Creating Beautiful Things in Life: How to make Pom-Poms and Braids for Your Hats

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

How to make Pom-Poms and Braids for Your Hats

Part 1 - Pom-Poms

Pom-Poms and braids are a popular way to add flair to any hat. My grand kids love pom-poms and I made quite a few of them in the last few months. If you don't make a lot of them it wouldn't pay for you to invest in a pom-pom maker. I have to say, I am in love with mine. Making a good size pom with cardboard circles is a little time consuming. It takes me about 15 to 20 minutes to get a nice and fluffy one the old fashioned way.  With my "toy" it only takes about 2 minutes.

Assuming you don't have the luxury of a pom-pom maker, I am going to show you how to make a pom, using a cardboard template. Any stiff cardboard, such as a shoe box will suffice. Using a compass, glass or any round object the size you would like your pom-pom to be, trace 2 circles onto the cardboard. With a another smaller round, object draw a bulls-eye in the center of each circle. Cut the circles out and remove the bulls-eyes. What you are left with, are 2 identical cardboard doughnuts. 

Used a can of tuna for outer circle, bulls eye should measure about 1 inch.

As you can see, mine aren't what you would call professional but they will do the job. The goal is to wrap the doughnut with yarn, until the hole in the center fills up with yarn. For this template I used the lid of a tube of Vaseline. It measures 11/2 inches in diameter. This was actually a little to big. For this size pom, a center opening of 1 inch would have been better. I like to completely wrap my pom about 5 times. Making Poms for over 40 years, I developed a feel for it. Once my circle fills up and my disc feels nice and puffy, I know it's right. If you think you have enough yarn wrapped around the doughnut but your center isn't full, not all is lost. In this case all you need to do is to take a needle with some yarn and run it around the inside of the circle several times,pulling tight and catching all of the loops. This keeps your loops from falling through the hole when you cut your pom open. If the center if full, this step will not be necessary. The more yarn, the fluffier the pom-pom will be. Holding both pieces of cardboard together, thread the needle through the center of your doughnut. Knot the end to keep it secure. Now comes the fun part, wrapping and wrapping around the circle. When you run out of thread, join the new thread with a knot. It can be cut off later, when you trim your pom. Once your cardboard circle is full, cut the thread. 

Now it's time to cut the loops. To separate the strands, cut the yarn around the top edge of the template, all the way around. Do not cut the cardboard.

Now cut a piece of yarn about 18 inches and slide it between the center of the 2 discs. This is how you tie off your pom so you don't end up with a pile of loose strings. Wrap the yarn around the center at least 4 or 5 times. Pulling as tight as you can. Knot it several times but don't cut you string. I use it to sew my pom to the hat. Now cut the cardboard circle to remove the finished pom. You might be able to carefully pull the circles apart and save your template. Trim the pom even if you have some larger strands and carefully cut out any knots.

These colors work for both a boy and a girl. I decided to use it for a girl and accessorize it accordingly. I think a pretty crochet bow would look very nice. Bows are very easy and can be done many ways. Next up tutorial on how to crochet a bow for your hat.

Pom-Pom maker I purchased at JoAnnes. Came in a set of 2 sizes for $19.99 with 50% off coupon only about $10.00. This is the large set. Purchased the small set at Hobby Lobby for $8.00 regular price. Easy to use and a great time saver if you make a lot of Poms.

Part 2 - How to Crochet a Bow

There are a lot of different ways to make bows. The one I am going to show you today is a simple bow made out of two crochet rectangles. The larger rectangle for the actual bow and the smaller one for the center loop. To make this type of bow, I prefer to use thicker worsted weight or bulky yarn. I also use a hook one or 2 sizes smaller than recommended for the yarn I am using. It makes the material stiffer, holds it's shape better and is less likely to curl. For the bow I made for this hat I used Sensations Rainbow Classic. It's a  bulky yarn, but very soft. I used a J crochet hook. For the finer worsted weights I usually double and work with 2 strands.

For this bow I started with a chain of 15. Worked in all single crochets. The dimensions are 14 stitches across for 11 rows. My rectangle measures about 5 inches wide by 3 inches high.

Start with chain of 15, sc in 2nd chain from hook, sc in each stitch across.
Chain 1 and turn.  11 rows.

Fold your rectangle in half lenghtwise and finder the center.Fold each long edge in meeting at the center fold. Pinch the middle and secure with a few stitches to hold the bow together.

Fold in half lenghtwise. Fold long ends to center fold 

For the smaller rectangle I started with chain 5, sc in the second chain from hook, sc in each stitch across, for 4 stitches by about 9 rows. Sorry, forgot to count my rows. I measure my work around the folded bow until it fits all the way around. Then I slip stitch the center band together in the middle of the back of the bow.  Weave in ends, leaving on long tail to attach the bow to the hat. 

This simple bow adds a little flair to the hat. Next up making and attaching braids.

                             Part 3 - Adding Braids  

Braids are a popular addition to any hat and are easy to do. Braids for my hats are made, using 36 strands of yarn. This way each section of my braid has 12 strands. It makes them nice and full, without being too bulky. The lenghts vary, depending on the age of the child. To reduce the risk of strangulation my infant and toddler  braids only measure about about 8 or 9 inches. Teen and adult sizes I make as long as 20 inches. 

Cut 36 strands of yarn to the desired lenght. Carefully pull the strands through the bottom of your ear flap. You can do this using a crochet hook and may need to repeat the process several times. I split mine into groups of 2 and attach them into 2 stitches of my hat.

I use several knobs and drawers in my house as a template to cut my strands of yarn. This distance measures about 42 inches and makes my longest braids. Since I usually use more than one color, I knot the ends of the yarn, secure it to the knob and wrap away. Cut open the loop at the end with the knots, being careful not to get the yarn tangled.

Once all of the strands are attached to your hat, make sure all of them are fairly even. Separate the strands into 3 equal groups and braid. I leave at least  8 inches. This makes it easier to knot the end of  and leave enough lenght for the fringe. 

My fridge doubles as an anchor for my hat. It holds it in place securely while I braid. Repeat the process for the other side, making sure your braids are even. Trim the ends and take a minute to enjoy your hard work. 


  1. I'm curious how you tie off the braids at the end. Do you just wrap the strands around and tie, or do you grab them all and pull through a la fastening off a row?

  2. wow these all pictures defines the clarity and hard work of are such an original and artistic person..I'm really impressed by your work.keep it up and thanks for sharing

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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