Felted balls – cold water and soapless

Get ready ..

  • Yarn:  any that is feltable.  Highly recommend Cleckheaton’s ‘California’ 8ply
  • Tools:  scissors; screw top jar (or any jar/container with a fitted lid); cold tap water


Step 1 – wool winding
Wrap yarn around 4 fingers on your hand about 12 – 15 times. 

Step 2 – cutting and separating yarn into a mound
Cut yarn wraps off your hand, then in half again. You will have 24 – 30 little pieces of yarn.  Divide each strand roughly into thirds longways, making a messy pile. 

Step 3 – Adding texture and interest
Add some textural interest by including some non-feltable yarn, like crochet cotton.  Then gently form a ball or ‘yarn dumpling’ with your hands.

Step 4 – making sure the yarn dumpling is saturated
Fill the container 2/3 full with cold tap water and add dumpling.  Affix lid then gently swirl and tumble dumpling until it’s completely saturated – ie. no air bubbles in fibre.

Step 5 – starting to ball up
Once saturated, remove nearly all the water and gently swirl and tumble the ball so it starts to adhere to itself.

Remove the now semi-felted ball from the jar and gently roll it in your hands – as if it were dough. Gradually increase pressure until it is about 1/3 of its original dumpling size – approx 2 cm diameter.  That’s it!

NOTE: if you are too vigorous too soon with rolling and tumbling the ball – it will crack. If this happens it’s easier/faster to just start the whole process again, rather than trying to fix and ‘save’ the cracked ball.

Now start another one – whilst the first dries. 


Balls can be embroidered, beaded, strung into necklaces or bracelets, infused with lavender oil and placed in the dryer with towels for fresh smelling laundry, string 3 together as a handbag decoration, large ones make great cat toys, key chain decoration, door handle decoration etc. etc.

Interestingly, if these felted balls are placed in the freezer whilst still wet – they take on the properties of wood in that they can be drilled, cut and sanded when frozen.

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