Wrap your yarn around the pom pom machine arms until there is no more room inside the curve for more yarn

Step 4: Close the pom pom machine

Swing the arms in towards the center of the device to close the machine and cut the end of your yarn so that it is longer than the outside curve of the pom pom maker. It’s okay if these ends are kinda long, you’ll trim everything into shape in Step 9.

Repeat the first 4 steps on the other side of the pom pom maker.

The small pom pom makers will try to pop open. This is because they are overfull in the center. Keep a good hold on the pom pom maker during the next few steps to prevent your pom pom from falling apart.

Close the pom pom machine by swinging the arms towards the center

Step 5: Cut your wrapped yarn

Using a pair of small, sharp scissors, cut in a straight line between the arms of the pom pom maker. Cut just a few strands of yarn at a time by sliding the point of your scissors under the top layer of wrapped yarn. Cut all the way down to the plastic below. There should be no more yarn crossing the valley between the arms.

Use a sharp pair of craft scissors to cut through the yarn wrapped around the pom pom maker
It's easier to cut just a few strands of your pom pom at a time than trying to cut through a big wad of threads.
It’s easier to cut just a few strands of your pom pom at a time than trying to cut through a big wad of threads.

Step 6: Tie your pom pom up tight

Wrap a piece of yarn around the center of the pom pom machine. the yarn must go into the valley between the pom pom maker arms. Tie off tightly and then repeat 2-3 times to make a nice strong pom pom core.

Cut the ends of your yarn.

Tie a piece of yarn around the center of the pom pom and make a strong knot
When tying up the center of the pom pom, make sure that your yarn is running between the two halves of the machine. The idea is to tie the bunch of yarn around the middle, almost like tying a ribbon around a bunch of cut flowers or herbs.
When tying up the center of the pom pom, make sure that your yarn is running between the two halves of the machine. The idea is to tie the bunch of yarn around the middle, almost like tying a ribbon around a bunch of cut flowers or herbs.

Step 7: Open the pom pom maker’s arms

Hold the pom pom maker in one hand by pinching the plastic circles between your thumb and first finger. With the other hand, open the pom pom maker’s lever arms on both sides.

While holding the center of the pom pom machine in one hand, swing open the arms of the device with your other hand

Step 8: Pull the pom pom maker apart

At the center of the pom pom maker you have two plastic circles. Grip one plastic circle in each hand and pull the machine apart. Your pom pom will remain on the half of the machine that has a pin sticking through the pom pom’s core.

Pull the pom pom machine apart to release the yarn pom pom
This pictures shows the pom pom maker's two halves. One half has a pin that slots into a tube on the other half to hold the machine together at the center.
This pictures shows the pom pom maker’s two halves. One half has a pin that slots into a tube on the other half to hold the machine together at the center.

Step 9: Trim the pom pom into a cute and fluffy ball

Once your pom pom has been released from the pom pom maker, you can move on to the last step, which is to use a sharp pair of scissors to trim the ends of the yarn to create a round, fluffy ball.

I like to brush the yarn with a fork, just a regular fork that you use for eating, because I feel comfortable with holding the fork as opposed to a hair comb. However, a hair comb might be a better option for you if that’s what sits better in your hand. This part of the pom pom making process is the longest, so choose the tools that are the most comfortable for you; including a larger pair of scissors than those shown below.

I trim my pom poms over a bowl or a dustbin because this step generates quite a bit of mess.

Trim your pom pom with a sharp pair of scissors to make a fluffy round ball
I use an eating fork to brush my pom poms during the trimming process. I slide the fork into the pom pom and lift it outward to align the yarn fibers and separate the strands of yarn. This creates a fluffier and squishier pom pom overall.
I use an eating fork to brush my pom poms during the trimming process. I slide the fork into the pom pom and lift it outward to align the yarn fibers and separate the strands of yarn. This creates a fluffier and squishier pom pom overall.

Enjoy your pom poms!

I made this green and blue pom pom to decorate my backpack and I think it is hella cute:

I hope you enjoy your pom pom creations as much as I do!

I added a little loop of crochet chains and some wooden beads to complete my pom pom decoration
I added a little loop of crochet chains and some wooden beads to complete my pom pom decoration
I used a safety pin to attach my pom pom decoration to my backpack so that I can easily remove it when I want to wash my back pack.
I used a safety pin to attach my pom pom decoration to my backpack so that I can easily remove it when I want to wash my back pack.