How To · Tutorial

Tutorial ¬∑ Pom-pom Canvas

We’re already into day three of #10daysofpoms, and today is possibly my favourite photo prompt of all: Art!

I think my love of making stems from my obsession with art, something I’ve had since I was little. My Mum still has the first drawing I ever did proudly positioned in her the living room back in England (a small, weird stick-man-bird thingy), and I started collecting art books and encyclopedias from an early age, from bright and sweet books about Kawaii artists to the more morbid end of fine art: a large tome showing the collected works of Otto Dix. I pinched that one from my secondary school, but in my defense it was stuck down the back of a radiator, long-forgotten and covered in dust and splashes of paint. Naughty. I promise that was the only ‘tea-leafing’ I’ve ever done, although I think I may have swiped a mascara from Superdrug once.

I still have an art book of mine with little notes scrawled in pencil saying things like, “nice dress folds”, “nice sky!” and “could be good for Year 11 project”. It makes me feel good looking at them.

Anyways, I thought that invoving art in some way as part of this photo challenge would be fun, so I thought up a simple way of adding poms to a canvas to create a tactile and versatile piece of wall art. It’s extremely customisable – you can obviously choose any colours and sizes of pom that you like – and it’s a LOT of fun. I love the sound and sensation of the needle piercing through the canvas, but then again I’m into ASMR so that’s not surprising…

You will need:

  • A white canvas of any size;
  • A sharp wool or tapestry needle;
  • Two pairs of scissors (one small, sharp pair and another larger pair for trimming);
  • Several poms in different sizes and colour(s) of your choice.

Method:

You can use any size of canvas you like, and I thorougly recommend Flying Tiger’s range of high quality and CHEAP canvasses.

Take your canvas and lay it out flat. By now you’ve probably decided what colours you like and what style you want, but if not take a moment to plan the sizes and shades of poms you’re looking for. For my art I chose mustards, lilacs and white to give the impression of negative space, but you can do what you like! This is all about experimentation and having fun, yo.

Planning is fun, but not essential! You can choose your colours carefully, or just wing it and see how you feel.

Using your yarn needle, make two holes next to each other where your pom will go. Each hole corresponds to one strand of yarn that comes off the pom after tying and trimming. Tip: Don’t feel that you have to make 20 poms all in one go; the good thing about this project is that you can come back to it and add poms any time if you want.

Insert your trimmed and shaped pom where you made the holes, threading one end through each hole. Tie a double knot firmly at the back, taking care to not tie so tightly as to break the yarn. Thread the yarn back up and through the holes and the centre of the pom to secure further. Trim as needed. You have now one pom on your canvas – nice!

Continue in this way until you are happy with the way your artwork looks. I alternated between pom sizes to create an almost ‘fungussy’ look (in a good way) and to add texture and depth. Obviously, the larger the pom you use the quicker the project is, but I think using teeny-tiny poms all over could also look incredible, as well as colour blocking or even “writing” a letter using a brighter colour over a neutral background of poms. How about just one pom in the center, line of poms? There are so many possibilities!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, want to share your own pom-art creation or simply want to keep up to date with what amazing crafts other makers are creation during this awesome week, make sure to follow the hashtag #10daysofpoms over on my Instagram page!

See you next time for another pommy tutorial!

Article · How To

Let’s Make The Perfect Pom…

As part of #10daysofpoms I’ve been sharing a lot of tutorials and how tos regarding the joyous balls of fun we call “poms”. It’s come to my attention – after abusing the sometimes annoying poll feaure on Instagram (a.k.a how to see who’s actually shady) – that they seem to be something people either LOVE or hate with an absolute passion. This can be hatred because some people see them as tacky, unneccessary, fussy, or simply because they can’t stand making them.

I have to admit that sometimes making pompoms can be a bit taxing. Not taxing in the same way working down a mine, take the C2 English exam or trying to sort out Brexit is, but from a craft point of view it is a bit of a mission. I’ve made 560 over the last week – ballpark figure – so I know.

You have to make sure the pom is tied tightly enough so that it doesn’t come apart (easier said than done when you can’t secure the knot easily with your hands), you need to check that both sides of the pom are even in thickness and let’s not even go down the road of trimming and shaping and all that fluff to hoover up…

So, here are a few tips and tricks and general bits of advice that could help you on your pompom making journey…

Use Pom Pom Makers

Some people make poms using toilet paper tubes, cardboard circles, some folk use forks, but in my experience using a plastic pompom maker is the fastest and most reliable way of whopping out poms in a jiffy. Available in sizes teeny-tiny to mahoosive, they are basically plastic circles with arms that fold out, allowing you to wrap and secure the yarn properly. Clover do some great ones, but you can find a lot of different types online and in good craft stores.

Use the Right Scissors

Blunt scissors are evil, and not just when cutting your hair. Like all good makers know, you need to have different scissors for different things to keep them working properly (don’t use the kitchen scissors you use to snip open bags of frozen peas for cutting that lovely Liberty fabric) and there’s no exception for pom snipping. I use a small, extremely sharp pair of nail scissors – ones with the slightly curved blade – to cut the pom out of the pompom maker, and a large pair of craft scissors to trim and shape.

Take Your Time

If you want a gorgeously fluffy and round pom you need to allow enough time to do it. I’m weird in the sense that I find the repetitive snipping action of shaping very relaxing, and I enjoy seeing the piles of fluff form soft mountains, but for some this is just annoying and takes too long! Like anything, the more time you take to perfect something and the more you practice, the better it will be. Here’s a top tip for you: cut and trim your pom over a rubbish bag – that way you won’t have to get the vacuum out!

Use the Right Materials

Cotton is wonderful, but never use a cotton or cotton blend or plant-based yarn, unless you’re after a loose and floppy pom. Cotton doesn’t hold it’s shape well generally and this is an essential part of making a decent pompom – that rounded, tight and compact sphere. All other materials are great, especially wool and acrylic. If it’s wool/acrylic blend, even better.

Do you have any other pom-making tips? If so, give me a bell!

Article

Tutorial: Colourful pom-poms

Today I’m launching the first day of my #10daysofpoms Instagram photo challenge and I’m so excited! I’m going to tell you the truth: I’m actually writing this tutorial on the 2nd January as I’m terrified of getting in over my head with this – I have so much stuff planned – but it’s better to be prepared, right?

In this photo tutorial I’m going to show you how to make a colourful pom-pom with cheeky patches of colour on a neutral, white base. Of course, you can use any colours you like for your own pom, but I love the combination of neutrals and brights. That’s just my thing! How about black and white mixed together? Dalmatian pom!

You will need:

  • A small amount (less than 20g each) of dk weight yarn in five different colours;
  • A pom-pom maker in any size (I chose M);
  • Sharp scissors (I use small nail scissors to cut the yarn and larger household scissors to trim).

Method:

Fold out one arm of the pom-pom maker and using your first colour, wrap three or four layers of yarn.

Repeat the same thing with two other colours until you have wrapped yarn over the entire arm.

Using the fourth colour, wrap a few layers over this layer until the pom-pom is almost completed.

Finally, using the fifth colour, wrap this yarn over the previous layer two or three times making a thin layer of colour.

Repeat the previous steps on the opposite arm. Cut your pom and tie as usual. Trim until you make a nice rounded sphere. You’re done!


If you want to get involved yourself, head on over to my Instagram feed (@emmaknitty) and download the photo challenge prompts from my highlights panel. Let me know if you’re taking part as I’d love to check out your contributions!