How to Make Wool Dryer Balls
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Wool dryer balls are a great DIY project you can easily make in your home in an afternoon. Not only are they better for the environment, they are better for you!
Dryer balls help to speed up the drying process when thrown in with your clothes (another eco benefit), while also helping to reduce static and soften your clothes.
Many of us use dryer sheets to achieve some of these goals, but have you looked at the ingredients on your dryer sheets?
These are the store brand, nature friendly, minimal ingredients dryer sheets I had been using. Take a look at the ingredients. I can pronounce one of them and it’s “fatty acid.” Not exactly something I want to be putting on literally everything I wear.
While you can certainly buy dryer balls online, I’m a sucker for a DIY. I did some research online and found they are incredibly easy to make!
What You Need
- 100% wool yarn
- a yarn needle or large darning needle
- a pair of pantyhose
- yarn scraps or dental floss
I went to my local craft store and picked up this wool yarn. They usually have a coupon running and I paid $8.45 for the yarn. I have seen them online for anywhere from $10-$30! This particular skein has 465 yards. I was able to make five dryer balls with a little left over. I would recommend planning for at least 90 yards of yarn per dryer ball.
Step One ~ Make Your Yarn Ball
Start by wrapping the yarn around two fingers about 20 times.
Slide the yarn off your fingers and wrap around the middle 3-4 times
If you’ve ever made a yarn ball before, that’s how dryer balls begin! If you haven’t, it’s as easy as wrapping the yarn repeatedly around itself until it forms a ball. I made mine the size of tennis balls, since the wool naturally shrinks a little in the dryer. If you want to add essential oils for a scent, add a couple drops when you’re about halfway through your ball.
Step Two ~ Finishing the Yarn Ball
Once you have reached the desired size, cut a tail about eight inches long. Thread the needle through the end. Push the needle through the center of the yarn ball, pulling the tail tightly through. Cut any excess yarn. You have a yarn ball! Repeat for as many balls as you wish to make.
Step Three ~ Washing the Yarn Balls
In order for the balls to become “dryer” balls, the wool needs to felt. Felting is when wool is washed in hot water and agitated. This forces the fibers to lock together and “felt.” This is key to having your dryer balls not unravel in the dryer.
Grab your pantyhose and cut a leg off. Put the balls into the leg in a single file row. Use yarn scraps or dental floss to tightly tie off each ball.
Make sure your knots are tight, you don’t want your wool balls coming loose and unraveling.
Wash the dryer balls on the hottest setting, preferably with something that will “rough up” the fibers–towels and jeans work great! After, put them in the dryer for the hottest setting. Check a ball after the first wash to see if it is felted. Mine took three washes and three dries to get the perfect felt. Check out the photo at the top of the post for what good felt looks like!
Step Four ~ Using
Once you’re happy with your dryer balls, keep them in the dryer only! If you used essential oils and notice the scent wearing off, simply add a drop or two to each ball. From all of my research, dryer balls last for about 1,000 loads of laundry, or 2-5 years.
To reduce static in your laundry, wet one of the dryer balls prior to using. It helps reduce the static magically!