DIY Wool Dryer Balls

What are wool dryer balls?

These fun little things go into your dryer, helping to reduce energy and drying time.  They eliminate the need to buy chemical laden dryer sheets, thus saving you money!  Wahoo!  Sign me up, please.

I found this DIY tutorial on One Good Thing by Jillee.

If you've been reading awhile, you know that I'm always trying to cut down on the chemicals in the house - but in the interest of FULL disclosure, I will tell you that the last thing to get an overhaul around here is my laundry detergent.  I am a Tide junkie and IKNOWISHOULDN'TBE.  I seriously know it's time to make the switch, but darn I love the smell of Tide.

However, when I saw this pin I knew it was fate, and the first step I needed to take before I move to a more natural laundry detergent.  (And no, I won't make my own because I've read too many up and down reviews and it's not worth the effort!)  

These handy dandy little balls bounce around in your dryer, allegedly cutting dryer time by 25-50%, help reduce static cling and soften clothing.  They will last you years and years (like 7+) and HELLO - no weird chemical names you can't pronounce.  They can be unscented or scented with your favorite essential oil.  Win win!

Here's what you'll need:

- 100% pure wool yarn (I used Lion Brand Fishermen Wool.  1 of the bigger skeins makes about 4 balls)
- scissors
- pantyhose
- embroidery floss
- essential oil (optional)


Start by wrapping your yarn around 2 or 3 of your fingers, about 20 times.  Gently pull the loop off your fingers, pinch in the middle and wrap the middle another 20 or so times.  It should look like a bow now.  Then, take both ends of the "bow" and pinch together.  You'll just continue wrapping the yarn around and around.  Wrap tightly!

Once your ball is around 5 inches diameter or so, you can cut the yarn off and tuck it underneath the wrapped yarn to secure.  OR if you really want to be precise, you can use a crocheting needle to take the free end of the yarn and poke it through the middle of the ball.  I just tucked mine with my finger and it worked fine.

When your yarn is all used up, grab an old pair of pantyhose.  (or a new one, if you're like me and don't own a pair!)  You'll put each ball in the leg of the hose, tying with embroidery floss between each ball.  Do not use your wool yarn!  (Ok my secret here is that I didn't have embroidery floss so I just knotted the hose itself in between each ball of yarn and it worked fine)

Now, throw that weird looking pantyhose full of yarn balls into your washer and set it to as hot as it will go.  The hotter the better for felting. When the wash is done, into your dryer on high heat.  Remember, the hotter the better!

These balls are PRE felted.  Don't they look lovely?

And you can start to see how the felting makes the yarn texture a little smoother.  You can repeat the felting process several times or just start using those puppies right away.  They will begin to shrink over time, as they will felt each time you use them.  If you want to add essential oils, just a few drops should work for awhile, and you can add it the last time you felt them in the pantyhose.  

Pretty cool, right?

I can't wait to give these a try!  

With my 40% off coupon at Michaels, I was able to make all 4 of these balls for about $6.  Yeah, you can buy them online but they are much more expensive so why not make your own?  Just be forewarned - they are a little time consuming and your arm will start to hurt.  But sit back, relax while the kids are napping, put on your favorite show and get to ball making people!