How to make Cute and Fun Needle Felt Designs on Homemade Wool Dryer Balls
So, I’ve been on somewhat of a needle felting kick lately. Needle felting is so much fun!! And I’ve been trying to think of what to do with the wool shapes I make using cookie cutters. Well, I thought …. why not make some fun DIY wool dryer balls with cute little needle felt designs on them?
For this project, you can either make your own dryer balls (read on) or you can use premade dryer balls.
What are Dryer Balls?
First off, for those of you not familiar with dryer balls …. they are balls that you put in the clothes dryer to help fluff your laundry and reduce static. Did your Mom ever put tennis balls in the dryer?
Mine did. (Side note: don’t use tennis balls … they release toxins).
No, specifically, for this tutorial I am talking about balls that you can make with raw wool, roving or wool yarn.
Making DIY Wool Dryer Balls
Making your own wool dryer balls is super easy but if you don’t want to fool with it, you can buy 100% Wool Dryer Balls. As long as they are made with 100% Wool, they’ll work great for this needle felting project.
To make your own Wool Dryer Balls, head on over to this tutorial which will show you the instructions step by step. Once you have made your dryer balls, come back here for the tutorial on how to dress them up with needle felted wool shapes.
CAUTION!!! Felting Needles are wicked sharp!!! Needle felting is NOT appropriate for children.
Supplies for Needle Felted DIY Dryer Balls
- 100% Wool Dryer Balls or Make Your Own
- Felting Needles and Tool
- Needle Felting Pad or Sponge
- Wool Roving
- Cookie Cutters
- Finger Protectors or Gloves (optional)
Needle Felting a Shape
You may remember, I shared the basic step by step instructions of how to needle felt with a cookie cutter in this Needle Felting for Beginners Tutorial. Therefore, I won’t go into the full detail here but I’m going to show you the basics you need to make your own fun felted designs.
First, set your felting pad or sponge on a flat surface. Next, you will need to prepare your wool. Since thick wool is more difficult to needle felt than thin wool, you’ll need to open up your fibers. Simply, take a section of the wool and gently pull it apart.
Then, place the wool roving inside the cookie cutter, making sure to evenly space it out. You don’t need to fill the entire cookie cutter. Several thin layers are better than one thick layer. Also, don’t forget the edges. You want the wool to be felted right up against the side of the cookie cutter.
Using a single felting needle or a needle felting tool, begin poking the needles thru the wool into the felting pad and back out. To help keep the needles from breaking, pull the needles back out at the same angle that they went in. Do this all along the surface of your wool, paying special attention to the edges.
After a few minutes of felting, remove the cookie cutter. Working your fingers along the edges, gently peel away the wool from the felting pad. At this point, your piece is not completely felted. If you pull on it, the fibers will still come apart.
Needle Felt the Other Side
Now, you want to flip the felt over, place it back in the cookie cutter and continue to poke the felting needles through the wool. You will continue to felt until your wool holds together and no longer pulls apart easily.
You can add more wool if you feel the piece is too thin. There is no right or wrong here. You just need to keep in mind that this will be felted onto a wool dryer ball so it doesn’t need to be thick.
Also Note: Since we will be felting this onto a DIY wool dryer ball, it does not have to be completely felted. If this was the final felt fabric, you would keep felting until the fabric becomes fairly firm.
Needle Felt on DIY Wool Dryer Balls
Now, to transfer the needle felted shape you just made to the dryer ball, you’re going to basically do the same thing as before.
Set a dryer ball onto a flat surface and hold it firmly in place. Place the needle felted piece on the ball and very slowly and carefully begin poking the felting needles through to the dryer ball. You will repeat this until the piece is attached to the dryer ball and doesn’t come off easily.
Safety Note: Don’t hold the dryer ball in your hand while you’re needle felting on it. (like I did in the first photo). Hold it firmly on a table and GO SLOW! Remember these needles are super sharp! You may want to wear gloves.
There you go, that’s all there’s to making some cute and fun needle Felted Dryer Balls. And you’re not limited to just the cookie cutter shapes. If you can’t find a cookie cutter in the shape you want to needle felt, all you have to do is needle felt some wool and cut out the shape you want using fabric scissors. (That’s what I did with the Moon shapes.)
How Do You Use Dryer Balls?
Finally, you just need to test your new wool dryer balls by gently tugging on the needle felted shapes. If they come off the dryer ball, you have to work them more with the felting needles. Once the shapes are firmly attached, you are ready to put them to the test!
To use your dryer balls, simply toss 3 or 4 balls into the dryer with your laundry. They will help to fluff your clothes, cutting down on drying time. Dryer balls also help to cut down on static cling.
But the best part of these diy wool dryer balls is that they are all natural and eco friendly! No chemicals, no toxins. Plus, you won’t need to spend your hard earned money on dryer sheets that may contain harmful substances. Win Win!
Oh, and did I mention that wool dryer balls make an awesome Gift Idea?
Finally, now that you’ve made your own super fun diy wool dryer balls, you might be interested in this article from Real Simple on 10 Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips.
Related Wool Felting Articles
What is Felting? A Complete Beginner’s Guide
How to Needle Felt (for Beginners)
Part 1 – Basic Felting
Part 2 – How to Felt Wool – Cobweb Felting
Part 3 – Nuno Felting
Part 5 – Resist Felting
Wet Felt: Adding Color & Texture the Easy Way
How to: Lattice Felting
Wet Felted Easter Eggs
How to Make Felted Dryer Balls
DIY Wool Dryer Balls with Needle Felt Designs