Tutorial: Handmade Paper Pom Poms

Lauren+Freddie_wedding-day_print-111.jpg

So a few months ago month I got married.

It was hilarious, amazing fun and the best day of my life.  

Knowing that I’m a crafty kind of person, a lot of people have asked me whether I made anything myself (disclaimer, I definitely didn’t make my wedding dress!) I wanted to bring some of what I love into our wedding by making a few personal and thoughtful bits and pieces and when we first started planning, about a year ago, I envisioned a whole DIY and handmade extravaganza, with handmade bridesmaid dresses, handmade floral creations and DIY décor strewn all over the room.

It turned out, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Even though my husband and I aren’t the fussiest of people, and I was certainly no Bridezilla (or at least I hope I wasn’t!) planning a wedding for over 100 guests takes a lot of doing, and as a result, my list of handmade items ended up dwindling.

However, one thing that managed to stay on my to-do list was my paper pom poms.

The venue we chose had a lovely conservatory, looking out onto the grounds of the hotel. It’s really pretty, especially if it’s sunny outside, but I wanted to add some hanging decorations to jazz it all up and add some colour. So I decided that some sort of paper floral garlands would look great.

You can obviously buy hanging paper flowers from loads of places online, or in Hobbycraft; I’m in no way claiming that this is an earth-shattering idea revolutionising the wedding decoration world, but they are blooming expensive! £7 for 3 pom poms made from tissue paper? Nah mate. I don’t know about you, but the fact that I can make things means I am really reluctant to spend good money on something that I know I could do myself, that’s why I decided to have a go.

IMG_3363.JPG
Lovely photo of my family where you can kind of see how we decorated the conservatory with my handmade flowers. Photos by Philip Dignum

Lovely photo of my family where you can kind of see how we decorated the conservatory with my handmade flowers. Photos by Philip Dignum

There are a few tutorials online that gave me a good result, and after a few tweaks, I came up with something I really love and they ended up looking great on the day. I even managed to get my Dad involved, who actually made pom poms better than me. 

IMG_3418.JPG
This is where we ended up keeping them until the wedding. What a fancy garage.

This is where we ended up keeping them until the wedding. What a fancy garage.

If you want to give it a  go yourself then I’ve got a really quick tutorial below that you can try out.

You will need:

IMG_3322.JPG

Tissue paper – Go online and get some tissue paper in any colour, or you can head to any supermarket and get a pack of about 10 sheets for 99p. The more tissue, the fuller your pom pom will look. To start with, I’d recommend using 10 sheets and see what you think.

Scissors – Any sharp ones will do

Ribbon, string or twine – This will be used to hang your pom pom up. Here I’ve used regular brown string that you can buy virtually anywhere, but for my wedding I also used jewellery-making cord, which I picked up for about £2 for 6 metres.

Ruler or tape measure 

Step 1

IMG_3345.JPG

Lay your tissue paper one sheet on top of the other. Basically, get it out of the packet and unfold it so it’s in one big rectangle. If you want a smaller pom pom then cut the wad of tissue in half to form a smaller rectangle. (That's what I've done in this tutorial, as I wanted a slightly smaller size.)

Step 2

IMG_3324.JPG
IMG_3330.JPG
IMG_3333.JPG

Start concertina folding your wad of tissue paper. Remember when you used to make little paper fans as a kid? – that’s what I mean. Starting at one of the shorter ends, fold the paper over about an inch, then flip it to the back and fold over again. The rule of thumb is, the smaller the folds, the fuller your pom pom will appear and the smaller the petals will be.

Step 3

IMG_3335.JPG

Once you have a thin folded concertina of tissue paper you need to find the centre point. You can do this by folding it in half, or measuring. Make a mark at the centre.

Step 4

IMG_3338.JPG

Tie your string or ribbon around the centre of the concertinaed strip of tissue paper. How long you make the tail end of the string is up to you- it depends on where you plan to hang it, after all, you don’t want it bumping your head as you walk past. You can trim the other end of the string, so you only have one long end.

Step 5

IMG_3339.JPG

Cut each of the end’s of the concertina strip so they are slightly curved and look a bit like petals. It can be hard to cut through all the layers of paper at once, so you can just trim half the sheets and use that as a guide to trim the rest.

Step 6

IMG_3340.JPG
IMG_3341.JPG
IMG_3358.JPG

This is the only mildly difficult part. You need to carefully peel back each layer of tissue paper each side, and each end. It can be quite fiddly, but don’t worry if you accidentally rip the tissue paper as you’re opening out the petals – you’ll never notice when they’re all puffed out. You’ll hopefully see that it starts looking more pom pom-like at this point.

Step 7

IMG_3360.JPG

Once you’ve peeled back all the layers, just hold the pom pom by the string and look at it from a few different angles, you might see areas that look fuller than others, or areas that look flat. Just adjust it and move the layers so it looks round and lovely.

That’s pretty much it! Simply hang it up and admire your handiwork

Mix it up:

  • I arranged my paper poms as a group and used some bigger ones mixed with smaller ones, all at different heights to make everything look a little less formal,
  • Try an ombre look by using sheets of different coloured tissue paper in step one. I mixed white and light pink, and white and silver which looked great.
  • If you cut the concertina strip (step 3) in a slightly unique way, you get a very different effect. You could make them into points for a slightly spikier flower, or fray the edges.
  • Add glitter spray!

By the way, weddings aren’t the only place these look great. They look really cute at any party, or in kids bedrooms and I’ve got some hacks you can use to transform them for other uses too at the bottom of this post…

I used a mix of lots of different colours and I think it looked pretty effective. Photos by Philip Dignum

I used a mix of lots of different colours and I think it looked pretty effective. Photos by Philip Dignum

Let me know if you have any questions! Here’s some more handmade wedding shizz from the big day!

As the wedding fell over Easter, I painted little egg cups and gave everyone a personalised Easter egg as a place setting and favour

As the wedding fell over Easter, I painted little egg cups and gave everyone a personalised Easter egg as a place setting and favour

To save a little cash I also decorated the room with jars of flowers instead of getting my florist to make arrangements for us. 

To save a little cash I also decorated the room with jars of flowers instead of getting my florist to make arrangements for us. 

Lauren+Freddie_wedding-day_print-106.jpg
Lauren+Freddie_wedding-day_print-116.jpg

All the photos not included in the tutorial  were taken by our lovely wedding Photographer, Philip Dignum.