There are lots of embellishment ideas out there, but for our money, it just doesn’t get much more fun and versatile than pom poms and tassels. If you’re a regular Sew4Home follower, you know we’re fans of both, and have already done our own step-by-step tutorials on making each. But we’re always up for learning new ways, and so were quite captivated with this all-in-one kit from Boye that makes poms and tassels in a huge variety of sizes. Our super creative friend, Michele Muska sent us the kit to try along with a bunch of samples she’s made using the tools. It’s an embellishment explosion!
First off, we were very impressed that the kit came in its own cool plastic case. If you’re like us, your sewing space can get overwhelming in short order. It’s always nice to have a special box to corral everything so the one size you really want to use is right at hand… rather than hiding in a random drawer somewhere.
There are 10 sizes of forms for the poms, from the giant 6" down to the teeny tiny ¾". The last two itty bitty sizes are full circle forms rather than half circles, but the process is really the same. You can use all sizes and types of yarns, although Michele did recommend mixing in a bit of polyester if you choose a 100% wool yarn as it tends to not be a strong and could break with the pulling as you wrap. Blending in the polyester helps prevent that.
There are 11 sizes for the tassels, from 6¼" to 1¼", designed to use standard embroidery floss.
How adorable are these hats from Michele? The poms really add a finishing touch, and we love the look of the pom pair at the ends of the knit scarf!
Let’s try a pom
Pull out your yarn, and keeping a nice long tail (12” - 18” is what we worked with), snap the yarn into position in the left notch at the top of the form.
Bring the yarn across the front and snap it into the right notch.
Begin wrapping across the arc of the form. Yes, you’re wrapping right over that starting horizontal length (surprise on that coming later).
Keep wrapping until the bottom “arch” is filled in and level. You can almost feel the yarn start to “fall off” – a good signal you have enough. But really, the number of wraps is totally up to you and the thickness of the yarn with which you’re working. Want a looser pom? Wrap less. Want a super chubby pom? Wrap a lot.
Cut the tail of the wrapping yarn, releasing it from the main skein or ball of yarn.
Snip through the yarn at the right notch.
Grab the top snipped piece and pull. As you pull, you’ll notice the original tail is moving. Yep, it’s the same piece of yarn (surprise!), and it will become the length of yarn you’ll use cinch to secure the center of the pom.
Tie just one simple knot. And here’s a Mighty Michele Tip: Don’t tie off the knot completely yet with a double knot. The wrap of the yarn is so thick and the plastic is so rigid, you aren’t going to get as tight a center cinch as you really need until the pom is off the form. And, having a tight center is really key to a good pom.
Holding the form at the base, which also helps you keep that single knot secure, slice along the center guide with super sharp scissors.
Slip the pom off the from, holding on to those center tails.
NOW really pull those ends tight to get a good center cinch. Double knot to secure.
Fluff up the pom into its basic round shape, then use the scissors to give it a hair cut in order to get it as dense and/or fluffy as you’d like. There’s also a trend right now for totally untrimmed poms with a natural kind of swirly, tangly look.
Michele suggests that if you use a twisted yarn, such as a 3ply polyester, to roll the strands between your fingers, untwisting them to boost the fluffiness.
Another Mighty Michele Tip: use a tiny zip tie as your center ring for a super, duper tight cinch.
Let’s try a tassel
The traditional way to make a tassel is with a simple cardboard rectangle cut to the size you want your finished tassel to be. This Boye tool takes that concept and makes it faster and more flexible so you can use just one tool for lots of different sizes.
The tool has 10 tabs. Flip back however many tabs you need to create the length you want from 6¼" to 1¼". We used 2¼".
Cut a long length of floss that will act as your main tie. Center the length across the very top of the tool, securing it in the little slits at each side. The longer the length, the more you’ll have to work with at the end as a “hanger.” Remember, you can always trim it shorter, but you can’t make it longer, so start with plenty.
Find your main skein of floss. Place the free end just a bit above the top of the tool.
Holding that end in place; wrap, wrap, wrap vertically to the thickness you want. Just like the poms, for a thin tassel use fewer wraps; for a thicker tassel, wrap a lot. You'll need to move the "hanger" tails out of the way every once in a while if it is especially long.
Snip the end free from the skein.
Unlock that original top horizontal length of floss from the side slits, and tie the tails together to the secure the top of the tassel.
Cut another single length of floss – about a foot is good.
Feed this length through the upper horizontal opening, wrapping it around the tassel, and tie tightly. This creates the “neck” of the tassel. Trim these tails close to the overall length of your tassel.
NOTE: For a thicker look around the neck, start with a longer length of "tying floss" and wrap around multiple ties before knotting. We wrapped ours three times.
Slip the tassel off the tool.
Trim the ends to your desired length.
The top hanger tails can be adjusted as needed based on how your tassel will be secured onto your project.
Watch the video
As an additional live demonstration, we invite you to take a look at the video below, which features Michele showing how to use each tool as well as sharing some super cute project ideas. We especially loved her idea for making a pom out of tulle then attaching it to a tall paper straw as an instant fairy wand and/or a pretty table decoration for a bridal shower. The video runs just over 11 minutes, but it’s full of lots of great information.