DIY Dryer Balls

Do you use dryer balls? Have you heard of them? If you haven’t here’s the gist in a nutshell…dryer balls are balls that you put in your dryer with your clothes to help reduce dry time (since they increase air circulation) and reduce static electricity. They also help soften and reduce wrinkles. Bottom line–GOOD-BYE dryer sheets and fabric softener. Yay!!! (dryer sheets and fabric softener are not so great for you.) There are a wide range of dryer balls out there. Cheap ones, spendy ones, orange ones, green ones. Hard to know which one to pick! I’m all about Norwex, so I go for the guaranteed green ones. I’ve been happy with mine. BUT then I saw 100% wool dryer balls. Not a biggie to me at first glance. BUT then I saw you can use essential oils with wool dryer balls. Ding, ding, ding!!! I love using essential oils! All natural lovely smells. Now, you can buy some beautiful wool dryer balls, but you can also make them. Very easy. Here’s how.

Get your hands on some 100% wool yarn. MUST be 100% wool. We want the balls to felt. (Felting is what happens when you wash a wool sweater that you weren’t supposed to and you go to take it out of the washer and it looks like it could fit your 2 year old. dang.) You also can’t use Superwash wool. Superwash means that it’s ability to felt was removed when they made the yarn. Great for a lot of things, but not for felting projects! I used almost a full ball (skein) of yarn for each ball. Man, that seems like a lot…I know. I thought about trying to use a tennis ball in the middle or something to cut back on my use of yarn but then they wouldn’t absorb much moisture, plus they’d be loud…I vote no on that. So use some sale 100% wool yarn. I used 2 1/2 fifty gram balls for a set of 3 dryer balls. (FYI, this yarn was not a great felter…I’d use something different next time, but I already had it so I wanted to use it up.)

Start wrapping.

Continue wrapping, trying to keep your ball as even as possible.

I wrapped until mine with the size of a small baseball…or maybe that would be the size of a tennis ball…

I snipped my yarn and tucked it back under some of the wraps.

Now is felting time. Sacrifice some nylons. Place the first ball in the bottom and then tie a knot so that your balls aren’t touching. I placed all of mine in one thigh-high. (My only pair of thigh highs! You know someday in the far future I am going to be desperate for nylons as I’m trying to get ready for some formal event and kicking myself for destroying them all in the name of making!! Gahhhh!!)

Swing your ball filled nylons above your head and run around the house a little just to be weird. You have to do something silly with it! Throw your nylon contraption into a hot load of laundry. Then throw it into your dryer with the rest of the clothes. Are you felted??? Depending on your yarn, you might need to do this once more. Some yarns felt really easy, others need a little more encouragement. Some light colored 100% wool yarns do not felt well since the yarn may have had some bleaching done to it which removes some of its felting ability. Ask your local yarn shop what a good felting yarn is if you are uncertain. Or google it. :)

Here are some extra felting tips.

Use soap.

Use good agitation.

Moving from hot to cold water “shocks” the yarn and helps speed felting.

Use at least 2 balls in the dryer at once. Put some drops of essential oil on the balls when you use them in the dryer so all your clothes smell lovely! Some of my favorite smells are peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, and lemongrass. Make sure you reduce your dry time, otherwise you might over-dry your clothes which would defeat the purpose…less efficient and more static.
Put the kids to work and you’ll be whipping up Christmas gifts! One set for you, one to give away. :) (I said Christmas!! Are you planning a handmade Christmas??)

About Ingrid Barlow

Ingrid Barlow is hard working crafter with 2 little boys.

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