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Making Wool Dryer Balls From Recycled Wool Clothing

October 30, 2014

I love dryer balls.  They really do help the laundry dry quicker and more evenly.  Although we use our clothing line for a good majority of our laundry 3 seasons of the year and a fold up rack in the house in Winter, we still have things we need to put in the dryer.  Up until now I've used plastic dryer balls but I don't like plastic and have wanted to replace them.  Who would've guessed it would be so easy?

If you happen to have any 100% wool clothing or blankets lying around that you don't use and have, perhaps, considered giving away, this is the perfect craft for you!  If you don't, you can certainly pick these items up inexpensively at a thrift store.

A sweater makes quite a few which works out great with the Holiday's coming.  They would make a great gift for someone who is interested in making the change to natural products.  Pair the dryer balls with a jar of homemade laundry detergent  for a great gift set!

Although wool dryer balls can be made with all wool roving, all wool yarn or wool scraps paired with either yarn or wool roving, this tutorial will be on utilizing clothing with wool roving holding it all together.  I love recycling where we can.

Wool Dryer Balls

What you'll need:
Wool clothing/blanket
Wool Roving {found at a yarn store, craft store or online}
Old nylons/tights

Amount of time:  about 15 minutes.  Really!  Not including washing/drying time.

In order to make a tennis ball-sized ball, this is what I found to be the most effective way.  Cut the sweater {I used a sweater, so I'm calling the wool item a sweater} into roughly 8 1/2" squares.  If you're a perfectionist, no need to get out the ruler or measuring tape.  Just make it approximate.  Really!  Keep all of the wool scraps as you cut your squares.  {strips work too, I just stayed consistent with squares}

Take the nylons/tights and cut off the legs in the crotch area.  Discard the top and keep the legs.  Set aside.

Take a small wool sweater scrap {maybe 1-2 inches x a couple of inches} and roll it into a rough ball.  Put your ball on the center of one of the 8 1/2" squares you cut and begin folding in the sides/corners to create a larger ball around your original ball.  Your original {smaller} ball now becomes the center of your larger ball.

wool roving

Take a piece {or pieces} of wool roving and wrap it around your wool ball to hold it together.  All of the areas where the wool overlaps itself, leaving what would be a seam or gap, make sure you've got wool roving over it.  When it felts during the wash/dry, it will shrink up and hold the entire ball together.

Note- this will not be a perfectly shaped ball and will still be a bit loose.  Don't fret - as it felts it will create a ball.

Holding the leg opening of the cut nylons/tights, push the wool ball down to the toe and tie a knot around the nylon/tight to hold it in place.

Continue with the rest of the wool and continue placing them in the nylons/tights and knotting between each.

When finished you'll have an interesting looking collection of dryer balls.

Place the nylon/tights into the washing machine and wash {with clothing is fine, as long as you keep darks with darks, lights with lights, etc.} on hot.  HOT.  Throw them in the dryer, not removing from the tights/nylons, until completely dried.

Now is the time to check them out.  Remove one dryer ball from the tights/nylon and see if it's felted together.  If not, put it back in the nylon and wash and dry the entire collection of balls again.  I found they need to be washed and dried at least twice.

Ta da!!

You now have recycled wool dryer balls that can be used over and over and over and....

To use:  Place 2 dryer balls in the dryer with wet clothing.  {Darks with darks, lights with lights and whites with whites.}  As the clothing is spun around the balls will absorb some of the moisture helping reduce static and enabling the clothing to dry quicker.

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