October 11, 2013

{Simple} DIY Wool Dryer Balls

These DIY wool dryer balls are quick and easy! I timed myself after I got the hang of wrapping one, and it only took me about 9 minutes a ball!

Benefits of using Wool Dryer Balls- unscented (good FAQ)
-saves energy and money by shortening drying time
-naturally softens clothes and replaces dryer sheets
-safe for all clothes
-no chemicals, synthetics or plastic!

-great to use with cloth diapers
Materials- makes at least 8 tennis sized balls with this specific sized yarn skein
-a skein of 100% Wool yarn (I found mine at Joann's)
-nylons (~$2) or if you have old worn out ones you don't mind ruining, then free!
-scissors
-pot and water
-dryer

1. Start out with the end of the yarn string and tie it into a knot or bow. I found it was easiest for me to tie it into a bow using the bunny ear method.
2. Start to wind the string along the knot you'd made.
3. Once you have wound a few times around, fold the loop ends in and wind more string around that little ball of yarn. It will start to look like a little wool dryer ball.
If you'd like to get a nice even outside, then I'd suggest winding the string clockwise and turning the ball counterclockwise as you wind. Create a nice flattened surface by not overlapping the strings but rather placing them side by side.
4. Once you've got your wool ball to the desired size (I made mine the size of a tennis ball), cut the string, take the end and make a loop and tuck it under a few near by strands.
*NOTE: These seemed to shrink quite a bit after drying. Next time I'll make them bigger, maybe baseball size, so that I'll have tennis ball size wool balls when finished.*

5. Cut apart your nylons separating the legs from the body. You can use the body piece if you'd like, it'll just look different.
6. *Tie a knot at the end of your nylon so that it doesn't rest in the toe area without sitting on a knot! I learned the hard way and the nylon stuck to the ball, and I had to rip it off! That's why some look fuzzy on the outside. This step differs from the pictures below.* Take one of the legs, ruffle it up until you are at the end,(add the knot!) and put your wool ball in the end, careful not to squish it in or the yarn on the outside will start to ravel upwards. Tie a knot in the nylon close to the ball keeping it in place.
7. Keep adding as many wool balls to the nylon, tying knots in between. Make sure NOT to add the knots right next to the ball. They need a little room or they'll stick.8. When you have finished stuffing the nylons, and have a string of wool balls, bring a large pot of water to boil. Drop the wool balls into the boiling water and boil for 40-45 minutes. (Beware: you house might smell of wool and need to air out!)
9. After the time is up, remove the balls, drain, and squish out excess water. This can easily be done with the pot lid or a plate.
10. Now you'll want to dry the wool balls out completely, using high heat in your dryer. I dried mine for quite a bit longer since I don't have high heat. Regular heat was the highest option.... lame. It took forrrreeeverrr. :o) After drying, they will come out looking felted (like a felt board; flattened and fused together.)
*Professionally made wool dryer balls are sometimes felted many times. You can repeat the boiling and drying steps multiple times to get a more felted look. This also helps the ball stay fused together longer.* I only felted mine once and they turned out looking great!
It is recommended that for small loads you use 2-4 wool balls, and work up to 8 balls at a time for larger loads. 

Have fun with your new dryer balls! :o)

1 comment:

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