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How to make beautiful soft poi from a piece of cloth

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This is my first instructable. I hope you like it. It's my 3th pair of poi I made myself, each one was better than the last. I made a 4th version too, but I lost them. Then I changed these into even more awesome poi with swivels and ball handles. They're in the last step.

Don't know what poi are? Check this out:
Jonathan Alvarez - Bending Light (with 3 light poi, a bit unusual, but it's a good explanation of poi)
Rastaxel - Poi in the park (a good demonstration of sock poi)


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

The time you'll need:
For my these poi I worked a whole day. About 6h continuous, but with taking pictures along. My fourth pair of poi, the ones with a 4 strand rope, took me 3 days about 2-3h 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, I had all the materials in my house. For the cloth, you'll need an old t-shirt or something. Or just buy a piece of cloth. That shouldn't be too expensive. You'll need some cordage too, for tying the handles to the poi. 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) or something like that. Besides that, you'll need some old socks and rice which you probably have at home. Or you'll need some candle wax instead. I found a bag of 100 tealights for only €1 a while ago.


Things I used:
- piece of cloth of course, roughly 70cm x 50cm (28 inch x 20 inch), maybe a little more to be sure. Check below for more details
- one of the inside threads of paracord for sewing. Fishing line should also work.
- two socks to fill with rice or plastic bags to fill with pulverized candle wax.
- rice or candle wax. Or some kind of powder. At first I used about 80 or 100g. But I made them heavier now. As I got better I realized they were too light. Podpoi are 128g per poi head, this should be a good place to start.

For loop handles:
- some paracord. About 4 x 1m (4 x 40 inch or 3.3 feet) for this particular knot.

For swivel and knob handles:
- 2 swivels and knobs, bought online. It's also possible to make knobs from bouncy balls with a drill.
Only the knobs or the swivels are also possible.

- 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
- a grater, if your candle wax doesn't pulverize between your fingers


Cordage:
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 or another thin cord of it's strong enough.

Cloth:
You'll have to use cloth that doesn't unravel too much if you cut it. 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 was perfect for making poi. It's bright red, it doesn't unravel and it is very soft for handling and slightly stretchy. I used about 70cm 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 thickness. Don't forget to make it tight enough, and then apply the same tightness to the poi's.

The weight
At first I used about 2 x 80g of rice, but then I made them heavier (I'm guessing about 130g). You'll feel the poi better if they're heavier, and you'll have more control in the wind. You can always open the poi and adjust the weight. For my new poi I used pulverized candle wax (7 or 8 tealights per poi) 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, 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 break easily. And that's no fun.


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



If you have any questions about this instructable, just message me or make a comment. I hope it's clear enough. I think they're easy to make but maybe this instructable could be a little complicated.

 
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AlexMcG9 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)  AlexMcG3 months 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?
JanevaReverie10 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
Cool!