Friday, December 30, 2011

Felt Dryer Balls Tutorial

... Well I guess we just kind of fell off... 
We've been busy having fun and celebrating things like birthdays. Oh and doing some major crafting... none of which we've taken pictures of! Hopefully we will get busy and blog some of what we've been up to next week- but I'm not making any promises!

This is useful to everyone! Don't get distracted by the first two paragraphs!
I think  I have mentioned here before that I part time cloth diaper. We've been having absorbency/ water proof issues and it's been driving me crazy because over all I really love cloth diapers but leaky cloth diapers make me want to start a bonfire. Now before I lose you all this isn't just about diapering... this is just so you know how I came up with this project. I finally had a chance to talk to the one other person I know who CD's and she said she cut out dryer sheets altogether and uses wool dryer balls that she ordered from Amazon. I had never heard of these before. Am I alone in this? I've always seen the nasty looking plastic ones that I just couldn't bring myself to buy but Wool?! That sounded doable! 
So of course a lot of googling and I was ready to DIY some...actually I was ready to make Mum do it for me... but she liked the ones she made so much she wouldn't share! From what we read the best method is to use wool roving yarn it seems to have less piling problems then straight roving (old sweaters also work... but I'm not cutting up any I still own). The two brands we found to work best are Patons and Full o' Sheep. The Patons brand yields 3 balls and the Full o' Sheep yields 2. 
 Unfortunately Bernat was an epic fail... just keeping it real!
So are you ready?- this is really complicated.......
Roll the yarn into a ball. It's not necessary to wrap tightly just wrap with medium pressure that keeps yarn in place. 

I like to roll mine keeping all of the crisscrossing at the same spot. 
When you get it to about tennis ball size cut off 18 inches and thread a long doll needle.
Then I just run the needle through the ball on either side of the crisscross 

I just repeat this a few times until I am out of string.
It looks like a button. 
Now make a bunch of them... It's definitely worth wrapping the balls neatly they stay together better for the felting process. 
If you want to do the process properly do a quick hand agitation with soap and get the wool fibers started sticking together. If you are lazy like me (and have wrapped them really well) then you can just toss them in the washing machine on hot and add a little soap.
They will come out looking a tad smaller and felted. 
Now you can stop here but if you are bored and want a total time suck you can decorate your balls-- 
Be prepared to be addicted it's fun! The stitch decorated ones are mine, the awesome perfectly decorated ones are Mums. She crocheted a net around them and they look beautiful!
 For best results have 8-12 in your dryer. We've been using ours for a few weeks and I really have to say they work just as well if not better then the dryer sheets did. Uber has even given them the ok - which means everything had to remain as comfortable and soft to wear as it previously was.  
I'm not going to go on and on about the benefits. There is plenty of well written information out there on how and why these work just visit this Etsy seller she has beautiful products and also sells oils to scent the balls. 


  1. This is a fab DIY! I will be making some of theses bad boys!

  2. I have seen these popping up around the blogs but didn't really know what they were for. So they replace dryer sheets. That's cool. But did they help you with the leaky diaper problem in some way? The decorated balls look fantastic! Kudos to you both!

  3. That is the most unique idea. I use earth friendly fabric softner. Do they work as good as that and how long do they last before you have to make more? And of course you decorated them beautifully.

  4. I'm going to try this! On the diaper front, have you tried the wool diaper covers? They aren't perfect but they will work if you change them often. I used them and liked them.

  5. Kelly - Yes they helped. I am still trying to get all of the build up off the diapers... I actually had two issues with my diapers this only solved one of the issues... still working on the other one...

    Rhonda - I don't know that it is about working as well as fabric softener or dryer sheets the point for me was that fabric softeners leave a residue/build up on clothing and make them repel liquid- which is why you shouldn't use them with your bath or dish towels. What I didn't realize is that it actually also builds up on the interior of your machine so even when you don't use them in the loads you don't want effected it will eventually effect the items anyway. Which is what I ran into with the diapers so now I am having to try and get the build up stripped off of them.... very frustrating.

    The one thing is if you have a lot of synthetic clothing - we don't just a few random baby blankets. Those create a TON of static so try not to wash those with your other clothing. I will most likely just be good willing the few things we do have since I can't seem to remember to not wash them together!

    They last forever as far as I can tell. I think the lady I linked to said she had hers for 10 years and they are still good. There isn't really anything to wear out on them, if the pill you just cut it off. I do have about 13 of them in the dryer. They just stay there between uses.

    Vicki - I've seen the wool covers but I don't knit and I don't want to pay the price for them I use fuzzibunz and bumgenius all-in-ones. They adjust to fit from birth to potty training age. I am really hoping I can have micah out of them soon! (It's probably wishful thinking)

    Mom just scented hers with lavender and her stuff smells amazing now!

    hope that helps!

  6. Six made, more to come. What a great idea. Mine are not decorated pretty but they are pretty colors. Will be using them tomorrow!

  7. I'm going to have to try these! I also use fuzzibunz and bum genius! I love them! I hardly ever put them in the drier though. I usually wash at night and hang dry with a fan on them and they're dry by morning. I haven't had issues with leaking, but she got a rash a few weeks ago (her first and only one ever) and I put a cream on her and now the diapers are all stained and I can't seem to get it off! That's my goal this week!


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