How to make poi balls at home

Written by jo burns
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How to make poi balls at home
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Poi balls were originally used by the Maori people of New Zealand to improve their strength, flexibility and coordination. The word "poi" translates to "ball on a cord," according to the Home of Poi website. The Maori women continue the tradition of poi through dance and storytelling; however, poi dancing, or "juggling," has been adapted by other cultures. LED poi, fire poi and flag poi are some of the ways poi is practised.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 4 Socks
  • 4 Rubber bands
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Heavy string
  • Newspaper
  • Stones
  • Gift wrap
  • Plastic bags

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    Sock Poi Balls

  1. 1

    Roll two ankle-length socks into tight balls and secure them with a rubber band.

  2. 2

    Slide the sock rolls into the foot portion of two tube socks.

  3. 3

    Twist a rubber band around the heel area of the tube sock to keep the rolled sock inside. The "tube" portion of the socks serve as the cords.

    Maori Poi Balls

  1. 1

    Measure and cut six pieces of heavy string 30 inches long. Make two braided strands using three strings in each braid. Tie a knot at the end of each braid to keep it secure as you work.

  2. 2

    Wrap one string braid around each of the newspaper balls. Circle each newspaper ball four times and tie the braids in place.

  3. 3

    Cut two 12-inch by 12-inch squares of solid-colour gift wrap or fabric. Place a newspaper ball in the centre of each paper square. Pull the paper over the ball from all sides and smooth the paper up toward the braid knot. Tie the paper in place with a small piece of string. Repeat for the other newspaper ball

  4. 4

    Measure and cut two 15-inch by 15-inch squares of plastic from a plastic grocery bag. Cover the poi balls with plastic applying the same method used to cover them in decorative paper. Secure the plastic with a short length of string. Trim away excess paper near the braid for a neat and finished look.

  5. 5

    Tie a small loop in the end of each braid to use as your handle.

Tips and warnings

  • Poi balls made from socks and newspaper are well-suited for children and beginners. After they start spinning, a poi ball can cause pain and even bruising when it comes in contact with the body. More experienced jugglers can use heavier stones or simply wrap tennis balls in plastic. The heavier the poi balls are, the slower they move and the easier they are to control. But heavier poi balls may also mean a few bumps and bruises for the beginner.

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