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How To Make Wool Dryer Balls from Yarn

Posted by erica on 8/25/2012
So you are looking for a new way to save some money AND the environment? Wool dryer balls help your laundry in many ways. They are a natural fabric softener (since you cannot use fabric softener on your cloth diapers, this is a great alternative), they reduce the static in your clothes AND they break up the clothes while in your dryer so that they dry faster. There are 2 different ways to make dryer balls. Wool batting, and wool yarn. This tutorial is with yarn, since it is the simplest and easiest to get the supplies for. I am going to walk you through step by step on how to make your own dryer balls, with some simple steps and some time (and maybe a little hand numbness) but hey! I promise, it is worth it in the end. Now I will tell you that for these to be the most effective, you will need several. And by several I would say 6-8. Each one will help a little more, so if you are only starting out with 2, it will still help SOME just not as much as, say, 8 would. So start with some wool yarn. You can buy this at just about any place that sell yard (although I did not see it at Walmart). Now you are looking for a specific kind of wool. It should say "good for felting." If it is washable, it is no good for this project. Here is what I will be using today:
Now start by winding the wool around your fingers, and then pull off and wind around itself.  
 And then here comes the time. Winding takes about an hour. Just keep going in circles. I keep flipping the ball every 3 times I wrap. The process is long, but it is the longest part and most difficult in the project. BUT with that being said, the most rewarding since you can see your ball coming together!
 Wind this until you have used half of your yarn (4 oz). It barely fits in my palm (to give you a better perspective).
 If you do not have a scale, this is what it will look like in a visual, with half used in the first ball.
 What I do is tie the loose end to another piece of the yarn. If you have a felting needle, you can also use this to push down the end, but this works good for me, and also helps in it not coming unraveled.
 And then comes the washing part. Put your ball into a nylon stocking. I buy knee highs which fit three balls. You can get these anywhere (dollar store). I put the seam on the outside like so:
 And then stuff the nylon into a pillow case and tie the pillowcase shut.  
 I then wash the pillowcase with anything else that I can on HOT water. I do this three times to really get the ball felting. Once you are done, take the nylon ball out of the case and take the nylon off the ball. It may take some work as some of the wool fibers will make their way out of the nylon. Go slow so that part of the nylon will not stay stuck to the ball. At this point I usually scent my ball with a few drops of essential oil, but it is not necessary. Here is what my dryer looks like. I like having many balls. The more you have the less static and the more they will bounce around and help break up the clothes.  
 Several of mine are made from wool batting (which is in another post). Please feel free to post questions or comments! I love to hear how wool balls work in your dryer!
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lacey Date 2/15/2013
Wow! What a good idea!
Melissa M. Date 2/15/2013
Love wool dryer balls, I will have to try to make these.. or just buy more haha
Lianne Date 2/23/2013
Awesome tips! Those things can be expensive, so it's great to know I can DIY them. :)
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