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 because poi is normally done with 2, but it's a good explanation of poi)
Rastaxel - Poi in the park (a good demonstration of sock poi)
These are much softer than tennis balls or many other practice poi. It's made from rice in socks. They could also be made from crunched candle wax in plastic bags. They don't tangle too much like tennis ball poi since you can pull them apart. 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. They're virtually indestructable and should last a very long time, depending on how well you make it (I'd guess 10 years minimum with my poi).
The time you'll need:
For these poi I worked about 6h continuous, but with taking pictures along. My next 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. I recently bought some cloth for €30 to make another 10 poi or so. You'll need some cordage too, for tying the handles to the poi and for sewing. 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.
The value I would give to my poi would probably be around $50 because it's so pretty and good quality. So I would say it's well worth the effort to make it.
Things I used:
- piece of cloth, 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. Or just any very strong thread. This will make the sewing line stronger than the cloth itself.
- 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 (the famous led poi from flowtoys) 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 (mine come from home of poi). It's also possible to make knobs from bouncy balls with a drill, or something else if you're creative. Watch out for hard materials as they're painful when they hit your knuckles if you're trying to catch them.
Only the knobs or only the swivels are also possible of course.
- small pliers
- a needle
- a lighter, for burning the ends of the paracord
- something to draw lines on the cloth
- some strings for holding the rope into place
- perhaps a grater for powdering candle wax
I used paracord for tying the loop 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, but make sure it's strong enough.
You'll have to use cloth that doesn't unravel if you cut it, and with a thickness of about 1mm. I don't know if other thicknesses will work as well for making the rope. I 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. I used about 70cm x 50cm. Recently I found this cloth in the store. In dutch it's called 'sweaterstof', but I don't know what it's called in English. 'Sweater fabric' seems to be something else. It's a synthetic fabric that's a little plushy on one side and smooth on the other side (gemoltoneerd in dutch, napped in English).
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.
At first I used about 2 x 80g of rice, but then I made them heavier (I'm guessing around 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 bags with a grater. 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... if it's unintended.
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, I tried to explain every little detail.
I drew a shape, as seen on the first picture, for cutting. My older poi are visible on the first picture.
If you want to make one of the older poi, which is like a sock poi, you should just cut one thick strand for each poi and sew from bottom to top. It's one long pocket.
I'm not explaining that other poi (the one with the rope) because it sucks.
For these poi, you have to cut two strands, and if you want to make my newer version, you have to draw 4 thinner strands for each poi.
The green line is where I cut it.
'A' will be the pocket, for inserting the bags of rice. You can choose your own size. Mine is about 20 x 15 cm, for each poi. Make it wide enough if you want to add glowsticks. My poi are just a little too thin. They don't keep the glowsticks around them but I can still insert glowsticks between the two strands of the rope.
'B' will be a little longer than the length of the rope. If you make the rope it will become shorter, and you can cut the excess off later. To be sure, cut it about 20cm longer than the length you want. I took about 60cm.
Each rope consists of 2 threads (or 1 for the sock-like poi, or 4 for my newer poi), getting thinner to the top.
If you don't get it, google: reverse wrapping cordage.
Check step 4 for more information on the 4 strand ropes.
As you can see, there are little corners between the rectangle and the rope. This is for the vertical sewing line, it folds to the inside of the poi. That is not needed with the sock-like poi because the sewing line goes from bottom to top.
Also, a bar of about 2cm on the bottom gets folded over and sewed (horizontally), so there will be a little tube at the bottom.
That tube is for inserting a rope and closing the pocket.
You will need some more cloth for the handles (step 6).