How to turn plants into pom poms

I’m sure you are all aware that I do not possess magical powers of any kind (for those who didn’t know, sorry to burst your bubble!) – and yet, yesterday, I turned plants into pom poms in a matter of minutes.


They look right at home with the Turkish tassels on my wall, don’t they? However, they only got to hang out (pun intended) there for a few seconds, as they were actually a present for a friend. A male friend. Gifts for guys always stump me, so when I came up with this idea for such a simple project I was rather pleased.



All you need is an air plant or two (or more, if you’re feeling generous!) and some cord or leather thonging. That’s all!


These are the plants I chose. They are called tillandsia, apparently sometimes called Tilly for short. I selected the most pom-pom-like pair I could find, then dug the leather thonging out from my haberdashery stash and tied one plant to each end, like so.


I’m sure I could have done a slightly better job with tying the thonging around the plants because the ends of the thonging don’t look that professional. Next time I’ll have to research knotting techniques, perhaps.


Tying the thonging around the plant is a little bit tricky because the leaves are fragile, but I wanted to make sure the thonging was secure. I kind of threaded the thonging in and out between the leaves, going around the plant base twice. You could use other types of cord for this, or even chain, which I had considered – this project can easily be adapted to suit the recipient, who of course doesn’t have to be male. For a girlfriend maybe colourful raffia would be nice, or natural twine for a greenie, or a string of shiny beads or even pearls or rhinestones for someone a bit fancy, or plaited/macramed/crocheted yarn for a hipster type. There are a few things to take into consideration, though: the reason I didn’t use the chain is that the plants need to be immersed in water for an hour a month, as well as being sprayed occasionally, and chain might rust. If you could work out a way to make the chain detachable from the fastening around the plant base, though, that problem would be solved. I think leather will be OK even if it’s submerged in water, although I suppose as the plants grow, the thonging might have to be loosened a bit?

As with actual pom poms, the possibilities for this idea are kind of endless. I’m imagining a mobile made of hanging air plants, or a chandelier, or a Christmas wreath or table decoration – it’s only the knowledge that there are a million other things on my DIY list that is holding me back!