View Full Version : Felt balls.... pics included.

03-29-2004, 01:24 PM
It's been a while since the topic of felt balls was mentioned, but I finally wanted to post some pics of balls that I have made. I found a roving source in Iowa that has been excellent to work with. Her name is Abi of High Prairie Fibers. Here's the link to her web site. http://www.prairiefiber.com.

I have ordered twice from her. On my last order I got a sampler of 8 bright colors. She called it her wacko sampler. It was $12 and contains enough roving for countless balls. I also got 1 lb. of the felting batt (used for the inside of the ball) for $8. With shipping, my total was $24.90 and I got a box full of stuff. I think her prices are very good and she's offered helpful tips for me along the way. She also sells felt balls under her "feed the birds" section. The "bonky balls" are $4. I ordered a couple in the beginning to use as a guide for mine.

If anyone is interested in making felt balls, I would highly recommend checking out her site.

BTW - the balls shown are made with felt from my first order. This felt is not nearly as bright as the wacko pack from my second order.



03-29-2004, 02:39 PM
Those look like lots of fun. I think the Easter Bunny is going to be shopping in Iowa.

03-29-2004, 06:31 PM
Dana those are so cool. I have never seen one before IRL so I was excited to read your post. I wondered what ever happened with those darn felt balls that you guys went nutso over a few months back.

Great pic of Sage too.:)

03-30-2004, 01:53 AM
Those are gorgeous! Are you a crafty person to begin with? How would you rate the difficulty of this project? (tellmeitshardsoiwontorderany... tellmeitshardsoiwontorderany... tellmeitshardsoiwontorderany)

Oh my, I'm imagining the brightly-colored hairballs I'm going to find on the stairs now. (My cats love fluffy balls...)

Mama to Gracie (9/16/03)

03-30-2004, 10:43 AM
Hi Dana!
Those balls are soooo purrrrrrty! Please please can you tell me how hard it was to make them??? I am not very crafty or patient but would love to try something like this.. it would make a good gift for dogs and babies i suppose.
What would i need to get started? The wool sampler and the felting? If i called the website would she know what i was talking about? Do i need any special equipment?? If you can point me to a good website that would be great too!!


03-30-2004, 11:32 AM
Here's a website with directions on making felt balls. I made 3 using the hand method, and it was pretty easy. DS loves them, and the dogs have been eyeing them. (Why does DS want only the dogs' toys and the dogs' want his?!!)

I still have a ton of wool left over - it's just finding the time to do it!


Make sure that you click at the bottom of the page to go into Part II of the directions!

I'm seriously considering ordering more wool to try and make felt - in my oh so abundant free time! :)

PS - Rashmi, I had brought the balls to the Old Town lunch - but you probably didn't get a chance to see them.

mom to Neel, January 2003
dog mom to a cocker and a PWD

03-30-2004, 11:42 AM
Thanks Nita! Quick question. Since you washed them by hand.. did you still need the stockings?? Otherwise i will have to find some stockings.
Hmm... i might do this for a weekend project. Did you use ROVING or WASHED AND CARDED WOOL BATTS??? (This is like speaking a different language!)

03-30-2004, 01:13 PM
Thanks for the compliments on the balls. I have enjoyed making them. This is an easy project. I enjoy crafts a lot, but am not at all super talented. This process just takes practice and trial and error - but not a lot of talent.

Let me qualify these instructions as saying that I am by no means an expert. I got most of my instructions from a web site in Neve's original post (http://gfwsheep.com/feltballs/feltballs1.html). On the web site make sure to go to Part 2 of the process. Abi also gave me a few tips. I combined a little bit from both sources to get my own way of doing it.
To get started you need the batt (the ugly, unfinished stuff). You also need the pretty dyed roving. I couldn't find a local vendor, so I found Abi's site.
you can either make the ball from just the batt or you can take a ball (such as tennis balls and cat balls) and cover the ball with the batt. If using a ball I cover the ball with the batt OR tightly wind the batting only into a ball shape. For this step I use chunky strips of the batting. I keep wrapping until I get a smooth, round surface. The web site shows this step.
I then take thin, wispy strips of the dyed roving and wrap those around the batt ball. You want good coverage, but you don't want to use thick strips of roving. Alternate colors until you get the look you want. Again, see the web site for photos at this stage. Again, check out the web site.
Once I got the colored roving in the pattern that I like, I get a bowl of hot water and some dishwashing detergent. I lightly dip the ball in the water and then squirt a little detergent in my hand. I roll the ball in the detergent so it is covered. I continue to work the ball by squeezing it and dipping in back in the water periodically. This is starting the felting process in which the roving "melts" into felt.
I continue to work the ball in the soap and hot water until it softens a little. Rather than work it completely by hand, I then take a panty hose leg with the ends cut open and place the balls in the leg. I separate the balls with twist ties so that they are not touching (looks like a sausage link). I usually make several balls at a time.
I then put the tube of panty hose containing the balls into the longest wash cycle with hot water and a little detergent. Once the wash cycle is almost complete, I check the process of the balls. They should be starting to felt even more so that you have to peel the panty hose off of the ball. I usually run the ball through at least two agitate cycles. I catch it before the rinse cycle starts and I re-start the wash/agitate process so that I am not wasting more water.
When it seems as though the felt is looking good, I let the washing machine complete the rinse cycle.
I remove the balls from the panty hose (peeling the hose off of them) and let them dry overnight.
I have made them before without manually working them. They turned out fine, but I had to use a longer agitate cycle.

Hopefully that makes sense!

03-30-2004, 02:27 PM
I just emailed Abi on the website you posted. I am going to get the wool from her. Will let you know how it turns out!!!

Thanks again!

03-30-2004, 03:26 PM
I think your balls turned out way prettier than mine....
I will have more time on my hands next week and am now in the mood to make more...

Make sure you get a picture of DS with all of the balls around him, these are some of my favorite pictures of T with his balls...

Yours are gorgeous, and your source sounds GREAT!!!!!!
Thank you for sharing...so much prettier than mine!!!!
AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

03-30-2004, 04:08 PM
All I have is roving. Using batts makes it cheaper, I think. And you don't need the stocking to do it by hand. I just sat with a bowl of soapy water and kept working the ball, while I read some stuff I needed to for a paper - how's that for multitasking? :) I might do the rest in the washing machine - and finally get some use of at least one of the pairs of hose I have!

mom to Neel, January 2003
dog mom to a cocker and a PWD

03-30-2004, 04:14 PM
So how much did the cost per ball turn out to be??

03-30-2004, 04:42 PM
I don't know if this was for me or Neve. I haven't done the math until now, but I think the cost per ball is minimal. I still have a good bit of dyed roving from my first order. I ran out of batting before I did roving and had to order more. I have probably made at least 30 balls and could probably still get up to 15 more with the colored roving from my first order. The batting is used much quicker. Even with the costs for cheap tennis balls, a second batch of batting, a couple of packs of cat balls, and a couple of pairs of sacrificial panty hose (I re-use the hose) my total investment is around $50 and I will be able to make about 45 balls from the order. I've given many balls away as gifts, so I don't think it's an expensive hobby at all. I can't wait to start making balls with the bright wacko collection of my second order!

03-30-2004, 04:50 PM
I am just getting my wool ordered thru Abi! Thanks again Dana!

03-30-2004, 05:44 PM
Another fun thing to do, especially for those of you with toddlers, is dying plain white roving or wool for your balls with kool-aid. Non-toxic and a lot of fun! I haven't looked at the colored roving prices but I've handpainted plain white wool yarn with kool-aid for much less than I can buy similar yarn in the stores.

Here are some links if you're interested. :)


Nathan's Mom 12/19/03