Picture of Recycled blue jean ball
Can't part with the jeans? Well, then, don't! Recycle them into this durable blue jean ball that will double the life of fabric's answer to duct tape: denim. This ball has a remarkably good bounce and is suitable for little kids or big 'uns. It's based on a pattern offered by USA Volleyball ( and regardless of JB's lukewarm endorsement, believe me, it's fun!
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Step 1: Materials list

Picture of Materials list
A pair of old jeans
pattern (
sewing machine

12" round balloons

The pattern is available at the USA Volleyball site above. It'll tell you how much to enlarge the pattern pieces. (I'm showing only one end piece, since they're the same size--the only difference is that you'll put a buttonhole in one.) The ruler shots indicate the dimensions I used, in case you trust yourself to make your own pattern. Mine accommodates a 12" balloon very nicely.

By the way, do read the information on the USA Volleyball site. They won't tell you this, but it's kind of like a teddy bear for people who probably don't need to be seen in public with teddy bears--the texture is comforting, it's a little cuddly, and if you keep the balloon good and firm, you can bounce it off somebody's head without doing too much damage.

Step 2: Cut it out

Picture of Cut it out
Cut out six side pieces--I got four from the lower legs and the other two from the upper back thigh parts of the jeans. The end pieces came from, um, the end pieces.

Step 3: Sew the side pieces

Picture of Sew the side pieces
Sew the side pieces, with 5/8" seam allowances.

The second picture here shows what it'll look like when you've sewn all but the last seam.

The third picture shows how far on both ends to sew those first and last panels together--about 3". There will be a space down the middle of those two panels to make it possible to sew in the end pieces.

Stitch the seams flat around the end openings. This will make it a lot easier to stitch through the end pieces and avoid bunching of fabric.
HarpAngel99910 months ago

Heads up for you, the link to the pattern doesn't work anymore.

Dr. P (author)  HarpAngel99910 months ago
Hey, thanks! I'll edit the page when I get to my laptop. In the meantime, google "cloth / balloon volleyball sewing instructions" and you'll find a PDF for the USA Volleyball pattern. I appreciate the notice!
poofrabbit2 years ago
Hey congratulations on winning Scoochmaroo Challenge: Reuse!!!
Dr. P (author)  poofrabbit2 years ago
Whaaaaa?? How cool is that? Thanks!
WAY cool if you ask me :D
Nahual2 years ago
Sewing that perfect circle... Circles are evil. But I love this idea and love your dog. :) 5 stars.
Dr. P (author)  Nahual2 years ago
Oh, don't worry! It's not a perfect circle--it's got that balloon end thing going on. You have a good eye--the dog is the best! Thanks.
This is awesome - and I never would've thought of using a balloon inside a cloth ball (I'll bet it bounces much better than one with batting would). Great instructable!
Dr. P (author)  supersoftdrink2 years ago
It does bounce well. You can make them smaller and use a round water balloon size balloon (omit the water). The problem with the smaller one is that the dog really can get his mouth around it and break the balloon. At least with the cover, the "pop" isn't nearly as loud for either dog or kid. Tucking the balloon end into the cover makes it a bit safer for kids, I think.
MaryT8M2 years ago
GREAT idea! Love stuff ever!
Dr. P (author)  MaryT8M2 years ago
No question about it!
poofrabbit2 years ago
This is awesome! What a creative idea, well done!
Dr. P (author)  poofrabbit2 years ago
Fun, too. Try it!
caitlinsdad2 years ago
So you are saying this would be good to use to spike the person over on the other side of the office cubicle wall? Nice job.
Dr. P (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago
It would be perfect for that!