DIY Wool Dryer Balls

3 Materials
3 Hours

Lately I’ve been getting into a cleaner and greener lifestyle. The crazy amount of chemicals I had been using in my home was starting to get out of hand. I realized I’d been relying products with words I can’t even pronounce to keep my home clean. Bad idea, I know, but honestly, I just got lazy. This year I’m vowing to decrease the amount of chemicals I use and replace them with natural and safe alternatives.

One area I’m focusing on first is my laundry room. There are so many products I have in my laundry closet, and I doubt any of them are good for my skin. Today I want to share a quick and easy DIY Wool Dryer Ball tutorial in an effort to ditch dryer sheets once and for all.

Here’s What You Need

  1. 100% Wool Roving Yarn, I used Paton’s brand (1 roll makes two dryer balls, with a little leftover) *Make sure the label doesn’t say “Washable” and use light colors. Avoid shades of red.
  2. Crochet Hook
  3. Thin Nude Pantyhose (you can use an old pair or a cheap pair from the dollar store) *I used black and they gave the teal yarn a hint of gray hue, so I’d suggest using nude so no color transfers.
  4. Scissors
  5. Essential Oils (optional)

Wrap Yarn Around Your Fingers

Start by wrapping the yarn around two fingers, spread apart slightly, about 10 to 12 times.

Wrap Yarn Into A Bundle

Remove your fingers from the yarn, then wrap the yarn around the middle, like you’re creating a bow. Wrap this way about 10 to 12 times also.

Wrap Tightly In All Directions

Here’s the part you’ll want to get comfy for. You’ll basically just keep wrapping in all directions, very tightly, until you’ve formed a ball.

Continue To Tennis Ball Size

Keep on wrapping, around and around, in all directions until you’ve reached the size of a tennis ball.

Leave A Ten Inch Tail

Once you’ve reached tennis ball size, cut the yarn from the roll leaving around 10 to 12 inches of “tail”.

Thread The Tail

Using the crochet hook, thread the tail through the ball in multiple places until the tail is completely inside the ball. Threading is pretty tough because the ball is super tight and the hook gets stuck sometimes.

To help the process, I pushed the hook handle through a a third of the ball (instead of straight through the middle) and twisted it as I pulled the yarn through. It still gets stuck sometimes, but when you pull tight enough, you can remove the hook and pull the tail through.

Every time I threaded the tail, I’d pull it to another place of the ball and repeat.

Eventually the tail will be completely inside the ball. No need to tie it off, just keep threading until you have no more tail left.

Bundle Wool Balls Into Pantyhose

Remember the Diaper Genie? If you ever had one of these for your kiddos, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Basically, you put a wool ball in the foot part of the pantyhose.

Then you’ll tie a knot to keep it secure. Then add the next dryer ball, tie a knot, and continue until all the dryer balls are cased up like sausages. Tie off the final one and cut off any excess pantyhose.

Wash And Dry To Set

Here’s where they really come to life. Wash the diaper genie/sausage cased/stuffed pantyhose on the hottest cycle your washing machine has. I usually throw in some towels so I can knock out a load of laundry while DIY crafting.

After the cycle, dry the wool balls (still in the pantyhose) on the hottest cycle of your dryer. It’s totally fine for the towels to dry with them.

After they’ve dried, you’ll repeat this process a few more times. I usually wash and dry them with our bed sheets this time. (Look at you knocking out your cleaning duties and not even realizing it!)

Cut The Pantyhose To Remove The Balls

As they go through a few wash and dry cycles, the yarn bonds together, which is called felting. It took mine four cycles to felt, but it may take yours less or more depending on your appliances.

You’ll notice when you take them out that they look a lot different than they did when you made them. The yarn binds together and turns into a solid ball, just like the store-bought ones.

Ditch Your Dryer Sheets

The wool balls are all ready to go now! They can go in the dryer with anything other than delicates. If you’re missing the scent of your old dryer sheets, you can drop a few dabs of essential oils on the balls before drying to give your clothes whatever smell you prefer. These balls should last around 1000 uses, so don’t worry about holding out on them. They’re also fantastic gifts to give!

Have leftover dryer sheets?

Don’t trash them! You can stash these guys in the bottom of trash cans, under couch cushions, under seats in your car, inside bathroom cabinets, and anywhere else that needs a scented boost. Just be sure you don’t put them anywhere that will come in contact with clothing or skin.

Ready To Give It A Try?

Head over to my blog post to ready why ditching dryer sheets is a good idea and how these dryer balls can prolong the life of your clothes. I'm spilling all the beans over there.

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Lela Burris
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • L L on Feb 28, 2021

    I am allergic to wool. Would the little wool fibers come off of the balls and onto my fabrics?

    When I read about felting your dryer balls with towels and sheets I almost just itchy from reading it!! lol

  • Coco Coco on Mar 04, 2021

    I love the smell of downy etc., so I wonder at what point you add the essential oils to the making of these, or do you just put a few drops directly on the dry balls before each use? Thanks

  • Marian Marian on Mar 03, 2022

    I seem to miss the point. What is the use of these balls?

Join the conversation
3 of 12 comments
  • Linda Adams Linda Adams on Feb 24, 2022

    I made the felted dryer balls a few years ago and they worked beautifully. Only problem was, when we'd pull the dried load out of the dryer, sometimes the dryer balls would tumble out and our dog, a ball crazy lab, would appear out of nowhere and grab the ball. Sometimes we were aware, sometimes not.

    When I saw your DIY dryer ball instructions using the yarn balls strung together in the panty hose leg, I thought "brilliant!!" maybe that's the way to keep the balls from rolling away and exciting our lab to take chase! Leave them strung together! Once I make some new dryer balls----yes, he eventually destroyed them all--I'll string them together in a panty hose leg.

    • Hope Hope on Feb 25, 2022

      LOL...our dog loves balls so much that we have to spell the "B" word around her or she will go crazy for the ball.

      I picked up a pack of cheap plastic dryer balls from the store awhile back...she stuck her head in the dryer and stole them when I wasn't looking. I am still finding them/what's left of them out in the yard...LOL.

  • Kris Kris on Feb 25, 2022

    WOW what a great idea! Thanks for your share!