Everyone knows kids love balls. And what kid would not love making their own ball, especially if it involves soap and bubbles?! Here is a little tutorial on how to make felted balls. This is for ages 1 and up. My 20 month old loved this as well!
You will need:
- Felting needles
- Rattle, rock, etc. (For making a variety of balls- some more heavy than others).
- Knee high or panty hose (that are no longer needed)
- Large bowl
- Soap Bar
- Warm Water
1. To begin with you need some wool and a felting needle. Which is a barbed needle- they come in a variety of gauges. We used the thicker ones for balls- then they don’t break as easily. But you still have to be gentle with them- especially if you decide to put something inside your ball.
2. We wanted to make our balls in a variety of weights because this makes playing with and learning more interesting for kids.
Take a piece of wool and if you are wanting to include something inside then wrap it around whatever you are using. You can then wrap around it with yarn to make a nice ball shape. If you are using only wool then do the same and make a nice ball form.
With small balls this is not necessary and you can simply form and poke them with the needle so as to get a nice ball shape.
For the larger balls when you have the desired shape then you must wrap it with another layer of wool and “attach” it to the inner ball by poking it here, there and everywhere. Be careful- these needles are sharp. If you have something inside poke gently so as not to break your needle.
3. When you have all your balls shaped to your satisfaction you can begin the process of wet felting. If you would rather not you can also complete the balls in the dry felting method by continuing to poke them until them are hard and hold together well. But since kids like wet felting this tutorial is on that method.
Put each medium or large ball in a knee high stocking and tie loosely. Smaller balls can be done in your hands without the knee high. Place the balls in a large bowl. Grate soap generously and pour warm water over them. We used about an inch- you can add more more or less depending on your desires.
Then begins the process of gently forming the ball. While it is still very soft you must handle it gently, rub it, drop it, press it GENTLY! It is getting wet and the fibers are starting to mold together. This gentle part is important so that it sticks together and has a nice form.
When you see the stocking is starting to stick to the ball take the ball out and continue without it. It should be well enough along that it will hold together nicely.
|Cute little baby hands 🙂|
Continue rolling it, and gently adding pressure as you see it forming better and sticking together better. Add more grated soap and water as necessary.
4. When you feel they are sticking together nicely and will not fall apart when thrown into the washing machine then you are ready for the next step. The process of rolling and felting can take a long time 15-20 minutes, also depending on the size and amount you are making. Have patience and enjoy this process. My kids didn’t tire if it 🙂
5. Put all the balls in the washing machine. ( I have a front load) And put on a short cycle of no more than 15 minutes. I didn’t add any soap because they were already very soapy. This process was just rinse and spin. But the friction and heat causes the balls to form even better and they come out nice and round and hard.
6. Let them dry and enjoy!
7. You can also decorate them by needle felting designs on them, adding buttons or beads or attaching a piece of elastic so as to make a bouncy ball, etc. The opportunities are endless!
Here are some links to videos on You Tube. Each person has a different method. So learn and enjoy.