Felting for cats? We are making that a “thing” today, friends. Never felted before? It’s easy, and this is the perfect project to gain a little confidence in your newfound felting abilities. So grab your wool and meet me at the kitchen sink because today we are felting balls to make cat toys; perfect for getting your feet wet in the wonderful world of felting. Bonus: your cat will love you. Maybe. I really can’t guarantee that. There’s always a possibility of them being totally unimpressed.
To get more background information on felting, you’ll want to head on over and read this full tutorial. We’ll get you all set up right! 😉 Then we’ll make some cat toys! Yay!
How to Make Cat Toys Using Yarn
Everyone knows that your cats own you (not the other way around), that they love to bat things around and are generally butt heads that tear apart your Christmas tree every. single. year. Let’s occupy them with something every yarn enthusiast has: wool! Of course, we need to make sure that there is nothing that could get swallowed or come apart on the cat toy, and felting is great because there are no ends to unravel.
For these cat toys a wool blend will suffice, it doesn’t have to be 100% wool in order for the fibers to fuse (although the higher the wool content the better it will work). The wool I used in this tutorial is a 50% blend.
First, you’ll gather your wooly yarn ends, or a scrap of wooly yarn about 13 yards long (36″ is one yard) for a small-ish ball. It will end up being slightly smaller than a pingpong ball, depending on wool used and how long it is felted.
1. If using random yarn ends, form them into a ball-ish figure. Wrap excess wooly yarn around the ball to secure it. If using one continuous strand of yarn (e.g. a new skein), wrap into a ball, turning as you go to make it as uniform and spherical as possible. Tuck the end under a few other strands.
Here is a felted ball compared to a pre-felted ball. You’ll see the size difference when we’re finished.
2. Warm up the running water in the sink, and using your hands, roll the ball around applying gentle pressure. Like you’re making a meatball. A meat-a-ball. Say it with me now!
3. Add about a dime sized drop of dish soap and massage into the ball. Rub it in and rinse in the hot water, roll it around in your hands and rinse, until the water has no suds and you can feel the ball becoming dense. Your goal is to heat the wool and massage the fibers so they work into one another, forming one solid mass of wool.
The longer you felt, the smaller the finished product will be.
4. When you have accomplished your goal (5-10 minutes), squeeze out excess water and set aside to dry. You will notice that the ball has condensed a bit, you can see the difference in the comparison photos before and after felting the second ball.
For cat toys
Gather your supplies and make a felted ball in the color of your choosing.
After the felted ball has dried, use an upholstery needle to insert string. Just push it right through the ball. Tie a knot around a small bell on the bottom side to keep the string from pulling through (or a large knot would suffice).
Now you’ll embellish the string with feathers (you’ll want feathers with loops like this so they stay attached) and more bells or whatever else suits your cat’s fancy. Cause s/he’s picky. 😉 Wind the other end of the string around a dowel rod for dangling. I used my hot glue gun to further secure the knots, both on the knot at the bottom bell for added strength and around the string wound around the end of the dowel rod so it doesn’t come undone.
How cost effective, is this you ask?
Well, if you’ve got the wooly yarn in your stash it will cost you practically nothing. Embellishing adds to the cost, but when you get a pack of 48 bells and a 10-pack of dowel rods it doesn’t seem too bad. If you need to purchase wool in order to make these felted cat toys, consider this: let’s say you use a flat 15 yards for each ball you felt. One skein of this Patons Classic 100% Wool has approximately 220 yards. That means you can make FIFTEEN or so felted balls out of that one skein! That’s a deal and a half, I say!
More yarn fun:
Triangle Crochet Scarf with Fringe (Using Caron Cake Yarn)
Yarn Hacks Every Crocheter and Knitter Needs to Know
How to Read a Crochet Pattern
Why Size Matters in Crocheting and Knitting
9 Tips for Traveling with Crochet
Use Industrial Clips for Yarn Bobbins in Crochet and Knitting