We have shared laundry in our apartment building and while I love the industrial size of the machines, sometimes the dryers leave much to be desired. I expressed this irritation with a friend and she said she's been making wool dryer balls for 20 years now and they've really helped to reduce the amount of time she has to pay for in her own shared laundry machines.
The price of these balls varies from $3 a ball to up to $10 a ball and you need anywhere from 2 to 10 of them to help make a difference (depends on your machine, load size, etc) so I figured I'd try making them myself into sinking tons of money into buying them. I like to support local artists who make things like these, but I also like to try and make my own stuff if I can.
Anyway, onto the tutorial.
What you'll need to make three dryer balls:
- ~3.5 ounces of 100% wool yarn
- darning or crochet needle
- old pantyhose
- string or dental floss (optional)
- kitchen scale (optional)
1. Start with your 3.5 ounce ball of 100% wool yarn. It has to be 100% wool: it can't be anything else. No acrylic, no cotton, nothing else. It won't felt unless it's 100% wool. This is critical. Any colour will do.
5. Stick the darning needle right through the centre of your ball, and pull it straight through to the other side.
7. Now, take the pantyhose and push your ball down through to the end. Now you can either tie a knot in the panty hose (a little harder to undo later if you want to reuse them) or use a piece of string to tie a knot. DO NOT use yarn to do this, because it will felt :)
If you use a front end loader, throw some towels or other laundry in with the balls so that they get more agitated. When they come out, throw them in the dryer on a hot setting. Please note: drying them is just to get them dry, not to felt them. The felting actually takes place with the water and the agitation in the washing machine. If you feel like the balls aren't felt-y enough, you can just keep washing them on hot.
10. You are done! Take them out and untie them, and you can use them for a very long time. Mine are below; I like how they look but I'm probably going to do one more cycle in the agitator (I used the front end loader because it was the only one available at the time) just to see if I can get them looking more felt-y.
For more information on using wool dryer balls, check out this article put out by the David Suzuki Foundation. The article says you should use wool dryer balls because:
- Depending on the make and model of your dryer, they decrease drying time by 30 to 50 per cent, saving energy and money
- Decreased wrinkles = less time ironing!
- No static
- Safe for people with sensitive skin (works well with cloth diapers)
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