It is really good to make your own decorations for the home for special celebratory seasons and for occasions like birthday parties. It can save a lot of money if you make things yourself and you get to choose the exact colors, materials and designs that you want to use which makes it all the more satisfying.
We have homemade garlands, bunting, banners and other decorative hangings up in the house all year. It makes the decor in rooms look a lot more cheerful.
When it was my young daughter’s birthday, we went mad with pom poms and used up a load of spare yarn stash in the process of making them. We made enough to hang up as wall decorations for her party. We loved them so much that they stayed there long after the celebration too. See how to turn these wonderful, fluffy balls of yarn into a banner or garland that you can hang up and enjoy.
Materials and Tools Needed
- Some ready made pom poms
- A long length of yarn
- A blunt ended darning needle
The Clover maker is the tool I use myself and recommend because it is quick and easy to use. The packet itself does not have the best of instructions which is why I have included a helpful video on using this gadget. It makes the process faster and easier than using the traditional method of wrapping around cardboard.
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See How to Make Pom Poms with the Clover Tool
1: Measuring the Size of the Garland
First you need to decide where the banner or garland will hang when it is complete and then you need to measure it. Measuring in the traditional sense of getting out a tape measure to work out the length of a wall or area will not work. That is because you don’t really want your completed decoration to hang straight across a wall, it should have a nice curve or drop in the middle.
First I decide on a sturdy yarn to thread the pom poms with and then I loosely tie the cut end of the yarn where it will hang. I make sure to leave a good meter length dangling down as spare. Then I drape the yarn over to the other side of where it will hang (making sure there is a nice curve down in the middle) and then add another meter length as spare and cut it. Now I know I have enough yarn to thread through the fluffy pom balls.
2: Threading the Pom Poms
You really need a very good darning needle for this. Darning needles have larger eye sections which is ideal for using with yarn instead of a fine sewing thread. They are typically long needles that have a blunt end or point instead of a sharp one. The blunt end will not snag and pull at fibers, pulling them apart as sharper points do. So these needles are often used for sewing yarn projects up by crafters who knit and crochet. I love my Clover Chibi darning needle set which gets a lot of use.
First test out a darning needle by passing an un-threaded one through the middle of one of the poms. When you do this you should see why you’ll want to pick the longest one that you have. The needle should pass through nicely without too much effort.
Now you’ve tested the needle, thread it with the yarn that you already cut to size. It helps if you have a really long section of room to work in or a long table. I used my kitchen counters for this job. Push the threaded needle right through the middle of your first pom. Then push the pom with your hands down the yarn, near to the end. Position it around a meter's length from the end of the yarn. That’s roughly where your garland will start from.
I like to use Clover Chibi needles to thread pom poms because they have blunt ends which do not snag the yarn. I also use these for a lot of crochet projects where designs need to be sewn up or have threads tidied.
3: Spacing Out Your Garland Design
Keep threading these poms through on the length of yarn. You can bunch them up closely together or place them apart further. You can even bunch two or three up together in a bit of a pattern and then leave a gap in the yarn.
The things you need to remember are that bunching them all up will need a lot more pom poms than spacing them out and it also makes your finished garland much heavier too which will pull it down and make it sag more in the middle, especially if it is a lengthy wall decoration. I found that these decorations are surprisingly heavy from the weight of all the yarn.
4: Example of My Own Handmade Decorations
I prefer to space my pom poms out which you can see in the example above. That’s because I’d have to make too many if they are very close together across the yarn. So roughly space yours out how you want leaving about a meter of the yarn at either end to tie or hang up with. Don’t get too fussy on the spacing while threading as you are likely to adjust it all again once it is hanging up.
5: Hanging the Finished Design Up
We have nails set into the corners of wooden ceiling rails that we use for hanging pennant banners, bunting and garlands up. You can use thumb tacks, push pins or something like command hooks which stick to the wall. You need something to tie this decoration to and they are heavier than you might imagine once complete.
When you move your finished decoration to hang it up, just be aware that it can tangle quite easily if you’re not careful with it. I once managed to tangle one and I ended up having to cut all the yarn and start over again. The best way is to have one person hold an end, another person hold the other and not get it tangled in the middle. You also may need to climb up a step-ladder to hang it as well which adds on another complication.
Tie up one end. Then move to the other end of where it’s going to step back and decide whether it is either too high up on the wall or too low. So now the fun begins with adjusting where you tie and spacing the poms out again until you’re fully satisfied.
These Garlands Make Fun Party and Occasion Decor
The finished designs can look really great for party decor. The kids loved them displayed at my daughter’s birthday. You can experiment with hanging these across a wall, fireplace, door or even draped along the edge of a party table to make that more of a centerpiece. I love that when you're done, you can re-use these decorations if you store them well. Or use them to cheer up a child's bedroom or playroom instead.
Image Credit: all images on this page belong to the author of this article, Marie Williams Johnstone