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.)
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?