I first heard about dryer balls at a local natural baby store. Since dryer sheets should not be used with cloth diapers, they were selling these cute wool dryer balls as a natural replacement. Even before this, I had stopped using dryer sheets. They are full of extra chemicals that we really don’t need on our skin (especially babies!).
Wool dryer balls also help with static and wrinkles, reduce drying time and last for years!
I was intrigued… And I always like to make things myself if I can. So, I am pleased to share with you my homemade dryer balls!
Aren’t they pretty!?
They are easy and fun to make. You just need a few supplies and you too can have these critters living in your dryer.
• A Skein of 100% Wool Yarn
• Combed Wool (optional)
• Old Thin Dress Socks or a Nylon(s)
• Top Load Washer with a HOT setting
First, I bought a skein of 100% wool yarn roving. I must stress the 100% wool part. These dryer balls need to shrink so the wool is necessary. I used roving, because I like the look of it but any kind of 100% wool yarn will work.
TIP: many craft stores offer a “40% off one full priced item” coupon, including Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Joann’s. Use this coupon to buy your wool yarn! You’ll save between $3-6!
Next, start rolling the yarn into a tight ball.
Until it’s a little larger than a tennis ball.
Now, for a pop of color, I added some combed wool that I found at a local specialty store.
Now to decide what color to use… Choices, choices…
Wrap the combed wool around the ball, and then wrap the yarn on top of it to help it stay on the ball. Repeat this until the whole ball is covered.
After the ball is covered, tightly tie off the yarn.
I was able to make three balls with the skein of wool roving I purchased. Here they are!
These took me about 20 minutes to make. And you totally can just use plain wool yarn and skip the combed wool for a more natural look.
Next, find an old, thin dress sock or nylon. This is how the dryer balls take shape! You place the ball snugly inside the sock.
And then tightly tie a knot right behind the ball, making sure there isn’t any room for it to move.
Do this to all the remaining balls until they resemble tadpoles.
Now our little tadpoles are going to take a dip in the hot tub.
One thing that is necessary to properly create these dryer balls is a top loading washer. A front load will not work because the balls need to be immersed in the HOT water. So if you don’t have a top load, invite yourself over to a friends house, bring some snacks, pick up a couple Starbucks and I’m sure they’ll let you use their washer.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…
Run the tadpoles through the HOT cycle. I did this twice. We want them to shrink… Then, throw them (gently) in the dryer and let these guys dry for a good while on the hottest setting.
Now it’s time to remove the socks to reveal your homemade dryer balls!
When you remove the sock, you’ll notice the balls did shrink and you should have some felting action going on too. The balls should appear smoother and feel compact. If they don’t, retie the sock and put it back in the dryer for another round.
And you’re done! Place them in the dryer with your clothes and they will go to work. Use between 3 – 6 balls depending on the load size.
To scent your clothing, place a couple drops of essential oil on the balls and they will tumble with your laundry and make it smell wonderful too!
If you like these, but would rather just buy them, there are tons of vendors on Etsy.com that sell them for a reasonable price.
Have fun and let me know how they turn out!