Pom-poms, pompoms, pompons–no matter which way you say it, they all look silly when you type them a bunch of times. Here’s a quick how-to for anyone curious to learn how to make the perfect one (in my opinion) with 2 different yarns and no fancy equipment.

*Note that the instructions are identical to making them with one kind of yarn.

Step 1: Take some old cardboard and cut out two identical donuts. Mine are 3″ diam. on the outside with a 1-1/8″ hole, which yields a pompom approximately 2.5″ in diameter. I’m sure there’s some kind of equation to figure out how big to make them, but I just have 3 sets of donuts for 3 different sizes that I know work through trial and error. This is the “medium” size. You can also buy these made out of plastic, or you can just use your homemade ones until they disintegrate like I do.

Step 2: Holding the two strands of yarn together, wind a little “shuttle” that will fit through the hole. This probably won’t be enough for the whole pompom, but that’s okay–we can add more later. Trust me, it’s better to have too little yarn than to not be able to fit the shuttle through the donut hole.

Step 3: Hold the two donuts together on top of each other. Wrap the double-stranded yarn around both donuts (as if it were just one). It’s alright to leave the yarn ends just kind of flopping; we’ll trim them later. Cover the donut in one flat layer of yarn…

Step 4: …And then wrap it all the way around one more time (making a total of 2 layers of yarn). Cut the yarn (P.S.: Can you see the other ends flying freely up there? That’s where I added another shuttle of yarn after the first one ran out. You add it just the way you started the first one.)

Step 5: Here’s where things get a little tricky (and a little tricky to photograph). Hold the donut firmly in your non-dextrous hand so that your thumb and fingers are securely holding the center of the donut in place–we’re about to cut all those strings, and we don’t want them to fall all over the floor. Insert a pair of sharp scissors (if you have fabric-only scissors, now is the time to bust them out–your regular office shears will just give you a headache) between the two donuts–it’s hard to get at first, but trust me, it makes the cutting go much more smoothly. Do some fancy finger work to hold all the yarn bits in place while cutting around the entire circumference.

Step 6: (Home stretch, I swear!) Still holding the middle tightly, feed a length of string (longer than you’ll need–maybe 10″–since your deftness is kind of compromised at this point) between the donuts. Pull it all the way around the circumference and down to the bottom.

Step 7: If you’re working alone, you can put down the pompom at this point without freaking out too much about spilling yarn confetti everywhere, but if you can get a helper to do this part while you hold the pompom, it definitely brings peace of mind. Tie a simple knot in the yarn you’ve looped around the donuts and, quickly and with confidence, cinch it tightly around the middle of the yarn (back through the two donuts). It will make the pompom into a sort of bundle inside the donut. Tightly tie a few more knots over the first one to get it really secure.

Step 8: Pull the pompom out from the donuts.

Step 8: Fluff it until it looks like a pompom.

Step 9: Trim all the long strands from before (note: if you are planning on attaching the pompom to something else, it’s probably a good idea not to trim the long strand you used to tie the pompom, as that comes in handy for attaching it to other stuff), and look over your pompom for all the inevitable longer strands sticking out. Trim it up into a nice sphere.

Et voila! A pompom! Clean up your workspace (because it’s probably covered in yarn bits and cardboard shavings) at admire your pompom before you use it. Check back later to see what I put mine on!