DIY Homemade Wool Dryer Balls

Homemade wool dryer balls are so simple and fun to make! Here’s a simple tutorial for how to make your own dryer balls.

diy homemade wool dryer balls

Some time ago, I heard that wool dryer balls were a natural alternative to fabric softener and dryer sheets.

I occasionally see wool dryer balls for sale online, but it looked like such a fun DIY project that I decided to make my own!

I did quite a bit of research before making my dryer balls, trying to decide which way would be best.

In the end, I decided to test out two different types of yarn and also some wool roving just for fun.

Homemade Wool Dryer Balls

Affiliate links included below for your convenience. Read my disclosure here.

diy wool dryer balls

Supplies:

  • Wool yarn (I used this one) or wool roving yarn (I used this one)
  • knee high pantyhose (like these)
  • wool roving like this (optional, you can use either the yarn or the wool roving, or both, like I did)

1. Make sure the yarn you use is 100% wool.

This is very important, since yarn that isn’t 100% wool won’t felt properly. It shouldn’t be a blend, but just all wool.

You can find this online or in craft stores. It may seem expensive, but keep in mind that you can get several dryer balls out of each skein (how many depends on how big you make your balls).

You can also save by using a coupon at a fabric/craft store or waiting until it’s on sale.

diy dryer balls2. To get the ball started, wrap the yarn around two fingers about 15-20 times.

I used to help my grandma wind her yarn into balls, so this step was familiar. 🙂

diy dryer balls

3. Then slip the yarn off your fingers and wrap the yarn around the middle.

Wrap the yarn tightly 2-3 times around the middle (it will look kind of like a bow).

diy dryer balls

4. Continue wrapping the yarn tightly. You’ll see a ball beginning to form!

diy dryer balls

5. When your ball is as big as you want it (about the size of a tennis ball), cut the yarn and tuck the end under the strands of yarn to secure it.

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Here are my four balls made with yarn:

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6. Tie the balls into a knee-high stocking.

I used one knee-high stocking for this (you can also use an old pair of pantyhose or tights by cutting one leg off).

Just put the first ball into the toe part of the stocking and then tie a tight knot right above the ball to secure it.

Insert the next ball and tie a knot. Repeat this process until all of the balls are tied into the stocking.

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Directions for making dryer balls with wool roving

The procedure for using the wool roving is a bit different.

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First, you take a small piece of the wool and soak it in warm water. The heat and moisture help the wool fibers felt together.

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Wind the wool tightly into a walnut-sized ball. This is the core of the wool ball.

Then you take strips of the wool and wrap them around that core piece. Keep the wool soaked and massage it until the wool fibers join together.

Spread the fibers on each strip thin to prevent unraveling.

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Once you have a ball shape, massage the fibers together and press the loose ends onto the surface of the ball and put it into the stocking.

I wasn’t sure this was going to turn out right, but it did!

dryer balls wool roving

Even though it didn’t look like much of a ball, after going through the felting process, this is what it looked like:

wool roving dryer ball

7. To felt, each ball should be tied individually into the stocking.

Put your stocking full of balls (looks like a caterpillar!) into the washing machine on a very hot wash cycle.

You need heat to encourage the felting process (felting makes the yarn fuse together so the balls won’t unwind).

They don’t need to be washed all alone, they can wash with a load of towels or other laundry that can withstand a hot wash cycle.

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8. After washing, dry the balls in the dryer on a very high heat setting.

After they’re completely dry, remove them from the pantyhose. (You may need to cut the pantyhose away from the balls.)

diy wool dryer balls

Aren’t they beautiful? Just looking at them inspires me to go do some laundry! 🙂

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I love to add a few drops of essential oils to each ball, just for some added aromatherapy benefits. For some reason I gravitate toward lavender, but you can use any scent you like!

The laundry really does seem fluffier (especially towels) when the dryer balls are used in the dryer.

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I made these dryer balls in January, and they still look great and none of them unraveled even a tiny bit.

In fact, the longer I use them the more felted (and sturdy) they seem to get.

Enjoy your useful, beautiful, money-saving creation!

 

diy homemade wool dryer balls

 

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30 Comments

  1. In the past I have machine-felted wool sweaters from Goodwill, to be cut up and made into tote bags. When I did that, I found dish detergent rather than laundry detergent worked with the felting process. By any chance did you put dish detergent in the washing machine when you made the dryer balls?

    1. I used regular laundry detergent for mine. I would be afraid to put dish detergent in my front loading washer.

        1. Sometimes I miss our older washing machine (it broke and had to be replaced several years ago), because I didn’t have to be as particular about what type of soap, etc.!

  2. I have made my dryer balls,washed a load of towels,threw everything in the dryer…they still look exactly the same as when I started! I used got water in the wash and HOT on the dryer cycle. Does it take a few loads to get the wool to felt?
    I used Patons classic 100% wool(searched forever to find the darn stuff cause I don’t ship on line)

    1. Hi Cheryl! So sorry to hear that! Mine all felted after the first try, so I’m not sure. I haven’t had that happen before. If they are still in a looser ball (not felted and stuck together), I might try re-wrapping them into a ball, making sure to wrap the yarn very tightly into a ball. Then you could try the felting process again, maybe without anything else in the wash, using the hottest wash cycle (again having them tied into the stocking). Then try drying them in a hot dryer by themselves and see if they felt. 100% wool should felt in a hot washer and dryer, so I’m not sure why they didn’t.

      The wool roving (the one that isn’t yarn) felts a lot tighter and fuzzier than the wool yarn. When the wool roving yarn (Paton’s) is felted, it’s not quite as tight and fuzzy-looking, but all the yarn strands should still be stuck together. They will get more felted as you use them, but if they’re not at all felted at this point, I would try the process again. I’m still using the ones I made in this post from several years ago!

    1. The wool roving yarn works just like the 100% wool yarn. But if you use the actual roving, it’s in a different shape and doesn’t wind up into a tight ball the same way the yarn does. The different method is just to help it stick together better.

    1. It needs to be wool, because wool is the only type of yarn that will felt and stick together. When you make these, the wool fibers stick together and form a tight ball that won’t unwind and come apart in the dryer.

  3. Such a great idea to make your own, and it looks so easy too! I’d like to give it a try but am wondering how much yarn 4 balls take. I don’t really use yarn for anything else, so I’d rather not purchase more than I need.

    1. That’s a good question, and I have to admit that I’m not sure! I made these a few years ago and used several different skeins of yarn, and I don’t remember how much each one made or how much yarn was left over (since we use a lot of yarn in our house for various things!). If it seems easier, you could always try a kit like one of these: https://rstyle.me/n/de6g3pb9pm7

  4. I love my dryer balls! I think they even make the dry time go down! I should try making them sometime! Miss you Joy!

    1. I think you’re right about cutting the drying time down. Another good reason to use them! Miss you too! 🙂

  5. These look really nice! We inherited a dryer when we moved into our house last year, and the rubbery dryer balls I bought then are beginning to crack, so this post was timely for me. So nice that you can add essential oils, too. Thank you for sharing your tutorial 🙂

    1. How nice that you inherited a dryer! I’ve used those rubbery dryer balls in the past, and the wool ones are so much nicer. Thanks for stopping by, Gwen!

  6. I just had a friend tell me about wool balls. I had never heard of them before, and now here you are…AGAIN inspiring me.
    Thank you for the helpful tutorial, now to fight the urge to run out for supplies today! Ha. ha.

    1. Oh, they’re so fun to make! And fun to use! Sorry, that probably didn’t help fight the urge to go get some supplies! 🙂

      1. I think, when I have a little spare cash, I’ll buy some and let this be a project for some little hands in my home. I think they would feel very accomplished to make a useful wool ball to help Mama! 🙂
        Do you have a recommended brand of wool yarn? Or a recommended resource that you love?

        Blessings,
        Carol

        1. That’s a great idea to let the little ones help! I’m sure they’d love that. 🙂 Both the Fishermen’s Wool and the Paton’s Wool Roving Yarn work well. The best price I’ve seen for these is at Jo-Ann Fabric stores, especially when they have a sale. Hope that helps!

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