Introduction: DIY NFC Hacky Sack

So, you want to DIY an NFC hacky sack? Well lucky The Grumps are here to show you how. This was a little experiment we created with Google’s Creative Lab, Sydney.

We wanted a neat little way to share links with people, and NFC seemed like a simple solution, however we also wanted it to be fun and feel quite non-digital. And so the NFC Hacky Sack was born!

We’ve included some details and instructions, for those who are interested, below or you can also access them in a downloadable PDF. If you want a little short-cut, you can always order a pre-made Hacky Sack from our website.

Step 1: The Detail

The Detail

The Hacky Sack is a digital object that is used to transfer information to users. The Hacky Sack has been developed with NFC (near field communication) tags and allows NFC enabled mobile devices (most Android devices) to read and write to these nfc tags.

When an NFC tag comes into contact or in close proximity to an NFC reader (or NFC enable device), a NFC tag can be read or written to.

NFC is used to transfer information (e.g. urls, images, text or it can even be used to send a set of instructions to a NFC device). For example, when a device reads from the NFC tag, it sends the phone instructions to complete a task.

More about NFC
NFC is a branch of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). The main difference lies with the close proximity required between the reader and tag. Tags Tags are passive. They are non-powered devices that can hold information but cannot read any information itself. Readers Active readers, send out a radio frequency that powers the passive tag to return a signal back to the phone with a payload of information. Readers can hold information as well as read it. It also allows information to be written to passive tags.

Step 2: How Do I Read an NFC Tag on My Android Device?

Firstly, check that your device has an NFC reader as part of it’s hardware.

If so, NFC must be enabled in the device settings.

Settings > More > NFC

Once NFC has been enabled, the device is ready to read NFC tags.


To write to a Hacky Sack, download and install NFC Tools. NFC Tools is an android application that allows users to read and write to NFC tags. Follow NFC Tools instructions to add your content onto your Hacky Sack.


To read from the Hacky Sack, place the NFC side of the Hacky Sack on the back of the mobile device. If a URL has been placed on the NFC tag, then you will be redirected to that URL.

Pass the Hacky Sack around and share information with your friends!

Note: They’ll need to have NFC enabled on their device too.

Step 3: ​Make Your Own NFC Hacky Sack


  • Needle Thread Material (cotton drill, material is our personal choice).
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Funnel NFC tag
  • Filling - Rice (or small seed or grain)


  1. There are 8 panels to sew. Mark out 8 of the following pattern on your material. *
  2. Cut out all 8 panels.
  3. Take 2 panels with the outside face (the side that is on the outside of your Hacky Sack) placed together.
  4. With the sewing needle and thread sew along 2 panels on 1 side. It should start 3mm from the edge. This should be a straight stitch.
  5. At the end of sewing one side, place a 3rd panel alongside one of the panels. Remember this will be on the inside of your Hacky Sack. Continue to sew along one side.
  6. Repeat Step 5 with a 4th panel.
  7. Repeat Steps 3 - 6 with the remaining 4 panels.
  8. These 2 now joined panels will form the top and bottom of your Hacky Sack. Again place these 2 panels with the outside of your Hacky Sack placed together. Sew around the seam until you are left with 2 sides open.
  9. Sew one of the remaining sides, but leaving one to place your NFC tag and filling.
  10. Turn your empty Hacky Sack inside out.
  11. Place your NFC tag in your Hacky Sack, making sure that the NFC touches the side of your sack. If it is placed in the center, your NFC enabled device may not be able to read your Hacky Sack.
  12. Partially sew up the last side with enough room to place the funnel in the small gap.
  13. Place funnel in small gap and pour enough filling in your Hacky Sack so that it is about half full. You don’t want to overfill your Hacky Sack.
  14. Sew up the small gap left behind.
  15. Enjoy your NFC Hacky Sack!

*'Who Sells Or Makes Hacky Sacks In Cebu?'. Living In Cebu Forums 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.