Pompom tiger

This is a tutorial how to make a tiger out of yarn using pompom technique.
That's the creature we're going to make (raccoon is also a pompom toy):

We'll need:
  • Orange yarn, black yarn, white yarn and cream yarn.
  • Sharp scissors
  • Cardstock or thick paper pattern.
  • Craft wire.
  • Thick needle with a large eye and rounded needle point (the one used for yarn embroidery).
  • Ordinary needle and some threads.
  • Eyes and a nose (either bought at the craft store - especially for toys, or just buttons and beads, or handmade from plastic or flour-salt mix)
  • Craft glue (white or textile)
There's the pattern I suggest to use:

Body is an ellipse with the bigger axis 7-7,5 cm (3") with a hole of 3 cm (1,25"); ear is a circle; head has a complicated shape, 6 cm (2,25") long and 5 cm (2") high. It consists of two arcs (pink and green), centers of which (large dots of corresponding color) are NOT in the same place. Of course, 3-4 mm don't mean that much and after all you can always fix the pompom with scissors, yet there're things to keep in mind not to get "something-nobody-knows-what" and then just cut and cut. The arc centers' position is measured from the inside circle (so when you draw it you first draw the smaller circle and then everything else).

All parts are cut from the cardstock twice. We'll need two of each part: two bodies, two heads, four ears. Legs and a tail will be wired, so we don't need a pattern for them.

Let's begin with the BODY.

We'll need yarn of three colors, two body-patterns and scissors.

Cut a piece of yarn 20-30 cm (2/3-1') long and put it between the body patterns. To fix it you can glue it to the pattern with a very small drop of glue. So we put the string between the patterns in cirle and fix it.

Now we are going to skein =) A sector - one quarter or less - we're going to fill with white, that will be our tiger's white belly. The rest of the body should be covered with a single layer of orange yarn.

The next layer: white belly is still covered with white (or you can make the belly all at once - no need to wait for the next layer to begin. To make the belly rounder try to spool the sector in the middle a little thicker than at the edges of the white sector), and the orange part is to be covered with black yarn. Work carefully, note no orange "peeping" through =) :

The third layer: orange again:

And so on. Change red and black layers until the circle in the middle of the pattern will be closed with yarn. At the later stages use the big thick needle with large eye to guide the yarn through a smaller opening in the middle as the spool you're using will not go through anymore. The last layer should be all red - including the white part, cover it with red too:

You may want to add some more red and black, but don't try too hard - that will be the top and the bottom of the body. So let's make a pompom out of it. Near the place, where the inside string comes out (remember the first step when we put it between the two parts of the pattern?) cut the yarn, trying to cut between the paper patterns. Be careful not to cut the middle string!

That's how it looks when the yarn is a little cut:
the paper pattern can be seen there and also note the forming stripes! Cut the yarn all around the pattern carefully.

Try not to disturb the yarn and tie the middle string in tightly, right in the middle of everything, tie in a reliable good knot.

Now we can remove the paper circles, to do it - cut them and pull out:

After its "birth" the pompom is pretty shapeless and rough. Place it between your palms and roll in different directions as if you were forming a ball out of clay:

When you're satisfied with its shape take the scissors and offer your future tiger a hair-cut =) Some threads will be sticking out - just cut them:

That's the tiger's back, stripy:

Now we're going to make a TAIL.
No pattern, free spooling. We'll need a piece of craft wire 30 cm (1') long, bend it so that one end will be 1/3 long, the other one - 2/3. The end of the tail will be at this curve.
The end of the tail should be white. Take white yarn and wind it around your finger (or a 2 cm (0,75") cardboard strip). If the yarn is thick (50 g / 90 m = 0,1 lbs / 100 yards) 10 winds will be enough; if it's thinner (50 g / 150 m = 0,1 lbs / 170 yards) - about 30. Follow your inner voice =)
Spool, cut the top and the bottom:

You get a bunch of threads of the equal length. Place this bunch into a wire loop you've made:

Tie and twist the wire ends a few times to fix it:

Then follow the same instruction, but changing white color for orange and black:

Spool, cut, attach to the tail, fix the wire ends. Continue until one of the wire ends become too short to continue. Twist it around the longer one to fix.
Roll the tail between your palm slightly to make it rounder
Use the scissors to cut the untidy hairs:

The loose end of the wire will be used to attach tail to the body.

Now we're going to make a HEAD:
A pattern:

Please, pay your attention to the muzzle: the jaw should be bigger than the forehead; and it's important to make a small stud at the end of the nose - it will help you to keep the jaw-yarn in place without possibility for it to skip to the foreheard part.
Mark the stripes: let there be 3 horizontal stripes on the back of tiger's head and 3 vertical on his forehead. And don't forget to make his chin white. Another detail: the borders of the white part are marked with small slots - for the same reason we made a stud, to keep the yarn in its right place and not to mix the colors.
Ok, so between the two head patterns you should put a middle string.
Wind white yarn for the chin:

The first layer: make all forehead black, the marked stripes on the back of the head - black, everything else - red:

The second layer: the marked stripes on the back of the head are continued with black, and forehead should be covered with red!

The third layer: again the forehead is black, stripes are black, chin is white, all the gaps are filled with red.

That's it, leave the forehead and continue covering it with red, no more black there! And spool the head until the inner circle becomes tight:



Remove the paper patterns, roll between your palm slightly and cut the hair you don't like with scissors.

So we've got the head! Front:



Each Tiger needs a pair of ears! =)
Take our small ear patterns, out a middle string between two of them. 1/3 sector should be covered with cream/pink/beige, make it tight and careful:

Use the needle for winding, because the inner opening is too small.
Now let's make a black fringe around the cream-colored "inner" part of the ear. To complete this task wind a single layer of black yarn, and add some more black on the border of "cream"/"free".

The rest should be covered with red:

Ears should be attached to the head. If the middle-srting of the ear is long and thin enough you can use it to sew the ears to the head. If it's not - tie another thin thread to the middle of the ear and sew the ears. The needle must go deep into the tiger's head to catch the head's "middle-string-knot". It's the only steady place which can be used for fixing. So try to get the neddle through the head a few times back and forth. And make it tight - so that the ears would "sink" into the head's fur a little.

The same idea as the tail. Take a piece of wire 22 cm long (9"), bend it to make 6,5+15,5 (2,5"+6,5"). Make the paws cream - just like we've made the end of the tail white, fix it in a loop. Then change red and black till the end of the wire. Try to make both arms simultaneously, this way you'll have a greater chance of making them equal of size and color =) Tie and fix the wire as usually.

will be done right on the body. A piece of wire 30 cm long (1') should be inserted in the body from the bottom, try to catch the body's middle-string - otherwise the legs will fall out. And pull the wire back. So you've just looped the wire around the body's knot and have two equal pieces of wire sticking from the lower part of the body:

Bend each part of the wire in half and repeat the "arms"-steps.

Head, tail and arms are attached tot he body with the same idea. Catch the middle knot and fix the thread.
And that's what we've got so far:

Now we need to make the 'face' =)
Nose should be glued between the longer hairs of the muzzle:

It should stay in one place, with no need to be rotated or displaced, we can't sew it, so just glue it well.

And as for the eyes - we will sew them. The forehead's hair are shorter and thicker and eyes will be fixed well. Mark the places of eyes with pins - choose the expression of the face you like most. And using a needle and a thread sew the eyes to the middle knot in the head:

Sink them a little. You can also fix the thread under the head - in the neck.

Here he is! Pompom tiger!



I hope some of you find this tutorial useful =) If you have any questions - feel free to ask, I'll try my best to explain =)
Comments are appreciated.
If someone cares - I can also post "theory and basics" of pompom-making so that you'll be able to create your own patterns and your own animals.


  1. I'm going tomorrow to buy the supplies to make this tiger. It is very involved and I hope it comes out looking like your tiger.

    1. Cool! Good luck! =) Please, leave me a link if you post your complete tiger - wanna see it =)