Pom-Pom Animals How-To
Before you begin, study the physical characteristics and postures of the animals you plan to make, taking inspiration from nature magazines, encyclopedias, children's books, or even a trip to the zoo. Since the pom-pom parts are simply joined with a needle and thread, it's easy to experiment until you get the right look.
What You'll Need
- Pom-pom maker (a simple tool consisting of four small horseshoe-shaped templates with interlocking feet.)
For the Caterpillar
- Green yarn and thread
- Black silk cord (for antennae)
For the Ladybug
- Red felted merino wool yarn
- Red thread
- Black wool yarn (for polka dots)
- Black silk beading (for antennae)
For the Chick
- Yellow mohair yarn
- Yellow thread
- Orange felt (for beak)
- Black thread or embroidery floss (for eyes)
- Clean broken egg shell
- Penny or pebble (for stability)
Step 1: Basic Pom-Pom
Place two templates back-to-back, and wrap yarn densely around the center arch, where the templates meet. Repeat with a second pair of templates.
Step 2: Basic Pom-Pom
Join the two halves together by interlocking the templates' feet, and snip the wool along the arch of each template. To connect the pom-pom halves together, slide a length of embroidery floss or a strand of yarn between the arches (bumps on facing sides of the pom-pom maker facilitate this process); wrap the thread around both poms, and tie tightly.
Step 3: Basic Pom-Pom
Pull the templates free. Gently squeeze the pom-pom with your hands to shape and compact the yarn. If desired, trim with cuticle scissors; in general, a closer shave yields denser, softer pom-poms.
Step 4: Pom-Pom Caterpillar
Make six pom-poms.
Step 5: Pom-Pom Caterpillar
Join pom-poms together in a row by passing a needle with thread through their centers; knot thread at both ends.
Step 6: Pom-Pom Caterpillar
To make the antennae, tie a knot in one end of the silk cord, and draw it through the head with a needle. Leave the knotted end at desired antennae length, and tie a knot at the same point on the other end; trim excess. A touch of white glue on the knots will keep the cord from fraying. If you'd like, give your caterpillar eyes by making several stitches with doubled-threaded black yarn.
Step 7: Pom-Pom Ladybug
Make a small black pom-pom for the head and a larger red pom-pom for the body.
Step 8: Pom-Pom Ladybug
Join the head to the body by passing a needle with thread through the pom-poms; knot at both ends.
Step 9: Pom-Pom Ladybug
To add polka dots, draw a needle with double-threaded black wool yarn all the way through the red ball; trim both ends flush to the body (this will create two polka dots; repeat as desired). Sew in the little stripe on her back using the same method. To make her antennae, tie a knot in one end of the silk cord, and draw it through the head. Leave the knotted end at desired antennae length, and tie a knot at the same point on the other end; trim excess. A touch of white glue on the knots will keep the cord from fraying.
Step 10: Pom-Pom Chick
These fuzzy newborn chicks are actually puffs of untrimmed yellow mohair, which we've cradled in broken eggshells to add a realistic effect. Each chick is made of two pom-poms, weighing a total of about twelve grams. To make one you'll also need a needle, yellow thread, a small piece of orange felt for the beak, and black thread or embroidery floss to make the tiny eyes.
Step 11: Pom-Pom Chick
Make a small pom-pom for the head and a larger one for the body. When you're done, fluff the wool, but don't trim it; for a just-hatched appearance, shaggier is better.
Step 12: Pom-Pom Chick
Join the pom-poms together by passing a needle with thread through their centers; knot the thread at both ends. To make the eyes, thread a needle with black thread or embroidery floss, knot the end and pull through the small pom-pom; trim thread. Repeat for second eye. For the beak, use white craft glue to affix two tiny triangles of orange felt.
Step 13: Pom-Pom Chick
Nestle the chick in a clean broken eggshell, placing a penny or a pebble beneath the chick to make the display stable.