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148 Responses to “How to Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls”

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  1. indigorchid

    This is great! We’re about to move into an apartment with a dryer (that’s new to us!), and I will so make these dryer balls. I even have random pantyhoses no longer useful for my legs that are just begging to be part of a craft project.

    P.S. I pinned this to pinterest – I hope that’s ok!

  2. deborah mattin

    I just posted about the nasty chemicals in dryer sheets and some flowers I made out of used ones. I’m searching for an alternative and think I’ll give this a go! The idea makes sense and decreasing both dryer time and chemical use is a win-win. My SIL has shee – maybe I can do something with all the wool she has or just use thrifted sweaters. Thanks for the idea and instructions!

  3. Delaware

    This is one of the best blogs I have ever read! I love your sarcasm and ideas :)

  4. MommyLibrarian

    I had read a couple of other tutorials about making woolies and I kind of got your idea too b/c I only had one skein of wool yarn. My friend suggested buying a small wooden ball to put in the middle, but 1) I figured that would eventually start to mold and rot. and 2) I didn’t want to spend any more money. I too had some already felted wool sweaters I had tried to make into shorties for my son…..miserable failure, but at least I’m able to use the scraps to make my dryer balls. My first 2 are in the wash right now. I still have some yarn left, but I wasn’t sure if this was going to work. Great minds think alike.

  5. Amy Kreydin

    Personally I never run the dryer hot with essential oils due to their flammable nature. You could always keep one wool ball on the shelf to run through the dryer on a cool cycle. I find a small piece of cloth works just fine for this as well. Here’s a newspiece from last year on fires breaking out in the U.K. linked to both synthetic fragrance oils and essential oils: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8683740/Women-buying-essential-oils-blamed-for-rise-in-house-fires.html.

  6. SteFF

    I have my dryer balls in the wash as we speak! crossing my fingers they work! I used a 100% Merino wool sweater i picked up from the thrift store and wool roving over top to make them pretty! I can’t wait to see how they look! I will let you know how it goes. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  7. Connie

    Haven’t used them; but now am going to try them. I wonder if my rougher buffalo will work. The close-to-body down doesn’t felt, but the outer rougher coat does. I have some of this that was going to become a felted rug. Wonder if it can be ball centers too.

  8. Michelle

    I absolutely love these! Made them a couple of months ago and have been using them exclusively. Yeah, no more dryer sheets and the stinky smell! Although I have to admit the dryer sheets are really good for cleaning your barbeque grills.

  9. Allure Wool

    Hi, girls! I just love wool dryer balls :) They are an excellent way of greening your laundry!

  10. Allure Wool

    P.S. I bought mine from http://allurewool.com/

  11. Jennifer

    Great Tutorial, and you are Funny! I really enhjoyed the read!

  12. Katie

    When I tried this, I had trouble getting my wool to felt. I tried “stripping” it, since it was from a thrift store sweater and I wasn’t sure if the wool was superwash or not. The balls would stay together for a few loads, then start to fall apart. Finally, I wrapped them up tight again, and used a big embroidery needle to push some thick thread through. I pushed it through and tied it off in three different directions. Now the balls stay together and have probably been through 50 loads.

  13. Just made these last week and they’re great! I used a 50% off coupon at Michaels to get wool roving for $3.79, but only used 1/4 of it for 3 balls, a $1.99 sweater from the thrift store and a pair of pantyhose from the 99 cent store for a total of $6.77. Already planning on using the rest of the roving to make more for a friend. Although it did take me more than 10 minutes(several episodes of Frasier on Netflix) to wrap them all tightly enough! Thanks for the tutorial! Quick question: if I put essential oil on the balls, do I need to wash them periodically? Don’t want oil stains on my squeaky clean clothes…

    • Guest

      I would suggest using Young Living essential oils. They are the world leader in essential oils. Please be picky about which oils you use because although they won’t tell you, when you buy oils from health stores & other online companies, they can have ADDITIVES, (waxes for 1 example) therefore they are not as safe as they claim! Please use only therapeutic grade oils. Since YL goes through such thorough testing for each & every oil, they surpass any other oils available. I’m NOT trying to throw a sales pitch, I truly want to get out the awareness of how unhealthy & potentially dangerous most of these other oils can be. The clothes absorb the oils thus entering our bloodstream! This is one thing it’s NOT ok to buy ‘generic’. I’d be happy to send some info to anyone who wants the purest of oils. They’re so safe I use them on my precious 93 yr young grandma! My sponsor # is 1418033. LOVE THIS BLOG!!!

    • MadameRowan

      Laura, I don’t know if you got an answer, but here’s how I do the essential oil thing: I put like 8-10 drops on my dryer ball/s, throw them in the dryer by themselves and drys them for 10 min so they absorb the oils. Then I just throw them in with my clothes and they make everything smell lovely!

  14. Folkart Diva

    I made dryer balls they turned out beautiful. Used them today and I never had so much static in all my laundry days. What should I do?

  15. I made these and love them, but since winter and dry air have moved in, my laundry is REALLY full of static. Any suggestions?

  16. Siggy

    I hand made some a few years back… I forgot I had them til I read this post, though come to think of it- I may have seen one in the boys’ toybox a few months back…hmm…off to locate my balls lol.
    Btw – this post is hilarious! I freaking adore your sense of humor and writing style! Thank YOU for making crunchy fun!

  17. Brooke

    silly question but do the felted balls have to be dried in the dryer? I want to make them for my sil and mil but do not have a dryer myself- by choice actually.

  18. JewelEyedGamerGirl

    Pinstrosity sent me! This is a really cool idea. I hate the way wool feels personally, but if this works, I may have a friend make these for me. Thanks!

  19. Dena

    First of all, allow me to say, I LOVE your blog and your sense of humor! I laughed all the way through this post! I was laughing so hard (“my balls”), sometimes, that my husband looked at me like I was on fire, so…..I read it to him, too. He didn’t find it as funny as I did, but I think it’s because he already has balls……. just sayin’…… Have a great day!

  20. Stephanie

    So, I set out in search of a tutorial for how to make wool dryer balls, and instead I ended up laughing until I cried at your descriptions. Thank you for being both instructive and hilarious! Now I’m going to go make some balls… hahaha!

  21. angie497

    Oh, lordie. If I’d known there was something this entertaining floating around, I’d have looked up wool dryer balls ages ago. Well, OK, maybe not, since I’d never heard of the notion until recently. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia not to long ago, though, and while there’s not much science about it, to me it seems logical that it would be bad to overload your system with all sorts of chemicals, so I’ve been looking for options.

    Anyway, I’m now trying my damnedest to get my balls to felt (my balls – heh heh heh), although they seem to be getting only vaguely fuzzy. A few more rounds of hot water, maybe. Would they still work if I leave them in their little pantyhose homes?

    • Revonda

      Did you use 100% wool, NOT machine washable wool (it will not felt)?

      • angie497

        I was afraid that even after double-checking I’d still managed to get the wrong type of wool, but I ran them through another hot wash & that seems to have done the trick. And now I *love* them. :)

  22. Aussie Mum

    There are comments about using oil in them and being flammable in a hot dryer. Perhaps try some coves or a piece of cinnamon stick inside.

  23. Aussie Mum

    sorry cLoves!

  24. Rosie

    Hi ya! Just wondering how much wool I should order? How much roving wool (approx grams) did you use? TIA xxxx

  25. Lisa

    I love your tutes (been helping me go more crunchy). I caught this one after trying to find out what to do with the leftover felt balls from felted soap. If the balls are not staying together after your first tumbleor two, you can dribble water on the balls and add a little liquid soap. Then rub and massage in pantyhose. Rinse in cold. Dribble more warm water and soap. Keep rubbing/massaging and applying slight pressure until balls are nice and hard. It will be sudsy and slippery, but easy rinses in cold water. Then dry in dryer.

    OMG. After reading what I wrote, I didn’t realize how dirty it sounds. Happy balls, y’all!

    • Andrea

      It just dawned on me as I read your directions that my husband has been whispering felting “how to” instructions to me in the shower for years. Who would have guess he knew anything about dryer balls, or wool felting for that matter?

    • Dawn

      OMG. Your post is so flippin’ funny! Thanks for the laugh!

  26. sammie

    For static, use 1/4 c vinegar (white) in rinse cycle. If you want to use EO’s, add them to your wash rather than dryer. I make my detergent at home and add EO’s this way.

  27. Lalea

    Quick question–made these this evening with wool yarn wrapped tight and covered with roving. Before washing they felt firm like a tennis ball. They just came out of the dryer and feel very squishy soft. I haven’t taken them out of the pantyhose yet but think they aren’t felted enough or are they squishy normally? I just ran some very hot water over them and squeezed the water out a few times and they are back in the dryer again. How many washes before you are really able to use them?

  28. April

    Is remembering to add vinegar to the wash the only way to cut the static? I had so much static the last load (with about 8 of these cute little balls) that it sounded like I was popping bubble wrap. Any other suggestions?

    • RoseAnn Harrell

      Adding vinegar to your wash accomplishes two things…it reduces static and helps all of the detergent rinse out fully. I use it and my clothes do not smell like vinager.

  29. I love the way you write! Great tutorial here, and I laughed through the whole thing.
    Thanks!!!
    Wendy

  30. Lisa

    So…I already felted an old wool sweater. I was going to sew a fabulous diaper cover out of it. Or a puddle pad. Or something. Until my baby was born prematurely, and all creativity was funneled into HER rather than stuff for her! (She is healthy and wonder-full, by the way.) Think I could I make these dryer fuzzballs with cut-up strips of the already-felted sweater?

    P.S. Thanks for your website. It has been a fun asset in my own creative, natural homemaking!

  31. Bev

    I just tried making these and they literally felted to the panty hose. I can’t pull it off – any ideas?

    • I run in to this all the time depending on the type of pantyhose I’m using at the moment (I prefer using regular hose, not the really thin ones). If you can get some scissors underneath the hose and snip it off, it will leave the ball frazzled. This will sound weird but I use a nose-hair trimmer and shave the pantyhose off of the ball when necessary!

  32. Robin

    There is a tool for needle felting that is another step in making the dryer balls that I found helpful. It made the balls tighter and more compact. I have made several “dryer balls” that I use for pin cushions. The natural lanolin in the wool keeps the pins sharp. I love my dryer balls!!!!

  33. I make alpaca felted dryer balls with the fleece from our alpaca herd. They really do shorten drying time. I recommend that if you are using essential oil to scent your dryer balls that after putting a few drops of oil on the ball place it in a pillowcase or a sock and run it through your dryer for about 15 minutes on medium or low heat. This will help set the oil and keep it from getting any oil residue on your clothes.

    • Callie

      Do you use raw fleece? (unscoured and uncarded)

      I was hoping to try doing it with raw fleece, I haven’t tried that yet.
      I was told just to wad the raw fleece into a ball and stuff it into a nylon and through it in the washer. That’s it. Done deal.
      Would you suggest something else?

      Were your balls squishy? or quite firm?
      The other problem I’m having is that my dryer balls are very squishy..

      • goldsprings

        I just started making my own wool balls. I have a small flock of sheep and needed to find uses for some of the fleeces. I have Suffolk and Targhee. The Suffolk fleece I scoured and made into roving before making the balls. Being impatient, I tried making balls with the Targhee unscoured and uncarded wool; it came out a bit lumpy but they worked. The Suffolk wool balls were loftier than the Targhee. The balls made from roving just look prettier. I washed mine in hot water (with laundry) twice and dried them with the laundry twice before using them solely in the dryer. Using 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar in the wash rinse works well.
        Hope this helps. Good luck. =)

  34. Jeanine

    Will it work to use 80% Wool, 20% Nylon? I searched two thrift stores for a 100% wool sweater and could not find any! I bought this jacket that is 80/20. I have my wool roving, and am anxious to try it, but don’t want to mess it up with my part wool if it won’t work.

    • Shannon

      Did you by chance get this answered? I am in the same boat, plenty of 80%, no 100% wool!

      • Jeanine

        I found a 100% lambs wool sweater and tried it, but it did not felt. Also some other 100% wool, but they too did not work. The last roving I bought from WalMart which was advertised at 100% wool, did not felt as well as the Clover brand I bought from there. I’m not sure what to try next. A 100% wool skirt I found at Goodwill worked the best, and I had the Clover brand roving with it. I can’t seem to find any 100% wool yarn. I like the ones that did work. Some of the others I made, I’m not sure if they will hold up.

  35. Indiana Blessing

    I made my first set of balls using this post 6 months ago. They are awesome and now friends, family asking for them. I use roving wool at first then switch to regular wool spun yarn. With 6 balls, I am cutting drying time in half. For extra static guard, add metal safety pin to ball.

  36. jen

    I am making my own dryer balls and experimenting with Roving vs. spun yarn. The roving are MUCH lighter then the wool yarn… Does the weight of the balls matter at all? if so, I was thinking about making a small core of wool yarn and then covering it with roving… Thoughts? Thanks

    • Callie

      Did you get this answered?

      That is the same problem I have! That the roving is super light and squishy..

      I also wanted to make a core out of wool or something and cover it with roving.
      What did you end up doing?

      Thanks!

      • jen

        I do think the weight matters so I have been doing a core (bigger than a golf ball) of wool yarn and then felting that once and then covering with the roving and doing a second and/or third cycle of felting. Seems to be the trick for me :)

  37. Nancy

    Followed your instructions to make Christmas gifts for family and friends. I got several wools sweaters from Goodwill for the core and ordered wool roving from Amazon. It worked great though my hands were sorenby the 24th oone. I ran out of nylons midway through and found that the type of nylons do make a difference. The second set were made with cheap (read thicker) hose and those balls came out easier and smoother. Great instructioms, looking forward to giving these as gifts this year.
    Thanks

  38. Deni

    I had the same problem with pantyhose sticking to the balls; also, its hard to find many pantyhose these days, and I was mass producing. I tucked each raw ball into the corner of a plastic bread bag, knotted it tightly, poked holes all over, and ran them in mass (25-30)through several cycles with hot water; I set the timer, when 14 minutes were up, I ran down and set it for another 14 minutes. I find a bit of Fels Naptha shredded into the water helps the felting process. My biggest problem was that my balls are smaller than I was hoping, but very tight!! I don’t like pills, so I use a disposable razor to shave them when dry. Thanks, Betty!

  39. Mike

    You can also use alpaca fiber. Alpaca fiber does not have any lanolin in it.

  40. Mike

    We have alpacas and make alpaca dryer balls for the clothes dryer. They remove static, soften clothes, knock out the wrinkles and reduce drying time. This also reduces your carbon footprint. We started using ours over a year ago and they are still quietly tumbling in the dryer! Alpaca fiber does not contain lanolin; wool does. So for individuals that have skin/allergy issues, the alpaca option is a very good one. You can also add essential oil to them to make your clothes and laundry room smell terrific. If you are interested, go to etsy.com and then go to our store, shear bliss alpacas. Thank you for the chance to spread the word on this forum. Sincerely, Mike

  41. winona

    o.k. we have gone to hobby lobby, joann fabrics and michael’s crafts stores. where in the world can i find wool roving? employee’s at the stores have never even heard of it.

    • Erin

      Did you get an answer? If you have a knitting shop near that also caters to spinners, they will have it. Otherwise, you may be stuck buying on-line. Yes, Etsy and eBay, but also any retailer that sells to handspinners: Woolery, Paradise Fibers, Village Spin & Weave, Susan’s Fiber Shop, etc. If you do not want dyed roving, you might try one of the stores…oh, and Amazon appears to sell roving as well. Be aware “top” and “batts” are also common terms for spinning fibers and will also felt if made from an appropriate wool but they may be prepared differently and thus be more or less “organized” within the preparation. Be sure NOT to buy superwash. Also, wools made from certain BREEDS of sheep do not felt well – namely those in the “down” category (do not confuse a down BREED with underdown, such as some dogs have, the term “down” means something entirely different in the fleece world)like Suffolk, Southdown, Dorset, as well as some longwool breeds. Merino, Corriedale, Bond, Romeldale/CVM will all felt well.

  42. Erika G

    Great tutorial, making them now! If you use a pure essential oil it will not leave residue and IS NOT flammable. I tried lighting a number of my oils (purchased through a very reputable, not the health food store) on fire. Pure essential oil is not any oil you usually think of. They are not greasy at all and dry clean because they evaporate so quickly. Happy drying!!

  43. Oh my god, I am crying! I googled for a dryer ball tutorial and yours came up first so I clicked, and I’m so glad I did! I have a few of these, and a shit ton of wool yarn to use(new year’s resolution stash busting anyone?) so here I am. So glad I checked out a tutorial because I wouldn’t never have thought about the panty hose step. woopsie! Ah, covering their stupid laughs and turning their dumb heads…that’s the line that got me started.

  44. wouldn’t never. awesome.

  45. Callie

    I made the dryer balls with roving, and they are super light …not very firm and heavy like I had hoped.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make a more firm dryer ball?

    • jen

      I start with a core made from wool yarn that a wrap into a ball, I felt that once (a bit bigger than a golf ball). I then cover that with wool roving and do the felting process again!

      • Erin

        Great tip (yes, I know more than one person said this, but your comment was the last one I saw) I will remember this if I eventually get around to a dryer ball project!

        • Becky

          I too have made felted balls with this technique – I LOVE TO FELT! Keep the core tight – I have used old UGLY stuff like Crunchy Betty, then used 100% wool yarn to make it TIGHT, then put my pretty roving on it, then I SHOVE those babies in the panty hose! The hose help tighten them too. FUN!

  46. John

    Hi there,

    I purchased my alpaca dryer balls instead of making them (yes, I cheated, but I had not heard of such a thing until shopping with my wife in Hood River, OR!). Anyway, we paid way too much for them, but really like the concept.

    They do everything they promise, cut down on wrinkles, dry clothes faster, etc, HOWEVER, they do not fix the static cling situation. I have not tried using essential oils on them either. Has anyone else had any experience with the static issue and perhaps, could the essential oils help this?

    Thanks!
    John

    • Judy

      John~
      What a surprise to see you mention Hood River, OR, as I grew up in The Dalles! I’ve been in Missouri for the past 40 years and still miss that beautiful country! Sorry I don’t have an answer for the essential oil question, other than using vinegar in the rinse water or on a cloth in the dryer, with safety pins attached. Good luck!

Trackbacks

  1. […] You can learn how to make your own here at Crunchy Betty’s blog […]

  2. […] few days ago, I made a couple of felted dryer balls. I roughly followed this tutorial, and plan to use them instead of fabric softener sheets in my dryer. I find that things get pretty […]

  3. […] I made a set of felted wool dryer balls out of an old sweater. I followed the tutorial from Crunchy Betty and would say that the process went rather well. I’m probably going to stitch a […]

  4. […] tumble around with our drying laundry, soften it, and knock out static electricity. I followed this tutorial but used polyester fiberfill for the middle of mine. I also ended up wet felting them some by hand […]

  5. […] with felting dryer balls and learning how to spin yarn (I just got a drop spindle from Maine woods yarn and fiber), my other […]

  6. […] directions I found the most helpful from Crunchy Betty. This site also tells you how to use them once […]



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