HOW TO MAKE WOOL DRYER BALLS
Let me first start this likely long winded blog post by saying this. I AM NOT AN ARTIST. Not even close.
My friends can cook, bake, craft, and decorate their home like the queens they are… but alas, I have none of these skills.
So, when my friend Romy made me wool dryer balls, and felted wool ornaments for my store at Christmas… I was inspired.
HOW DID SHE DO IT?
So, I spent the next few days scouring Youtube for “how to make wool dryer balls”... and then the next month ACTUALLY MAKING SOME!
If you’re more of a visual learner, I will attach a video to this post. But if you rather a written step by step…. I’m gonna do that also.
WHAT YOU NEED!
- 100% wool yarn or roving
- Felting needles (I got mine from Amazon)
- 100% wool roving (for the felting part)
- Cookie cutter (I used a heart)
- Washer (and detergent) & dryer
- Bandaids (LOL those needles are sharp!!)
Get yourself some 100% pure wool yarn, or what I found worked better was the fluffy wool roving.
The videos I watched used yarn, and they looked like they came out great, but mine ended up looking like a cardigan (which I ended up thinking looked cool)
When I tried using the roving, they came out much softer and felted better (in way less time and less washes).
Ok. I’m not gonna lie. This part of the process had me cursing before I even started.
HOW DO I GET THIS YARN BRAID TO UNRAVEL???
Of course, I googled it.
To unravel the braid, unloop until it looks like a big circle but is still connected with yarn in a few spots.
Find the tie and cut with scissors.
Trace that cut end to unravel the remaining couple of spots that keep the bundle together.
THEN, grab a couple chairs and place them back to back.
Take your wool circle and place around these chair backs so you can unwind without it getting all bunched up!!
This hack was the BEST!
OK… LET’S DO THIS.
Grab the end of the yarn and start wrapping around two or three of your fingers about 10-20 times. (Not scientific. Don’t have to count.)
Then pull that little bit off your fingers, and start wrapping the other way.
Keep doing this until it starts to form a ball.
Then, tune in to a good podcast or audiobook, because if using yarn, this took me a while.
Once they are about the size of a softball, I cut the end and tucked into the ball the best I could (I ended up using the felting needle for some extra persuasion.)
Once you have as many balls as you want, grab a pair of pantyhose. Cut off the top, or just use knee highs if you have them! (make sure you don’t have an upcoming event you need them for...LOL)
I turned the pantyhose inside out so the seam doesn’t felt into the ball.
Then, I stuffed the first ball into the bottom of the pantyhose.
Next either tie with a string (not wool) or tie a knot in the actual stocking so the ball is separated from the next one if you are doing more than one.
Repeat until you have what looks like a caterpillar.
Toss your ball caterpillar into the washing machine with stuff you can wash in hot water (like towels) with detergent. Put them on a hot water wash, followed by a hot setting dry in the dryer. The heat helps the ball ‘felt’ together.
Take the dried balls out of the dryer and grab your roving and a cookie cutter! Pull a little roving off the bunch (or whatever its called) I guess you’re not supposed to cut, just pull. Stuff the small amount into the cookie cutter and start stabbing the roving into the wool ball.
This part was quite satisfying… (well, the first 10)
After this, I put back into a nylon and repeated the hot wash and dryer routine to get a good final felted ball.
Full disclosure (again…) the wool one didn’t felt as good as the roving one did and I repeated in the washer and dryer probably 4-5 times.
But the final result was still really cool. Looked more like a sweater pattern.
So that’s it. My first attempt at making wool dryer balls.
I ended up chickening out and have them destined more for an ornament instead of a dryer ball, for fear I screwed up. But this activity was SO FUN!
And as we have been in lockdown since Christmas… it was a nice distraction to try something I’ve never done before. A great activity to do with the kids (but watch those needles!)
Will I attempt these again??
I ended up making around 180 balls. And it took me probably a month of mornings and late nights and my first chiropractic appointment in 10 years.
Let’s just say the jury is out on this one.
To see the full video of me making these, along with some actual sheep shearing, I will link the video here!
To see how a professional made these… Here is one of many videos I used!
Links for the wool I purchased for this project…
Revolution Wool Company: https://www.revolutionwoolco.com/
The Real Wool Shop: https://realwoolshop.ca/
Amazon links for the felting supplies (affiliate)…
Cookie cutter kit: https://amzn.to/2O9bfcf
Felting kit: https://amzn.to/3tqsDtd