This year I’d like to do a few posts on the blog about how to make some affordable handmade holiday gifts. So, if we exchange gifts with you, please stay off the blog for a while so your gifts can be a surprise. 🙂 Today we’re talking about how to make felted wool dryer balls.
We have been using store-bought dryer balls for a few months, but I recently learned how to make my own. I really like using them because they work just as well as dryer sheets, but are made entirely out of wool, which is a renewable resource, with no harmful chemicals. Because they are reusable they are better for the environment than the sheets you use once and throw away. They also make drying time shorter, which saves money on utility bills. And they save you additional money because you can use them for a year or longer, making them more cost effective than disposable dryer sheets.
To make a set you need:
- 100% wool yarn
- an old pair of nylon stockings
- dental floss
- a washer and dryer
- optional: essential oil of choice like lavender
I used about 100 yards of yarn to make each dryer ball. I used 3 skeins (purchased at Michael’s for $5 each) to make a set of 6. You can also purchase wool yarn through my Amazon affiliate link here. The dryer sheets I used to use cost about $10 per box, so if you use more than one box of dryer sheets in a year, these balls are a more economical option.
To start forming the yarn into a ball, just fold it over itself a few times. Then start wrapping the yarn around the middle. Keep tucking and wrapping until you have a small ball.
Then just keep wrapping the yarn around the ball. Turn on your favorite show because this is going to take a while. It’s also an easy project for kids. When the ball is still fairly small, you can add a few drops of essential oil to scent it if you’d like. Then just keep wrapping.
Eventually, you’ll have a ball of yarn about the size of a tennis ball. Cut the ends of the yarn and knot it to another string in the ball, then tuck the end inside the ball to hide it.
Repeat until you have a set of six.
When you have a full set, cut one leg off a pair of nylon stockings. Put each ball into the leg individually, and use dental floss to tie off the top of each section between the balls. Don’t use your extra yarn for this step because we are about to felt the balls and you don’t want your ties to be felted as well.
Put your chain of dryer balls into the washing machine and wash it on the hottest setting. The balls should shrink to about half their previous size and the yarn should seem thicker and flatter and stick to itself. Confession: My high efficiency washing machine didn’t do the best job felting the wool, so I ended up soaking them in a bathtub of very hot water and wrung them out by hand a few times. Then I put them in the dryer for an hour, also on the hottest setting.
Remove them from the nylon and ta-da. You have your own set of reusable dryer balls.
Just throw them into the dryer with your laundry, the same way you would a dryer sheet.
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