Introduction: How to Make Dragon Poi

About: I am a Dream Consultant at TechShop San Jose and I make stuff. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @ellieectrode

These dragon poi (so named because of the colorful flags attached to the poi) are a simple sewing project for the beginner flow artist.

For this project you will need:

  1. Sewing machine or needle and thread
  2. 1 pair of women's knee high stockings
  3. Rice or bulk grain of some type
  4. Lightweight woven fabric
  5. Lightweight filmy fabric
  6. Scissors
  7. Tissue or thin paper
  8. Ruler

"In poi - one of the flow arts' simplest and most common forms, you swing two small weights around on cords. The physical activity feels great and the challenge of the movement engages you so fully that everything else melts away. You can pull out a pair of poi anywhere and almost immediately achieve the state of optimal experience known as "flow". The term "flow arts" encompasses the emerging movement-based artforms that integrate dance and creative exploration of movement with skill-based prop manipulation. The Flow Arts draw from a multitude of ancient and modern movement disciplines from Maori poi spinning to modern firedancing, from martial arts and taichi to circus arts and hula hooping."

Step 1: Make a Pattern

The green paper I am using is painter's masking paper, it comes in a roll in the paint section of the hardware store and is good to use for a project like this, or as a roll for sketching practice. Tissue paper or backing papers sold at fabric stores are also good for this type of project.

To make the pattern, I've measured out about 30" of paper and folded it in half, then drawn a line at about 15° from vertical. Unfolded, it makes a long triangular section.

Next I fold my piece of fabric in half and cut some pattern pieces, you will need three pieces for each poi, so retrace the pattern 3-6 times (I have enough fabric that I can make an extra pair.)

Step 2: Assemble the First Pieces

Cut two flags from your filmy fabric, the wide end of the flag should be about two thirds the length of the side of your triangular section.

Sandwich the flag in between two of the triangular pieces as shown, pin and sew. I also pinned some more of the masking paper to stiffen the layers as I sew the seam, this is a good trick for working with flimsy fabrics.

Step 3: The Flat Pattern

The pictures show how the triangular pieces should look when assembled with two pieces, and three pieces front and back. You should end up with two sets of three seamed triangular pieces with a flag sewn into one of the seams.

Before you complete the next steps, reinforce the seams with a zigzag stitch over your straight stitch.

Step 4: Create a Cone Like Shape

Join the last open seams together to form a cone shaped tube. Pin the flag in place so that it can tuck into the inside of the tube while you sew the last seam. Turn the whole tube inside out once you are finished.

Once you've completed the final seam, you should have two cone shaped tubes that are open on either end (One end is tiny, one end is big). Next, pour some rice into your pair of knee high stockings and wrap them to make little rice bundles. The bundles are the fail-safe in case your poi breaks. Place one stocking/rice set into the large end of each poi.

Step 5: Close the End With a Tri-Seam and a Finger Loop

Find the center of each triangular panel, mark with a pin. Mate two pins together from the adjoining panels, and sew a seam to the pin. Trim the end. Last, fold the small end over to make a finger loop.

Step 6: Bad Action Shot!