DIY Dryer Balls from Wool Yarn

DIY Dryer Balls from Wool Yarn

If you’re anything like me, then you may be looking for green tips, Earth friendly products, or whatever you can do to be more eco-conscious. And one thing I have heard over and over again is that dryer sheets are toxic and/or bad for the environment. So, I decided to try my hand at making some dryer balls using wool yarn I found at the thrift store.

While at a favorite local thrift shop the other day, I passed by a bin filled with yarn. Normally I wouldn’t give this a second thought, but with DIY dryer balls on my mind, I took a peek.

And sitting right on top was this bag of old wool yarn. Wonderfully enough, it was even from a local mill!

100% wool yarn from the thrift store to be upcycled into tumble dryer balls for a green life by Sadie Seasongoods

Just what I was looking for- 100% pure wool yarn.

Wool dryer balls are not a new concept. They soften and fluff clothing naturally, reduce static cling, help cut drying time, won’t decrease towel absorbency, and are chemical-free. Add to that the cost savings (from both eliminating the purchase of dryer sheets AND from the reduced drying time), they’re pretty magical.

And as if the magic needed sprinkles on top- they’re easy to make! 

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How to Make Dryer Balls

To make some dryer balls, I started by wrapping the yarn around three fingers a few times (15 to 20 times) before slipping it off my hand.

Making dryer balls from wool yarn for Earth friendly products to use in the laundry by Sadie Seasongoods

Then, I pinched the “lasso” of yarn, and wrapped it another 15 times around the middle- like a bow tie.

How to make wool dryer balls to use as a fabric softener alternative for Green Life by Sadie Seasongoods

Now it was time to start forming the dryer balls into a nice round shape. I pinched the bow tie loops together and began to wrap the yarn around and around.

Winding wool yarn in a ball to create tumble dryer balls for Earth Friendly products in the laundry by Sadie Seasongoods

Once the wool dryer balls were tennis ball size, they were ready to be finished off.

Tumble dryer balls or dryer balls are a natural fabric softener for sustainable homes by Sadie Seasongoods

With an embroidery needle, I threaded the yarn tail through the needle and then pushed the needle through the ball to the other side (or close enough).

I pulled it through tightly a few times in varying directions. Eventually, the tail disappeared inside the ball!

Using an embroidery needle to hide the yarn tail in a yarn ball or dryer balls by Sadie Seasongoods

Felting Wool in the Washing Machine

Using an old pair of stockings (mine were a relic of the Great Stocking Debacle of ’15- don’t ask!), I placed one dryer ball into the toe. I double-knotted the stockings/ pantyhose as close to the ball as possible to make a tight compartment.

My suggestion? Whirl the ball-in-the-hose over your head like a cowboy with his lasso. Just make sure no one is watching when you do!

How to felt wool in the washing machine using pantyhose or nylons to create tumble dryer balls by Sadie Seasongoods

Now, my 2 skeins of wool yarn (I purchased two from the thrift store) were enough to make five DIY dryer balls.

Felting wool dryer balls inside pantyhose or nylons as a fabric softener alternative by Sadie Seasongoods

When all was said and done, the dryer balls looked like a weird caterpillar or maybe linked sausages. But at this stage, they’re supposed to!

How to make dryer balls with wool yarn as a fabric softener alternative for a Green Life with Earth Friendly products by Sadie Seasongoods

I tossed my the whole thing in the washing machine with some towels, washed them all with hot water, and dried them on high.

I did two loads like this with the tumble dryer balls inside. After the second load dried, I snipped the stockings and peeled the wool balls from the hose- they “felted” themselves to the pantyhose a little, but were still easy to peel off.

DIY Dryer Balls from Wool Yarn

End result? Five perfect spheres of felted wool. The felting process in the washing machine really worked and the dryer balls were ready to live inside the dryer!

Dryer Balls or tumble dryer balls are a natural fabric softener for sustainable homes and building a Green Life by Sadie Seasongoods

How great is that?! And, while you’re wrapping the yarn, you can add a few drops of pure essential oil to them for added fragrance. These laundry-specific essential oils would be perfect, as would this fresh linens blend.

I’m all set to rid myself of chemical-laden dryer sheets forever. And for a fraction of the cost of just ONE box of dryer sheets, I’ll keep my pocketbook just a tad fuller from now on!

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for a Green Life and Earth friendly products, then you may also be interested in these fire starters that are made from dryer lint!

DIY fire starter or dryer lint fire starter for emergency prepping

I also hope you’ll check out my first book, “Crafting with Flannel”, too! It’s filled with loads of craft ideas for flannel shirts and fabric, both sewing and non-sewing projects!

Craft book for flannel shirts

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Another reason for a trek to GW. I like these treasure hunts.

  2. So great for 75 cents! It is neat that you have dryer balls made of locally milled yarn, too. I actually even love them just for the look in the bowl!

  3. Deborah Nelson says

    Great idea!!

  4. I wondered how to make these – thanks for the actuarial. Off to raid my yarn bin….

  5. This has been on my project list forever! I saw them on pinterest and have wanted to do this 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Maybe I will get around to trying these soon!

  6. I love this idea! We haven’t been using dryer sheets or fabric softener lately because of the chemicals. These would be great to use when we wash our baby’s clothes!
    Thanks for linking up to the #HomeMattersParty! We hope to see you again next week. 🙂

  7. Perfect timing. I’ve been thinking about doing this because I don’t ever use dryer sheets but I have a serious static issue this time of year . I hadn’t been able to figure out how to keep them from unraveling but sewing the end in like a bunch of times totally makes sense. Now to find some actual wool……

    • Ellen Kincaid says


  8. This is so neat. I need to try making some of these and giving this a try too. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday.

  9. Wow. Love it. Thanks for sharing! I have dryer hedgehogs, but when they wear out, I’ll remember this. Pinning.

  10. Fantastic! Pinned for later. Popping over from Worthwhile Wednesdays at Crafty Allie.

  11. I love this! I think I have some wool yarn around some where or I know where to get some cheap! I cannot use dryer sheets because of their smell but my husband insists on them for his clothes. He uses foil balls. I must make these….thanks for the easy instructions!

  12. Great idea!

  13. Great DIY idea! Genius! Thank you for joining us at #purebloglove. We enjoy having you every week on Thursday night at 8PM through Sunday night. ~Cydnee

  14. Jacqueline Fish says

    How many times can you use these balls of wool yarn?

  15. I love my dryer balls – my new best friend! But this is a great idea and I NEVER thought of it! Love it! Just wanted you to know that you’re being featured at our WEEKEND WIND DOWN LINK PARTY today! Thanks for linking up with us! Have a great day!

  16. Think I will try to unravel an old wool sweater and try this.

  17. This looks like a great idea, except on the package it says “moth proof”, this means that some chemical had to be used to do that?! I do have some old pure wool yarn left over from project years ago…..definitely going to make some. Thx!

  18. Great idea…and nice double in the title!

  19. How many of the dryer balls do you use at one time?

  20. I am wondering if these balls cause lint on your clothes? Or help to cause the little fuzzy balls (pills) on pants?

  21. So cool Sarah. I never knew you could use felt balls as dryer sheets. What a fun, easy, and inexpensive DIY project. I love it. Thanks for sharing with us at Great Idea Thursdays.

  22. This is awesome and I can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks for sharing at Totally Terrific Tuesday!

  23. So cool! I think they look a lot cuter than the plastic spiky ones that I use! Thanks for linking up!

  24. I have four balls sitting on my craft table to be felted, but now I’m kicking myself for not looking for yarn at the thrift store. $0.75 is a LOT less than I paid for wool for mine!

  25. Fabulous idea! Thank you for sharing!

  26. Fantastic idea!! And I kinda love the title, ha!

  27. I have wanted to try these for the longest time! Thank you for sharing with Idea Box link party!

  28. Wow, this is a great idea! Love this! 🙂

  29. Jann Olson says

    I have wanted to do this for some time, but have never run across wool yarn or taken the time to buy some. Love how yours turned out! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  30. Beautiful! 🙂

  31. How many balls per load? I’m gonna try this!

  32. Keran French says

    Very interesting, i wondered what they were, i dont own a dryer, i hang my clothes outside on a clothes line. This is so much better for the enviromnent, your clothes and your skin can absord vitamin D.

  33. I’ve already got some dryer balls that I purchase, but never thought of adding scent! Thanks for the idea. One caution I’ve found however… a couple of years ago we had some problems with the tub on our dryer making noise. My husband discovered something was out of alignment (I don’t recall what specifically), but he said using those balls regularly and them bouncing around in the dryer could have contributed. Don’t know if it did, but I only use them for certain loads that are larger, like sheets and towels.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Oh, wow, I’ve never heard of that happening! I’ve used them for years without issue.

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