Friday, September 05, 2014

DIY Giant Felted Wool Ball Craft Tutorial

4 Easy Steps for Making Gigantic Felt Wool Balls 

Create these funky handmade felted wool balls in no time!

giant felted wool balls craft tutorial in four easy steps


I've been making wet felted wool balls of all sizes for many year now. Most of the felted balls I create are about an inch or less across for jewelry and embellishments, but recently I decided to make some mega big felt balls for brand new craft tutorials coming up. There's a lot of instructions out there on how to make these now that wool dryer balls are popular to use instead of commercial dryer sheets. Most of those craft tutorials use a large amount of wool roving or yarn wrapped tightly in a circular shape and then wet felted into these large balls. That's a great way to make giant felt balls, but not the only way. In order save a little from my wool roving stash, I opt to use plastic wiffle balls as the center for mine. It also makes the final felt balls lighter weight overall. These are great for kid toys too!

Honestly, I have never used these or any other of my felted wool balls in my dryer in lieu of commercial dryer sheets so I don't know how they hold up. I strictly use them for craft projects and fun home decorating pieces (they look really neat in a big glass bowl!). If anyone tries these wiffle ball based felties as dryer balls, I would love to know how they hold up and if they work well. Hopefully the plastic base would be sturdy enough for it. Other than that practical and money-saving use, these gigantic felted wool balls are just plain fun to make and use for crafting or decoration.


MATERIALS:

Wool roving (or 100% wool yarn would also work)
Large plastic softball or wiffle ball
Pantyhose or knee highs
Washing machine
Dryer (optional)
Dish washing liquid


CRAFT TIPS:

You can experiment with other bases for these giant balls. Plastic golf balls, which are a little smaller, would also work. You might even use some previously felted balls for a base and then wrap to make larger ones. 


GIANT FELT WOOL BALL INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Wrap the plastic ball with 4-5 crisscrossing layers of wool roving. Be sure to pull the roving gently with your hand to separate the fibers while wrapping. You can also add in different colors of wool yarn on the final wrap to add stripes of color.


step 1 wrap the plastic wiffle ball with 4 to 5 layers of wool roving


2. Stuff them in panty hose segments or knee highs. Tie a knot tightly between each ball making a string of them along the hose.


step 2 stuff each wrapped ball into pantyhose and tie a knot between each


3. Now give them a hot bath in the washing machine using dish washing liquid. You may need to wash them 2-3 times to felt them completely. After each washing, feel the wool to see if it is well compacted against the plastic ball base. If it is still fluffy or not firm, wash them again.


step 3 give the pantyhose wrapped wool balls a hot bath in the washing machine


4. Finally you can set them free with a sharp pair of scissors and let them air dry. Or, before you cut them out of the hose, you can throw them in the dryer (that's what I usually do because I am impatient with my crafting). Either way, when you are done, you'll need to be careful cutting the hose off and prying them out of the netted fibers. If your balls are fuzzy afterward, just use your scissors to trim them a bit. And, if by chance, they didn't get fully felted (the wool compacted), you can always wet felt them by hand a bit more at your kitchen sink. Use hot soapy water while rubbing and pressing the fibers down. Then let them air dry.


step 4 let the felted balls air dry or use the dryer then cut them out of the hose


That's it - 4 super easy steps to gigantic funky felted wool balls! Now you can embellish them or use them in home decorating, or try them out as dryer balls. They are also fun for younger kids to play with. My daughter loves all sizes of my felted wool balls at playtime. I've also pinned some neat examples on my Wool Balls, Beads and The Like Pinterest board so hop on over to check those out and follow me for more felted goodies.

3 comments:

  1. I have made large felted wool balls before for use in my dryer, but had a really hard time freeing them from the pantyhose. Any tips for that? Thanks!

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  2. Heather, although I may run them through the washer in hot water a couple times or more, when I put them in the dryer, I usually put them on medium heat and don't let them dry completely. They do get fuzzy in the washer, but those woolly sprigs can really mat into the pantyhose in the dryer while bouncing around. I'll put them in the dryer long enough so they aren't soaking wet, but still a little damp to the touch. Then I cut them out of the hose. This can take a little prying and cause some fuzziness, but I've never had a big issue. I just take sharp scissors or a new razor blade and trim/shave the fuzzies afterward. Another option would be to cut them out of the hose right after felting them in the washing machine, then put them in the dryer unwrapped - just be sure they are very well felted first or the will pill up in the dryer. Hope that helps :-) Happy felting!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Use old socks instead of nylons

    ReplyDelete

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