Learn how to make a spooky Halloween eyeball garland out of pompom makers and yarn that will make ghouls and goblins shiver in fear.
Last year, I became obsessed with making pompom eyeballs. Now that it’s October, all I want to do is watch my favorite Halloween-time movies (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ghostbusters, Goonies, Hocus Pocus, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Clue and the entire Harry Potter series) with my favorite friends and family, while we make a giant batch of pompom eyeballs. Pompom makers are a must-have when you have crafty kids in your life, and since pompom eyeballs can have any color iris, this is a great way to thin out the yarn scraps you’ve been hoarding. It’s a hard project to “mess up” so it’s perfect for a big family movie and craft night. It’s a project that is fun for kids 4 and up.
Yarn in white (or cream), black, and any colors you wish for the irises
Large pompom makers (store bought or homemade will work)
Plastic yarn needle
Working with your largest pompom maker (ours measured about three inches across), open and wrap a length of black yarn around the middle of one side, ten times. Cut the black yarn and hold the lose end in place with your finger or tie a quick knot to hold it in place. This will become the pupil of the pompom eye, so keep in mind that the wider you wrap the yarn, the wider (or more dilated) your pupil will look.
Select a second color of yarn for the iris and wrap it directly over the black yarn. Depending on the thickness of the yarns you chose, you may need to wrap your colorful yarn 30 times (we did) to completely cover the black.
Grab the white yarn, for (you guessed it!) the whites of the eyes and wrap it over the existing yarn, plus the rest of that side of the pompom maker. Keep wrapping until the pompom maker is evenly covered in white yarn and looks nice and fat.
Then, close that side of the pompom maker and wrap the other side of the pompom maker with white yarn until it is even and fat.
Use sharp scissors (parents, you may need to step in and help) to snip the yarn along the “gutter” of the pompom maker on both sides.
Next, take a length of yarn (I used black in this example, but would recommend a lighter color) and run it around the pompom maker gutter where you just snipped. Pull the ends of that piece of yarn with all your might and make several tight knots. (Parents, use that muscle again to prevent exploding eyeballs later.)
When you are sure the knots are tight, remove the plastic pompom maker.
You’re done! Doesn’t it look perfect? No? Ok, it looks like a shaggy mop, so grab the scissors, and the large bowl to catch all of the yarn clippings that you are about to make. It’s time for the kids to give those eyeballs a serious hair cut.
We trimmed a LOT of yarn off so that the eyeballs would end up small and dense, and well, look like eyeballs. Occasionally fluff the eyeballs as you trim, because there are always a few stray pieces of yarn that will poke out. This is also the time to fluff/squish/rearrange the black yarn if your pupils don’t look round, or if the colorful iris yarn doesn’t look evenly distributed around the black.
Snip the black yarn that tied the pompom together, and repeat the above steps a dozen or so times. (Quick work if you are watching one of the awesome aforementioned movies.)
Thread the yarn needle with the yarn color of your choice, make several knots in one end, and run the needle through the side of one eye. Make a second big knot a few inches from the first eyeball, and string up a second eyeball. Soon, you will have a long, lovely chain of fuzzy peepers!
We hang our eyeball garland in the front window, but here are a few variations:
– String up the eyeballs like a pearl necklace and wear them around your neck
– Hand out sets of eyeballs to trick-or-treaters
– Glue pompom eyeballs to hair clips and you have the beginnings of a quick Halloween costume
– Arrange the black pupil yarn to look like slits, instead of circles, and use yellow yarn for the irises to make cat eyes
-As my 10 year old niece suggested, group a handful of eyeballs together, glue them to a swatch of felt, and glue that to a headband to make a simple spider costume. This would work great for any insect with lots of eyes! (Bees, flies, etc.)
– Don’t snip the black yarn that tied the eyeball together. Tie it around your finger for a quick ring
– Top any and every gift you give this October in pompom eyeballs
Oh, and if you do string up the eyeballs into a garland and find that a few wander, don’t be disheartened. Grab your scissors and trim off any excess yarn weight until the eye floats into place.
All photos by: Megan Andersen