Here are my tip for basic Pom-pom success – basically it's all in the trim.
You can get Pom-Pom makers in loads of places, they all look like This) They come with instructions, but basically wrap the yarn round the two jointed halves, clip them together and cut the strands between the two halves. You then tie a yarn strand between the two halves and you can pop out your pompom.
This is a Pom right off the maker, shaggy and uneven.
This is because you layer the yarn wraps, which means the last ones go over over all the others and so are longer. If you've ever got to this stage and given up, thinking how messy it looks, that's because you've never been told to trim them afterwards.
To get a smooth, cute pompom, you need to use sharp scissors to cut the yarn back.
Imagine you're trimming one of those posh hedges you see in stately homes, and bee ruthless.
This pale green one is half way through.
All "fresh" pom-poms tend to be oval or have long and short sections off the maker, whether you're using a purpose made pompom maker or the old school card circles, so cut the long bits off first, then keep going.
Keep turning the pompom round and round as you cut, visualising a tennis ball or similar as you go and be brave – you'll cut away at least a quarter of the yarn to get down to where the strands are most densely packed, which gives you the best finish.
This is a big bowl of cut off fluff, it's best to cut over a bowl to catch it all, and keep it for toy stuffing
– waste not, want not!
Eventually you will get to a ball about two thirds the size of where you started out,but far more dense, smooth and velvety in feel.
Of course, if you want a more shaggy look, you get less off, but even then you will probably need to trim as the shape always comes out a bit wonky. But I do love me a velvety smooth Pom-Pom!