make your own wool dryer balls
of our customers want to use as natural materials as possible in
everything they do, including diapering. Our PVC dryer balls are made
using non-toxic processes, but for those who want an even more natural
alternative, we are providing this tutorial. Please
note this is not the only way to make wool dryer balls but is one easy
way you can make them yourself, if you are inclined. :-) Also note the
creative commons copyright and the licenses and restrictions it
Any size you want, really! Commercial dryer balls are approximately 9
inches in circumference. I like to make my wool dryer balls about
10-10.5 inches in circumference prior to felting, since they will
shrink a bit as they felt.
Wool Yarn: This is a great time to use your scraps. For the best
results, use a yarn that is 100% wool or otherwise is a good felting
yarn. Do not use superwash wool. If it says it is machine washable, you
don't want it for this project! There are a lot of good, cheap, felting
wool yarns available at local stores.
amount of yarn required depends on the weight and gauge of the yarn you
choose. Bulky yarns will wind faster and take less yarn. For the
worsted weight yarns pictured here, it was approximately 3 ounces.
* Old Pantyhose or a Sock
Cotton or Acrylic Yarn or String: You can use scraps here, too. This
will be used to tie the hose or sock. You don't want this to felt, so
don't use the wool yarn here.
* A Small Crochet Hook
* A Measuring Tape
you have ever wound yarn into a ball, this is basically just like that,
except you want to wind it tighter than you should normally. There are
*many* different ways to make felted wool balls. This is just one way.
Feel free to experiment! You could also use wool roving and needles for
felting to make the whole ball or just the core.
Step 1: Winding the Core
begin by making the core of the ball. Making a core first will make the
finished ball a little more firm. It is also possible to simply skip
this step, but the ball will be a bit more squishy during the felting
and might not have as nice a shape when you're finished.
Begin by winding a bit of yarn around your fingers.
Once you have a bit, take it off your fingers, let it close and wrap the yarn around it. This is the beginning of your ball.
wrapping the yarn around and forming a little ball. There is no right
or wrong way to do this step, as this will be completely covered up
picture shows a small beginning ball, a ball ready for the first
felting and a ball that is ready for the last felting. This should give
you an idea of approximate sizes.
you have a small ball, break(or cut) the yarn and tuck the end under
using the crochet hook. This will keep it from coming loose as it's
Step 2: Felting the Core
You can try to felt the balls by hand, but this isn't necessary and takes a while. I prefer to use the washer and dryer.
your small wool balls into the pantyhose or sock. I like to use the
cheap knee-high pantyhose. After you put a ball into the hose, tie the
hose closed with a piece of string or non-wool yarn with a secure knot. This will keep the
balls separated during felting. DO NOT skip the hose/sock and just toss
them into the washer. Trust me, they are very likely to fall apart and
you will end up with a felted rat's nest. Toss the wool ball pantyhose
caterpillar into your washer with a load of laundry. I like to wash
them on hot to felt them faster, but you can wash them with any type of
load. They will take longer to felt if washed in a cold load. If you
use a hand-dyed or not colorfast yarn, be careful for bleeding. Just
put them in the washer and dryer with the load of laundry. Once the
dryer cycle is done, cut the strings between the hose and remove them.
They should be slightly felted. If you want them felted more, run them
through another load.
Step 3: Winding the Dryer Ball
winding more wool yarn onto the ball. You don't have to do anything
special to attach the yarn, just lay it onto the ball and wind over it.
Continue winding until the ball is the size you want. Tuck the end
under using the crochet hook.
Step 4: Final Felting
you have your dryer balls the size you would like, put them into the
pantyhose and tie them. Repeat the felting by once again doing your
laundry and tossing these in. They don't have to be completely felted
before you can start using them, just slightly felted will do. You just
don't want them to come apart. They will continue to felt and get
harder as you use them.
it! You now have wool dryer balls! Depending on the wool yarn you use,
they may get pills on them with use. If these bother you, just give
them a shave with a sweater shaver now and then.
you would like scented dryer balls, you can sew a little sachet filled
with your favorite dried flowers or scents then begin winding your ball
around it. Remember that the scent won't last forever, though, and
there is no way to re-scent it once the scent is gone.
If you make or sell Wool Dryer balls inspired by this tutorial, let us know! We'd love to see your work. :-)
Make your Own Wool Dryer Balls by goodmama, inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .