As our sitting room makeover is still ongoing, I wanted to hang something festive on at least one of the blank walls. The vibe we're going for in the room is "rustic elegance", and so I was looking for a seasonal decoration that would evoke that. I eventually decided to make a wreath of fluffy pom-poms that resemble snowballs with a pretty cowbell tied with a hessian and lace bow.
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- 35.5cm (14") wire wreath ring
- 800m (about 400g) acrylic Aran yarn
- Large (65mm) pom-pom maker
- Cowbell (mine was sold as a size small and is 9cm wide)
- 1m hessian (burlap/jute) ribbon with lace trim
- needle & thread
- hot glue gun (optional, but they're a great tool to have around the house. And Tiger are selling them for just €7 at the moment)
- sewing machine and/or Fray Check (optional)
All the raw materials (not including tools) cost me €33, and I think the finished wreath looks much more expensive than that!
You certainly can make pom-poms without a pom-pom maker, but I ended up making 35 pom-poms for this wreath and it would have taken me a lot longer to do that using other methods. As it is, I spend two whole evenings in front of the telly making these!
I wanted my pom-poms to be reminiscent of snowballs, so I used the 65mm pom-pom maker by Clover, which was the perfect size. I would have liked to use real wool, but I couldn't justify the price for a seasonal decoration, so I chose a warm white acrylic wool blend instead. I was surprised that about 22-23m of yarn were required to make each pom-pom, so do buy enough in advance. I found an 800m ball, which was just enough.
The pom-pom maker has two pairs of semi-circular forms that open and close around a split core. The two halves are pushed together while forming the pom-pom and then split open (as in the picture below) to release the finished pom-pom.
To make the pom-pom, you start by wrapping the yarn around one pair of semicircular forms until it is full (you do need to retain a slight arch shape in the centre).
When the first side is full of yarn, close that half of the circle. Then do the same on the other side.
Next, with the scissors in the centre channel, cut the yarn around the circumference of the circle.
It is important to tie the centre of the pom-pom tightly to prevent it from falling apart, so I chose to use twine for the next step so that I could pull it tightly without fear of it breaking. Wrap the twine around the core of the pom-pom maker and tie an overhand knot; wrap the twine around to the opposite side of the circle and tie another overhand knot.
Next split open the pom-pom maker to release the pom-pom. At this point, you will be able to pull the knot you just make even tighter. Then tie a double knot to secure it.
The pom-pom may look a little raggedy at first, so use a scissors to trim and shape it. Be careful to leave the loose ends of the twine intact so that you can use those to tie the pom-poms onto the wreath ring later on.
Then repeat that 34 more times!
Assembling the Wreath
The wreath ring I purchased had five sections. I started by tying a pom-pom to each of the supporting cross wires on both the inside and outside ring.
I wrapped the twine around each wire before tying a knot to secure the pom-pom in place and to prevent it from sliding along the wire ring. With these ten pom-poms securely fastened, they would act as an anchor to help hold the other pom-poms in place.
I tied 21 pom-poms to the outer ring and 14 to the inner ring.
When I was happy with the placement of the pom-poms, I snipped off the long tails of twine.
Anchoring a few of the pom-poms at the start helps keep the others in place for the most part, but occasionally one would slip a little, exposing the wire wreath ring. To prevent this, I put a dab of hot glue around the knot holding each pom-pom to the ring.
With the wreath itself completed, I was ready to start adding the embellishments.
I wanted a rustic-but-elegant style bell for the centre of my wreath, so I bought this beautiful gold-coloured cowbell online. It came with a hand-stitched leather handle, which I removed. Then I cut a 20cm length of the hessian ribbon and used the sewing machine to zig-zag stitch the edges to prevent them from fraying.
I threaded the ribbon through the bell hanger and attached it to the outer wreath ring between two pom-poms, sewing the two ends of the ribbon together to hold it in place.
Making the Bow
I used the rest of the hessian ribbon to make a bow. First, I cut 7cm off the ribbon and set it aside.
Then I started forming the bow by looping the remainder of the ribbon over itself and stitching it in the centre to hold its shape. (Use hot glue if you prefer.)
Tip: Fold the loops of the bow on top of each other to ensure that they are the same size.
At this stage, the wrong side of the bow tails are facing upwards, so I neatly folded over the tails from the centre of the bow so that the right side faced upwards. Then I stitched the folds to hold the ribbon in place. (You can skip this step if you use a two-sided ribbon. Or use hot glue to hold everything in place.)
Next, I tied the centre of the ribbon tightly with some twine to pull it into shape.
Then I took the piece of ribbon I'd set aside and, again, I zig-zagged each end with the sewing machine to prevent fraying. Then I wrapped it around the centre of the bow and stitched the two ends together at the back. (You could also use a hot glue gun for this bit if you prefer to avoid sewing.)
I cut a V shape into the bow tails. The V cut should prevent fraying but, as an extra precaution, I also treated the raw ends with fray check. Then I stitched the bow onto the ribbon holding the bell. (Again, you could use a hot glue gun to affix it.)
Finally, I tied a loop of twine around the smaller ring at the back of the frame so that the wreath could be hung.
I am so pleased with how this turned out! It's been one of my favourite craft projects to work on, and I love how it looks in the room. In fact, I love it so much, I'm trying to find a way to use it year-round! But, then again, I guess part of what makes it so special is knowing that I only get to see it for a few weeks of the year.