Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Spring brings a lot of gift giving opportunities for us.  Lots of birthdays and special holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day.  If you've been following me for a while then you know how much I love making homemade gifts for my loved ones.  There is just something about carving time out of my busy life to sit down and create something for someone from raw materials.  For Mother's Day, I decided to make my mom a set of wool dryer balls.  These are a 100% natural way to replace those plastic spiky dryer balls and also chemical filled dryer sheets.  They fluff your laundry, reduce static, help air circulate through the fabric more efficiently and soak up excess moisture (which decrease drying time and therefore save energy).  The more you use the more time and energy you will save.  If you are taking steps to a chemical free home, or have a friend or family member who is, this project is one for you!

Here are the supplies you'll need.

To make a set of 6 dryer balls you will need 3 skeins of 100% wool yarn.  Each skein will be about 210 yards and it is important that the wool is NOT washable (so that it will felt properly).

Step 1:

Wind the yarn around 3 fingers about 10 times.
Step 2:
Wrap around the middle 3 or 4 times.
Step 3:

Fold in half.
Step 4:

Start winding...

and winding...

and winding until you have used half of your skein.
(You ball will end up being about the size of a baseball)
Step 5:

Take your large yarn needle and thread it with the tail of your yarn.
Step 6:

Push it through to the other side.
Step 7:

Pull the needle off and...

Snip the excess.
Step 8:

Repeat until you have 6 balls of yarn.
Step 9:

Time for felting!
To felt your wool dryer balls, use a pair of panty hose or some old socks.  Tie knots between each ball (if using socks, turn them inside out so that you don't get fuzzy sock pills).  You do this so that the yard doesn't come unwound in the washer.  You don't want that because it will just rewind itself around the agitator and waste all of that precious time you spent winding in the first place!  Then you just run them through 4 or 5 HOT wash and dry cycles.  I forgot to snap a picture of the finished product but they look pretty much the same as the ones above only instead of individual strands of yarn it somehow looks like all one piece.  Life fabric almost... Very cool.  I wrapped them up all pretty with a little bottle of lavender essential oil.  She's been using them ever since Mother's Day and said that they work wonders and that they make her laundry smell delightful.  I'm so glad she enjoys them and the next time I see some pretty wool yarn on sale I am definitely making myself a set!  If you are wondering how I found the time to make these, it just two family movie nights for me to complete them.  There was a small learning curve on the first one but then I found a groove and was able to wind pretty efficiently for the rest.  

Here are a couple of other homemade gifts we have made recently: 

A birdseed wreath
{using this tutorial}

A cement garden stone
{using a stepping stone kit from Michael's}

Have you ever made or used wool dryer balls?  What did you think? I hope that you found this tutorial useful!  I had a lot of ammonia issues with Ayden's cloth diapers once we moved in with my parents and I am wondering if dryer sheet residue had something to do with it...  I am excited to make myself a set and to see if it prevents that with Logan's diapers this time around.


Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Play, Play, Play!"
And two years ago today: "Keeping Things In Harmony"

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  1. Drier sheets do NOT have chemicals. I use them all the time.

    1. Yes they do. I wonder if you have some kind of chem free version? Never heard of that but I suppose it's possible. For the most part they're saturated in chemicals

    2. Just have to do a little research... http://www.ewg.org/guides/search?page=1&per_page=15&q=dryer+sheets

    3. Mrs. Meyer's rates *okay* with a C. Method and Honest Company make some natural, plant based sheets that are good but expensive! These, like cloth diapers, are a small investment to begin with but are reusable and last years.

  2. This was a timely post for me. I have had wool dryer balls on my DIY list for awhile. In fact, wool has been on my shopping list for 3 weeks but today is the day. I decided last night that I was going to pick up the wool today. This post just cemented it. Thanks!

  3. I received one free from a cloth diaper store but I never use it. I'd wanted more but although I don't use fabric softener or dryer balls, I don't have static-y laundry. They might help drying time but I don't notice that it takes a long cycle to dry most of my laundry.