Wool felted dryer balls were my first attempt at felting.
I got exactly what I set out to make! Success.
my husband said they look like road apples,
while everyone else saw snicker doodle cookies prior to the fork smash, and chocolate truffles, and cinnamon covered donut holes.
Either way, they turned out amazing and were so easy. This was an awesome project that will save money in future clothes drying while keeping the chemicals out of the clothing, hence, away from seeping into your skin and dryer sheets out of the landfills. These dryer balls also decrease dry time, saving on electricity.
Pssshhhh road apples….
I started out with a raw, horribly tender, old (decades old, no exaggeration) mystery wool fleece. It was very fine, next to skin soft, very crimpy, greasy, fleece.
Honestly, I considered throwing it away, or donating it to one of those places that uses wool to clean up oil spills. I hated the idea of not trying to make something useful out of it. So… I grabbed handfuls of this raw, dirty fleece and stuffed an old, thin from wear, sock.
One thing to note, I turned the sock inside out, so the wool would not incorporate and felt to the little loops, that looked like terry cloth, on the inside of the sock. Socks vary, but if one attempts this, I recommend, stuffing the sock with the smoothest portion inside. I stuffed it, to what I thought was pretty solid, shaped it from the outside of the sock, to a round, ball shape. I could actually see the fleece through the sock, again, I used a thin, worn out, old old sock, but I stuffed it good and tight. I tied it off with cotton yarn, and stuffed more handfuls of fleece into the sock making a second ball, tied it off with cotton yarn, repeated a third time. I now had 3 balls in one sock, and a good amount of fleece used. I filled up the second sock in the same manner.
With high hopes, I threw both fleece filled socks in my top loader washing machine, with 2 white bath towels. When I poured in the detergent, I poured it aiming across all 6 balls in the two socks. I set the wash for a hot wash and cold rinse. I also set it on the comforter, heavy duty cycle with an extra rinse and spin.
After I checked the load, I was very surprised to see how much they shrunk. My once full, tight balls, now looked saggy, with bits of brown fiber growing out of the socks pores. Lol, a picture is worth a thousand words. Sorry, but, as you see, the socks I used happen to be flesh color, while the wool, dark brown
In any case, they felt like hard, round balls inside. 😉 so I threw them in the dryer, with the towels. I was surprised how easy this was, and how perfect they turned out. Since they shrunk so much, my second round, I made two balls per sock, for slightly bigger dryer balls. Really, that easy… Stuff, wash, dry, and oh I did trim fuzzes to clean it up a bit. I probably didn’t need to but, I did. Once you start trimming, it’s kind of addicting, for me it was anyways.
Now, I have a set of 10 dryer balls, and feel I used an old gross fleece very wisely. From trash to money saving treasure. If I were to make some of these as a gift I might felt some swirly pieces of bright yarn or some wool nepps in a coordinating color for a cute polka dot look. Although, I kinda like the plain old road apple look myself. If you wanted to spruce up the gift, you can add a favorite scented essential oil, and a drop can be placed on the dryer ball prior to throwing in with laundry for the smell good factor dryer sheets have.
ill be honest I loooove the smell of my fabric softener. So I’ve made a spray bottle with a watered down version. Way watered down. And I spritz the dryer ball prior to use. Hey I’m still saving money and the environment.
next time you think a raw fleece is unusable give this a try before trashing it.