How to Make Dryer Balls

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Inside: 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.

How to Make Dryer Balls Pin

How to Make Dryer Balls


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

Step 1:

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

wind yarn on fingers

Step 2:

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

Tightly wrap yarn around the middle.

tie off yarn

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

make a yarn ball

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.

wind ball of yarn until size of tennis ball

Step 3:

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.

put end into yarn ball

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

finish dryer ball

Repeat the above steps until you have 4-6 yarn balls.

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

ready to felt yarn balls

Step 4:

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.

add to a pantyhose
dryer balls tied into pantyhose

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.

Learn How to Wool Make Dryer Balls and save money on drying your clothes. Felted Wool Dryer Balls are easy to make, budget friendly, and make great gifts.

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

before after shot

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

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  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. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

    1. 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.

  7. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. 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!

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. I actually just purchased some of these on Ebay and I use 5 for a large load, but I LOVE your idea of putting them in connected string, as I always have a hard time finding them in my clean, dry clothes! Perfect answer! Thanks so much for representing us “seasoned” homemakers! Learning everyday is so much fun! Evelyn in Texas

        1. Evelyn… I make these and sell them all the time. The reason for putting them together in the hose and tying them up is for the felting process. I sometimes have the same problem as you trying to locate all of the dryer balls at the end of the drying cycle. You really do want them to all be loose in the dryer. That is why the drying time is shorter because the balls are able to go all through your clothes and absorb the moisture and keep them fluffed while drying.

    1. 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….

  9. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. I have read you may have to wash and dry them three or four times to have them be totally felted. I am going to try and make these tonight! I bought Patons Classic Wool Roving to make them.

  11. 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?

    1. 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.

  12. 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}!

  13. 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!!

    1. 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.

  14. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

          1. 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?

      2. 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.

  15. 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?

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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 🙂

  18. 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!

    1. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

    1. 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.

  21. 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!

    1. 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.

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

  23. 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?

  24. 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…”?

  25. 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?

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

      1. 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.

      2. From what I have found from reading and researching online, the static comes from over drying your clothes. I was so guilty of this before using dryer balls. Some even say put a wadded up piece of aluminum foil in and it will get rid of static. The only problem I found with this is that the foil becomes very solid and tends to make noise. You would need to replace the foil more often than the dryer balls.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

    1. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

    1. 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.

  30. 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. 🙂

  31. 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.

  32. 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?

    1. Hi! I have done this project before too, and yes wrapping them too tightly seems to hinder the felting process. But too loose and they are not firm enough to fluff things out, like blankets. With some experimenting you’ll find the perfect middle! Good luck!

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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!

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

  36. 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.

  37. 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

    1. 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!

  38. 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! 🙂

  39. 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.

    1. 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.

  40. Hi, two things… Could someone please tell me what size they shrunk to after felted (from initial) tennis ball size)? Also, would you say they are much heavier than what a Styrofoam ball would weigh? Finally, are they really dense or hard after felting or soft and squishy like a sponge ball? Strange questions I know, but I’m actually considering using them for the inside of a handmade doll’s head instead of using Styrofoam.


  41. I’ll be darned if it didn’t work! I am now the proud owner of 8 felted dryer balls! I had picked up a skein of 100% wool yarn to do this and then remembered I had some left over wool yarn already conveniently rolled! Do I felted that too! Thanks so much! Now to see if it helps in the dryer!

  42. Would these be okay to use if you’re allergic to wool? It won’t “get in the clothes,” will it?

      1. Leslie… I have read that once the wool is felted, people that are allergic to wool have no problem with them. I have a friend that is highly allergic to wool and I gave her one ball to handle and she even put it in her dryer. She was so excited that it did not bother her in the least. She ordered 2 sets from me!

        I hope you don’t mind my input, I love these things so much, I want everyone to use them and see how wonderful they are. I am getting some great tips from the other posters also. I am going to make some of the vinegar and soda softener for myself!

        1. I don’t mind your valuable input at all. Everyone benefits when we share our knowledge. I didn’t know that overdrying causes the static.

  43. Great project and I can’t wait to make some as gifts. For those of you who also water-bath can, schedule your felting session for right after you can. Being a fanatical water conserver, I pour the water from canning directly into my washer. Run a little extra hot water to get enough volume to activate the machine’s agitation cycle and that should be hot enough to do the felting.

  44. At the end of your post you stated that “this set should last a year” – How long do they normally last and how do you know when they need to be replaced?

    1. Over time the dryer balls will shrink – this will depend on how often you dry your clothes. When you start getting static, then it’s time for new dryer balls.

  45. Mine are not felting please help! They are very fuzzy and don’t seem to look smooth like yours I can still see each individual piece of yarn could someone help me? I need these really bad my husband is allergic to all dryer sheets and fabric softener as well as my grandson!

    1. The problem could be that the water isn’t hot enough or there isn’t enough agitation used during the felting process.

  46. Thank you for this tutorial! I have stopped using dryer sheets for many reasons, and have been wanting an alternative. I have seen wool dryer balls all over, but this is the first tutorial I have seen. I cannot wait to make a few of these!

  47. Another site said to use roving wool. What is this? Can I use some Alpaca wool that I already have. I was told I could felt it.

  48. Hooray for the great tutorial. Visions of Christmas gifts are running through my head… Will look for some coupons and off to the craft store I go!

  49. Hi Leslie,
    Thanks so much for this tutorial!! I have one question tho: how many balls do you use in the dryer per wash load? Not to make them but to use them.

  50. Why do you have to felt the balls? I just made a ball from rolled up strips from a t-shirt and crocheted a cover for it. That seems to work and was cheaper.

  51. Hi!
    I have just discovered these and cant wait to try them out. I noticed a comment on another site that the balls were kept in a bag so they don’t get lost in the laundry….would you recommend that? would the effectiveness be the same? Thank you for your awesome instructions!

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