How to make beautiful soft poi's from a piece of cloth

Picture of How to make beautiful soft poi's from a piece of cloth
This is my first instructable. I hope you like it. I was in a creative mood today, so I made some poi's.
It's my 3th pair of poi's I made myself, each one was better than the last.
See the last step for my 4th version. The rope is more beautiful.

Don't know what poi's are? Check this out:

The poi's:
These are much softer than tennis balls, made from rice in socks. My other poi's are made from crunched candle wax in plastic bags. They don't tangle too much like tennis ball poi's.
I used a rope-making technique (reverse wrapping cordage) to make my new poi's more stretchy and bouncy, it brings a nice feel to it. And it should, in theory, be stronger than the same piece of cloth not made into rope.

The time you'll need:
On my third pair of poi's (these) I worked a whole day. About 7h continuous, but with taking pictures. My fourth pair of poi's, the ones with a 4 strand rope, took me 3 days about 3h a day. I already got the materials though. And I didn't really make any mistakes. You'll need a little patience but not too much.

The money you'll need:
I didn't spend any money on my poi's, but I had all the materials in my house. For the cloth, you'll need the money for a cheap t-shirt. Or just buy a piece of cloth which would be cheaper. You'll need some cordage too, for tying the handles to the poi's. Paracord is pretty cheap. But maybe first check if you have anything similar at home and test if you can make a tight gaucho knot with it (step 6). Besides that, you'll need some old socks and rice which you probably have at home. Or you'll need some cheap tea lights instead. I found a bag of 100 for only €1 a while earlier.

Things I used:
- piece of cloth of course, roughly 70 x 50cm (28 x 20 inch), maybe a little more to be sure. Check below for more details
- some paracord. About 4 x 1m (4 x 40 inch/3.3 feet). The actual knot takes less, you can cut off a lot if the knot's ready
- one of the inside threads of paracord for sewing. Fishing line should also be good.
- two socks to fill with rice or plastic bags to fill with pulverized candle wax. Or just any bag you can fill with about 80 - 100g of powder
- 2 x 80 - 100 g of rice or candle wax. Or some kind of powder. Check below for more details

- scissors
- small pliers
- a needle
- a lighter, for burning the ends of the paracord
- something to draw lines on the cloth
- ruler
- some strings for holding the rope into place
- maybe a grater if your candle wax doesn't pulverize

I used paracord for tying the the handle on the rope with a special knot (gaucho knot). You'll need about 4 x 1m. If you don't have paracord, be creative! Maybe another thick cord will work as well. I used one of the inside threads for sewing. You can also use fishing line, it shouldn't break. Or you can use your own sewing technique if it's strong enough.

I don't know much about textile, so I can't say which kind of cloth is best. I can only say make sure it doesn't unravel if you cut it. And my cloth has a thickness of 1mm. I don't know if other thicknesses will work as well for making the rope. I just found a sheet somewhere in the woods and it seemed to be perfect for making poi's. It's bright red, it doesn't unravel and it is very soft for handling and slightly stretchy. I used about 70 x 50cm.

If you want to be sure if the rope will work, try cutting 2 (or 4) strands and follow step 4 for making a test rope. Then you can also check the length before and after so you know how much it will shrink once it's wrapped. Don't forget to make it tight enough, and then apply the same tightness to the poi's.

The weight
I used about 2 x 80g of rice. But maybe 90-100g/poi would be better., you'll feel the poi better, and you'll have more control in the wind. You can always open the poi's and adjust the weight. For my new poi's I used cheap candle wax (2 x 5 tealights, but 6 would be better) and pulverized it into plastic bag's. I got cheap candles that seem to be compressed grains of wax, they pulverize easily, but you can always use a grater for normal wax. The rice and the wax are both very soft if you hit yourself. The wax is softer than the rice, especially if you keep a little air in the plastic bags. They only hurt if you hit your eyes or your balls.

If you don't have rice or candles you can use any kind of powder. Water balloons are possible too but they can break, and that's no fun if you don't want that.

See the last step for my new version of these poi's.

If you have any questions about this instructable, message me or make a comment. I hope it's clear enough and you won't struggle too much. I think they're easy to make but maybe for some people it could be a little difficult.
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AlexMcG6 months ago

I like your design. Just one note: the plural of poi is "poi" ("Sometimes I do exercises with a single poi, but usually I use a pair of poi."), not "poi's." (Also, apostrophes are used to indicate possession, not plurals.)

Sorry, I couldn't help it.

nvandevyver (author)  AlexMcG1 month ago

thanks for pointing that out :]

I'm working on mine, I used pretty thick fleece because it is the only stretchy material I could find. Now I'm stuck because the fabric is too thick to do cordage with.
Next week I'm gonna add a step showing my previous poi's. It's almost the same but without cordage. Like a long sack. Perhaps you can restart if this doesn't work.

If you do, make sure the sewing line is strechy like your material. I don't know how to do this but I know it's possible.

A loose, long stitch makes it stretch well with stretchy fabric. If you pull it tight you might find it doesn't work as well or pulls to taught and could snap. I know this is 7 months too late to be helpful but in case you were still wondering. Don't forget you can use ANY material just about. Grab an old tshirt or jeans or socks. Socks won't cord like in the tutorial but half the work is already done. If you have a dollar store nearby, they have good socks for cheap and usually really colorful.

Thanks anyway, if I make another pair I'll try that out. I ended up creating my own design with socks, fleece, rice and a little stitching. I'll include the link for my instructable soon.

Ah, that sucks. Actually you don't need strechy material, the cordage technique makes it strechy. Maybe you can make the rope a little thinner?
JanevaReverie7 months ago

This is a really great poi making tutorial! It's simple enough, efficient, inexpensive and attractive! I will be trying this one soon. I've been playing with many different methods and they've all be successful but they still feel like they're missing something. Also, I use a half-cup of black beans or pinto beans as the weight. The weight is pretty good for almost any material you use, it may be a light for anyone who is used to spinning fire wicks, but great for learning tricks and working on your planes. Also they don't hurt when you smack yourself, they're the cheapest material you can use pretty much and they don't slip through the fabric weave like rice. Happy spinning! Thanks for the tute!

back here in nz we made POI's by packing plastic bags inside each other then tying rope around the open end. works really well
back here in nz we made POI's by packing plastic bags inside each other then tying rope around the open end. works really well
back here in nz we made POI's by packing plastic bags inside each other then tying rope around the open end. works really well
redwolfboy1 year ago
This is a great idea, I'm guessing they can be filled with something harder and turned into a weapon.
nvandevyver (author)  redwolfboy1 year ago
haha, probably :p but I use a monkey's fist with an iron ball for that