Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls from Wool Batting

OK last week I brought you the simple quick, and easy to get products to make the wool dryer balls from wool yarn. This week I am bringing a tutorial on how to make them from wool batting. Most of the shops that you see online either use wool batting or wool roving. I actually use both! Now I find batting, really by googling it. Last time I wanted organic batting, which was a little more of a challenge, so I was able to find it on Etsy. The shop that I purchased my wool from is Bungalow Bear, but I am sure there are many out there if she is out of stock.

So here is a visual of the wool spread out on my living room floor. 2 lbs is a lot! So I spread this out in a big area where I have a lot of space as it is about 10 feet long and 2 feet wide. You then start at the top and pull a very thin layer from one end to the other. Thinner is better. It is easier when you start winding it.

You will then take the wool and start winding it around itself, making a ball. Wind the wool as tight as possible, making the ball more dense. Yes, this will cramp your hand after some time, but a lightweight ball will put a bunch of wrinkles all over the ball, which makes in work, but not as pretty, and who wants ugly balls??

Now, optional, but in my opinion necessary, get a felting needle (eBay for a couple of bucks shipped) and as you go punch this needle into the ball multiple times. I do this every time I grab another piece of wool. It does make the process take more time, but it holds the ball together and if you need to set it down, you can.

Here is what felting the ball looks like. Really, it is just poking it. The felting needle is a regular needle, but it has these grooves in it that grabs pieces of the wool and pushes them down into the ball.

Just keep doing this until your ball is big. And by big I mean bigger than a softball. I have seen dryer balls that are the size of golf balls up to the size of softballs. The size in completely up to you. I like mine to be bigger because they are less likely to get stuck inside of clothes (shirt sleeves, pajama pants, etc). Keeping in mind that when you start the washing part, the ball will shrink.

So after your ball is done being wound into a ball, you will then put it into a nylon stocking. I have seen people tie the knot right to the ball, I make it a little loose so that it doesn't put a mark on the ball. Remember to put the seam of the nylon on the outside, in other words, flip the nylon inside out, and then put your ball in. You are doing this so that the line on the nylon doesn't get put on the outside of your beautiful ball!

Then put your ball into a pillow case, and tie the pillow case with a knot. And throw your ball into a wash on HOT water. I use Eco's Detergent, but really any eco-friendly detergent will work. I wash each ball three times on hot water. Then remove the ball from the wash and the pillow case.

You will see the fibers of the wool coming through you nylon. The nylon may take some time and work to get off of your ball since the fibers have started making their way out. This is a GOOD sign, your ball felted right!

Here is my ball:

Now the ball will be misshaped and the wool, in my opinion, doesn't smell too good. So you shape it back into place, nice and round and throw it in the dryer on high. This will dry to the round shape and help get the wool smell out. Time will really help with that too. When you have dried it your ball should look something like this:

Now before you dry it you can add wool roving in just about any color. I felt mine on and then wash on hot 2 more times. I also then add the scent and throw those into the dryer.

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