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DIY Wool Dryer Balls from Upcycled Sweater

Yippee!! It’s the last Tuesday of the month which means it’s Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION time! This is so fun for me because it’s a great way, for me to get into my other creative zone and (hopefully) inspire you. Today, I’m taking this thrifted wool sweater and creating DIY Wool Dryer Balls. (giveaway alert!)

Wool Sweater Before Upcycle into Dryer Balls | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION series hosted by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Come learn to create for you and your home | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

At this point, you are probably scratching your head wondering, “What in the world is a dryer ball?” Well, lemme tell you that you will be so glad to learn something new today. Why?

Dryer Balls:

  • eliminate the need for fabric softener or dryer sheets
  • are eco-friendly
  • reduce drying time by 20% (electric usage down 20% too!)
  • remove static cling
  • are easy-to-use
  • are chemical-free (yassssss)
  • and can add natural scent if you apply essential oils

Nuff said? Alrighty then. tee hee. Now that you know why we want to make these, let’s move onto the how. Stained and holey sweaters are perfect for this.

Stained Wool Sweater Perfect for Upcycling | prodigalpieces.com

*post includes affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

DIY Wool Dryer Ball from Upcycled Sweater Supplies by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

What you’ll need:

  • a sweater that is at least 70% wool (100% is preferred, but the higher the wool percentage, the better) You can also just use wool yarn.
  • pantyhose
  • scissors
  • crochet hook or yarn needles
  • boiling pot of water
  • washing machine & dryer
  • essential oils (optional)

Step 1

I do believe, we all have a gnarly sweater tucked away somewhere, and most likely it has some wool in it. If not, head to the thrift store and start checking labels for one of my favorite textiles. Wool is amazingly versatile, forgiving, and a natural source of fiber. Sweaters made with wool are naturally cozy, but sometimes they need a new life. You can see all my past wool projects HERE.

First, we are going to turn our sweater inside out to find the braided seams. If you crochet or knit, you know that your work needs a finished edge. This braid is just hat. However, then the works are united by a thread that forms these seams. You want to snip that joining thread between those seams in order to separate the sweater into parts.

Cutting Wool Sweater for Upcycling in to Dryer Balls | prodigalpieces.com

Work slowly to make sure you’re not cutting into the work. If you do, no problem. I showed you what to do if that happens in my video tutorial below because…ahem…I did a newbie mistake. Yes, it happens to the best of us! tsk.

Step 2

Now we have our sweater separated into sections. Just look at all that glorious yarn. woot! Perfect for our project, or crochet or knit fun too.

Separated Wool Sweater for Dryer Balls | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

What you want to do is begin at the top of a panel. You’ll find that binding yarn at the top edge. Wiggle that out and then you should be able to see a strand that you can begin to pull and unravel.

Unraveling Thrifted Wool Sweater for DIY Dryer Balls | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

This is, by far, the most time-consuming part. However, it doesn’t take long, so be patient. If you happen to come up with yarnlets (pieces of yarn instead of a long strand), you can tie them together as the video shows. Or, you can make cores to your wool balls and wrap around them with the longer ones.

Step 3

Time to get our roll on. Begin by wrapping the yarn around two fingers.

Beginning to Wool Dryer Ball | prodigalpieces.com

Then, pull that off your fingers and begin to wrap around your core to form a ball.

Small Wool Yarn Ball Stared | prodigalpieces.com

Step 4

Keep making your ball until you achieve the size you desire. I like to aim for tennis balls size. Whenever I wash my comforters and large blankets, I have always tossed in tennis balls to fluff them. These woolen ones do the same and more.

DIY Dryer Ball Size | prodigalpieces.com

Next, when you get to the end, tuck in the ends. You can either (1) use a yarn needle to thread the end in or (2) use a crochet hook to tuck it in. My video below demonstrates both.

Weave in Ends of DIY Dryer Ball | prodigalpieces.com

Step 5

Bring on the pantyhose! You know this is the BEST use for those awful things. Just sayin’. First, cut off and open one of the legs down to the toe and tuck in a wool ball. Then, knot it off tightly.

Knotting Wool Ball in Pantyhose | prodigalpieces.com

Next, tuck in another ball in line and knot again. Keep going until the pantyhose is full.

Wool Ball Chain | prodigalpieces.com

Step 6

Time to turn up the heat. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Also, at the same time, also begin a hot water wash of towels or similar in your washing machine. You can add detergent, but do not use fabric softener.

Once the pot is boiling, submerge the ball chains and cook for 10 minutes. As the video shows, you can use another pot to hold the balls under the water.

Boiling Wool Balls for Dryer Balls | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

After the 10 minute cook time, add the water and the wool balls to your already started hot water wash in the washing machine. Run through a regular cycle, and then add to the dryer. Dry the towels and wool balls on high setting. Then, repeat the wash/dry process one more time.

After that second wash/dry, the wool balls are done. Remove from the pantyhose. Also, be sure to check if you can separate thread from the ball. If so, wash/dry one more time. I’ve never had to do that, but I know all machines aren’t the same.

ALL DONE

DIY Wool Dryer Balls from and Upcycled Sweater with Video Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #laundry #crafts #diy #home #upcycle

Handmade Wood Dryer Ball from Upcycled Sweater by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #crafts #farmhouse #yarn #laundry

Aren’t they fun?! Perfect woolly goodness right there. You can even use these for babies as a soft toy. I’m tellin’ ya…wool is awesome.

Bowl of Handmade Wool Dryer Balls by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #wool #yarn #crafts #laundry #farmhouse

Felted Wool Dryer Balls by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #crafts #home

Subscribe to Prodigal Pieces on YouTube for DIY video tutorials and a whole lotta fun | prodigalpieces.com

I even have scraps I felted to use for future projects. Plus, I needed a new chalkboard eraser. See it in action in my video.

Handmade DIY Felted Chalkboard Eraser by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #handmade #chalkboard

Because I’m a true believer in these, I’m giving away a set to one of you. {{applause}}

DIY Wool Dryer Ball Trio by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #crafts #laundry #upcycle

GIVEAWAY TIME

Easy entry – complete as many steps in the widget below to gain as many entries as possible (daily even). Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada residents 18 years of age and older. Winners will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Also, be sure to check spam!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also find these available in my online shop. Yay!

Shop Prodigal Pieces | shop.prodigalpieces.com

Also, pin and share my DIY wool dryer balls to help others find fun, easy, and economical ways to make their house their home.

Upcycle that old wool sweater! A super fun and easy video tutorial on how to make DIY Wool Dryer Balls from an old wool sweater. Full details at prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #laundry #handmade #upcycle #crafts #farmhouse

Up next, I’ll be taking these two cast-off home decor pieces and giving them new life. See their transformation HERE.

Thrifted Wooden Signs Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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Also, more fun projects like my DIY wool dryer balls:

Grab those wool sweaters and give your footstool a cute and cozy update. These felted wool footstools are sure to be favorite. Full of Nordic farmhouse style and easy to do with the step-by-step video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Head to prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #handmade #furniture #shopping #vintage #home #homedecorideas #homedecorSo cute!! You can create a woolly clothespin sheep ornament with this easy video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | A perfect kid craft for kids of any age (even 99!) | Head to prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #handmade #toys #home #homedecor #farmhouse

Comments

  1. ColleenB.-Tx. says

    Your wooly balls are Awesome. I would love to win a set.
    Thank you for this wonderful giveaway

    • Larissa says

      Hooray! Thank you. They are so absolutely fun. Even as an indoor snowball! haha!

  2. Ginny says

    I tried making myself some dryer balls years ago but they fell apart. I’m not sure what went wrong! But a new set would be awesome!

    • Larissa says

      You tried and that’s what counts. 🙂 I’m excited for you all to try these.

  3. Janet Crane says

    I am so excited for this tutorial. I’m craft challenged but I think even I can do this one. Would love to win a set though. Thanks for the step by step instructions.

    • Larissa says

      Wahoo!! I’m excited for this too. Thanks for the encouragement, Janet. I wish I could send a set to everyone. They’re just so awesome to have.

  4. Linda says

    I like your blogs. They are always informative and easy to understand. Keep it up in the New Year!

    • Larissa says

      Wonderful feedback for me. Thank you, Linda. Lord willing, I will try!

  5. Melanie Mixon says

    This is great! What a wonderful way to re use an old sweater!

    • Larissa says

      It is so addictive! haha! When I get started I always want to felt everything. I love these balls in decor – smaller for garlands and such. I even made a wooden slingshot with felt balls for my son one year.

  6. Bonnie Kleindl says

    I’ve always wanted to make these dryer balls. Thanks for sharing

  7. Anne says

    We are just talking about dryer balls. Thank you for sharing. Hope I win. LOL. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  8. Melissa Storms says

    These are fantastic. I actually have a whole bunch of wool sweaters I have collected. My plan was to make upcycled wool blankets but then I found a couple of really nice Nordsttrom cashmere sweaters and decided to collect those for extra soft blankets (half done on the 3 I am making). I am planning a few pillow covers and totes with some of my sweater hoard and a couple of thick felted dog coats for my chihuahua.

    • Larissa says

      You are on it! 😀 I have garbage bags full waiting for a quilt for my youngest son since my older one already has one. I’m almost there! Then, I have bags and bags of scrap both from sweaters and felted wool I scored for pennies on eBay. It was vintage and so thick…happy dance!

  9. Barbara B says

    I didn’t realize how easy these were to make and use. So cool! A perfect craft for a cold January day. Thanks for showing us how.

    • Larissa says

      Really they are. I warn you…it’s addictive! 😀 haha.

  10. lisa says

    That’s a cool idea. I didn’t think of that. I’m not clear though on how the wool balls soften laundry vs. fabric softener. Thank you!

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! There are all sorts of types out the, but wool far surpasses the synthetic versions. Fabric softener tends to coat fibers and can make them stiffen over time. Whereas the balls help laundry toss more evenly and absorb moisture faster which means less “baking” to dry them.

  11. joann Collins says

    those look awesome .

  12. L Bryant says

    i have used these before. unfortunately my children have lost all but 2. they teally do work.

    • Larissa says

      Oh no! haha. I have to chuckle because that’s what often happens here. 😀 I always have wool yarn on hand so I just make more.

  13. Amanda Pennington says

    What a great idea! I’ve seen many dryer ball tutorials but not one like yours. I love that it’s no sew and “frogging” something (I crochet and have to frog occasionally.. ok, a lot) is very satisfying. Thanks for the instructions and may the Lord cause His face to shine on you and your family in 2020!

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! I crochet too…haha! Yes, this is easy enough my kids join in and we have a ball making various sizes! 😀 Pun intended. Back at you on the awesome year. Blessings!

  14. Susan Welsh says

    These are fantastic…what a great idea. I have been a fan for years

    • Larissa says

      Sweet! They are just one of those best kinda secrets everyone need to know about. 😀

  15. Jane Clelland says

    What a great idea! I love the gift giving idea. I’m gonna look for some sweaters at the thrift store! You do a great job with the videos. And I always read the comments, because I learn alot from other peoples comments. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Larissa says

      Thanks so much, Jane. I seriously would love to send everyone some because I love giving gifts and these are fun. Also, I’m tickled to hear you like my comments. I’m fairly a newbie in that area and learning as I go. My goal is to inspire and many, like me, are visual learners. Sending you hugs!

  16. Toni says

    These are awesome, but I’ve never tried to felt wool before.

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! It’s so super easy – just wash and dry. Woot! 😀

  17. Lorena Keech says

    I’ve made pillow covers from old sweaters before, but I’ve never attempted dryer balls. Neat idea.

    • Larissa says

      Fun! Sweaters are endless opportunities for sure. Thanks for the love.

  18. JULIE says

    I honestly had never thought of making my own-Love this ❤️

  19. Cheryl B says

    I made a wool ball garland. I love it!

    • Larissa says

      Yay! We’ve done that and made ammo for slingshots too. haha!

  20. Mary Loveland says

    What a good post, I use dryer balls all the time; didn’t know you could make them! Don’t use nor have any wool sweaters here in southern Arizona but we are in our “2 weeks” of cold weather we get every year at Christmas, I love it! Kind of wish I had a pair of mittens! Happy New Years Eve!

    • Larissa says

      Good to hear you find them as awesome as I do. Funny…two weeks of winter…not funny. 😉 I would miss it too much if I didn’t have it, but I wouldn’t complain if it was a tad bit shorter. Happy New Year!

  21. April Boccuzzi says

    I always see dryer balls at the craft shows and wonder how good they are, I would love to give them a try. Love that you shared how to make them, Thank You♥ Have a Happy New Year!!

    • Larissa says

      I know the feeling. At least this way you’re making use of a sweater, right? haha. Thanks and same to you, April.

  22. BamaCarol says

    I am cleaning out closets this week so a perfect time to search for an old sweater to use. Not sure I will have one because it never gets that cold here but if not, I’ll go the thrift store route. I am also hoping to learn how to knit this year so left over yarn might be used for learning.

    • Larissa says

      Good for you! It’s the best feeling ever. Don’t forget to look for skeins of yarn too. I am also aiming to relearn how to knit one day. I crochet the most.

  23. Mary Kaiser says

    I love these, I hope to win your set. Thanks for having the contest. I will have to go to find a wool swester and make some if I don’t win.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you for your sweet words, Mary. I hope you can find one or a skein or two of wool even if you win so you can have the fun of crafting. tee hee! 😀

  24. Sara says

    I have repurposed sweaters and other clothing as fall pumpkins and Halloween costumes. I love all your projects and seeing how creatively you use materials.

    • Larissa says

      Yay! So much fun. I think my favorite with sweaters are my sheep. I’m a sucker for a farm animal…tee hee! Thank you for the love, Sara.

  25. Maria J. Howard says

    Never used dryer balls but looks like worth a try!!!

  26. Alison S says

    I love my dryer balls and would love to try this project.

    • Larissa says

      Awesome to hear, Alison. Thanks! I’m sure you’ll find the fun. 😀

  27. Jo Ann says

    They look pretty just sitting in a bowl……

  28. SONJA HANSEN says

    I am a convert to wool dryer balls. Have been using some that I purchased, but they are very pricey. I would really like to make some as gifts, so I am off to the thrift store. I knitted a bag in wool yarn to felt several years ago. When I was through felting, it was too wide compared to the height. I would still like to figured out how to cut off one side and somehow make it narrower. I did think the felting was kind of fun.

    • Larissa says

      Yay! They amaze me how they work so wonderfully. I hope you find oodles at thrift store! 😀

  29. Kayla Klontz says

    I tried making the dryer balls but I failed at it miserably lol! I haven’t tried anything other than that though.

    • Larissa says

      aww…haha! You made me laugh, Kayla. At least you tried! Was it a similar tutorial?

  30. Lynne Bohman says

    I never thought of DIY dryer balls. What a great idea! Yours look so much cuter than the white-colored ones. 🙂

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! Funny, because I have white yarn that I’m going to make more for me. I love the colors too though. Fun to mix it up.

  31. Janet Schen says

    I try to forgo using store bought products as often as possible so I’d love to give the wool balls a try. I enjoy your tutorials and you always have the best ideas!

    • Larissa says

      You and me both. God made so many wonderful things and all we need do is learn how to use them properly. Thank you for the love, Janet.

  32. Kaycee says

    Hi Larissa, great post! I use wool balls (that I purchased) in my clothes dryer every load. They are wonderful and I would love to try your dryer balls too! Thank you for the opportunity to enter. Happy New Year!!

    • Larissa says

      Great minds wool alike! 😀 You are most welcome. Thanks!

  33. Cassandra D says

    The project is really nice.
    I would like to make pillows.

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