Apart from lowering your stress level, a stress ball also lowers your blood pressure and increases positivity. But more about that later. It is nice that you can use this stress ball at your desk to reduce tension. They can also help children when they need something to hold in their hands.
A stress ball made of lavender that is nicer for you and for nature
Stress balls are usually made of plastic, which is a shame. Sheep’s wool is much nicer to hold than plastic. And the great thing about this stress ball is that if it is discarded later or ends up in nature by accident, it will break down completely. What’s more, the linseed seeds hatch and you get beautiful blue flowers. The naturally dyed wool may be used by birds for their nests. The lavender breaks down, just like the wool. That is different from a plastic ball that never decays.
A not too difficult DIY project
This is not too difficult a DIY project. Especially the spinning of the ball is a relaxing activity. The finishing touch, getting rid of the stitched seam in the ball, was the hardest part for me, but I made 2 mistakes. I will save you from that. If dry-felting does not work, you can also choose to leave the seam in place. It is not that ugly. And it does not make any difference to the use.
The basic work, wet felting, takes about an hour including preparations. Two days later, another 30 minutes of finishing. If you are a bit handy, it does not matter if you have no experience with felting.
DIY wetfelting and dryfelting
To make the lavender stress ball we are going to do wetfelting and dryfelting. If you want to try both, this is a nice DIY project. But also if you have experience with felting it is fun. Felting a ball is actually much more fun than a piece of felt, because you can roll it around. That in itself is anti-stress 🙂
In English, Spanish or Dutch.
What do you need for making the ball?
- You need a small ball as a form, which you then take out of the stress ball. Diameter 5 cm works best for a hand that is not too big, I have noticed. A tennis ball will also do, although it is slightly larger. You can also use a Styrofoam ball*. The quantities below are based on a basic ball of 5 cm diameter.
- About 7 grams of carded sheep’s wool*. I use my own sheep’s wool, which I have had carded and of course dyed in various colours from different plants. I use Spanish sheep’s wool.
- 7 grams of lavender*
- 21 grams of linseed*
- A bowl filled with warm water and a dash of soap (green soap, washing up liquid or olive soap for example)
- Needle and thread (thread in the same colour as the wool*)
- A felting needle* to finish the ball with dry felting
- A reed mat or bubble wrap*
- A pantyhose is very handy
*All these products you can order from me in 1 package.
If you don’t feel like a DIY project, but you do want a lavender stress ball, you can also buy one from me.
How to make this anti stress ball?
In the kitchen or outside, or wherever it is allowed to get wet, put the bowl with warm water with a little soap on a table. I use a kettle with hot water to keep the water at the right temperature. Be careful with small children and hot water.
You pull out a thin tuft of wool and pull it apart a little. Dip the wool briefly into the warm soapy water and pull it over the shape.
Now you continue to pull and wet the tufts of wool. Let them float in the water for a moment so that it is easier to place them over the ball. Because the wool is wet it will stay in place quite a bit. But be careful. Cover the whole ball and lay the tufts criss-cross over each other. The more they are crossed over, the easier it will be to felt them together. And try to cover the ball as evenly as possible, the same amount on all sides.
It does not matter if it looks a bit messy. Just try to make it as tight and even as possible.
If the wool on the ball is too dry, grasp the ball of wool firmly in two close hands and dip your hands into the warm water. Clasp the wool tightly, because if you let go, the wool comes loose and you can start all over again.
With 5 grams of wool on a ball of 5 cm. You are doing reasonably well. If you are in doubt, take some more wool. Do keep a large tuft of wool for the finishing touch. If it looks reasonably evenly covered, put the ball very carefully into a tight pantyhose.
If the ball is in a pantyhose, you can move it a little easily. But still do it very carefully. You are going to squeeze the ball carefully from all sides and let it roll slowly through your hands. Now and then you dip the stocking with the ball in it into the warm water and gently continue to squeeze and push and roll. When you see that the wool is lying more or less in place, you can carefully start to spin the stress ball under the palm of your hand. Still in the pantyhose and do this preferably on a reed mat or on and between bubble wrap.
But first do all this very carefully. Look at the opening of the stocking every now and then to see if it goes well. If the wool is tighter and tidier around the ball, you can start working in a rougher fashion. But keep checking, because if a strand of wool comes loose and you continue to felt without being seen, you will not be able to get it right again. If something is loose, wet it again and rub your hands with some extra soap and carefully press and squeeze the spot until the wool is in line again.
Spin the stress ball around on and between the bubble wrap
Eventually, when all the wool is in place and doesn’t shift any more, you start working in a rougher fashion. Spin the ball around on and between the bubble wrap, throw it back and forth between your hands. Have a good time. The more friction, the better the result. Leave the ball in the tights or take it out, whichever you prefer. Lather your hands with a little soap and soap the ball again. Rinse it again with warm water and continue with the usual soap water.
After a while, if it looks good, which can take half an hour, try to gently pull a small piece of wool out of the ball with two fingers. As long as you can do this, you are not finished yet. If you are almost done, immerse the stress ball in cold water, rub it again and again in warm water and rub it again. When you are sure that the ball has felted well, stop, rinse it with cold water and put it on a drying rack to dry. If, like me, you are using naturally dyed wool, don’t put it out in the sun.
When the ball is completely dry, which can take up to 2 days, carefully cut it open in a straight line, as short or long as necessary to gently remove the shape.
Then fill the ball with a mixture of dried lavender and linseed. Make sure you fill it well, otherwise it will not have a nice round shape. And while you are filling the ball, press the contents firmly with a teaspoon or your fingers every now and then.
Then place a large tuft of the original wool in the opening. Push this under the edges on all sides too. If you don’t, the lavender will come up and mix with the wool during the dry-felting process.
Then you carefully sew the ball shut with small stitches in yarn in the same colour as the wool. I have sewn the ball closed twice just to be sure. The advantage of this is also that you can knot the beginning and end thread together and put it back into the ball for finishing.
If you are sure that the ball is properly closed and that no lavender or linseed can escape, you can close the scar of the opening with the technique of dry felting.
You are going to prick in and around the scar with a felt pricker. Stick the pricker for a quarter in the ball and pull it back. Watch out for your fingers, because this is sharp. If necessary, place a little wool on the scar and prick it, until the ball is completely intact and there is little difference from the felt that has never been cut open.
If the ball starts to fluff up after a while, shave it carefully with a razor blade and it is back in business again.
Why is this stress ball so good against stress?
Squeezing a stress ball stimulates your nerves and muscles, making them stronger. Squeezing the ball repeatedly can help release tension and relieve stress. This lavender stress ball also releases the soothing scent of lavender.
We all know that lavender is soothing. However, we have only known how it works since 2018. It is about the Linalool, an important ingredient of lavender. And it is not the intake of linalool that is soothing, but the scent of it.
The scent of lavender remains released when you squeeze a lavender ball for at least 2 years and probably longer.
A stess ball is not only good against stress. According to the brownhillsurgery hospital in Hampshire UK, squeezing a stress ball also helps with arthritis pain, improves emotional stability, reduces anxiety and stress, lowers blood pressure and improves concentration and creativity. It also strengthens the muscles, gives more positive energy and improves sleep. That actually sounds too good to be true. Such a small ball with such a good result. But it is important that you do it often. So put the ball where you need it. And squeeze it!