Welcome to our wedding color community. Here you'll find the latest wedding-focused Palettes and Patterns, as well as Blog, Trends and Forums to help guide your special day.

Channels»Wedding»Blog
Reception Tent DIY: Coffee Filter Pom-Pom How-To

Reception Tent DIY: Coffee Filter Pom-Pom How-To


Pom-Pom's are a terrific way to add fun colour to your reception. If you're crafty (or not) and are willing to get your hands dirty, this one's for you. This is something you don't want to be doing the week of though.

As I have mentioned before, I am coordinating and helping with the design for my little brothers wedding coming up here in just 2 short weeks.

A few Weekends ago, my Mom, and partner in crime for the wedding decor, spent some time putting mock tables and accessory layouts together. As we were coming in from a walk after all our projects were done for the day, my mom says,"I have decided not to add another project to our already big list of things to do." Of course, not two hours later did we come across these wonderful pom-pom's (pictured right)! So what do two crazy girls do with an idea? The very next day we gathered supplies and started dying 1,400 mini coffee filters a variety of lavender hues. We started at 3pm and she left after midnight. So much for not adding another project! I'd like to add that my mom has dyed over 3,000 more coffee filters on top of the original 1,400. When we get a bug in our bonnets we're all about business.

On to the actual project and our experience. The original idea came from a small photo (again, pictured right) from the last months issue of the Martha Stewart Weddings. When we originally spied the photo we naturally assumed they were made from coffee filters. As we figured we could get the general idea ourselves, we tried looking up a how-to on the subject with not much luck. So we did what we do best and made it up.

Come to find out that the pom-pom's in the photo that we so fell in love with were not made up of coffee filters after all! They were made up of tissue paper. I honestly cannot imagine making 3-5,000 tissue paper versions of this so I'm still all for our method. Here is the Martha Stewart Tissue Paper Pom-Pom How-To though if you're interested.

The only helpful coffee filter pom-pom method we found was by Pam Garrison (see photo below) and even then she didn't really post a how-to either, but the close-up shots helped a little. It's not that complicated of a craft. We were mostly wanting to know the best route to dying, drying and how to best assemble them.

Giant paper garland
(pamgarrison.typepad.com)

We are making pom-pom's for two 20 x 40 foot tents so yes, we needed quite a few strings. Initially, we decide to dye them outdoors in a big canning pot on a sunny day (my mom in the photo below). Laying them out on sheets seemed the best route....until the sun died out and the wind picked up. Tired of the grunt work and the slow process, I decided to try throwing the half-dried batches in sets into the dryer (a bit nervous I'd end up with a purple dryer or set the house on fire) and it worked perfectly! WOW did this speed up the process. I would like to highlight here that the 'dryer method' actually made the post-scrunching method a TON easier down the line. So take note on that.

DYING.

We learned that our first attempt outdoors was going to take ages. My mom went home and started her own workable method.

Supplies: dye of choice (cloth dye), mini or full sized coffee filters (mini used here), washer or large pot, dryer or open space with drop cloths

Dye the coffee filters in the washing machine (you need HOT water for a good dye process). Don't worry, it won't kill your washing machine. Sounds scary at first.

Wring out the filters. They're tough so be rough on them, it's OK. Wring and toss them in a big pot. Un-wring them and lay them out in piles (see photo above) and put them in to the dryer in shifts (don't put too many at a time in) on the lowest heat setting possible. You can dry quite a few at a time, but they do fluff up so beware of too many. Try 5 minutes and test how dry they are to figure out your dryer time in line with the heat of your dryer. DO NOT dry them too long. They start crinkling up. You only want a slight crinkle.

After the dryer we found it best to stack them according to general shades (hues): dark, medium, light. My mom organized them into brown shopping bags (recycled). This was the easiest way to transport them.

Tips: To get darker hues you need extra dye, fresh [very] hot water and let them soak at least 10-15 minutes. Also, use rubber cleaning gloves (elbow gloves). They make it easier to separate the filters from the original pack into the dye vat as well as protect your hands from dye while handling them out of the dye vat.

As an additional note on dyes - we discovered you can use anything to dye the filters as they aren't going to be clothing worn and washed, etc. So things you can use are kool aid, cloth dye or vegetable dyes. We chose to use regular, hardy cloth dye assuming that kool aid would be too much of a hassle and take too much to get any dark colours anyhow. Just something to consider when choosing a dye.

STRINGING.

You must string the pom-pom's before scrunching them. Trust me.

Supplies: x-acto blade, cutting board (whatever protection you want under the x-acto cutting area), stapler (tip: use the old school-house style black stapler because the necks are longer), staples and a strong heavyweight string (see image of what we used - we bought ours at a hardware store, not a craft store).

If you can, get a lot of help for this project. My mom and I were basically the only two people doing this and it would have been nicer with a group. Turn on a movie and get some manual labor done. If you have the wo-man power, delegate accordingly...

One person should stack. For ours we found that 10 filters worked best. We also incorporated undyed white filters. We used two (750 count) packs of white along with the 3,000+ dyed filters, it cut down a bit of work. This is where your organized bags by hue work out nicely. We had dark, medium, light and white. Figure out a pattern, go with it.

One person staples. Two staples about 1/4" apart in the center-most spot. If you don't get some dead-center, don't stress it. They're going to be scrunched up.

One person cuts. Using the x-acto blade, cut a line about the length of the staples, right in-beween them, in the same direction. Cut, and make sure it's punctured clear through the stacks.

One person strings. We made lengths of about 6-feet with our string. Roughly measured from nose to arm four times. We didn't get technical with our 20 x 40 foot tent size and measure out exactly how many will work for that length. We just figured we will make a ton and make it work. If you want to pre-figure all that out, go for it. I would STILL only make your lengths 6-10 feet long as you can connect them while actually decorating and it's easier for untangling and transportation.

Stringing works like this: Start about 12-inches in and make a loop knot (if you are not familiar, see the section image above). Thread the flat pom-pom on, do another loop knot. Space them approximately 12-inches apart or whatever you decide works for your design.

If the person knotting is making large loop knots, maybe make your 6-foot lengths a little longer to accommodate that or don't worry about it. The loops WILL be covered up by the scrunching. We could fit 5-6 pom-pom's per string length.

This works ideally if you have people willing to help. We only had the two of us. We also found it best if you do all the above prep before scrunching. Then we could dole out piles of stuff to scrunch during TV or movie watching during the week or you could throw a big scrunching party.

SCRUNCHING.

No, you're not done yet, but you're in the final round.

Scrunching is easy and even fumbly hands can do this. We recruited my Dad, who is a mechanic to help! Just start with the center and scrunch it like you're making pie crust in a pinching method all the way around, only a little abstract and rougher. The filters are very durable if you can't tell by now. Then start with the next layer and so forth. You'll get the hang of it. After one ball of layers, kind of fluff and scrunch the entire ball as a whole to get it looking right. Don't try to simple scrunch the ball as a whole from the start, it won't work - DO EACH LAYER.

This is where the dryer method worked to our benefit. We found that the filters we had dried on the lawn, were smoother and more resistant to scrunching than the dryer ones that had got some extra crinkle from the dryer. Just trust me.

THAT'S IT! We stored ours in garbage bags. Be a little careful with how you pile them in as the strings are a headache to untangle if you're careless.

I will do an additional post after the wedding to show you our final product and my ingenious idea on how to smartly get all the tent decor up without a hassle and a lot of neck-craning. I will tell you that it involves using a hoola-hoop.

Additional Resources:

While looking for the pom-pom how-to with coffee filters, I came across this one using Tulle or Netting by MarthaStewartWeddings.com.

Or for a twist, do hanging paper flowers instead (also by MarthaStewartWeddings.com). These were made from paper bags! Although, as a reader commented on this post, you can use any type of paper to make these work. Hmm Printed paper anyone? They would be fun to make in an assortment of patterns and colours.

Here's one that appears to be more of a household decor idea, but you could do many things with it to develop it into a wedding decor project. Large hanging flowers out of recycled magazine by Creature Comforts.typepad.com

Were you more in the mood for some digital wedding ideas? Check out Creative Market for some awesome new downloads.


23 Comments
Showing 1 - 23 of 23 Comments

Brookie1424

I did this for my wedding back in december but in a different way. We hung them behind the band, in all of the chandeliers, and we put single clusters in some of the arrangements. We used the washing machine method, and we also painted just the tips of them. We also chose to use the natural (brown) paper liners. I loved it. Side note: we used rubber bands to keep them full, because we did some tests and they fell flat pretty quick.
Team

mollybermea

AWESOME BROOKE! Thanks for the notes on how to use them. Would love to see some added photos to the bottom of the post here if you have some from your wedding.

We found that by putting the pom-pom's in the dryer they sort of crinkle-starched them. The other ones were difficult to keep scrunched and fluffed and I can imagine them going flat as a whole, I'm glad we accidentally figured out the drying helped in more ways than drying them quickly.

Our initial tests were with the beautiful eco-brown filters - which we would have loved to use, but they wouldn't have gone with the wedding colours in general. If you also used the washing machine method, what colour did you use since you also used the brown filters.

Brookie1424 wrote:
I did this for my wedding back in december but in a different way. We hung them behind the band, in all of the chandeliers, and we put single clusters in some of the arrangements. We used the washing machine method, and we also painted just the tips of them. We also chose to use the natural (brown) paper liners. I loved it. Side note: we used rubber bands to keep them full, because we did some tests and they fell flat pretty quick.
Team

mollybermea

I wanted to mention that the twine we actually used for stringing is called a Twisted Cotton Wrapping Twine. It's a #16 (weight/pound) x 510.5m and a 2lb. load limit by Wellington (Light Load). About $2.50 per spool here.

Hope that helps. It's very durable and if anything buy your string at your local hardware store. That's usually a big money saver - to buy some things that might be at a craft store but might also be in bulk at the hardware store.

My last twine-use tip? Make sure you pull from the center - the spools are built to pull from the center. :)

Vibrance

Awwww these are cute!! Great posting!!

mochapu

Not to be rude but if you are going to write an entire article about pom-pons please check your spelling. It's pom-pon, pom-pon. I can't get past the picture titling this article with improper spelling. Just thought I should let you know.
Team

COLOURlover

Honestly I thought it was Pom-Pom too... Seems both spellings are commonly used.

Arachnakid

I've also always seen it spelled pom-pom. They may both be correct, though.

This is so cool! My mom is really into dying (the color kind) so this was interesting for her too. I'm wondering what kind of dye you used; my experience has been more with plant dyes, since we tend to avoid the store-bought variety.

puciko

Wow....this post is delicious!
Thanks Molly
^.^
Team

mollybermea

thank you everyone who enjoyed it. :)
Team
Team

mollybermea

I'm glad both you and your mom enjoyed this post. :) And I'm glad you're mom is into the colour kind of dying. ;)

Yes, we actually didn't go too environmentally friendly with this project both with the coffee filters (not bio-degradable eco ones, which are brown) and we bought store bought, regular dye to get the vibrance and cut down on labor.

I think the white filters would take nicely to a vegetable dye still and make some nice pastels. Let me know if you try this out, I'd love to see some pictures.
Arachnakid wrote:
I've also always seen it spelled pom-pom. They may both be correct, though.

This is so cool! My mom is really into dying (the color kind) so this was interesting for her too. I'm wondering what kind of dye you used; my experience has been more with plant dyes, since we tend to avoid the store-bought variety.

Taniagirly

pom-pon?? Never heard it spelled that way before. In fact it may be that Pom Pom is the accepted English spelling. Maybe you are the one who got it wrong?! Or maybe you are just a wee bit pedantic about things that aren't worth commenting on! Well written article that didn't your negative comment. Well done MollyBermea :)

mochapu wrote:
Not to be rude but if you are going to write an entire article about pom-pons please check your spelling. It's pom-pon, pom-pon. I can't get past the picture titling this article with improper spelling. Just thought I should let you know.
Team

mollybermea

I'm sooo happy to have inspired you! :) That makes me smile. I have got a sleeve full of DYI posts coming soon! I'm going to post them following the wedding on Friday the 11th because then I'll have everything we made in-use. It's pretty exciting, we did some way cool stuff that you can also incorporate in your every day creative brain too. :)

Stay tuned!

nanochromaddict wrote:
OMG I'm inspired!
Team

mollybermea

Aww thanks so much! Seriously, what a silly thing to comment on (per mochapu). Ohwell. Gotta take the good with the bad. ;)

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! And I appreciate your support too.

Taniagirly wrote:
pom-pon?? Never heard it spelled that way before. In fact it may be that Pom Pom is the accepted English spelling. Maybe you are the one who got it wrong?! Or maybe you are just a wee bit pedantic about things that aren't worth commenting on! Well written article that didn't your negative comment. Well done MollyBermea :)

mochapu wrote:
Not to be rude but if you are going to write an entire article about pom-pons please check your spelling. It's pom-pon, pom-pon. I can't get past the picture titling this article with improper spelling. Just thought I should let you know.
Team

roxipaintgirl

This is cool! I want to do this for my wedding if I end up having time...
Team

mollybermea

yeah, you DEFINITELY need a lot of time. :) when are you getting married? what are your colours?

roxipaintgirl wrote:
This is cool! I want to do this for my wedding if I end up having time...

elcee1987

Hey, I haven't seen a post yet on how these looked at the wedding! I'm thinking of taking this on, just not sure how to coordinate getting it done... (my bridesmaids live in pennsylvania, alaska, oklahoma and seattle. I live in Idaho...)

ekrepcho

WOW! This is SOOO much easier than the tissue paper P-O-M P-O-M, no offense of course to Martha!

My sister's wedding is coming up in a month and she has requested pom poms. I was planning on only doing cream or white pom poms, but tissue paper in cream is virtually impossible to find in bulk, and white seems to always be out of stock. I also like the suggestion of painting just the edges. My only question is this: if I'm not planning on dying them, would you still suggest soaking them in hot water and then putting them in the dryer so they get that good, accidental scrunch?
Team

mollybermea

Hi everyone, it's been a long time catching up with the Pom-Pom's . I'm doing a revisit to this topic which should air in the next couple weeks. Hopefully it'll help explain a little better how to make them (more simply) plus more alternative ideas to colouring them. :)

StaceyakaPlop

I know this is an older post, but I'm having a picnic themed outdoor wedding and I'm SO excited to make these for my tent. Thanks for saving me $25 on a hardcover book containing the same directions! :)

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search The Blog

Subscribe & Share

Our Latest Tweets

RT @ryan_schuijer: Dang, check these waterdroplets on @codepen, made by @stefanweck! So well made, it's like a window in your device https:…
about May 25, 2017
Tweet this ArticleFollow @COLOURlovers

Latest Wedding Blog Posts

//View More ›

Tags

Latest Wedding Colors

//View More ›

Latest Wedding Palettes

//View More ›

Latest Wedding Patterns

//View More ›