How to Make Dryer Balls

Want to save the planet, money, AND time.  There is an easy way to do this.  Make a set of Dryer Balls. Specifially, Felted Wool Dryer Balls.

Once you do, you will never have to buy over-scented dryer sheets or bulky bottles of fabric softener again.

Dryer Balls will also reduce static cling and cut your clothes drying time significantly {25-50%}.

These nifty little felted wool dryer balls will do all of these things while happily bouncing around in your dryer.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

 

How to Make Dryer Balls

Things You Will Need:

  • 100% Wool Yarn (mine had 223 yds.)
  • Panty Hose
  • Dental Floss 
  • Crochet Needle with blunt tip
  • Lavender Oil (optional)

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 1

Begin by wrapped several strands of yarn around your fingers 10-20 times.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 2

Pull the yarn off your fingers and pinch together in the center. 

Tightly wrap yarn around the middle.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 3

Start wrapping until the yarn takes on the shape of a ball.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 4

Continue wrapping the yarn around the small wool ball. 

Optional:  When it reaches about half the size of a tennis ball, sprinkle a 2-4 drops of lavender oil on the wool.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 5

Keep wrapping until your wool ball is about the size of a tennis ball.

Cut a short yarn tail and thread it through a crochet needle.
Felted Wool Dryer Balls 6

Push the blunt end of the needle into the center of the wool ball and pull through.  Clip the yarn tail.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 10 
Repeat the above steps until you have 4-6 yarn balls.

My skein of yarn was 223 yards and it made 4 dryer balls.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 11 
Now, you are ready to begin the felting process.
Push the first wool ball down into the toe of the panty hose leg.  Tie a square knot using a piece of dental floss.
Note:  Do not use any of your left over wool yarn or it will felt during the washing process.
Felted Wool Dryer Balls 12
Felted Wool Dryer Balls 13

To felt your dryer balls, wash on your machine’s hottest setting.  If you have a front loader, add in some towels to help muffle the noise of the balls flinging around.

Once the wash cycle is complete, dry on the hottest dryer setting.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 14

Notice the difference in size before and after.  The felting process took place in the washer.  The dryer balls did not continue to shrink after drying.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls 17 Felted Wool Dryer Balls 16

This set should last at least a year. Simple and economical ~ always a winner with me.

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Comments

  1. I’m so excited! Can’t wait to try this. So much prettier to have these sitting out and smelling good than dryer sheets. I’ve never been a fan of liquid softeners.

  2. These are beautiful, I am not sure i would want the in the dryer. On the table looks great!

  3. What a great tutorial. I never knew you could do that. and they are so cute! Thanks so much for sharing on Super Sweet Saturday.
    Steph
    swtboutique.blogspot.com

  4. Seriously, they make a cute decoration! Love this idea!

    I have a weekend party I’d love for you to share this on:

    http://westernwarmth.blogspot.com

    Thanks!

    Bobi

  5. This felting business is a complete mystery to me, but this sounds as if even I could achieve it. Like the idea(s) too. Thanks for sharing. As a fellow guest on this blog hop, will be following to see what other ideas you come up with: hope you’ll return the favour and visit me at http://www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com. We look forward to getting to know you! Isobel

  6. At first I thought these were a cute snowball decorations. Ha ha.But this is so cool. What a great idea! Glad you linked up at “I Gotta Try That” Have a great Thanksgiving!
    Marcie

  7. I’ve been wanting to make some of these. Great tutorial! I would be honored if you shared this at my Ginger Jamboree Link Party!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I make my own wool dryer balls, too. I’m completely sold on them. Thanks for the tip on threading the end with a needle. I’ve just been tucking them under. I like your way better :-) I keep mine in a basket and dab a few drops of essential oil before each use. I can’t decide what scent I like best: lavendar, lemon grass, sweet orange, spearmint, vanilla, or grapefruit!

    http://dejongdreamhouse.blogspot.com/2012/11/wool-dryer-balls.html

  10. Found you from Mop it Up Mondays. What a great tutorial! I’ve been wanting to make these, but have been hesitant because of the noise. I think this is an awesome idea and you’ve encouraged me to give it a try! Love your blog – you have a new follower!

    Jen @ Noting Grace
    http://notinggrace.blogspot.com

  11. I will definitely try this – during the winter, cutting down on drying time would really save money on our utilities bill!

  12. Very interesting! I love an idea that saves me money for sure! Thanks for sharing this. Saw you over at Sweet Boutique and happily following you via GFC and looking forward to more!

  13. I love this! My husband likes using Downy, but I don’t like using extra chemicals, so this looks like a great alternative. Plus, your great tutorial makes this look like a fun project to make. I better go out and buy some wool yarn. I’m now following you on GFC and hope you’ll stop by at thedomesticatedprincess.com.

  14. Way cool, I never knew you could do this! I have a TON of yarn from my grandmother that’s just waiting for me to find a use for it, and I know a bunch of it is 100% wool, so this is perfect. :-)

    Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  15. Wow! This is so brilliant! I’m so glad I decided to join the SundayFunday blog hop over at WTFab and saw your link. You have a beautiful blog and I’m delighted to pin your post and share it with my readers on Facebook as well!

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  16. What a great idea! And awesome tutorial! Thank you for sharing! Found you through a linky party and I am excited to be a new follower! I hope you will stop by my site if you get a chance! http://www.thetaylor-house.com

  17. I love this idea! I am always looking for ways to save money. Plus dryer sheets are so hard on sensitive skin…..

    Thanks.. Your picture are great, so easy to follow…

    hugs x
    Crystelle

  18. Thanks for linking up at the Ginger Jamboree! I featured your project today…come on over and grab a featured button if you’d like!

  19. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of this. At first, I thought this was just a cute decoration (they look like fuzzy snowballs) but would love to try this in for drying clothes-sound simple to make too. Thanks for sharing :)

  20. Just wanted to let you know I featured this today on my blog! You can check it out and grab a Featured button here: http://practicallyfunctional.net/2012/11/the-fun-in-functional-link-party-27/

  21. Hi! They look great that’s for sure. I would be very happy if more people start using wool dryer balls in their laundry :)

  22. is there any problem with using coloured wool, i have leftovers of red, blue,green from making felted slippers. thanks for your fabulous (free) instructions. these are sold at the farmer’s market up here (ontario, canada) for 3/$12.00.

  23. This might be a weird question but I want to make these for my mother in law and sister in law who have dryers. The problem is, I do not own a dryer (we hang dry all our stuff just because we can). Can I dry them out in the oven, air dry them, or something?

    • This is really a great question and one that I didn’t even consider. Here’s the good news ~ almost all of the shrinking and felting takes place in the washing machine. Be sure to use the hottest water possible and let it agitate in washer, then set them out to air dry for a couple of days. If you are using central heat in your home, this should help speed it up. Do not use the oven ~ it might create a hazard.

  24. Shelly Knotts says:

    Hi — I’m going to try and make these….just wondering, do you use all them at once in the dryer for each load or one at a time??
    Thanks for the great tutorial!

    • Such a great question ~ which I never addressed in the tutorial. I use 4 dryer balls for a medium size load. If you are doing a really large load of towels or sheets, you may want 5-6 dryer balls.

  25. I want to try this, my question is: I have yarn that is 100% acrylic or polyester, will they felt the same?

    • The acrylic yarn will not felt at all. You have to use 100% wool yarn for this project. I found mine for $3.00 at Michael’s. Good luck!

  26. Hi Leslie. This is a great tutorial, and I’m really excited to start making these dryer balls … so thanks! Quick question: after removing the balls from the washer, should I leave the balls in the panty hose when drying or is it safe to dry them freely on their own? I’m just wondering if they’ll keep their shape if I put them in the dryer individually and wet.

    • Thanks for a great question! Either way is fine ~ they will retain their shape. If you take them out of the the pantyhose, they will bounce around your dryer and make a lot of noise. I recommend adding a couple of towels to the dryer to muffle the sound.

  27. I love this idea, how often do you need to add more lavender oil? Every use or does it last awhile?

    • Thanks for visiting. I keep a bottle of inexpensive lavender oil in the laundry room. Once every week or two I put a 2-4 drops on each of the dryer balls. You will know because your laundry room won’t smell like lavender and you will want that lovely scent back….

  28. I tried this last night and I don’t think it worked. The yarn (which was 100% wool according to the label) balls did not shrink and don’t look felted. It looked like it did when I put it in the washer. (Two of them came unraveled and the unraveled portions felted though.) Even when I washed on hot. Should I try a different brand of yarn? Thanks!

    • Sorry you’re having problems getting your dryer balls to felt. If I had to guess, I’d say that the hot water in your washer isn’t hot enough or it didn’t get agitated long enough. I used an inexpensive 100% Merino wool for mine. It came from Michael’s. You may want to try dropping them into a pot of boiling water and stir them around. Keep us posted.

      • Alternatively, Courtney might have used superwash merino, which won’t felt but might fuzz up a bit. Superwash wool won’t give the right result, as it’s been treated to resist it.

      • we don’t get hot water in our washing machine but my balls still felted enough that they don’t unravel.

  29. I have found that if I wind the yarn around the ball too tight, it will have a harder time felting as well. However I do have a front loader, so maybe that is the problem. I love these.

    • You are probably right about winding the yarn too tight. It seems that since front loaders don’t agitate that sometimes the felting takes a little longer.

  30. What a great idea that seems simple to do!

  31. What a lovely and wonderful idea! I’ll be pinning!

  32. Hi! I made these a couple weeks ago and love them so far however I am suddenly finding fuzzies from the yarn on my clothes and blankets. I am using 100% Virginia wool yarn from michaels and the cost is $12.00. Should I be using a diff kind of wool?

    • Hmmm. I have never had any fuzzies. I would try re-felting them in the washer. It may be the wool – but I used really cheap yarn from Michael’s and I’ve never gotten any fuzzies.

  33. Amazing idea! This will save me so much money. I can’t wash unless I have fabric softener..thanks!

  34. I’m so intrigued by these! I never use dryer sheets or fabric softener {I’m a cheapskate} but I love the idea that they’ll speed up drying time. I’m pinning and I’m definitely going to be trying this. Thanks so much for linking up at Project Inspire{d}!

  35. I always use vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener but sometimes I still get some static, especially in the winter. I think this is a great idea! Between this and the homemade laundry soap from Little Birdie Secrets, I should be set!!

    • I use vinegar in the rinse cycle, too. Witht he dryer balls, it really makes a difference. I’ve yet to make my own laundry soap. Hmmm.

      • Victoria says:

        Homemade liquid fabric softener is super easy and might make a nice addition to the balls. I used vinegar as fab softener for years until I got this tip for a much better softner; in a large stock pot, slowly dissolve 1 box baking soda into small amounts of vinegar (adding each at small increments will prevent the fizz from overflowing). When it settles down add a few drops essential oils and store in a used fabric softener or other bottle.
        1 box baking soda+
        1 large jug vinegar+
        essential oils+
        = Great Easy Fabric Softener

  36. Hi there
    I have attempted to make my own dryer balls. I have bought 3 packages of the Paton wool for Felton like you show in your blog. I’m on my third attempt at washing and drying in the pantyhose and my balls still look the same as they went in.
    I am washing on my hottest setting in my washer but do have new top loader washing machine. Am I missing something?
    I thought my balls would felt and look like a tennis ball like yours do. I made two white balls and 4 colored balls all with the Paton wool. Any suggestions?
    Great blog BTW. I’m glad I stumbled upon you :)

    • I have had this comment from other readers. My best guess is the water in your washer isn’t hot enough. Most top-loaders will agitate the wool balls, but they won’t felt if the water isn’t super hot. I suggest you put a stock pot of water on the stove and let it come to a full rolling boil. Drop the pantyhose with the dryer balls in the hot water and make sure that they get rolled around. The felting process will continue in a really hot dryer while bouncing around. Keep us posted on how this works.

      • I’m going to try this today! Being a knitter, I know that felting requires heat and friction– and is very unpredictable. If your balls don’t look like they’re felting enough try this: use the smallest load setting with hot water and a little soap (this helps get the natural oils and lanolin out of the fibers) then throw in a pair of jeans or a couple of tennis balls for more friction.

        This is a great way for me to use up left over bits ofwool yarn!

        • Excellent suggestion. Thank you for sharing.

          • thanks for the suggestions and ideas.
            I have washed these balls 5 times each and put them in the dryer after each use…Do you think maybe that is my problem? Leslie i took your suggestion and boiled the CRAP out of the balls and did so for about 30+ maybe even 40 minutes and placed in the dyer.. they DEFINTIELY shrunk but they dont look like they’ve “melted” (felted) together.
            I used 100% wool. Size 4 so i think a medium thread, it also stated on the package to hand wash… so have I used the wrong wool?
            I am going to take them out of the pantyhose tonight and see.. I’ve also heard that maybe some wool balls are felted but still look like the do when first winding.. any truth to that?

      • I had the same problem when I used the stockings. I tired it again putting the balls together in a pillowcase. I tied the top with cotton yarn. It worked much better.

  37. Hi! I’ve made 4 balls so far this weekend, and I’m hoping to roll sets for family members. My mum had a question though:
    How do you get the balls dry once they are put to use? Do they mold on the inside ever?

    • Once you’ve dried them in the dryer after felting, they do not need to be put in water again. I keep mine in the dryer between uses. They get damp with drying, but they dry out again.

      • Thanks for such a swift reply! This was such a simple and great tutorial!

        • For those that had issues with the balls not felting in the washing machine, I had the same thing happen even though I used a small load with the hottest setting and a pair of jeans for agitation. What I did was dump them into a stock pot of boiling water and push them around with a spoon for about 10 minutes. I then dried them on high heat for over three hours and they have felted amazingly.

          • Thank you for testing this ~ I was pretty sure that the combination of boiling water and high dryer heat would felt them.

  38. Yours are some of the prettiest dryer balls I’ve seen yet!
    Good work!

    nice soft color too!

    hugs x
    Crytelle

  39. I made these today as a gift for a friend. Also made a few for myself. One tip that helped mine to felt better was placing the balls together in a pillowcase and tied the top with cotton yarn. I used colored yarn then once they were done I needle felted polka dots in fun colors. I ran them through the washer one more time to secure the polka dots. They turned out really cute.
    Also, I used a white pillow case so I would be able to see if there was any bleeding from the yarn. My pillowcase came out clean, so I know they are safe to use with all colors in the dryer.
    Thanks for the idea!

  40. What a great idea. excellent tutorial too.Will have a go today
    Thank you
    Penny

  41. I made a set of these for a Mothers’ Day gift and they turned out fantastic! Thanks for such a great tutorial for a neat idea :)

  42. Mixed Kreations says:

    I ran across your dryer balls on HomeTalk. What a great idea. I make my own fabric softne out of vinegar, cheap scented conditioner, and water. But I want to try these. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tutorial. These felt balls are really pretty and make a pretty table decor. Pinning and sharing!

  43. Instead of making those wool balls, I just toss a couple of those tennis balls in the dryer.

    • I’ve tried tennis balls – but I can’t stand the way they smell in the dryer. I usually put a few drops of lavender oil on my wool balls every week or two.

  44. Nancy Mullis says:

    Thanks for posting this wonderful idea, I’m on my way to get my wool. Can hardly wait to try these. Thanks to everyone else that asked the same questions I had.

  45. Chris S says:

    If you would like to go green, you could unravel old wool sweaters and do this! great way to recycle, and could get some pretty colors, too!

  46. Could you just use a wool sweater that you don’t want anymore?

    • I’m really not sure. If you were to unravel it and form a ball with the wool, then it would work. Keep us posted if you try this.

  47. I love this idea and it looks like great fun. I have only one thought. For me, I’m very interested in this in order to cut down on the use of chemicals/toxins in our home. All laundry products have varying degrees of this. For those doing it for the same reasons, I recommend purchasing essential grade oil, not the cheaper oils. All oils that are not essential grade contain chemicals; the cheaper they are, the more they contain. At least that is my understanding. I can’t wait to make a set! Thank you for another great idea!

    • Excellent point about the using higher quality oils. I generally use a less expensive oil for the dryer balls. I will pull out my better oils and try them.

  48. No one has mentioned how this takes the place of fabric softner or dryer sheets with the static cling?
    Thanks!

  49. At the point where you say “Now you’re ready to begin felting”, you have placed a “NOTE”: that says, “Do not use any of your leftover wool yarn or it will felt during the washing process”. It seems that you want your yarn to felt during the washing process, so I am confused. Definitely want to try this, and will make a bunch to give as gifts, but please clarify?

  50. Ha! I think I figured it out. You meant don’t use the yarn to tie the knots between the balls! Maybe, for dummies like me, you could put it: “Don’t use leftover wool yarn to tie the knots between the balls…”?

  51. Will the felted balls leave lint on my black dress polyester trousers? Will they work just as well if I leave them in the pantyhose?

  52. Does it keep the static out?

    • And if so, how? That is the only reason I use fabric softner. Thanks for any info that anyone can give me!

      • It depends on the number and size of your dryer balls. They tend to shrink with time as they continue to felt each time they are used. So, start with 4 large balls. If you notice static again. Make a couple more and add them. When they are the size of a golf ball, they aren’t as effective.

  53. Hi, Leslie! So far, I have made 36 of these dryer balls. They are great! Work beautifully in my dryer. Its only taking half the time to dry the clothes, and no static. I am making so many, because I intend to give them as Christmas gifts this year. For anyone who is having trouble getting the water hot enough in the washer…turn off the cold tap while you are using your washer to felt the balls.

  54. Hey there, really love this idea, so I went to my local Hobby Lobby and got my yarn. However, I only got one and maybe a half of a ball. Maybe I did something wrong or wound mine too tight? You did say only one wool package, right? Mine was 220yds.

    • I wrapped mine tightly until they were the size of a tennis ball. My package netted me 4 wool balls. I did once make a single ball out of an entire package of yarn – it felted into the size of a softball.

  55. I have been thinking about doing this. The directions look easy to do. Thank you for the idea.

  56. Thank you for this fabulous idea. I’m anxious to try this. I live in an apartment complex so the utility bill is not my worry but helping the Eco system not using chemicals is. Thank you again!

  57. Just how long do you dry the washed balls? Will be making this as soon as I get an answer to this mystery! Am all for saving money anyway I can…. via dryer sheets or electricity!

    • It really depends. If you have a front loader, you will need to set it on the hot water. I suggest turning off the cold water which hinders getting the hottest water available. A normal wash cycle should do the trick if the water is hot enough. The rest of the felting takes place in the dryer. Again, use the hottest setting available.

  58. Thanks for the great idea! Linking up behind you at Inspire Me Monday.

  59. I can’t stand the small of fabric softener or dryer sheets. I am making a set of these!

  60. So smart! I need to make these.

  61. Just started making my own laundry detergent and had been surfing the web for home-made dryer sheets. Then I came across the wool dryer balls and thought I hit the jackpot!
    Wish I saw your site before purchasing them. They can be spendy for a box of six.
    I’m definitely going to try these and try out some of the suggestions posted.
    Just wanted to say excellent tutorial, excellent questions and suggestions too. :)

  62. What a great idea. I had no idea that this will reduce the drying time and be anti static too. I have a massive stash of yarn at home and I’m going to try this and make some christmas presents.

  63. Great tutorial! I’m sharing your link on my blog today.
    Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

  64. Suzanne Werneke says:

    I hope you can help me…..i made 6 balls this past weekend and I’ve washed/dried them 4 times and nothing….zip…..zilch. No felting at all. I made sure to buy yarn that would felt too. I did wrap the balls REALLY tightly…could that be the issue here?
    Thanks

  65. Hi, great post. I tried it hut had trouble with the felting process. Do you have to felt multiple times? Thanks!

  66. suzanna says:

    I purchased acrylic yarn by mistake and have 100% wool on it’s way. Would the dryer balls still function well if I were to start the ball with acrylic and tie in wool to finish it off? That way the felting yarn would take up the outside layer of the ball, maybe 1″ deep.

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