Homemade Christmas Gift DIY
by Sarabeth Parido
Looking for a fun gift you can make with some of that wool you may have laying about from this year’s shearing? Wool dryer balls are easy to make and provide a green, chemical-free and safe alternative to fabric softener sheets. They fluff up your clothes, they reduce static electricity and can lower your drying times. Add a few drops of essential oils for fragrance, and you may just give up dryer sheets altogether! They make a great farm-fresh gift to give this holiday season!
You Will Need:
~1 oz. of wool roving or carded wool per ball
A tube sock or pantyhose
Small rubber bands
Washing Machine and Dryer
Essential Oils (optional)
Step #1: First, take the wool and form it into a small clump as a center.
For this step, you could also roll up small scraps of old wool sweaters or socks to form your center. This can be a very good use for wool items you may have shrunk accidentally or those wool socks that have one too many holes in them.
Step #2: Then, begin the wool roving or strips of carded wool around the center that you made.
You’ll be creating a wool ball approximately the size of a grapefruit. The ball will shrink considerably during the next steps. Try to keep the wool as tightly wound as possible to avoid major size changes. Once you have the ball to the size you want, tuck the end into the ball or use a felting needle to tack down the tail.
Step #3: Stuff each ball into a tube sock or pantyhose and separate each ball with a knot or small rubber band.
Throw them into the washing machine on high heat. You could also throw a few towels into the wash at the same time to aid in the felting process. After a washing cycle, check one to see if it’s as solidly felted as you like- you do not want them to be able to be pulled apart. If they are not fully felted, you can put the ball back in and wash them a second time. They should come out felted into a solid ball and will be a little smaller than when they started, closer to the size of a navel orange—this will depend on how tightly you wound each one.
Step #4: Take them out of the sock or hose and put them into your dryer along with the towels for a tumble dry.
If you want to add a scent, you can put a few drops of your favorite essential oil to each one. Throw 3-5 of these in with each laundry load or gift them to your family and friends this holiday season as a gift from your flock to theirs!
Sarabeth Parido, is the Director of the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival and The Kentucky Fiber Trail. She raises her own small flock of sheep in Clark County, Kentucky along with her husband and four sons.