There are quite a few different methods (and tools) that you can use to make your pom poms.
You can use a plastic loom (several different types are usually available for purchase at most good craft stores) or you can make your own using cardboard.
Pom Pom Looms
I have a set of these looms at home and have used them many times.
You can make pom poms in three different sizes and they are reasonably easy to use - providing you follow the instructions carefully and actually have the centre yarn that is used to tie off the pom pom in the right place!
There is nothing more frustrating than tying off your pom pom and then cutting the yarn to have your pom pom disintegrate into hundreds of short pieces of yarn.
How to Make Pom Poms with a Purchased Loom:
There are 2 slits at either end of your loom. These slits will hold the tail of your pom pom and the centre yarn in place while you are winding the yarn around the loom to form your pom pom.
Lodge the tail of your yarn into the slot at the short end of the loom, feed it behind and bring it to the front under the arch and fit it into to slit at the other end of the loom. Take the yarn across the back of the loom to the centre and begin wrapping it around the loom, making sure that your trailing yarn is caught inside the rounds of yarn on the loom.
When you have the desired thickness cut the trailing yarn at the long end and tie the two tails tightly together. Using a pair of sharp scissors, cut the yarn at the top of the loom to release your pom pom.
Give it a good flick and then trim the pom pom to suit.
Start by threading the tail across the base of the loom
Wind the yarn around the loom catching the tail yarn between the yarn and the bottom of the loom
Cut the tail at the long edge ad tie the two ends together securely
Insert the tip of a sharp pair of scissors into the grove and cut the yarn
The Finished Pom Pom
These looms produce a fairly loose (i.e., not densely packed) pom pom. All three sizes look similar as the ratio of the throat to the loom to the outer edge is similar.
The looms are easy to use and relatively fast. Providing you keep an eye on them, the kids should cope with making pom poms using these looms quite well with minimal (age appropriate) supervision.
However if you want a firm pom pom, I would recommend that you use another method to make your pom poms. The doughnut template is how I make pom poms.
How to Make a Pom Poms Using Cardboard Looms
If you don't have a set of looms or a pom pom maker handy you can make your own using any heavy cardboard you have lying around (check your recycling bin). It is cheap, effective and you can make your loom any size you want!
How to Make Pom Poms with a Cardboard Rectangle
All you need to make these pom poms is some heavy cardboard cut into a rectangular shape with a slot in the side. The height of your rectangle will determine the size of your pom pom. So if you want a 3 inch pom pom, make the height of your rectangle 3 inches.
Basically all you need to do is to have a short length of yarn in the slot. It will be used to tie off the middle of your pom pom - so it is very important that you sit in on your template before you start winding the yarn around it.
Once you have the required thickness of yarn around the template, you pull the ends of the short length of yarn to the other side of the template (one on top, one below) and tie them together securely around the middle of the bundle of yarn.
Then you cut the yarn at the top and bottom of your rectangle template to release the pom pom.
Cut a short length of yarn and wind around the slot cut into your template
Wind the yarn around the loom keeping the short length of yarn clear
Use the short length of yarn to secure the middle of your pom pom
Cut the yarn at the top and bottom on your template and trim to desired shape
The Finished Pom Pom
You can vary the density and size of these pom poms by changing the height of your template and or increasing/decreasing the number of times you wrap the yarn around your template. Which is rather handy if you are making a number of different pom poms for a craft project.
The kids might need some help making their own templates and tying off the pom pom at the end (scissor safety and all that) but most will be able to manage forming the pom pom with the template.
How to Make Pom Poms with a Cardboard Doughnut
For this method you need 2 pieces of medium or light weight cardboard.
You need to draw 2 circles (one inside the other). I use a cup as a template for the outer circle and an egg cup for the inner circle, but you can use anything you like to form the two circles.
Cut them out so that you have 2 doughnut shapes the same size. To make your pom pom, wind the yarn around around the doughnut (both of them back to back) until you have the thickness you desire.
Slip the tip of your scissors between the two doughnuts and snip through the yarn all the way around being careful to make sure the cut pieces of yarn stay in your loom.
Wind a long piece of yarn between the two doughnuts overlapping a couple of times and then tie off securely.
Carefully ease the pom pom out of your loom. (You can cut the cardboard to release your pom pom if you are having difficulty easing it out of the loom.)
Trim the ends to tidy up the shape of your pom pom and you are done.
Start by threading the yarn evenly around the doughnut
Carefully cut around the edge of the pom pom by inserting the tip of your scissors in between the two pieces of cardboard
Gently separate the two pieces of cardboard and use a short piece of yarn to tie the middle of your pom pom securely.
Ease the two pieces of cardboard off your pom pom gently one at a time. Trim to the correct shape
The Finished Pom Pom
This is the way I was taught to make pom poms when I was a kid myself and it is still my preferred method. It takes longer than some of the other methods as you need to thread small balls of yarn in and out of the template rather than around and around like the other methods on this page.
But I think the end result is well worth it. The pom pom is denser (fuller) and the lengths are more even so it requires less trimming than with the other methods. But perhaps not as easy as some of the other methods for littlies that are still developing their fine motor skills. Not impossible - but not as easy either!
How to Make Pom Poms without using a Loom - No Loom Pom Poms
You can make pom poms without using a loom or a template at all. You just use your fingers instead! Basically you lay a short length of yarn between two adjacent fingers which will be used to tie off your pom pom and then you wrap yarn around two or more fingers to form the body of your pom pom.
Once you have the desired thickness you use the short piece of yarn to secure the middle of your pom pom. Then you carefully cut the sides to release and form the pom pom.
Click here for more information on Making Pom Poms without a Loom
Now that you know how to make pom poms, take a look at my Crafts for Kids page to find ideas on how to use them in the craft work you do with your kids!