I meant to post this a year ago, but life has been busy and the computer that had my original pictures gave out. So I’ve finally gotten my act together, I think, (Haha- yeah right! Never!) and have made a step by step picture tutorial of how easy these are to make.
Let’s Start Out With the Benefits of using Wool Dryer Balls:
- They decrease drying time, saving energy and money on your utility bills. The more dryer balls you use, the less drying time your load should take.
- They are made from renewable resources and help soften your clothes naturally, without the chemicals of commercial fabric softeners. They also increase fluffiness and reduce static.
- They are gentle on sensitive skin because it is natural and doesn’t contain chemicals. If you want some fragrance, just add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to each dryer ball. I love using lavender.
- They can be re-used over and over again, saving money (which I love)!
- They won’t affect the absorbency of your towels, kitchen cloths, or cloth diapers like other commercial softeners will.
How to make them for yourself or gifts:
Your first step will be to find some 100% Wool yarn. When I made these for Christmas gifts, I bought pretty wool from Michaels, but it can be a little pricey. So check for deals and coupons. When I made these for myself, I used wool yarn that I’d found at the thrift store or garage sales. You can use a roving or a worsted wool. This is just an example of one smaller skeins I picked up at a thrift store.
You will also need: a large needle, scissors, panty hose and some string.
You will start by wrapping the wool yarn around two fingers, snuggly, but not super tight. Once you’ve done that 4-5 times, wrap the yarn around the center a few times making a little bow shape. From there, you just keep wrapping (snuggly) around and around the yarn bow to form a ball shape.
Then just keep wrapping until you get the ball size that you want. You may need to take breaks and that’s okay. If you try to do too much, your fingers may ache and get crampy. (I know, I’m old! UGH!) Also, occasionally I would be wrapping my ball and it would slip out of my fingers and unroll a few feet on the floor. Haha- it takes a little practice to get used to the motions, but it really doesn’t take too long once you get going. I usually try to get 3 balls out of a new skein of yarn and they always vary in sizes from golf ball to tennis ball size. Once you get the ball size you want, cut the yarn off, giving yourself a little slack. Thread the end into your large needle, pull fairly tight and insert needle through your ball and pull end through the other side. Do one more time or until the end of your yarn is secure and hidden within your ball.
When you are done with your yarn balls and have your tail secure, you can stop there and give them to your cat as a toy. Just kidding! I mean you can, but you just did all that work! So let’s go to the next step. We need to felt the wool balls in the washer and dryer. This process shrinks the wool a little, but also makes the wool fibers fuzzier (felted) and helps the yarn to stick together so that it doesn’t unravel during your future drying cycles.
Take a thigh high hose stocking or cut some old panty hose and stuff your balls down inside. (I know how it sounds and I’m sorry, you know what I mean). You will want to then tie string in between each wool ball, otherwise, the balls could felt (stick) themselves to each other. Then just throw them into your next load of laundry. Hot water loads and high heat help them felt the best. Do this several times (3-4) before cutting them out of the stockings.
Now they’re done and ready to use! I just keep mine in the dryer, but you can also store them in a cute decorative bowl. When I’ve given them as gifts, I’ve put them in a pretty little gift box along with a bottle of essential oil. It makes a great thoughtful homemade gift that doesn’t take a ton of time, money or energy!
If for some reason your ball ever unravels, just repeat steps above, making sure the yarn is fairly snug. You will want to re-secure it and go through the felting process again, to help ensure the fibers meld together. See? Pretty Easy! As long as my fingers don’t start cramping, I can easily get a set done in a day or less, depending on how much the kids let me work on it. Christmas will be here before you know it! Who will you be making these for?