Here's how to make quick & easy juggling balls that look and feel super professional.
They're weighted for just the right balance; rubberised for grip; and coloured with trippy voronoi-style patterns for tricks. And to top it off these balls cost next-to-nothing!
Perfect for beginners and pros alike.
Step 1: What You'll Need
For a set of 3 juggling balls you'll need the following supplies:
• 3 old tennis balls (you can probably find discarded ones that have lost their 'bounce' from your nearest tennis facility for free)
•15-20 stretchy latex balloons
•Uncooked rice/ dried beans/ dry sand for filling the balls
You'll also need the following tools/supplies:
•Cooking Scale (optional)
I had all these items lying around the house, this set of juggling balls were essentially free.
Don't use good tennis balls, as you will be destroying them. You don't need them to bounce anyway, and the less they bounce the easier it is to pick up dropped balls!
Step 2: Ball Surgery
Impale your balls with a box cutter. I mean, gently slice your balls open. [ok there's no salvaging this...]
Follow the white lines on the tennis balls as these are the weakest parts.
Make an incision just wide enough to insert the funnel, then fill the balls up with rice or beans or sand. It should be pretty full so that your balls don't rattle as you swing 'em around.
Make sure your 3 balls are roughly the same weight, and seal them up with glue. I used E6000 which is a flexible adhesive.
You can adjust the weight of the balls by changing the fill material, to whatever weight is most comfortable for you.
Step 3: Cover Your Balls
Cut the neck end off a balloon, and... ok I give up on subtlety... cover your balls with two layers of rubber.
Try to stretch the balloon well before wrapping the ball to make it easier. And make sure the remaining hole where the neck of the balloon used to be is as small as possible.
You could just use 2-3 layers of matching coloured balloons to completely cover the tennis balls, and you could call it a day.
This makes nice, solid coloured juggling balls with rubberised grip.
Anytime the rubber seems to be deteriorating from dirt/sunlight/wear, just pop another balloon or two over it!
Step 4: Dragon Egg Patterns
You could stop at the previous step, but let's make these balls extra nice.
I learned this technique as a kid at a juggling workshop and completely forgot about it until now. I was just reminded of this today when I saw a juggling demo with plain juggling 'beanbags' made with just 2 layers of balloons filled with rice.
Choose 3 complementary colours for your pattern. You could use completely random colours, but as a recovering monochrome addict I settled for white, blue and purple.
The base colour layer goes over the ball. (there should now be 2-3 solid layers)
The second and third layers will have random holes cut into them as shown. You can either use a metal hole punch or just cut small holes with scissors. the holes should be quite small, as they expand surprisingly when stretched over the ball.
Angular (eg. squarish) holes are ok as they will get stretched to rounded ovals when stretched. Jagged edges are not ok as these tend to rip.
Put the second and third layers over the ball, staggering the openings for maximum coverage and to get nice patterns.
That's it! You're done in just a few minutes.
Step 5: Don't Just Sit There, Play With Your Balls!
Just a final gratuitous step to let you admire my balls.
These are so easy to make that I'm going to scrounge up more discarded tennis balls and make a bunch of them in different colours.
They're great as toddler toys too! Easy to grip, toss or roll, which develops hand-eye coordination (yet they don't roll too fast or too far). And the solid colour versions are great for teaching about colours and counting.