Why buy expensive tat for Halloween, when you can make your own inexpensive tat using a black dustbin liner and a sheet or two of paper. Yes that's right, in about 10 minutes you can make some awesome Halloween decorations using an old fashioned craft idea brought right into the 21st century.
In this instructable we are going to be making pompoms from dustbin liners, but you could use plastic grocery bags, swing bin liners or brightly coloured sandwich bags.
If you tie the pompom off with more of the same bag, then you can even recycle the follower when you don't want it any more.
Ideally you will need Black dustbin liner (one large one makes two pompom heads) some office printer paper A4 or US Letter, one sheet per stem, some white (Elmer's or PVA) glue, and optionally to make things easier double sided tape and a squirt of glue gun glue. Oh and a little bit of paint, the brighter the better or even glow in the dark paint... oooh I feel spooky already...
Step 1: Take a Sheet of Paper
Some of you might know of my wand project, if so, this one starts in a very similar way. This is how you are going to make the stem.
Stick a strip of double sided tape diagonally across a piece of A4 or US Letter paper. You don't absolutely need to do this step but it does make rolling the paper up a bit easier later.
It's dark outside and where I live, quite near to Transylvania, the wolves are howling tonight and who knows what the vampires are doing...
Step 2: Begin to Roll the Paper Up Tightly
Unlike the wand, you will not be wanting much of a taper, but a little bit of a taper won't hurt. This is when the double sided comes in handy. Peel off the release paper and tightly roll up to the tape and then stop with the roll held in place...
Step 3: Apply White Glue and Continue Rolling
This is to make the stem nice and stiff. It is a sort of papier mache. Cover the paper in white glue (Elmer's or PVA) and roll right up nice and tightly. Hold for a few minutes until the glue starts to dry or secure the end with a bit of sticky tape.
Repeat this step for as many Spooky Flowers as you want to make. If you want to have flowers with longer stems, then, make the stems as described and poke the slightly narrower end of one into the slightly bigger end of another... easy.
Step 4: Add Detail to the Stem
Using the glue gun add three strips of glue down the stem. You can make any patterns you want here, but for me, I just did three slightly wavy (meant to be straight) lines down the length. One end is going to be buried in the pompom head and the other at the bottom of a vase, so you don't have to be too picky about the finish at the ends.
Step 5: Paint the Stem Black
It's getting spooky. But of course you can paint it orange if you want. I used black spray paint, but blackboard paint would work well too. use something that dries quickly so that you can get on with the next step... Oh, and use a paint finish that dries permanent. In a minute you are going to paint the glue gun strips, and you don't want that paint to wash off the black and go all grubby.
Step 6: Paint the Glue Gun Glue Stips
Create some funky detail on your spooky stems by painting the glue gun strips in a very bright or dayglo paint. Use bright green, yellow or orange, because they are all nice Halloween colours.
Why not paint them with glow -in -the-dark paint. You can buy that from a craft store or on-line, needs to be quite thick though and from my experience tales ages to dry, but you can paint it over existing paint so may be paint it green first and then highlight at the end of the project (just before you go to bed) in the glow in the dark stuff, which will then be dry by the morning.
Step 7: Cut Out Two Pompom Discs
Now you have made the stem or stems, put them to one side and start to make the pompom. Cut out two cardboard discs for each pompom you want to make. You will need two for each because unlike wool pompoms, you can't get cardboard discs off bin-liner pompoms without tearing the discs.
The size will determine the size of the pompom (derr... obviously). I find that the size of the outer ring is about that of the top of a pint glass. Don't make the inner hole too small, this image is about the right proportion of inner to outer circle.
Step 8: Thread the Dustbin Liner
Yep this is it, the moment you have been waiting for. Where grandma used to use yarn (wool thread), you are going to go punk and use a black plastic dustbin liner or refuse sack.
Take one large refuse sack slit the sides so that you can lay it out flat and then and cut it in half from top to bottom. half of one sack should make one pompom.
Then just like a traditional pompom, thread the sack through the disc and wrap it round the disc. Do this repeatedly and quite tightly, until the discs are evenly covered and you CAN'T push the bin liner through the middle, because there is no hole left. If you run out of bin liner before you finish, start a new one.
Step 9: Cut Round the Edge of the Disc
Star with a craft knife but then switch to scissors and cut round the edge of the disc right down to the cardboard rings. Push the blade of the scissors down and between the cardboard rings and use the rings as a guide to get and nice straight cut all the way round.
Step 10: Tie Off the Pompom
When you have completely cut round, BEFORE removing the cardboard rings, slip a piece of string, or stretched plastic bag between the rings and round the core of the pompom and tie tightly round the core in a secure knot. If you use plastic carrier bags or the same refuse sack material for this, you will still be able to recycle the flower head just like a plastic bag.
Step 11: Trim Your Pompom
This is great fun. fluff and trim, fluff and trim, you need to do this to make sure it is nice and even, with a tiny bit of care you can get a round head.
You will notice that this pompom looks different than a wool one. Because it's made of a spooky black refuse sack (yes they are spooky now) it has a kind of greasy feel and you can see the pattern of the plastic cut end on the surface of the pompom ball which look cool.
Step 12: Part the Pompom and Put Some Glue In
Get ready to stick the stem on now. Part some of the pompom and put some glue right down inside the pompom. I used glue gun glue for this because it is very quick to work with.
Step 13: Stick Stem Into Pompom Flower Head
BINGO... on spooky Flower ready for your table decoration. AND don't they look chic,... not bad for a refuse sack and a rolled up bit of paper.
See four in a row, reminds me of an advert we have here in the UK...
It's not just Flowers... it's Spooky Flowers
And in case you need it a little picture capturing the whole process in a snapshot.
If you like this project you'll love dadcando which has loads of other regular pompom projects and tonnes of other making and doing projects, idea for things to do with kids of a weekend or evening.
Happy making and Trick or Treating... (but don't be too mean).