How To Make Those Tissue Pompoms

Okay, first of all I should say that those tissue pompoms I made for my 30th birthday party weren't my idea at all. Much like a large majority of the crafty things I do, I ripped them straight off from the grand highness herself, Martha Stewart.

That said, I found her instructions kind of....well, lacking, shall we say. (Yes, we shall indeed say that. It's kinder than what I should really say.) And since I've had a few people ask me how to make the tissue pompoms since I posted the pictures---including one person who wants to make a whole bunch for her wedding, to which I say my god, you are a better woman than I am (PS: hope you have a lot of gin in your house)---I thought I'd put together my own quick tutorial on how to do it.

Except instead of calling it "How To Make Those Tissue Pompoms," I should really have called it "How To Make An Enormous Paper Lettuce." Because this is what happens when you use green tissue paper, you see. (And oh, you will see.) Because of all those ruffles and layers, a tissue pompom made with green tissue paper ends up resembling nothing more than an oversized bibb lettuce. So I hope you'll take that as a warning: no green tissue paper. (Unless for some strange reason you're totally into the idea of making tissue paper versions of all your favorite salad components, in which case let's talk: I have a kickass idea for the tomatoes. And man, is there a world of possibilities for the celery.)

Anyway, onward!

First of all, to make those tissue pompoms (or maybe just an enormous paper lettuce, your call), you're going to need some tissue paper. I found my package of all-white tissue paper for the first batch at the grocery store, believe it or not ($4.99 for 50 sheets), but then my mother recently gave me an enormous package of EVERY TISSUE PAPER COLOR IN THE RAINBOW for one of my birthday presents (craft nerd alert!), which is how I ended up using the green for this tutorial and living to rue the day. Regardless, you can probably find tissue paper just about anywhere, though I'd suggest looking in the drugstore, Target, or Michael's first.

So lay eight sheets of tissue paper nice and flat on the ground (or the table, if you're feeling fancy, but my table was taken up with stuff like a bowl of fruit and my diet coke can and I couldn't be bothered to move it.)

Then switch the tissue paper around so it's in front of you vertically, rather than horizonally (which is how it is in this picture for some reason. Crap, I am failing at picture tutorials already!) With the tissue paper placed out in front of you vertically, start folding it "accordian style"---that's to say, forwards and then backwards, forwards and then backwards, as though you were making a fan. Each fold should be about an inch from the previous one, so that your stack of tissue paper starts to look like this:

And then this:

Until the whole thing is folded accordian-style and you have this:

Next you're going to need some steel wire. It looks kind of like this:

And as you can see, it cost me $2.99. I got it from this really awesome hardware store up the street run by a couple of really nice Romanian brothers, who are so nice, in fact, that I always feel guilty not buying, like, a two-hundred dollar power drill and instead just buying a package of $2.99 steel wire. But them's the breaks I guess. Maybe one day I'll win the lottery and go in a buy a whole bunch of spackle.

Anyway, cut yourself a piece of steel wire that's about six inches long, then pinch your accordian-folded tissue paper in the middle like this:

And wrap the wire around the middle a few times, as tight as you can make it without ripping anything. (By which I mean the paper. Not, like, a muscle in your stomach or anything. Don't tie it that tight. You don't want to injure yourself with the exertion.)

Look! Now you have something that looks like this:

But here's the clever part: take one of the ends of that wire, and kind of wrap it around the other wire, so that it makes a bit of a loop or a hook. Sort of like this:

Trust me, you will be glad you did this later. For now, though, maybe take a small-time out and snap an arbitrary photo of that cluttered coffee table you were just talking about, for no other reason than that you're still trying to figure out your new camera.

There it is! This is why you're making your lamp on the floor, you lazy so-and-so. Couldn't be bothered to move that vase of flowers.

Also, you might want to check in and see what's going on right now with The Bachelor. Oh, Tenley, Tenley, Tenley.

Okay, that's it, break's over. Next thing you need to do is trim both ends of your tissue paper stack, by holding the whole thing flat and closed, taking a sturdy pair of scissors, and rounding the end.

After that, you get to do the fun part, which is pulling the layers apart. Hold your pompom by the wire part in the middle and let each side fan out. Then choose one side and start pulling gently---very, very gently---on the first piece of tissue paper, so that it fans out from the rest. Pull it out from the bottom, as near to the wire as you can get; this will make for a floofier pompom once they're all floofed up. Hey, I think I just made up a word. Maybe two!

Pull gently, gently.....

Gently, gently, gently...

....until you've done one entire side and the pompom looks like this:

Kind of like a bunch of flowers! Or a bundle of broccoli!

Then do the same with the other side, until you get something like this:

Now go back in, find that hook you made with the metal wire, remember?

Then take a piece of clear fishing wire (also bought from the Romanian hardware store, conviently enough! Maybe they are making some money from me, after all) and tie a long piece to your wire hook so that you can hang your pompom from the ceiling. Holding it by the fishing wire, give it a few shakes to fluff it up a littlle and let it settle into its maximum fullness.

Look, you made a pompom!

Or maybe a giant lettuce!

Know what you also made? You also made your husband a promise that you wouldn't put this photo of him on the Internet and then BROKE IT HAHAHAHA. Well, that's what he gets for deciding to grow a beard.

So there you have, an eleventy-billion-part tutorial that'll hopefully make it super clear how to make your own tissue pompoms. Any questions?

Feb 17, 2010

Those are adorable! You just strengthened both the love and the hate sides of my love-hate relationship with Martha.

Feb 17, 2010

Very cute!

Also, thanks so much for detailed instructions. I generally need everything explaining to me like I'm five years old, and you did that. With added photos! (Seriously: I won't attempt to cook something if the recipe doesn't include a photo of how it's supposed to look at the end!)

I think I may actually attempt these. Just maybe not in green...

Feb 17, 2010

Excellent tutorial! Very clear!

Now I will make some tissue fluffballs to hang in my home and annoy my husband with their lack of purpose.

Feb 17, 2010

Well this is just all sorts of hilarious.
1. I looked at Martha's instructions aaages ago and found them super vague. (A la "buy tissue paper. Now you have a pom pom!" kind of vague)
2. I tried to make one, and thought I'd use ugly green paper for my trial run.
3. I have a photo of my boyfriend looking similarly unimpressed about my green floofy thing, which I pranced about with, yelling, "wheee!"
4. Kudos for the vegetable references. By screen-osmosis, I am now better informed and feel healthier.

Feb 17, 2010

I'd been wondering how those tissue pompoms were made ever since I saw the pictures.That was a pretty interesting tutorial, btw. Just as I was beginning to think it would be a breeze the word 'gently" hit the repeat button, and I knew I'd given up already!:-)

Feb 17, 2010

So Michael's also sells this fantastic kit for these suckers also - did you know that? It comes with the paper all segmented out and the end lopped off in cutely cuts so you just have to fold it, in different sizes and complementary colors, with the ties and hangars.

It's not much of a value but it DOES cut the time for those so inclined to purchase their way to a faster party.

I used the kit and a collection of pink-hued ones for a baby shower two summers ago and they were a HUGE hit. People were unreasonably impressed.

Feb 17, 2010

in fact i went on google to search up tissue pompom tutorials right after your first entry on them, but i got to say, yours is the best! and hey, Sean looks cute in a beard. but my boyfriend shaves every 2 days and as good as he looks, it's too rough for my tender skin! :P

Feb 17, 2010

Once, when I was in middle school and volunteering at a children's museum, we had to make about 500 of these in GIANT form to stick all around the grounds (I guess to replicate flowers?). I've never spent more time with tissue paper.

Feb 17, 2010

I made these two years ago for my birthday and yes, I also called them Floofs! For that is what they are. Floofy.

Feb 17, 2010

Great tutorial! They look so fun. A friend of mine made something similar for her wedding, but they were more along the lines of this (say, the orange one):

I guess they are like what you did, but multiplied on one big ball:

Poppy K
Feb 17, 2010

Martha can take all the credit she wants, but my mom was making these way back in the 70's for my kiddie birthday parties. She used to use different pastel colors on each flower and she sometimes cut the paper in half and put the wire at the bottom of the accordian and then added a green tape wrapped stem - this way you could have a large bouquet of peony type 'flowers'.

Feb 17, 2010

I just hope my man is such a sucker for me. That would be lovely.

Could you work up a tutorial on that?

Nothing But Bonfires
Feb 17, 2010

Poppy, my mum says she used to make these too! Back when she was a little girl, and also later with me when I was three or four. So you're right, Martha actually ripped US off!

Feb 17, 2010

I LOVE this! I also love that you included break photos. I always want to do that when I've done instructional posts, but I never do. Now I will.

Feb 17, 2010


Tissue pompoms = pew decorations for my wedding.

You're a ROCKSTAR. :)

Feb 17, 2010

I made many of these for our wedding a couple of years ago, and I have one caveat:

If you plan to use them as decor for an outdoor wedding, and it rains the day before, they will look sad and droopy. Not at all floofy. Best to keep them to indoor decor!

Feb 17, 2010

Q: how did you secure them to the ceiling? tape to the fishing wire? hooks nailed into ceiling?

Feb 17, 2010

Look! This person makes gorgeous KITS for them:

The Martha tissue paper is no longer available at Michaels. It broke my heart when I found out, because her colors were obviously the best.

Feb 17, 2010

Ally -- yep, a little square of tape on the fishing wire then stuck onto the ceiling. You might want to make the strand of fishing wire long enough that you can double up (kind of like a loop) so that the pompom doesn't drop.

Feb 17, 2010

The best part is the picture of your husband that you promised not to post... HAHAHAaahh!

Isn't it funny the way people let their faces go blank when they think they're not "in" the picture?


Feb 17, 2010

Yeah, I have a question. How will Tenly feel after she breaks from her moral code and puts out for Jake, and then he goes and chooses that cross-eyed, bad-weave, brain-dead horror-slut over her?

I think she's gonna feel pretty crappy.

Feb 17, 2010

THANK YOU. I am totally making these to hang all over our reception venue for our wedding in July (at Mystic Seaport, in CT).

Feb 17, 2010

What the cute! I am so going to make those for my nephews fourth b-day party. Though, he'll probably want red and blue so they can be Spiderman-like.

Feb 17, 2010

so, he's trying out for the 49ers cheerleading squad?!

Feb 17, 2010

... HA HA!

Feb 17, 2010

I just want to take pictures of fat babies, a la ann geddes, in front of the green tissue pom poms.

i didn't mean for that to sound nearly as creepy as it does. thanks fot the tutorial.

Feb 17, 2010

YAY! Thank you! I'm not making these for a wedding (Thank God), but I was considering it for my husband's 40th birthday. Unless they are too girly for a boy's birthday party. What do you think?

Feb 18, 2010

Chirky - I think you will have a husband with the same look on his face as Sean up there. LOL.

Great tutorial Holly - Bravo!

Feb 18, 2010

I have to say, I am pretty sure my husband would brain me if I tried to hang these up for his birthday party. Well, maybe not brain. Probably more like stare blankly at me in utter incomprehension, like I tried to feed him a vegetable or something.

I also remember making these as a kid for some kind of slave labor deal (I think my mom's friend's baby shower). I am pretty sure Martha owes all of us some kind of royalties.

Feb 18, 2010

I can't believe you didn't use your Martha corner-rounder. Her Highness would be so disappointed.

Feb 18, 2010

I am a longtime believer (and now it's further confirmed) that Martha Stewart, in order to maintain her superior status, adjusts her recipes/instructions -- sometimes even just by a teaspoon or critical detail or *something* -- in order to ensure that hers will ALWAYS be better than ours.

Love her anyways, but there it is.

Feb 18, 2010

Thank you! I was totally going to do this for a party or two but wimped out because Martha's tutorial confused me. Thanks! Flouffy lettuce!

Feb 19, 2010

This is not related to tissue pompoms, but I have to say, I love the word spackle. So much better than polyfilla.

Feb 19, 2010

Hi Holly

love it! I have a question for you: where is your living room rug from?

Nothing But Bonfires
Feb 19, 2010

Sonia -- it's just IKEA! It's called the Tarnby:

Anne in SC
Feb 21, 2010

My daughter and her Godmother made 3 purple ones to hang in her room. They've been there for quite a while at this point (was it this birthday - 5 months ago- or last birthday? hmmm

Feb 22, 2010

Holy sexy beard, Batman! That's quite a husband you have there, Holly.

Apr 05, 2010

These are great instructions. I've tried to do the same except that mine look like the parted red sea. How do you get yours to look like a round ball? Did you use tape to close the gap?

Jul 10, 2010

I've seen instructions for these on the web, but I have to say, yours are the most helpful (love that hangy-thingy) AND entertaining. Thanks!

Jul 29, 2010

Thank you so much for posting this. In combination with your wonderful wit and superb pictures I am ready to have a go!

Oct 08, 2010

I LOVED your tutorial!! Remember, Martha prolly had an army of assistants ~ to iron her papers flat, to square up edges completely, etc. To heck with her!!! ;-)

May I use a link to you on my blog when I post a pic of the one I'm making now?? (my first!)

One thing I'm finding that helps with the 'fluffing' ~ once you've gently pulled up on a layer, 'walk' your fingertips up under that layer, in the valleys, while holding it up with gentle pressure... seems the best way to prevent tears...

Thanks for posting!!

Oct 31, 2010

Hi! Great tutorial--Martha's tutorial skipped over too much in the middle-like how to wrap the wire. So, making that loop is what I consider genius! I am going to make these out of Christmas-printed tissue and see how they turn out. No vegetables, though...

Thanks!!!! Janet

Krystie Lee
Nov 08, 2010

Thanks for a great tutorial! I've looked through a few of these and yours was my favorite. I'm making these for a surprise 5th bday party for my daughter this weekend. Wish me luck! :)

Nov 15, 2010

Thanks for the tutorial! It is wonderful.
I plan on having these at my wedding next year as well. I just purchased the tissue paper at 400 sheets of 20x30 for $15, lots of colors!
At any rate. I am planning on making these a head of time, but not "fluffing" them until the night before.
Since you have ACTUALLY made these. Do you think that is a realistic idea (if, of course, i keep them from getting crumpled and kinked)?

Also, (after making a few of these) did you find it easier to attach the ribbon/string/wire used to hang them before fluffing them or after? It says above after fluffing, but i wonder if it is hard to find the loop?


Nov 18, 2010

I tried making Martha's pom poms last year and the pink tissue paper is still under the stairs! Your tutorial is easy to follow - will have to go and buy some tissue paper now and make some red ones for christmas. thank you!


Dec 24, 2010

We used to make these when I was a kid only we used Kleenix tissue. (And I was a kid a LONGGGGGGGGGGGG time ago) They were so fluffy, but you really had to be gentle when pulling layers apart. We loved using the colored tissue. Your tute is great. It's been so long ago, I had forgotten how to do them. I to am one of those that needs instructions.


Beth Davis
Jan 08, 2011

These are perfect for weddings. I have so many clients looking for cheap ways to make their weddings beautiful!
Thanks for the great and easy directions.

Feb 09, 2011

I also bought these from a site on Etsy, and it was SO easy. All I had to do was fluff and hang, which saved me a LOT of time and hassle.

They look great too, very full and round!

Feb 09, 2011

Thank you....Thank you!!! Great tutorial!!!! Super!!!!

Feb 14, 2011

you are too cute! thanks for the tutorial and thanks for making it so funny!!
love the last pic too : ) hahaha
i just made about 15 of these for my daughters upcoming 5th birthday party ~ all in different shades of pink. i just wanted to add that you can get these even "floofier" by using about 12-15 sheets of tissue. I also tie the fishing wire to the metal wire before "floofing" just to make it a bit easier on myself. Well, I sure enjoyed your humor, take care : )

Feb 18, 2011

Let me just tell you, your sense of humor is my favorite part of this post. I might not have pulled any muscles with the project, but I definitely did when I read this post!

Also, thank you for helping me make my wedding decorations less expensive...

Heidi Leanne
Feb 28, 2011

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I kept reading and re-reading the Martha Stewart instructions and kept thinking "I must be the biggest idiot alive, because I feel like I'm missing about 5 steps. Thanks for all the clarification, the extra pictures, the added details, and the humor. I now feel prepared to tackle these bad boys (or should I say, girls? they don't seem like boys, do they?)

lisa thomason
Mar 03, 2011

How entertaining!! All of it, including the 'betrayal'!! lol. ;) Daughters wedding in 4 weeks, and I was clueless! Thanks for the info!

Mar 15, 2011

I have been looking at these and after reading Martha's directions I sorta put it out of my mind because it just seemed well you know...too Martha!! Now thanks to your hysterical play by play commentary of instructions I know I too can tackle this project!! Thanks a million, sorry it's not enough for your spackle investment tho! LOL

Mar 18, 2011

You, ma'am, have saved many of us from stabbing ourselves in the eye with silver wire! Thank you so much for the CORRECT info on pom-pomming. May I also say that you are HILARIOUS! I was cracking up the whole time I was reading.

Apr 12, 2011

What do you think these would look like if I layered colors of tissue paper, i.e. hot pink, light pink, hot pink, light pink?

May 04, 2011

Thank you. I can't tell you how easy you made this for me. It turned out GREAT, btw. Funny, my hubby had the same reaction to your man in the picture. :)

May 07, 2011

I found your instructions the other night and decided to try them for my daughter's first birthday party. I layered several colors of tissue paper, and they look so cute!! When I was trimming the ends I cut into the layers several times before cutting the ends into points. They ended up looking a little bit feathery and really cute. Thanks for the simple directions!!

May 28, 2011

Thanks! I saw these displayed in a furniture store and thought they would be so cute hanging from the ceiling in my daughters room. I was trying to buy them on line when wha la, I found you! Love your site--first time here, will not by my last!

Sep 06, 2011

Great tutorial! I was looking up decoration ideas for my daughter's 16th birthday and I think these will be perfect in her favorite colors! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and post!

sera mcculloch
Sep 08, 2011

stupidly funny post!! love love love... i'm gonna read it again before i get started... and I'll probably read it tomorrow for another laugh. thanks

Sep 08, 2011

hi - just finished making one of these but it doesnt look full. I used 20x20 paper with 10 sheets. was your tissue paper square or the length longer then the width??? Wanting to make these for a baby shower next week. thanks

Sep 25, 2011

Thanks for an awesome tutorial! I made four of these tonight in less than two hours (different sizes, even), and hanging them was a cinch (used the clear pushpins). They're a beautiful addition to our nursery (baby girl should be here in just a few weeks!). Thanks for an informative and entertaining read! I'll be back! :D

Dec 03, 2011

My mom put me in charge of making these for my little brothers 1st birthday party, which is weird because I lack any form of creativity. Thanks for making the instructions easy. Martha gave me very little to work with. Hopefully I can pull this off.

Dec 10, 2011

Believe it or not, I found this tutorial because I WAS looking for a way to make decorative lettuce! I'm giving my mom some lettuce seeds for her garden and wanted a cute way to decorate the packaging! Thanks for the info!

Dec 10, 2011

You jest, but I actually found your tutorial by searching for a way to make paper lettuce as part of a gift I'm giving someone for Christmas!

Jan 06, 2012

GREAT tutorial. I think I'll have to link up to it. Mine, however, are just not working out. It's my first time, so thank you for being gentle ;-)

Jan 10, 2012

YOU ROCK! Especially for the pic of your husband at the end - that was brave. ;) Thanks for putting such detailed instructions - a some humor - on your blog. My daughter wants these for her 9th birthday. I have one finished and hanging up - can't wait until she walks in after school and sees it hanging from the ceiling. :D

deb woodcock
Jan 11, 2012

Thank you for these refreshingly human and detailed instructions versus Martha's lackthereof.. You are an absolute riot and I think you should do nothing in life but write tutorials for idiots that cannot do so themselves.. Brilliant! perhaps you could start with your ideas about the tomato..

Feb 01, 2012

Thank you! It's 11pm - I needed a big bow for my daughter's present for her birthday tomorrow and couldn't find one in the house. Remembered Martha Stewart had a tutorial for these flowers, started to make it and then realized...what the hey, where are the instructions? Then I found your tutorial. Real life, detailed step by step, wrinkles in the paper and all...presto! Perfect pink pom pom flower that better than any big bow I could wrap around my daughter's easel. She might actually like the flower more than than the easel!! Thanks again!

Feb 07, 2012

AWESOME!!!! Great Instructions... and had me giggling as I was reading!!! Thanx!

Feb 08, 2012

Your writing is hilarious. And your tutorial was extremely clear. Loved it! Thank you very much!

Feb 10, 2012

Are you by any chance Junie B. Jones by night? thouroughly enjoyed the tute!

Feb 15, 2012

I came across your tutorial and am so happy I did! Love, love, love your sense of humor! I am hosting a baby shower next week and I plan on using your step by step instructions to make tissue pom poms. Thanks for the laughs!

Feb 15, 2012

I came across your tutorial and am so happy I did! Love, love, love your sense of humor! I am hosting a baby shower next week and I plan on using your step by step instructions to make tissue pom poms. Thanks for the laughs!

Mar 03, 2012

I must be the only dumby that has problems cutting these. I even bought a new pair of scissors proclaiming they are amazingly sharp. I'm only using 8 sheets.

Mar 08, 2012

Thanks! I hope I can pull this off for my daughter's party. Oh, and I use "floofy" too!

Mar 11, 2012

Your tutorial made me laugh! You also made it look easy enough for me to have a go at.thanks

Heather Bell
Mar 20, 2012

Your instructions made me laugh so much!! My daughter who is needing to make these for a project of hers, was in a pre-teen mood... It even made her laugh! Thank you!!

Apr 02, 2012

Does anyone have any good ideas for what to do with the extra scrap tissue paper?

Apr 16, 2012

I've only done maybe 3-4 of these, but I cannot get the 2 sides to come together and make a round ball. They stay separated and look more like a bow :/ Any suggestions???

Apr 18, 2012

Thanks a ton! That was helpful.. I was a little lost by Martha's tutorial!

May 20, 2012

I think you are hilarious, Love the fact that you are giving great instructions along with making awesome jokes. Please do more tutorials!

May 21, 2012

Thank you for this. i love your wit, randomness and information. I too looked at MS and was unsure about her instructions. Thank you for the pic by pic tutorial...oh, and the chuckles.

Jul 09, 2012

Worked like a charm....I'm making them for my twins' first birthday. I'm not very crafty, so my friends and family will be amazed! Thanks for helping me fake them all out.

Aug 04, 2012

I made these a couple of years ago with verbal instructions and had to figure out how to secure the middle after folding. I used my stapler! Turned out beautifully as we were using them as center pieces for a birthday party.

Aug 21, 2012

Really wish I would have seen this in Target when I bought like 2 packs of tissue paper instead of 20 not knowing I needed 8 sheets. Thanks for nothing MARTHA! Lol.

Sep 16, 2012

Thanks for this! Love your writing style and wit. I'm making blue, red and white Cat in the Hat Floofs for my son's 5th bday. Go Giants!

Sep 26, 2012

Hilarious tutorial yet very informative and thorough! Loved it - going to make some for my wedding reception!

Sep 26, 2012

Hilarious tutorial yet very informative and thorough! Loved it - going to make some for my wedding reception!

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