Introduction: Juggling Balls - Cheap and Easy to Make

Picture of Juggling Balls - Cheap and Easy to Make

These balls are very easy to make and great to juggle.
They are great for kids and beginners.
To make larger / heavier juggling balls simply add more filling at step 4.

I can provide all of these steps in printable format complete with teacher notes if you are running a workshop or class.

Step 1: Ingredients - for the Balls

Picture of Ingredients - for the Balls

 For each ball you will need
- 1/2 measuring cup of millet (small round birdseed)
- 3 round latex balloons (25cm size)

Step 2: Tools for Construction

Picture of Tools for Construction

 To make the balls easily and quickly you will need to gather the following bits and pieces...
- large plastic bottle
- small plastic bottle
NOTE: Both bottles must have the same size neck / bottle cap
- sharp scissors
- a pin
- sticky tape
- a piece of thin cardboard (the inside of a toilet paper roll works well)

Step 3: Make a 'wide Neck' Funnel

Picture of Make a 'wide Neck' Funnel

Making the funnel makes things fast and tidy. I only came up with this idea after making about 100 balls in a variety of slow and messy ways.

1. Cut the top off the large plastic bottle
2. Keep the top bit to use as a funnel (recycle the bottom bit in another project)
3. Cut a 3.5 x 12cm rectangle of cardboard (you may need to trim this to suit different bottles)
4. Wrap the cardboard tightly around the neck of the funnel
5. Tape it in place.

Step 4: Make the Balls

Picture of Make the Balls

- Put the funnel on top of the small bottle. The cardboard should stop them from slipping so you will not spill any seed.

- Pour 1/2 cup of millet (bird seed) into the funnel and it will fall through into the small bottle.
NOTE: You can add more than 1/2 a cup if you want larger heavier juggling balls. Just remember how much you put in so all your balls will be the same size and weight.

- Remove the funnel.

Step 5: Make the Balls ... Continued

Picture of Make the Balls ... Continued

Blow up a balloon a little and stretch the neck (the bit that you blew into) over the top of the small bottle. You need to do this without letting too much air out of the balloon. This can be tricky to do. One easy way is to twist the neck of the balloon about 3 times after you have blown it up.This should hold the air while you put the balloon over the bottle.

Turn the whole lot upside down and the seed will fall into the balloon.

Step 6: Still Making the Ball

Picture of Still Making the Ball

Let out the air and tie a knot in the balloon as close to the seed as you can. If there is any air left in the balloon make a small hole near the neck with the pin to let the air out.

Cut the neck off the seed filled balloon (cut above the knot so the seed doesn't fall out).

Step 7: Covering the Ball

Picture of Covering the Ball

Now you have a balloon filled with seed. If you try to juggle this it is likely to burst and the seed will go everywhere.

To make it stronger it will need a few extra covers of latex. This is where the two extra balloons come in.

Cut the necks off the two remaining balloons.

Carefully stretch one of these balloons over your ball. Make sure that the knot is covered by the second balloon.

Repeat this step with the third balloon, making sure that the hole of the second balloon is covered by the third balloon.

Step 8: Make Two More Balls

Picture of Make Two More Balls

 Repeat steps 4 to 7 to make two more balls. You are now ready to juggle.

NOTES:
- When the balls get dirty or worn simply add new balloons to make them clean and strong. There is no need to peel off any old layers before doing this.
- You can add patterns by using contrasting coloured balloons and cutting small slits in the outside balloon.
- If you don't want to fill the balls with bird seed you can use flour, sand or any grain that is fairly small and round.
- Avoid filling with rice as the long shape of the grains make it harder for the ball to maintain it's round shape.

Step 9: Download the Printable PDF

This is where you can download a printable PDF of the instructions. Have fun.

Comments

pamelam88 (author)2014-06-06

Hi, would love to try this as a workshop with some primary school kids, can I get the printable version please?

Xthinker (author)2011-06-10

The squirrels might come for you if you use bird seed..................................................

Lol just kidding, but seriously watch out!!!

mischka (author)2011-06-01

I knew about the technic, but I like the pictures very much. Thanks for sharing!

psquires (author)2010-04-06

These can make a huge mess if they break. I suggest this method: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-juggling-balls/
They are more durable. If they get dirty just replace balloons. I actually use these in most of my shows. I just use a little talc on my hands because they can get a bit sticky.

waynevanwijk (author)psquires2010-04-06

I agree that they can make a mess if they break but I have only had this happen when using cheap balloons that were too small.

I have used the tennis ball method that you recommend and think that the balls are great - if you can already juggle. I actually prefer the ball that you recommend. The main problem is that hard round balls have a tendency to roll away when dropped which is is not good for beginners, when teaching workshops or when doing shows.

The softer ball is more forgiving when making 'bad' catches.

The nice bit about these balls is that you can make them small for kids or large for adults.


Agreed on the roll-away - I began using hacky-sacks (footbags, etc.) a while back for juggling because they were easy to open and change the weight and wouldn't roll.  I'm fairly proficient at juggling (nowhere near the level of most trick jugglers though), but I hate losing a ball with a passion...

Plus, if you juggle with multiple people, a softer bag is far, far better...tennis balls to the face can hurt.

 If you want to juggle between others (passing) then there is no substitute for juggling clubs. They offer a much larger target to catch than a little ball. I have heard it said that Club Passing is the most amount of fun that two jugglers can have with their clothes on. I haven't tried juggling with my clothes off so I can't comment on this.

Clubs are pretty fun, but I tend to crack my knee with the bulb when passing in a downstroke.  I prefer weighted rods - particulary homemade ones...I found a while ago that paper towel tubes weighted with sand throughout and lead in one end (fishing leads that were handy), laminated with generous amounts of duct tape, make pretty good club substitutes.

Admittedly, I prefer bags for passing because I'm an avid hacky-sack player too - I find it rather fun to combine juggling and sack, especially when nobody expects it.  Believe me - passing 2 inch bags to friends with your feet and hands is pretty good exercise...


Kiteman (author)2010-04-06

Cool - did you draw the pictures yourself?

Nice offer about the notes - maybe you could attach the file to the project, to save you having to keep emailing them to people?  (You just use the image uploader, but select your notes document instead.)


waynevanwijk (author)Kiteman2010-04-06

I commissioned an artist  friend to draw the pictures.
I will put the instructions on my website for easy downloading and provide a link here. Don't hold your breath as it may take a while.

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