Instructables

Felt Balls from Scrap Yarn

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Picture of Felt Balls from Scrap Yarn

I have been knitting predominantly with wool and alpaca yarns lately. It occurred to me that I do not have to throw away all those little scraps of yarn because they will felt. So, I started collecting a pile of loose yarn scraps to make into little felt balls. They can become beads, cat toys, buttons, or whatever you like.
 
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Step 1: Collect supplies

Picture of Collect supplies
Materials
wool & alpaca yarn scraps
dish soap
hot water
cold water

Step 2: Make the balls

Picture of Make the balls

Wad-up the scraps of yarn, reserving a few longer strands. Wet the wad down in very warm water, squeezing out some of the water. Use the reserved longer strands of yarn to help firm up and gently bind the ball together.

Pour a little liquid dish soap on your palms and gently begin to rub and roll the ball around in your palms. Keep rinsing the ball under hot and cold water and adding soap as needed.

As the ball begins to shrink and get firmer, use a little more pressure as you roll it around in your palms.

Step 3: Finish the project


When the ball seems solid, rinse it in cold water to remove any excess soap. Rinse again in a vinegar and water solution. Squeeze out any excess moisture and set aside to dry.

Use them as you like.

ansleybleu (author) 3 months ago

Generally, you need 100% wool to do this. Go ahead and give it a try though. You may also be able to use little bits of your scraps mixed in with 100% wool.

mfrajman3 months ago

This is so neat. I do a lot of crochet with a 20%wool, 80% acrylic blend...fan i felt the scraps? Or does it not work with belnds?

Gorgeous!!!!!!
What did you use to thread the balls?
bohemeanne2 years ago
What kind of needle do you use to stab a hole through the felted balls to make jewelry out of them. I've been needle felting for a long time but when I go to make jewelry out of my balls I can't ever get anything to go through them. Can you give me a tip?
ansleybleu (author)  bohemeanne2 years ago
A long thick very pointy needle works good. I believe they are called yarn darner needles. It works best if you just string them while piercing them rather than making a hole to string later.
Best wishes,
Ansley
oops, lol the knitting needle sound better than my idea
kangel11 year ago
ever thought about winding the strands around a coffee straw/stirrer to keep a hole in the middle?
ansleybleu (author)  kangel11 year ago
You could do that, but it would be very difficult to keep the balls round that way.
I wonder about a wood (can't spell the next word, so I will print the sounds sk-ew er
Lettucehead3 years ago
Thats so cool I would have never come up with that! Now I can clean up my yarn scraps from all my knitting into another craft I love; beading! By the way my cat would love one of those!
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you could wrap you yarn around a couple catnip leaves and the felt that. bet your cat would go nuts.
ansleybleu (author)  kangel11 year ago
I did keep a few in a baggie with loose catnip to "infuse" them with catnip scent. The kitties liked it.
Diane8252 years ago
What does the vinegar do?
ansleybleu (author)  Diane8252 years ago
It helps rinse out soap and adjusts the pH of the wool.
Cheers,
Ansley
Mauigerbil2 years ago
Thank you for posting this!!! I think this is the one and only non-knitting/crocheting project in the yarn section. I  love yarn crafts without  it! you just made my day :D
lchampion13 years ago
So are you taking the scraps and then just mashing them into a ball and felting?
ansleybleu (author)  lchampion13 years ago
Sort of. I like wrapping the pieces around a mushed base to help form the ball. Wrapping also helps you somewhat control how the colors are distributed.
catiehade3 years ago
Are they durable? Or, um, i don't know how to word this...Do they stay composed after several times you wear them?
ansleybleu (author)  catiehade3 years ago
Yes, felt is very durable...like a dreadlock ball.
okay, Thank you so much!
Very pretty!!! What did you use for the small green disks between the beads? How did you thread the beads? (what did you use? wool, thread? dental floss?) Was it difficult to thread them? can't wait to see more of your Instructables!!!! :0)
ansleybleu (author)  porcupinemamma3 years ago
Thanks Everyone!

The disks between the felt balls are buttons.

To thread the felt balls, I used a long sharp threaded needle such as a yarn darner and used leftover yarn.

Cheers,
Ansley
That's it!  Oh wow, this is great!  Thank you much for posting!  I make jewelry and I am definitely trying this!  Thanks again ...
mole13 years ago
This is great! A necklace of this sort would be perfect for someone who can't take any pressure on the back of their neck... or for those not allowed to have any high resale value jewelry in the hospital or nursing home. It's pretty and festive.
gia3 years ago
The same technique works with other, raw fur too.
I've used it to make a few balls of cat fur - making a whole necklace of just cat fur will take a while but so far so good. :)

Other than cat/dog/rabbit fur, you could make a big felted ball for a cat toy too with that same technique.
I'll have to give this a shot after the winter holidays -- I'll have ten tons of scrap yarn by then :) Thanks!
ClaudiaRN3 years ago
Very good- simple and straighforward- tho some wool doesn’t felt up very well is a good thing to remember. I f you unravel the wool quite a bit before doing the squishing, it felts together even better! -Smoother look. Like the added touch of a button between them too!
elimasmx3 years ago
The necklace looks really cool! I just need to get some yarn..