Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wool Dryer Balls

If you know much about Mannchen, you know that he has extremely dry, sensitive skin.  This has been one of the main reasons we have switched over to as many homemade detergents and lotions as we can.  It also means we eliminated using dryer sheets.  Well, after eyeing wool dryer balls online for about a year and listening to the hubby complain about static cling issues with his pants for three years, I decided to take the plunge and make my own. 

For those of you unfamiliar with wool dryer balls - they basically take the place of dryer sheets, eliminating the additional chemicals and scents on your clothes from the dryer sheets.  They also help increase the efficiency of your dryer.  They are much cheaper than constantly using dryers sheets - while there is a larger up front cost involved, they last for years.  They are highly recommended for those using cloth diapers (which we don't, but I really wish we did now...I am so tired of buying and throwing out so many diapers...if we weren't so close to being done with diapers, I would make the switch, but I think we are getting close to when Töchterchen will be ready to potty train and Mannchen only wears diapers for sleeping). 

I looked at these two tutorials online:
Wool dryer balls Tutorial #1
Wool dryer balls Tutorial #2

Then, I went to the craft store and bought $36 worth of wool yarn.  I had no idea how much I would need.  A day later I realized if I needed all that yarn, it would be cheaper to just buy them from Etsy or Amazon.  It also would have been cheaper to print and take 40% off coupons, but I never remember those darn things.

And on day five of sickness and week 5+ of one car, I decided we needed a project.  So yesterday I looked back over the two tutorials above (and a few others online) and read where it mentioned one larger thing of yarn would be enough for four dryer balls.  After realizing I had WAY more yarn than I needed, I decided to give it a go.  The kids even helped with unwinding the yarn for me as I rolled the balls.  It was one of the easier things I've made and I found it enjoyable!

 This is type/amount of yarn makes four balls.

I don't really have a solid reason for why I did it this way, but I followed the directions for starting the balls.  Then I wound them until they were slightly larger than a ping pong ball.  I tucked in the yarn, placed them in a pair of old pantyhose, knotted them into place individually, ran them through the wash with a small amount of soap with hot water, and through the dryer on high heat.  This is a picture of the core of each ball before I felted them.

Then I continued winding the yarn around each ball until they were slightly larger than tennis balls.  I ran them through the wash three times (knotted into the pantyhose again) and through the dryer twice.  Here are our very well felted wool dryer balls! 
I wanted them a variety of fun colors, but this was the cheapest way to do it.  In the end, these six balls cost $18 to make.  If I had my coupons, they would have been about $11.  Maybe I'll print off the coupons and try to redeem them when I return the extra wool yarn.
I thought this was simple enough that I'm almost ready to open my own wool dryer ball shop on Etsy!