When I first started making felted wool dryer balls for my peeps, a lot of my friends and family would say, “Weird! What are dryer balls, anyway?” My response was typically, “They are what folks like me use instead of dryer sheets to green-up their laundry game.” If you would like to have a more edified answer to THAT question (optional, but highly recommended) when your peeps ask you, then read more about these little eco-friendly static-fighters on my post, What Are Dryer Balls Anyway?
On this post, you’ll learn to make awesome felted wool dryer balls from sheep roving in 5 easy steps. There’s also a link to a BONUS tutorial at the end. It’s super cute and you won’t want to miss it!
Now, let’s get started.
- Stockings aka nylons, pantyhose, tights, hosiery, hose
- Washer & Dryer
- Scale (optional)
5 Steps to Making Felted Wool Dryer Balls
1. Weight Out Your Roving
This step is optional. You can totally just wing it! Your roving ball should be about the size of a softball (maximum). I weight my roving in a plastic baggie, using a hanging scale (the same one that I use to weight lambs), into 4 oz “handfuls”. If you don’t have your own roving, you can get some from my sheep at Copia Cove, HERE!
Expert Tip: Weighing out the roving you use for a set of dryer balls will help you to determine an appropriate price to set if you wish to sell them, because a good shepherd/crafter knows the cost of her materials, in this case, per ounce.
2. Make Your Roving Ball
Roll your roving into a tight ball, like a ball of yarn. Start by doing a few revolutions around your first two fingers to get the ball rolling faster (haha, get it?). Keep winding until you reach a desired size, or use up all 4 ounces or roving.
Expert Tip: I start with three strands of roving and working my way down to two, and then just one strand, before I reach the end of my roving ball shaping. This makes the winding, rocking, and rolling phase go a whole lot faster! Be careful, because this can make your ball lopsided… unless you’re into that, of course. I like my balls nice and round, which is the reason for the three, two, one breakdown.
3. Load Up Your Roving Balls
Grab your stockings, ladies! Carefully squeeze a ball of roving all the way down into a stocking until it’s packed tight. Tie a knot in the stocking after each ball in order to separate the balls from one another and prevent them from felting to each other or loosing their shape. Keep loading balls until the stocking is full.
Expert Tip: Turn the stocking inside-out. Wool will felt to the toe seam, so it’s best to have it facing out.
4. To The Washing Machine
Load Your caterpillar-looking-roving-ball-stockings into the washing machine. Wash with detergent and hot water.
Expert Tip: You will probably need to run them through the wash at least one more time to get them to felt well. My washing machine is a front loader, and I always do two washes. My machine is also… temperamental. Sometime it won’t go through a spin cycle, I assume, because of the unbalanced weight. To fix that issue, just throw big towel in with the caterpillars.
5. Extract And Dry
You should have sightly damp felted wool dryer balls. Extract those little pretties by using scissors to cut an escape hole for each ball. Sometimes the wool will felt to the stocking- just keep peeling back that hosiery. Once they have all escaped, you can throw them in the dryer. One hot cycle in the dryer should be enough.
Expert Tip: Prevent audio-induced headaches! Throw that big towel in there (the one from step 4), along with your dryer balls, to keep them from banging around in the dryer.
Easy, right? I like to package mine in groups of four with a cute little tag. Include a snippet about what they are and how to use them. You can get the snippet that I use by visiting the post, What Are Dryer Balls Anyway?
Comment below and share your dryer ball felting journey!
Oh yea, here’s the BONUS video tutorial that I was telling you about, Needle Felting on Dryer Balls, where I show you how to needle felt shapes onto your dryer balls!
Shepherd Like a Girl!