Paper Pom-Pom Garlands

I’ve been accused of random things in my life, but most often I’m lambasted for downplaying my creativity. I’ve been told that when I shrug off something that I’ve created as no big deal, it’s bizarre to other people, because not everyone’s brains work like mine. (Though to me, it wasn’t a big deal!) I think this is part of why I decided to start this blog – to show off a bit of my artwork. Don’t get me wrong, I know I have a knack for the colorful and crafty, but I have difficulty understanding how to walk the line between acknowledging my talent vs. being an unbearable braggart. (Aren’t I amazing?)

So apparently, when I casually told my mother I’d created some decorations for my birthday party, she didn’t understand that I’d handmade these garlands, as well as some other adorable adornments for my living room. I’d seen decorations like these at a party store, and had bought them on a previous occasion, but as with most things artsy, I thought, “I can make that.” So I did.

Do you remember making flowers out of tissue paper as a kid? I’m not talking the detailed flowers I learned to make using stencils from a kit my mom got me in college (does she know me or what?), but rather the accordion-folded tissue paper squares that you fluff out and attach to a pipe cleaner to make a flower… If not, that’ll be another demo for another day 🙂 I applied the same principal here – stack a bunch of papers, fold them accordion style, then fan and fluff them so you have nice pretty puffs strung together on embroidery floss (in this case).

You’ll need:

  • tissue paper
  • scissors
  • embroidery floss or any kind of string

Start off by cutting your tissue paper to whatever sized rectangles you like. I folded and cut my sheets of tissue paper in half as many times as I could until my rectangles were about 5×7. With different colors, because I do love diversity, I made my rectangles smaller – about 3×5. I didn’t measure these, so don’t stress over it. You just want all your rectangles of the same color for the same pom pom to be roughly the same size.

I decided that 12 was the magic number to where there weren’t too many sheets of paper to contend with, but enough that when you separated them it would still appear full. I stacked 12 sheets on top of one another, kind of a pain to count individual pieces of tissue paper since it’s so fine, but I wanted to remain consistent.

Start folding the paper from the narrower end, as pictured below. For my larger pom poms, I made a fold roughly every inch. For the smaller ones, I made the folds closer together. If you don’t know how to do an accordion fold, you start by folding the paper up by about an inch, flip the paper over so the fold is facing downward, and fold back by the same amount, flip paper over again, and so on. When you’re done, your folds should line up, and the paper should look like an accordion, or a fan.

Once you’ve finished folding, take whatever string you’re using, and tie a double knot in the center of your fan. You’ll want the knot to be pretty tight, but a little wiggle room is fine, and will make it a bit easier to loosen the pages from each other when you fan them out. I spaced my fans about 6 inches from each other. When you separate the paper to make your pom poms, they’ll appear closer together.

Then take a break and look over to make sure your cat isn’t doing anything weird.

Nothing unusual here...

Puffing out your pom poms is more time consuming than you’d think, since it’s also a delicate process. The time to do this is not half an hour before your guests come, just as an FYI. Starting from the outside, gently separate each layer of tissue paper, one at a time. You have 12 sheets, so you’ll want to pull 6 towards the top, and the others towards the bottom to create a bowl-shaped poof. Then separate the pages on the other side.

This doesn’t have to be done perfectly – but the more you separate the layers, the more poof you’ll have! Also, the sturdier your tissue paper, the easier this will be. If the paper rips, don’t sweat it – when it’s all puffed out you won’t even notice. This is a very forgiving project.

Then string your garlands wherever you want! I had this one hanging from a curtain rod, and another strung over my sliding door. I love the texture they added! Also, in case you’re wondering, I did, in fact, match the garlands (and other decorations) to the colors of my apartment. My entire apartment is actually that brightly colored, but the decor will be another topic for another day.

These easy decorations can brighten up any home, even if there isn’t a special occasion. You might even consider making larger pom poms and hanging them vertically from the ceiling. I’d love to see pictures if you do!

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