How to Pump a Ball Without a Needle

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An air pump needle seems like an obscure tool until it becomes an urgent necessity. If the only ball you have is deflated and a ball sport is scheduled in the near future, the lack of a pump needle could ruin your plans. With a little ingenuity, you can prevent this from happening. It is possible to substitute commonly found household items for your needle and air pump. Using a compressed air canister, a paper clip and a straw, you can re-inflate your ball and be out in the field or court in no time.

How to Pump a Ball Without a Needle
(Shane Stillings/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Compressed air pump with straw
  • Paperclip
  • Vaseline
Step 1

Unwind a plastic-coated paperclip until it is straightened. Lubricate the paper clip with a small amount of Vaseline.

Shane Stillings/Demand Media
Step 2

Wedge the tip of one of the paper clip's ends into the ball's air hole. Make sure that the tip is lubricated so it does not tear the air hole. Gently rotate the paper clip until the air hole has become temporarily widened.

Shane Stillings/Demand Media
Step 3

Detach a straw from the air canister that it came attached to. Keyboard cleaning air canisters often come equipped with detachable straws. Slide the straw into the hole. Do this quickly before the rubber hole begins to contract.

Shane Stillings/Demand Media
Step 4

Reattach the end of the straw that is not in the hole to the air canister. Hold the ball in one hand and grip the air canister firmly in place with the other. Inject air from the air canister until the ball is re-inflated.

Shane Stillings/Demand Media
Step 5

Remove the straw when you are finished inflating the ball. Since the straw is wider in diameter then the pump needle would be, the hole will initially be widened and it will leak air. Place a piece of tape over the hole to prevent leakage until the hole contracts again.

Shane Stillings/Demand Media

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