Dryer balls are a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to fabric softener and dryer sheets. Because the balls can be used over and over, they save you money. And, unlike commercial dryer sheets and fabric softeners, which use harmful chemicals, dryer balls soften clothes by simply moving around in the dryer. The only problem is, while claiming to be environmentally friendly, some store-bought dryer balls are actually made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastics, which are hazardous to dispose of and produce. Luckily, with a little bit of yarn and some old pantyhose, you can easily make your own environmentally safe dryer balls.
Things You'll Need
- Wool yarn
- Crochet hook
- Pantyhose or sock
Make the Core Ball
Wrap some of the yarn around your fingers.
Take your fingers out of the loop you created and close the hole by pulling the yarn through it.
Wind yarn around the loop until you form a ball about 2 inches in circumference.
Cut the yarn attached to the ball using the scissors. Try to leave a little excess yarn dangling from the ball.
Grab the excess piece of yarn with the crochet hook and tuck it inside the ball to prevent the ball from unravelling during the felting process.
Put the core ball into the pantyhose or sock, and tie the open end in a knot. (If you are felting more than one core ball at a time, you can separate them within the pantyhose or sock by twisting the fabric in between the balls before tying the knot.)
Put the pantyhose or sock containing the core ball into the washing machine with a load of laundry.
Remove the ball from the pantyhose or sock when the cycle is complete. It should now be slightly felted. To increase felting, simply repeat this process.
Enlarge the Ball
Wrap more yarn around the felted core ball to increase its size. It's all right if you make the dryer ball a little big at first, since it will shrink over time as you use it. A good initial size to make a dryer ball is around 9 inches in circumference.
Cut the yarn with the scissors once you have made the ball the appropriate size. Try to leave a little excess yarn dangling from the ball.
Tuck the excess yarn inside the ball with the crochet hook. This will prevent it from unravelling when in use.
Put the dryer ball into the pantyhose or sock, and tie the open end in a knot.
Put the pantyhose or sock into the washing machine with a load of laundry.
Remove the ball from the pantyhose or sock when the cycle is complete. The dryer ball should now be felted and ready for use the next time you do laundry.
Tips & Warnings
- You can save time on felting by making multiple balls and putting them all through the wash at the same time.
- To help dryer balls felt faster, put them in with a load of laundry being washed in hot water.
- You can make scented dryer balls by sewing a sachet of your favorite fragrance into the center of the core ball.
- Do not use yarn that is machine washable.
- The colors of hand-dyed yarn might bleed in the wash.
- Photo Credit YARN BALLS image by brelsbil from Fotolia.com
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