Instructables

Custom 'Octohedral' Juggling Bags (or hacky sacks)

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Picture of Custom 'Octohedral' Juggling Bags (or hacky sacks)
I like to keep juggling balls on me wherever I go, just in case I have a chance to use them. But balls take up too much space, and bean bags feel too light. So I decided to make my own bags that I could size and weight as I wanted.

Here are the steps to make your own customized juggling bags.

The monetary cost of these bags depends entirely on what materials you use, and how many of them you can salvage or have to pay for. My monetary cost out of pocket was probably about a buck, since the thread and the BBs were the only things I actually paid for.

The time cost on this project for me was about an hour a bag.
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
 Required Materials:
  - Fabric: I used two types of material to make the two-toned balls. I used heavy duty cotton canvas for the lighter panels, and leather harvested from an old purse for the darker panels. You could do this project with up to eight different colors, but I would recommend one or two.
  - Filling:To achieve the density I wanted, I opted for Copperhead BBs. These make the bags nice and heavy, while allowing them a lot of 'squish'. The down side is that they tend to 'clink'' while I'm juggling them. Other options include rice (not recommended), styrofoam pellets, sand, ground walnut shell (which is Klutz puts in their juggling bags) etc. Make sure that whatever you use won't leak through the weave of the fabric or the seams (this may mean making smaller stitches which takes longer).
 - Thread: This should be pretty self explanatory. Choose something that matches fairly well with the material, as it may show through a little bit at the seams. I just went with basic black.
  - Paper: The easiest way to make a template is just to print one out on a printer. that said, you could make one with a compass if you have the patience. Either way, you'll probably want to make the template out of paper or perhaps cardboard.

Required Tools
:
  - Scissors: Needed for cutting out the template, cutting the fabric, and cutting the thread, as well as any additional trimming you want to do.
  - A sewing needle: This should be pretty self explanatory.
  - A Measuring device: I used the lid from my kids' play kitchen toys, as it seemed about right. The obvious thing to use would be a measuring cup, however if you are looking for a specific weight, a scale might make more sense.
  - A Pen: For tracing the template onto the cloth.

Recommended tools
:
  - Pliers: If you are using heavy cloth or leather, you'll probably want something to help pull the needle through the fabric. Otherwise your fingers get pretty sore pretty quickly.
  - Safety pins: These can be useful for holding the panels in place as you are stitching.
  - A Thimble: I completed this project without one. If  I had had one, I would have used it. Especially for pushing the needle through the leather. As it was, I got to develop some new callouses for the project.
  - A Computer and  Printer: This is, as mentioned above, the easiest way to transfer your template from the ethereal to the concrete.
  - Scotch Tape (Cello Tape I believe it's called across the pond): This is useful for making a paper funnel for pouring the filling into the balls.

Optional tools
:
  -  Sewing machine: I hand sewed this entire project because I was using the leather and our sewing machine wouldn't have been up to the challenge. If you want do most of the job by machine, you will save a ton of time, but you will still need to do some hand sewing to close up the balls. (Unless you have a really cool sewing machine!)
  - A Whiteout Pen: If you are doing this project with dark fabric, a whiteout pen makes the lines much easier to see and follow. I recommend tracing the template using this.
SewKnotty2 years ago
Because I'm not a Pro member it won't let me download the PDF. :( Any way you could e-mail it to me? ( LHi2305@gmail.com ) I make crocheted hacky sacks for my friends all the time and I'd really love to try out a fabric one. Please and thank you!
Llama Nerds (author)  SewKnotty2 years ago
Huh. I'm not a Pro member either, but I can download PDFs. Is it the whole PDF you're looking for, or just the panel template image file? The image file is available from here:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11023665/template.svg

As mentioned in the instructable, it's a scaleable vector graphic, so you'll need an image program that can open that file type (I'd recomment Inkscape), and then you can scale it to whatever size you want before printing it.

Let me know if you need the whole pdf e-mailed.
msleptsov3 years ago
Just want to say thank you. I have already made 5 of those out of leather.(old ripped trousers) (they look like leather gBallz while they aren`t as nice i saved 12 dollars on each one I made and actually enjoyed the craft of sewing)

Few tips: try using light color fabric (leather seems great as it is stretchy).
Do not rush and make sure you sew with a strong technique or go twice over one place. (if you cross the marked line in some places the panels may not look alike and some will stick out more).

MAIN THING: I used millet seeds and managed to stuff 80g of them inside (and that is in ball made of 4cmm rounded triangles, same as in this tutorial)

Besides keeping it away from water and not being able to wash it there is nothing wrong with millet. It has a nice feel and weight and is used in professional juggling balls.


John H Doe4 years ago
Hey! Great Instructable! I was wondering if you could re-upload the template you used, the link is broken
Llama Nerds (author)  John H Doe4 years ago
Thanks for the heads-up. I just updated the link (hopefully with one that won't expire this time). Try it out and let me know.
Iron_Back4 years ago
Thanks for "instructable" =)
That's mine one.xthost.info/smallbrat/Foto/hacky_sack.jpg   xP
Llama Nerds (author)  Iron_Back4 years ago
I just now got back around to checking this out. Looks good! Nice cloth choice.
how big did you make your triangles?
I made a triangles with 4,3cm for one side, but now it's something about 4,5 (even, maybe 5 cm). It has gotten larger by using and filling.
werejag4 years ago
pattern is 404
Llama Nerds (author)  werejag4 years ago
Thanks for the heads-up. I think I've fixed it, so give it a try now.
 were do you get the template?
Llama Nerds (author)  techoholic5624 years ago
I created it myself using Google Sketchup, and then exported it to a .svg file using a plug-in
Jayefuu4 years ago
These would make great hackysacks. Definitely going to hone my sewing skills to make a few of these.
Jayefuu Jayefuu4 years ago
(I didn't read the full title before I posted that, you're right, they WOULD make great hacky sacks.) :D
Llama Nerds (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
One recommendation: If making a hacky sack be careful of using BBs as filler. I've kicked these a couple of times just to test. If I was going to use them as hacky sacks I would want about half as many BBs in them as they currently have.

Maybe a good test would be to put you filler of choice into a plastic baggy and try kicking it around, and see how it feels on your various body parts. Then you can assume that the cloth will add a little extra padding, and you should be good.