Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Easy DIY Wool Dryer Balls

I have been wanting to try wool dryer balls for a while now. Fabric softener sheets are expensive, wasteful and covered in chemicals. Wool dryer balls are easy to make, reduce your drying time (and energy consumption), cut static cling, soften fabric and are totally reusable.  A look around Etsy showed a variety of balls for sale, but they were all pretty expensive. I found 100% wool yarn for $3.49 a skein on sale at Joann's Fabrics and bought two. 

There are a multitude of tutorials on how to make your own dryer balls, so there was no need to reinvent the wheel. I followed this one from The Goodmama, so I didn't take photos of every step since she has them laid out pretty clearly. 

Here are the balls after the first go round with the yarn. I used all of the first skein and a little off the second to get the balls the right size. I didn't have a crochet hook to tuck the ends under, so I got a little creative. I knotted some embroidery thread, which I always have around, to the end of the yarn and used a regular needle to tuck the yarn under. Then I pulled tightly and cut the embroidery thread off. Worked perfectly!

Here are the balls ready to go in the wash for their first felting. I washed them in hot water with these towels. 

Here are the balls after the first felting with the second go round of yarn on them. They were about 9 inches around each before the final felting, about baseball size. The two skeins of yarn (310 yards in all) were enough to make all three balls. 

Ready for the final felting in an old thigh high nylon. I also used leftover cotton embroidery floss to tie off the nylon between the balls. 

Here are the completed balls, after the second felting in the washer and dryer. I can tell these are definitely going to help reduce my drying time. I put them in with a big load of sheets and everything only needed one 30 minute cycle when that normally would have needed at least 60 minutes in the dryer. Wool balls are great to use with cloth diapers, when the use of liquid fabric soften is generally discouraged as it can cause your diapers to repel rather than absorb. They are a fun shape and texture and my toddler wanted to play with them, too. I chose a very neutral yarn color but if you want to hand dye your wool, check out this tutorial from Slightly Crunchy Mom. 

Happy Wool Winding!



  1. I've been meaning to make these too. Way too easy! :) I still don't understand why they're so expensive!?!?

  2. The only thing I can really figure after making them myself is that you are mostly paying for the time for someone else to wind up the yarn. I thought they were too expensive as well, which is also what drove me to make my own felt food :) I can say that I have seen some really nice hand wet-felted dryer balls will pretty designs on them that are probably worth more. I'll stick to making my own set for less than $9!


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