In case you are new to the idea of wool dryer balls, let me give you a little background …
Why Use Felted Wool Dryer Balls
- they are 100% natural natural replacement for traditional dryer sheets (no chemicals!)
- they shorten drying time by wicking moisture away from your clothes (saves energy and money!)
- they bounce around in the dryer reducing static and keeping clothes from clinging to each other
- they last for years (saving you more money!)
How to Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls
I have used a few different methods for making dryer balls and will share the how to for each with you below, as well as the pros and cons for each (at least in my opinion).
From Wool Yarn
For me, this is by far the cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to make wool dryer balls. You can buy a skein of 100% wool yarn for fairly cheap, just make sure it is feltable wool and not superwash wool. I can get 2 dryer balls out of 50 g (110 yd) skein. The downside to this method is that if you don’t weave in a long tail really well, it can unravel over time. Here’s how to do it …
I like to use a light color so I don’t have to worry about any color bleed. Just start wrapping your yarn around itself making a ball about the size of tennis ball. Then, cut the yarn and thread the end through a tapestry needle. Weave the tail back and forth through the ball a bunch of times and in a bunch of different directions to really secure it in the ball. Then just throw them in the wash next time you do laundry. I usually throw them in with a load of towels and wash in hot water. They will need a good couple loads to really felt nicely. Once felted, they are ready to go!
From An Old Sweater
You know that wool sweater with hole in it? Yep, don’t throw it away just yet … you can use it to make dryer balls. A good indication of whether a wool sweater will felt nicely is to look on the label. If it says dry clean only or hand wash and dry flat, that is probably a good indication that it will felt. The good thing about this method is that it costs you nothing. The downside is that it takes a little more prep time and it may take a few more cycles to felt tightly.
To turn that sweater into dryer balls, just start cutting it apart. I use each sleeve to make one and a few more from the body. Roll each part up in a ball and place them in the leg of a nylon stocking, making a knot between each one. As before, run them through a few wash cycles with your laundry.
From Wool Roving
A more recent method I’ve tried is needle felting. You will need some basic needle felting supplies for these, such as wool roving, a foam pad, and felting needles. Then just needle your wool into a nice sized ball. You can click here to read my Needle Felting 101 post where I give an intro to needle felting and needle felting techniques. This method takes a little time but from what I’ve heard, they last the longest.
Scents and Whimsies
If you’re like me you like a pretty scent to your clothes. I like to add a little drop of lavender essential oils to the balls from time to time to freshen them up and keep our laundry smelling nice (my mom sells essential oils here if you are interested in trying some out). But you can use whichever scent of essential oil you like best. And while definitely not a necessary part of the process, I do think decorating the dryer balls is fun. I needle felted some designs on these …