DIY Poi Kit Instructions and Videos
THE DIY POI KIT INCLUDES
- 2 Foam balls
- 2 Fabric swatches
- 2 Lengths of wool for the taura (cord)
- 2 Loops of wool for the hukahuka (tail)
- 2 Ties for the tails
- 2 Ties for the head (balls)
- 2 Lengths of thread
- 1 Needle
- 1 Measuring tape
- A pair of scissors
- A sharp knife like an hobby or craft knife or x-acto
PREPARING THE CORD
Take one of the lengths of wool for the cord and one of the loops of wool for the tail. Put the tail wool to one side for now.
For the taura wool, remove the outer tie (with the stamped Koakoa Design card) holding the wool together but leave the inner tie (orange wool) on. Don’t unwind the wool loops any further once you reach the orange tie. That will ensure you’ll have the right length for your cord.
Note: The orange wool isn't shown in the above image.
Pull the lengths of cord through the centre of the tail loops. You can remove the orange tie now. You can also remove the tie holding the tail loops together.
Attach the tail to something so you can pull on the cord as you plait it. In this case, we’ve used a foldback clip on a piece of wood. You could also loop it over a door or drawer handle or ask someone to hold it for you. While you’ll be pulling tight, it won’t be at full strength.
Separate out the cord lengths into 4 groups containing the same number of lengths in each group.
In some of the kits, there will be an even number of lengths so you can easily do this. In other kits, you’ll be working with an odd number* so you may have to cut a couple of the loops like in the picture to allow you to have an even distribution across the groups.
* If the wool is thinner, extra loops have been added in so the final thickness of the plaited cord is good.
PLAITING THE TAURA (CORD)
Once you have your 4 groups ready, it’s time to start plaiting.
Before you start your plait, have your tape measure close.
The plaiting is kept loose in the pictures just to help show the pattern.
You’re aiming for a tight but not super tight, plait.
The pattern for the plait is:
- Take the group at the far left (purple dot)
- Move it towards the right, under the two groups next to it
- Then, move it into the middle by going over the top of the group to its left
- Take the group at the far right (red dot) and move it towards the left going under the two groups next to it
- Then move it back to the right again by going over the top of the group immediately to its right
Repeat steps from 1-5 with the green and the orange groups and continue until you reach the right length.This image under the video shows how tight the plait will look.
TIP. You can practice the plaiting until you’re happy with the results.
TIP. When checking length, keep in mind the wool will pull back in a little shortening the cord slightly.
TIP. These aren’t performance poi, so around 20cm length should suit most purposes.
Take a small set of lengths from the different groups and knot the ends together. Repeat until all of the lengths are in a knot.
Take particular care that the non-looped lengths (e.g. any cut ones) are well knotted so they don’t come loose later.
Secure the knotted end. You’ll be pulling against it to comb and finish the tail. We used the foldback clip and a piece of wood. Like before, you can ask someone to hold it for you or attach it to a handle.
Use your fingers to comb through the tail. You’re wanting to straighten out the lengths so they don’t criss-cross over each other.
Take one of the tail ties (there will be two in the set). Fold it in half so it’s doubled over.
Tie off the tail a little underneath where it attaches to the cord. This will form the ball of the tail.
Tie a couple of knots to keep the ball secure.
Cut the loops in the tail. Trim the bottom of the tail so it’s even.
Get one of the foam balls and your sharp knife.
For our younger DIYers, make sure this part is done by someone older.
Cut a small opening and make a narrow tunnel into the centre of the ball.
You’ll be able to push your finger into the middle of the ball. That will be enough space to push the knotted part of the cord into.
Don’t cut it too wide or too deep otherwise there’s the risk the cord will either come out too easily or the ball will rip.
Once you’ve cut the hole, push the cord inside the ball and adjust it so the knots and loose ends are inside the ball and the plaited cord is outside.
Get the needle and one of the thread cards. Double the thread and tie 4-5 knots in the end so the knot is bulky.
You’ll now sew the cord into the ball to keep it from coming out.
Don’t pull the thread tightly. Leave it a little loose so the cord doesn’t put too much strain on the ball when you swing the poi.
Go back and forth in different directions making sure to push the needle through the cord and cord ends inside the ball as you do.
When you’ve got about 8-10 cms of length left, sew across the top of the hole opening (see a), then make some knots through the cord. (a, b)
TIP. It can be hard to push the needle through the ball. It can be easier to push against a hard surface or double over the card the thread came on to use as a cushion on your thumb when you push the needle through.
Take one of the fabric swatches and put the top of the ball (opposite the cord) in the centre of the swatch.
Pull the fabric over the top of the ball. Check to make sure the whole ball is covered and there is excess fabric all the way around where the ball meets the cord. You’ll tie some wool around the fabric and cord later.
To tidy up the fabric, make pleats all the way around.
Once you finish the pleating, the top of the poi will be smooth.
Before you tie the fabric, check to make sure there’s none caught up or doubled over around the cord.
Then take one of the ties for the head and fold it in half so it’s doubled. Then pull it tight around the fabric and make some knots at the top of the cord, where it joins the head.
TIP A simple way to tie off the fabric is to wrap the wool around once and tie a single knot. Then pull the wool to the back and cross it over before winding the wool to the front again and making a double knot.