XIAOLU'S NOTES: Some types of tissue paper are too thick or waxy, and do not work well with a craft punch. You can still make these toppers with that type of tissue paper. But you will need to cut a 2-inch circle out of thicker paper (such as card stock), trace circle outlines onto that tissue paper, then cut out tissue paper circles manually along those outlines. This will definitely take longer than using the craft punch, but you can speed things up by cutting between 8 and 16 layers of tissue paper at a time.
Tissue paper (any color)
2-inch circle craft punch (such as this one
Thread (preferably in similar color to tissue paper)
4 to 5-inch lollipop sticks OR wooden skewers cut to size
Fold or layer tissue paper so that it is between 8 and 16 layers thick and punch out 2-inch circles using the craft punch. You'll need 30 circles per pom-pom topper. Because it's so thin, the tissue paper easily gets stuck in the punch. After 30 minutes of frustration, I finally figured out the trick: (1) insert the paper into the punch and presh down just far enough that you can no longer shift the paper around freely; (2) continue holding the punch down partially as you use your other hand to pull the tissue paper in the other direction as if you're trying to remove it from the punch (this pulls the paper taut so the punch cuts the tissue paper instead of pulling it inside); (3) continue pulling the paper as you push the punch firmly down all the way and cut out your circles.
Double-thread your needle, double-knot the end, and sew through the center of a stack of 30 tissue paper circles.
Double-knot the thread on the opposite side as close to the tissue paper as possible and cut the remaining thread close to the knot.
Use scissors to cut 8 evenly spaced "spokes" into the circles, stopping 1/4 inch from the center.
Attach the circles to a 4 to 5-inch paper or wood stick using double-sided tape. First cover 1 inch of the tip of the stick with double-sided tape, then carefully insert the stick about halfway between the layers of circles and toward the center point of the circle. Do not insert the end of the stick beyond the center point or it will be hard to fluff the topper later. Once you've inserted the stick, press the tissue paper on both sides along the tip of the stick to ensure it adheres well.
Use your fingers to separate and bend the tissue layers/cut sections until about half the layers have been fluffed out. Now turn the topper over and fluff out the rest of the layers from the other direction until it looks like a pom-pom. You want to be gentle since it's tissue paper, but you will also want to press near the base repeatedly as you fluff in order to crease the paper so that the sections don't fall flat again. Now you can instantly make any cupcake more festive with your new topper =D!