Making Wool Dryer Balls

I’ve never been much of a knitter, but I have to tell ya, making wool dryer balls is so calming, it’s addictive!  Although you are more than welcome to purchase yours from Babies Bottoms and More, I thought some of you might be interested in a DIY post on how to make them. 

First, though, I’m sure you’d like to know what wool dryer balls are and why anyone would make them.  Dryer balls are basically soft, weighted balls that you toss in your dryer with your wet clothes.  They bounce around in there, breaking up pockets of wet clothes so the air can circulate better.  While bouncing around they also bump into the fibers of your clothing, making the clothes softer and less stiff.  So they can reduce drying time (saving energy) and replace fabric softener.  Many dryer balls are made of plastic, but wool ones have several distinct advantages:

1. They’re all natural and free of BPA and harmful chemicals.

2. They last longer.

3. They can be scented with essential oils.

4. You can make them yourself and/or support a work at home mom who makes them!

How to make them:

Step 1, start with 100% wool yarn.  Bulky yarn is better than worsted – the fluffier the yarn is the better it will felt (shrink and stick together) and you’ll get a sturdier ball. 

Step 2, (optional) cut a long strip out of an old wool sweater and wrap or braid it into a tight ball about the size of a golf ball.  This will be the core of your dryer ball.  If you don’t have an old wool sweater to cut up you can skip this step and just start wrapping a ball of yarn, but your dryer ball will use more yarn.

Step 3, wrap yarn around the core, pulling it tightly where needed to make a nice even ball shape.  I like to turn the ball a little bit with each time I wrap the yarn around so it makes an asterisk pattern on the ball.  This way all sides get even coverage.  Do this until the ball is about 2/3 the size you want your finished dryer ball to be. 

Step 4, cut the yarn and tuck the end under other yarns to make a ball that won’t unravel.  Put it inside a sock and fasten the end with a rubber band.  If you’re making multiple dryer balls you can use knee socks and fit about 3 balls per sock, just use a rubber band in between each ball to keep them separated. 

Step 5, Grab that load of laundry you needed to do today.  Put it in the washer and add the dryer ball(s) in their socks.  Run a load on warm or hot water.  When done, toss it in the dryer (dryer balls too) and dry on high or medium high heat. 

Step 6, When the clothes are dry, get the dryer balls out.  Leave the clean laundry to deal with later, you’re making dryer balls! (ha ha, just kidding, you can fold it if you really want to).  Add another layer to the dryer ball, winding the yarn around and around in an asterisk pattern (once you complete one asterisk you can shift the ball so you’re doing another one with the center point in a different place on the ball).  You want the yarn to be firmly on there, so keep some tension in it, but you don’t have to make it super-super tight.  Make the ball about 20-30% bigger than you want your final dryer ball to be. Just like the first layer, it will shrink when you wash it.

Step 7,  repeat steps 4 and 5.  When the second layer of yarn has been washed and dried, it will be felted and will not unravel.  You’re done!  Felting the two layers separately makes the dryer balls sturdier and less likely to fall apart.  Ideally you’ll want 3 or 4 of them in your dryer at all times. 

I get my yarn from www.knitpicks.com.  If you would like to buy dryer balls from Babies Bottoms and More, click here: http://babiesbottomsandmore.com/dryer-balls.html

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2 thoughts on “Making Wool Dryer Balls

  1. thanks for this! I knit and crochet but had never made or used a dryer ball, then I got 2 as a gift yesterday!
    So now I know what they are for – and how I can make them!!
    Thanks!
    Jenn

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