How to Make Wet Felted Dryer Balls the Easy Way

Updated on May 13, 2019
sallybea profile image

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Dryer Balls
Dryer Balls | Source

Why Felt Dryer Balls?

Dryer balls can help reduce energy bills, allergens, and landfill waste. Together we can eliminate dryer sheets entirely from the planet, and replace them with felt dryer balls.

Fabulous Juggling Balls or Felt 'Geodie' slices can also be created using this unique method. The resulting felt balls will be uniform in size and firm to the touch. Their size will depend entirely on the size of the chosen plastic balls and how tightly they are packed.

Colorful large felt balls can also be created using a delicious mix of fibers. I chose Botany Lap Waste from World of Wool to create the weighted the Globe Pin Cushion using the same method.

Things You Will Need:

  • White Merino Wool (for the Dryer Balls)
  • Botany Lap Waste. This is such good value for your money and the lucky dip of colored fibers supplied by World of Wool can be used to create large felt balls at little cost.
  • Henbrandt Ball Smelly Smile 25cm Assorted. These balls are great as they can be used over and over again.
  • A short recycled Zip

  • Duct Tape, Black or Silver
  • Plastic Water Play Balls which can be purchased in bulk from Amazon and used many times over.
  • A large-eyed Sewing Needle and strong Thread. I use waxed thread
  • Dish-washing Liquid diluted with warm water
  • A Tumble Dryer
  • A Wooden Tealight Holder (for the weighted globe pin-cushion)
  • An electric Carving Knife
  • Hot Glue (To glue the pin-cushion to the wooden candle holder)
  • Colorful Pins with heads to use with the weighted pincushion


Plastic water-play balls used by children
Plastic water-play balls used by children | Source
Botany Lap Waste Fibers
Botany Lap Waste Fibers | Source
Soft play ball & water play balls
Soft play ball & water play balls | Source

1. How to Make Large Dryer Balls

  • Locate the halfway join mark on the ball and sew on the zip along the line as shown below.

Line up the zip on the join line of the ball.
Line up the zip on the join line of the ball. | Source

2. Sewing on the Zip

  • Use strong thread and a sharp needle to sew all the way around the zip.
  • I used waxed thread.

Sew the zip on using strong thread.
Sew the zip on using strong thread. | Source

3. Open the Zip!

  • Open the zip to reveal the join line on the plastic ball.

Open the zip and separate the teeth as shown.
Open the zip and separate the teeth as shown. | Source

4. Cut the Ball Open

  • Cut between the teeth of the zip along the halfway mark join line on the ball.

Cut the ball open between the zip opening.
Cut the ball open between the zip opening. | Source
The ball sliced between the zip's teeth
The ball sliced between the zip's teeth | Source

5. Remove the Air Vent Valve

  • Reveal the air vent valve as shown below and cut it off using a sharp pair of scissors.

Cut off the air vent
Cut off the air vent | Source
The air vent valve removed.
The air vent valve removed. | Source

6. Prepare the Fibers

  • Begin by tying a knot in the wool roving and wind sufficient wool around it to form a tight wad of Merino wool.
  • Make the wad bigger than the plastic ball it will be going into.
  • Wet in soapy water and roll into a neat ball which will fit neatly into the prepared play ball.

White Merino wool and the prepared ball.
White Merino wool and the prepared ball. | Source

7. Wet the Fiber!

  • Dip the prepared fibers into a bowl of warm soapy water.
  • Do this gently from all sides then roll the wet wool into a nice round ball.
  • Rolling it on a folded towel will remove any excess water and create a nice smooth round ball.
  • The felt ball should fit snugly into the prepared plastic ball.
  • Add more fibers if necessary, bearing in mind that the wool will shrink in the tumble dryer.

Warm soapy water, plastic ball and the prepared felt ball.
Warm soapy water, plastic ball and the prepared felt ball. | Source
Wetting the prepared fibers in a bowl of warm soapy water.
Wetting the prepared fibers in a bowl of warm soapy water. | Source
 The prepared ball after it has been rolled on a folded towel.
The prepared ball after it has been rolled on a folded towel. | Source

8. How to Make Medium Size Dryer Balls

  • To make medium size dryer balls cut open the water play balls, leaving a quarter of the ball still intact along the join line.

To make small balls, use plastic water play balls which should be cut open as shown.  Leave a quarter of the ball intact.
To make small balls, use plastic water play balls which should be cut open as shown. Leave a quarter of the ball intact. | Source

9. Preparing the Fibers!

  • Wet the fibers using warm soapy water and then roll on a folded towel.
  • Put the ball inside the play ball.
  • It should fit snugly.
  • Add more fiber if necessary.
  • Seal the plastic ball using duct tape as shown below.

Source

10. Place the Balls Inside a Tumble Dryer

  • Tumble inside a tumble dryer for about ten minutes.
  • Remove the felt balls from the plastic balls and tumble for about five minutes.

A white dryer ball and a layered Geodie ball.
A white dryer ball and a layered Geodie ball. | Source

11. Rinse!

  • Rinse the finished balls under hot and then cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Roll on a dry towel to remove any excess water and then leave to dry on a wire rack or a radiator.

Rinsing the wool balls under hot and then cold water.
Rinsing the wool balls under hot and then cold water. | Source

12. To Make 'Geodie' Balls for Craft Projects

  • Make the balls using lots of different layers to create layers when the ball is sliced through the middle.

Slicing a 'Geodie' ball with an electric carving knife
Slicing a 'Geodie' ball with an electric carving knife | Source
The sliced balls showing the different layers of wool.
The sliced balls showing the different layers of wool. | Source

13. Making a World Globe Pincushion

  • Use Botany Waste to create a large colored felted dryer ball.
  • Glue the completed ball to a wooden candle base as is shown here and cover the surface with pins with colored heads.
  • Weighted pincushions like this one are great for holding paper patterns in place before pinning the paper pattern to the fabric.

Close-up of the world globe pincushion
Close-up of the world globe pincushion | Source

Making Small Felt Balls

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Sally Gulbrandsen

    Comments

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      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        2 months ago from Norfolk

        Yes, you can definitely make a hollow ball, big or small but you will need to deflate the ball to get the ball out afterward. I suggest using a balloon. You will find lots of ideas if you check out some of my other tutorials. There are so many things you can make using balls or templates. The balls or balloons can even be used to shape the articles after the felting process has been completed too, such as little purses or even bird pods. The solid balls can be used in numerous craft projects, necklaces, etc.,

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        2 months ago from Norfolk

        Hi Mary, you really should start felting, but be careful, it can be an addictive art form:)

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        This is a great idea. I love its uses. I should start really learning how to do felting.

      • purl3agony profile image

        Donna Herron 

        2 months ago from USA

        Hi Sally - This seems like a fun process and your tutorial is quite easy to follow. I could see using these balls for many things. Is there a way to make a hollow felt ball by wrapping the fibers around the outside of the plastic ball?

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        2 months ago from Norfolk

        Good to have feedback Heidi, thank you. These are super easy to make and can easily be made in bulk while you dry your clothing in the tumble dryer. I am really enjoying my pin-cushion too:)

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        2 months ago from Chicago Area

        I've seen the felt dryer balls online and in the stores. Interesting you can make them yourself. And the globe pin cushion is super cute. Thanks for sharing your creativity, as always!

      • sallybea profile imageAUTHOR

        Sally Gulbrandsen 

        2 months ago from Norfolk

        That is nice to hear Billy. I love wet felted soaps. They certainly make a talking point and the soap in their little 'blankest' lasts for ages.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        2 months ago from Olympia, WA

        A friend of mine at the farmers market makes wet felted sheep soap....it's the first time I've seen something wet-felted since knowing you....a nice experience so I bought some. :)

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