How to Make Dryer Balls

Want to save the planet, money, AND time.  There is an easy way to do this.  Learn How to Make 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.

Learn how to make 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 

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

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Comments

  1. says

    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. says

    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

  3. says

    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.

  4. says

    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

  5. says

    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

  6. says

    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 :)

  7. Anonymous says

    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.

  8. Brooke says

    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?

    • Leslie says

      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.

  9. 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!

    • Leslie says

      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.

    • Leslie says

      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!

  10. Ami says

    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.

    • Leslie says

      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.

    • Leslie says

      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….

  11. says

    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!

    • Leslie says

      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.

      • says

        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.

  12. says

    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.

    • Leslie says

      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.

  13. Sarah says

    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?

    • Leslie says

      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.

  14. says

    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}!

  15. Jonio G says

    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!!

    • Leslie says

      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

  16. Julie says

    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 :)

    • Leslie says

      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.

      • kristina says

        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!

          • Julie says

            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?

      • Julie says

        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.

  17. Ali says

    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?

    • Leslie says

      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.

        • Ali says

          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.

          • Leslie says

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

  18. Julie says

    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!

  19. Janet says

    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 :)

  20. 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!

    • Leslie says

      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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

    • Leslie says

      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.

  23. Jill says

    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!

    • Leslie says

      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.

  24. carol says

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

  25. Netta says

    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?

  26. Netta says

    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…”?

  27. Janel says

    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?

    • carol says

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

      • Leslie says

        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.

  28. Netta says

    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.

  29. Angel says

    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.

    • Leslie says

      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.

  30. Denise says

    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!

  31. Ann says

    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!

    • Leslie says

      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.

  32. Pamela says

    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. :)

  33. says

    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.

  34. 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

  35. Mara says

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

  36. 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.

  37. says

    Wow, thank you so much for this tutorial! We were given dryer balls for our wedding 4 years ago and I love them though they are starting to get small. I didn’t know you could just make them! Thank you! :)

  38. Tami says

    I haven’t seen this addressed: My dryer balls felt on the outer layer and then slide off. The tutorial I first saw didn’t say to tuck the end of the yarn into the ball. Could that be the issue? I hope to give these as Christmas gifts so hopefully someone can answer my question!

    • Leslie says

      This is probably due to one of two things. 1. The temperature of the hot water or 2. The agitation of the washing machine.

  39. Cathy says

    Great tutorial and Great questions of what we have all experienced. I made 3 of these dryer balls for a gift and was running short of time to complete the felting process. I made three separate bundles instead of putting them all together. The first time I put them in a pail of really hot water and bounced them around alittle followed by a cold water bath before adding them to the dryer. The second time I put them in a big pan of hot water on the stove and stirred them around for about 20 minutes, then in cold water and into the dryer. Did not appear to be completely felted and afraid that they might come apart, I kept them in the panty hose, is this a bad idea to keep them encased in the panty hose? I made 3 balls out of 8oz of 100% wool and wrapped somewhat tight each weighed about 2.6 oz before trying the felt process.

  40. Cathy says

    Sorry, was not clear about the being encased in the panty hose but this was the way I gifted them. So My question is, Can they be used indefinately in the panty hose without causing problems

    • Leslie says

      I think it would work. But, I’ve never tried it. It could reduce the shrinkage that occurs over time. I say, go for it!

  41. says

    I’m so excited to have found this tutorial! I bought some wool dryer balls last year, and they’ve been working great, but a couple always seem to be missing and they aren’t scented. I’ll be making these soon. Pinning! :)

  42. says

    I can remember getting a bunch of Samoyed dog hair to spin and I needed to wash it to get the doggie smell out of it so I put it in a white pillowcase, tied it to close it and put it in the washer. Then I put it in the dryer and in about 30 minutes, I heard a “thunk, thunk, thunk” sound and when I took it out of the dryer, it had turned into a thing that looked like a Schmoo, the little white blobby things in “Lil Abner”. That was my first and only experience of the process of “felting”. I’m going to try this so I’ll have a better experience with Felting.

    • Leslie says

      This just made my day. Every time I think of this I chuckle. Who knew you could felt dog hair, let alone knit with it. Heading over to Google this one, now.

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