This is for all the pyro nuts that I came across on Instructables. This can be used to grind chemicals to a very fine grain or to polish rocks.Wiki says "A ball mill is a type of grinder used to grind materials into extremely fine powder for use in paints, pyrotechnics, and ceramics."Many instructables refer to United Nuclear Ball Mills. Their small ball mill cost between $70 and $80 dollars.For no more than $30 and in 5 minute you can build a ball mill of appreciable performance.Check out my other Instructables:MAKE A HIGH VOLTAGE SUPPLY IN 5 MINUTESHack The Spy Ear and Learn to Reverse Engineer a CircuitSuper Easy E-mail Encryption Using Gmail, Firefox and WindowsMake a Rechargeable Dual Voltage Power Supply for Electronic ProjectsMake a Voltage Controlled Resistor and Use ItSODA CAN HYDROGEN GENERATOR
You need 1. A rugged container (You can use PVC pipes or big plastic bottles) 2. An electric screwdriver (these are fairly cheap, I got mine for $10) 3. A bolt, a nut and maybe a washer. 4. Epoxy putty. 5. Steel or lead balls which in my case I substituted with screwdriver bits that I got for $3. 6. A vise clamp to hold down your ball mill.
This is the most important step. The joint holding the the container and electric screwdriver should be strong and able to hold the weight of the assembly. Put a little putty on the bolt first. Insert the bolt into the screwdriver's bit holder. Cover the whole joint with putty. The more putty the better the ball mill stays together.
Fill the container with the screwdriver bits or with steel balls or lead balls. Add the chemical you need to grind. Close the container and clamp the whole assembly to a table top. I use a popsicle stick to hold the screwdriver button down. I jam it between the clam vise and electric screwdriver (see video). But that depends on your electric screwdriver.
Im interested in this mill to dispose of mercury by combining it with sulphur to make mercury sulphide (HgS).A test report done in EU says an hours milling is best so there is no elemental mercury left.And the mercury sulphide is insoluble and is the same substance that mercury is found in the Earth which is cinnabar.
I may well be able to find a power drill at a resale shop, or buy an inexpensive one for the purpose. Any feedback on how well a power drill motor will hold up to being run for 24 hours continuously? I plan to make paper machie. I want to make a very fine paper pulp. While I doubt this is flammable, I would like to hear any comments on this as well. Who'd a thought flour was explosive?
If you want fine paper pulp, you may wish to consider using a blender. Ball mills are typically only needed for moderately-to-very hard materials that need to be crushed to effectively split them, and which might damage a blender if used in it.
Instead of using an electric screw driver, you could use a drill and a drill bit. Just putty the drill bit (preferably an old one) to the bolt inside the container. Seems like it would be a more powerful ball mill. But I'm definitely going to try this idea. Seems like it would be cool to make some gun powder. There's some simple step-by-step instructions on Wiki How if you guys need some instructions.
I would stay away from lead if you are making gun powder. That smoke that surrounds black powder ignition is not good for you. Fine particles of lead suspended in that smoke would be hell on your lungs etc.. i use a tumbler to get crud off of coins taken from the sea. Beach sand won't work well with water to do the job. But the sand at the oceans edge which is coarse makes a great scrubbing agent. Maybe some aquarium gravel would work to reduce some objects in size. Commercial media is often hell to work with.
hmm... methinks you should support the container. lead balls are heavy and (I'm assuming most people will want to make gunpowder with this so they'll have to use only lead balls) the current setup is going to make the screwdriver wear a lot, and the bottom of the container isn't going to last very long... I like this idea though, I haven't found a suitable motor to drive my ball mill, they're all either too weak or they're way too fast.
I know this is quite literally 10 years late, but for other hobbyists, try supporting it with a screw on the other side like the design pictured. The back end's screw can go through a piece of wood, brick etc. at the same level as the screw driver, creating a healthy amount of support, for a vitamin bottle filled with lead Potassium Nitrate, Sulfur and Carbon.
OR, you could just attach a bolt into the cap like he did for the bottom. Make a triangular piece of wood. Drill a hole for the bolt to fit through. And find some way to support the piece of wood? Seems like it would work to me, could even make your own cradle to support everything for that matter :P I'd never use something like this so have no need to make one, but that would be my advice :D
Anyone who has looked through my web site can see that I am fascinated with glass. I like to melt it, cast it, fuse it and turn it into new things. Eventually I got the idea of doing the ultimate glass hack and making my own glass from scratch. For that I needed a way of grinding and mixing the chemicals that would make up a batch of glass into a very fine and homogeneously mixed powder. I needed a ball mill. So naturally I decided to build my own. Here it is in all it's bodged together glory. It doesn't look like much, but it works great, and it cost almost nothing to build. As a bonus, this ball mill can also be used as a rock tumbler, or a glass tumbler to make your own "sea glass" at home. To use the mill as a rock tumbler, just leave out the steel balls, add rocks, tumbling grit and water, and let it spin.
Here is a video of my home-made ball mill in operation with a brief explanation of all the parts and how I put it together. For detailed descriptions of all the parts, how I built it, and how I use it, read further down this page.
The drum I used for the ball mill was originally a plastic container that held abrasive grit used in vibratory tumblers. It is about two liters in size. I had several empty containers of this type, and decided to put them to use in this project. They work pretty well in this application. There are a few potential problems. The container lids are not liquid-tight. So use as a rock tumbler would require adding a cork or rubber gasket. Also, a little bit of the plastic does get ground off the inside surface and contaminates the batch being ground. This is not a problem for my application because anything organic will be vaporized out of the mix long before it reaches melting temperature in my kiln. Contamination might be an issue for other uses. A steel drum would probably work better if you can find one, or make one, but it would be a lot louder in use.
Here you can see an overview of the ball mill with the drum removed. Construction is super simple. Just three pieces of wood plank banged together to make a platform for mounting all the parts. The platform is made from a 1X10 wooden plank 14 inches long. It sits on two pieces of 1X4 wood. Four inexpensive fixed caster wheels were mounted on top of the platform for the drum to roll on. They were mounted about 2 inches in from the edges of the platform, and 7.5 inches apart. The drive motor was mounted on the underside of the platform, and the dive belt comes up through a slot in the platform.
Here is a close-up showing how two of the caster wheels are mounted. The slot in the middle of the platform for the belt to pass through is also visible. The fixed caster wheels were quite inexpensive, and were one of the few items I actually had to buy to build this project.
Here is a close-up of the other side of the platform and the other two caster wheels. Also shown is a stop mounted on one side of the platform. It was found early on in using the mill that the drum tended to slowly walk toward one side and would eventually drop off the wheels. So I found a scrap piece of aluminum and mounted it the end the drum walked toward to act as a stop. The drum riding against the smooth aluminum surface doesn't seem to produce much friction.
The ball mill is powered by a fairly robust 12V DC motor salvaged from a junked printer. It had a pulley for a fine-toothed belt on it. It was left in place and it seems to drive the heavy round rubber belt well without slipping. The motor was mounted using screws on only one side, which were deliberately left loose. This allows the motor to pivot downward under its own weight to put tension on the belt.
A long, narrow slot was cut in the platform for the belt to pass through. I did it by marking out where I wanted it, drilling a hole at each end, and then cutting out the material between the holes with a jigsaw.
This photo shows the makeshift end stop that prevents the drum from walking off the casters. It is just a random piece of aluminum I found in my junk collection. It conveniently had some holes already drilled in it which made mounting easy. Just about anything that the drum will ride against nearly frictionlessly will work for a stop.
One of the few things I had to buy for this project, aside from the casters, was the steel balls. I found these online. They were quite inexpensive. I went with 5/8 inch diameter balls, which seem to work well in a mill this size.
I have been powering the ball mill with my bench variable power supply so I could fine tune the rotation speed. I wanted it to turn as fast as possible to speed grinding, but not so fast that centrifugal force pins the balls to the wall of the drum preventing them from tumbling over each other. With a little experimentation, the correct speed was found.
So far, this makeshift mill has worked well for me. It has been run for long periods with no problems. It does a good job of reducing even fairly chunky material into a very fine powder, and thoroughly mixing everything. The only real problem I have faced is accidentally over-filling the drum a few times. The drum should not be too full or the balls and material to be ground won't have enough free space to tumble around.
After a milling run, the contents of the drum are dumped out into a sieve over a bowl. With a few shakes of the sieve, the powder drops through the mesh into the bowl leaving the balls behind to be put back in the drum. The sieve also catches any bits that haven't been sufficiently ground down.
I need to add a disclaimer here for anyone thinking of using this sort of ball mill for milling gunpowder or other flammable or explosive powders. First of all, it is really not a good idea. You could cause a fire or explosion and destroy your place, or maybe even get yourself hurt or killed. So don't do it, and if you do it, don't blame me if something bad happens. I'll be saying I told you so. Also do not to use steel, ceramic or glass balls to grind flammable or explosive materials because they can create sparks as they bang against each other while they tumble.
Future improvements: The plastic container I am using is really thick-walled and sturdy, but using it in this application will eventually wear it out. I also get some plastic contamination in the materials I grind in it. So in the future I would like to replace the plastic container with a piece of large diameter steel or iron pipe with end caps. That should also help improve the grinding action as the steel balls bash against the hard walls of the pipe. If I switch to a steel or iron container, which would be heavier, I might also have to beef up the motor driving the unit. We'll see,
Other applications: As I mentioned at the top of the page, and in the attached video, this setup could also be used as a rock tumbler. The plastic container would be ideal for that. Another possible application for this unit is for grinding samples of gold ore, and maybe other metallic ores. One of my many hobbies is gold prospecting. It's often necessary to grind an ore sample to release all the fine particles of gold it contains so they can be separated. This unit may get used for that in the future too.
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Advantages: First, green powder is a good starting point if you're new. That's precisely why handmade powder is used in Turbo Pyro--a course specifically designed for you to learn to make fireworks. It's quick and easy to make. You need 3 or 4 chemicals and a couple of screens to make it. It dries fast. And there's very little learning curve. "Is cheap," especially if you're just getting started. You don't have to invest in a ball mill and the increasingly expensive grinding media for it--usually hardened lead balls, brass, or bronze. The chemicals cost the same either way, but you won't have to make a $200-$300 front end investment. It works in many fireworks. The Turbo Pyro course shows you how to make 10 different fireworks--mostly 3/8-inch devices which all work just fine using hand mixed powder. It is a myth that the "best" black powder is the fastest or most powerful. Often we don't want the most powerful. For instance, even some larger rockets can use hand mixed BP. Green powder coated rice hulls and coarse grained pulverone are routinely used to break aerial shells. It can be used in fountains, star comp's, small drivers and spinners, and in star primes. And even coarse pulverone originally made for burst powder can be used to lift shells in a pinch. You don't need a license to buy it. Commercial 2FA and Meal Powder, the two most common grades of black powder used in fireworks, both require an ATF license for you to purchase. But no license is needed if you make the stuff yourself. Disadvantages: Really, only one: lower power. Green powder is not as powerful as milled and corned black powders. Nor are there really any practical ways to "hop it up." So, while you can definitely get off to a great start making (generally smaller) fireworks using hand mixed powder, as you move up in fireworks size, you're eventually going to need more powerful black powder. While we don't cover it here, folks sometimes ask if the "CIA" wet-mixed black powder isn't more powerful, or good enough for bigger fireworks. (This is another method not requiring a ball mill.) And the simple answer is basically "no." Think of weaker powders this way: you can use them for all sorts of things. But the bigger the job, the more green powder you have to use. It just takes a lot more green powder to lift a 6-inch shell than it does ball milled powder. Eventually you would need to use so much hand mixed BP, that using ball milled powder saves you enough money on chemicals that it become the most economical way to work. Does that make sense to you? So regardless of whether you have a ball mill or not, this project shows you how to make great hand mixed black powder to use for all sorts of things.Harry Gilliam
Gunpowder is crucial to have in a survival situation. With this important substance, youll always be able to shoot a firearm. This makes it excellent for self-defense and for home-defense to help protect you from attackers.
Gunpowder is also an excellent bartering tool. When SHTF, people are going to need gunpowder to go about their daily lives. And, if you have enough of it, you can trade it for something thats going to help you and your family survive.
Well, luckily, theres a way you can make your own DIY gunpowder, right at your kitchen table. By following this method, you can always ensure you have gunpowder aplenty for any and all upcoming emergencies.
Now one thing to remember is this DIY project may be a bit expensive up front. However, once you have the equipment, the chemical substances you need are fairly inexpensive. And, considering the usefulness of this survival tool, the upfront cost will be well worth it in the end.
When SHTF, one of the few guarantees youll have is that the grocery, hardware, and department store shelves will be completely empty. Once the masses catch wind of the upcoming emergency, theyll be flocking to their nearest shopping malls and stocking up on everything they can to survive. And that will include the precious commodity of gunpowder.
Luckily, you dont have to risk injury from being trampled by hundreds of people in order to get what you need. By making this substance at home, youll be sitting pretty while the masses fight over every last scrap!
Like I said, the initial cost of the materials for this project can be a bit expensive. However, once you have the main parts, the cost goes down tremendously (and practically pays for itself in value).
There are three basic chemicals in gunpowder Potassium Nitrate, Charcoal powder, and Sulfur powder. Gunpowder would be a lot simpler to make if you could just mix the three chemicals together in the right ratio and have the final product, however chemistry dosent always work that way. If you look at a piece of charcoal under a microscope you can see very tiny holes called pores. Even when the charcoal is ground up into a fine powder each particle of it still contains microscopic pores. To properly make gunpowder the particles of charcoal must be ground together with the potassium nitrate and sulfur, the process of grinding them smashes the potassium nitrate and sulfur into the pores of the charcoal creating a subastance that will readily burn when ignited.
1. Ball mill ( Can be bought at unitednuclear.com for 70$, if you buy it someplace else or decide to make it, make sure you also buy lead grinding media (ceramic media can also be used) as it is the only metal that wont give off sparks when ground together) 2. Scale ( I prefer the electronic ones which can be bought on e-bay fairly cheap, less then 20$, make sure it has a capacity of at least 200 grams, otherwise you will be making gunpowder in very small batches) 3. Potassium nitrate, Sulfur powder, and Charcoal powder(All obtainable on e-bay) When buying try to buy as close to 5x as much potassium nitrate as charcoal powder, and 2/3 as much sulfur as charcoal ( I will explain the ratios later) 4. Wire spaghetti strainer 5. Old newspapers 6. Tupperware container 7. Calcuator ( To measure the amount of chemical to use)
As long as you always follow the 75:15:10 ratio of potassium nitrate:charcoal powder:sulfur powder you can make any amount of gunpowder necessary. First either determine the necessary amount and mix the chemicals accordingly, or you can make a large batch and save it for future use (I do it this way). A decent sized batch would be 300 grams potassium nitrate, 60 grams charcoal powder, and 40 grams sulfur powder.
1. If you are using an electric scale, place a container (I use dixie plastic cups) on it to measure the chemicals into. Then press and hold the tare button and it will take the added weight into account and set itself to zero (meaning the weight of the cup wont be taken into effect when you measure out the weight of the chemcials) 2. Measure the proper amount of each chemical, one chemical at a time, into the cups and then empty each cup into the ball mill. 3. When all 3 chemicals are in the ball mill grinding chamber seal it and turn it on.
The title of this step says it all. Two hours is the standard amount of time to let it grind for, however you can leave it on for longer to get a slightly higher quality powder (I suppose you can also grind it for a shorter amount of time with diminished results if you need it fast, examples of this would be if you were in some sort of gunpowder making contest or if your hometown was invaded by aliens and you needed fast gunpowder)
1. Lay out a couple of sheets of old newspaper. 2. Hold the spaghetti strainer over the newspaper and pour the contents of the ball mill into it. 3. Gently shake the strainer until all the gunpowder has fallen through the holes to the newspaper and all the lead balls remain. 4. Put the lead balls back in the ball mill, close it up, and store it for another day.
Pour the gunpowder from the newspaper into a tupperware container. Seal the container tightly and store for future use. Make sure the container is airtight so the gunpowder will not absorb moisture from the air.
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Ball mills are a special instrument used to break up hard solids into a fine powder. They are similar to rock tumblers in that the instrument is a rotating container filled with heavy balls to grind the substance into powder. Ceramic material, crystalline compounds, and even some metals can be ground up using a ball mill. Using a motor, container, belt, caster wheels, and some basic building supplies, you can make your own ball mill. X Research source
To make a ball mill, start by building a wooden platform and attaching a motor underneath it. Then, cut a slit into the wooden platform for the belt to pass through and attach casters to the platform for the container to sit on. Next, thread the belt through the slit and position the container so the belt is pulled tight. Finish by connecting the motor to the power supply, and filling the cylinder with metal balls and the substance you want to grind. For tips on how to operate your ball mill, read on! Did this summary help you?YesNo
Are you serious??? I have got to try this. I have a project that I want to do that requires 15 or so felted balls and I was not looking forward to making them. I will have to try this out. Very cool idea!
LOL- yup, seriously. It's such an easy way to make little felted balls, I hope it helps you. You can also make bigger ones too- just use a larger container and moor wool. Bigger ones are great for making cat toys!
I do not believe you thought of this! OMG! It is awesome! Looks like it should work perfectly!I still have some of the roving you sent in my giant crafty box that i won on you giveaway earlier this year and I have soap and water and zip lock containers! Have GOT to give this a try!
Thanks everyone for leaving comments!Pam: I did not invent this- and cant take the invention credit. : ) Can't remember where I learned it, from someone I know I think. It's just the way I know how to make little felted balls. And I thought it was pretty common knowledge until I realized that I never really saw anything online about making them this way.It really is very simple! I wish I could figure out how to use this technique to felt anything besides balls... it would make all felting waaaay easier!
Holly and Carabeth, thanks for your comments. Glad this could help you!Holly- timing is a little different depending on the type or even colors of wool. The green ball I made for the tutorial only took about 5 minutes. The pink and white one took 8-10 I'd say. (But white wool can be hard to felt).Like most wet felting I think it also takes just a little experimentation to get the right soap to water ratio.That can effect how long it takes too. You want enough water so that the wool shakes around the container instead of sticking to one spot.
Hi Abby,Neat idea- but personally I think I'd be scared to try putting a plastic container in the washer. The mister wanted a front loader but I insisted that we have a top loader so I could felt, I bet breaking the washer outright would result in some marital discord.You can make larger (2 or 3 inch) felted wool balls in the washer. Cover a styrofoam ball with wool and put a bit of pantyhose over the whole thing. Throw it in the washer with hot water (you need hot water to felt). I usually make a half dozen a time that way.If you try your idea let me know!
Hi Jan,I don't have an acorns in my yard, but I can find some I'll make some acorns and post it. But I bet if you googled felted acorns you find a bunch of results.If you make some a little bigger than the one I made they are great cat toys.They make wonderful tails for knit softies (like rabbits, and bears)- here's a link where I used it for a little wool ball for a rabbit because I hate to make pom poms.http://www.megacrafty.com/2011/04/bunnies-are-finished.htmlYou can use them as trim for pillows or scarves, and even make a necklace or bracelet out of them by mixing them with beads.Hope that helps!
AMAZING IDEA! I needlefelt, hate wet felting, so this is awesome. i just did 3 in under 15 min. I used an old container from little ceasers, it has a serrated bottom, which causes more friction, causing the roving to felt faster.... thank u, thank u!
I'm so glad this worked for you- I like both needle and wet felting but they are very different experiences! I can see how it would be easy to really like one and not the other.The container with the textured bottom is a great tip- I'll have to keep my eye out for one!
Do you know if these felt balls are similar to the felt balls that are sold as a green alternative to dryer sheets?The "dryer" felt balls are supposed to reduce the static and help soften the items being dried.
Hi Kadiya,I don't know if these are at all similar to dryer balls. Are those made of wool too?I think just based on the size of these they are best suited to crafting. They are so small they'd definitely disappear to wherever it is all the single socks go!: )
The term roving describes one way that unspun wool is sold. You call also use wool in batts which are large sheets. Any unspun wool you have will work with this method.And that's a really great question about using wool yarn instead of unspun fiber! I've never tried it but I have needle felted with yarn and wet felted a knit item in the washing machine. Based on that experience my guess would be that it will take a lot longer to felt or may not really felt that much at all.But why not roll up a little ball of yarn and try? It's wool so you should get at least some felting that happens. I definitely think it's worth a shot- if you try it please let me know!!
Wow! That is so neat! Thanks for sharing this awesome tip! I never knew you could make these! Def. pinning this! I have a party going on over at my blog if you want to join! I'd love to have you! Check it out under the "Stache Party" page on my blog: mylilpumpkinpatch.blogspot.com
I love it! I have some smaller amounts of roving, but I immediately thought! FAUX pompoms!! and i HATE making them - I am a serial pompom killer! You have pretty totally solved my elf shoe embellishments, and my life! (well, except for money - LOL!) But time, Hands down! Thank you! Would LOVE to see felted acorns. (I have an acorn fetish!) LOL!Jen!
Hi Jen,Glad this helps you- I hate making traditional pom poms too! : ) Drying time really depends on how much water you use. I set mine out on the counter (or if it's nice the deck in the sun) and I think they are dry in a 3-4 hours but typically I just leave them overnight to be sure they are completely dry.I did make end up making felted acorns, the post is here: http://www.megacrafty.com/2011/09/ideas-for-acorns.htmlThere are some other acorn ideas in that post too!
These are really crafty clever cute and I'm anxious to make some as I've been doing it the "hard" way, as in knitting and felting. I'd like to know if you could elaborate a bit on the type of wool in batts that is sold in sheets as opposed to roving. Where do you find this; what type of store carries it? What is it called? I am familiar with lots of knitting and craft stores and see roving a lot, but not the sheet batting. What did you use? Thank you too much :)!
Thanks Carol,Wool batts refers to wool that's in sheets. The same wool can come on both roving and batts or it can be different. Batts are made on something called a drum carder or other similar machine.I can get batts at the store I usually go to New England Felting supply (they have a website too) but you can also search online or check any store that sells wool they will probably either have wool batts or know someone who does.
Is there a way to figure out how much wool you need for different sizes of the balls? I want to try this soooo bad, but not sure how much wool to use. Also, is wool made for needle felting okay, or does it have to be for wet felting? Thanks!
Hi Edie, All good questions. For the amount of wool to use, you can see from the pictures that a good sized handful winds up making a small call maybe 1 inch across. How much the wool shrinks really depends on the kind of wool, even sometimes the color and how much you felt it.As for your second question- I used the same wool to make these that I use for needle felting.Hope that helps!
Super excited to try this!! I'm new to the felt world...what kind of felt do you get? I've seen people just get sheets from the craft store and pull it apart...is that the most cost efficient way to go about this? Sorry if its a repeat question!
ok, total blonde moment...despite reading the posts I still came home with wool that was ready to knit! Cut 24inches or so off, pulled it apart as best as I could and shook until the cows came home!! After looking in the tub for the 5th time and seeing what resembles wheat pasta in alfredo sauce I finally realized I used the wrong wool. grrr Back to the yarn store tomorrow :-)Christina
Hi Kelsey, I'm glad you are going to venture into the world of felting. Some craft stores (the michaels near me for one) have needle felting supplies. They carry wool with those supplies that will work but in my experience it's very expensive. If you go to a knitting store that carries felting/spinning supplies they will have wool more reasonably priced.Oh no Christina! So sorry you grabbed the wrong type of wool. And as you found out yarn doesn't really work with this. You want a bit roving or a chunk of a batt of wool. This kind of wool is for needle felting, wet felting or spinning.
Ok, I tried this and shook that container for over half and hour. All I have is something that resembles what you might pull out of the shower drain. Perhaps the particular roving I used is unsuitable?Lisa
Kelsey- I sent you an email about needle felting.Lisa- Sorry this didn't work out for you. Three things I've thought of that might be going on. What type of wool are you using? Merino felts, but it doesn't felt as easily as some others. You want the wool to start out feeling kind of coarse- not smooth. Coarse wool felts easier. But I'm not really convinced that's the problem- if it's wool eventually it will felt.What I think is most likely happening is that you either have too much water or not enough soap. You really only need enough water to make the wool move around in the container. And just a drop or two of diluted soap.
Well we just made them at school - children as young as 3 could make them. It was so much fun. Thanks again for sharing.You can check out how it went herehttp://strongstart.blogspot.com/2012/02/wet-felted-eggs.html
Hi Jen,No it won't work with those felt squares. For the most part those aren't actually wool- they are made from recycled plastic. The ones that are actually wool, the wool has already been felted into sheet and won't felt any more.To make these you need to start with loose wool that's sold in bulk or that comes in what's called a batt. Wool is also sold in what's called roving (a long rope of wool) but roving would be hard to work with when making these balls because it's pretty thin.
I just made some with my 5 yr old son! I had some wool roving sitting in my stash to try needle felting(still have not done that yet). The roving worked just fine, took a little longer than what you and others are saying. I had to rinse the container and balls a couple times, and roll between my palms. But they look like your picture, so I'll see how they are when they dry. Hoping to get my son to make some Christmas presents with them :) Thanks for the tutorial.PS...My son has Sensory Processing Disorder...and this is GREAT for some of his excess energy and it results in a useful product!
one of my friends found a DIY on this in an Australian felt magazine, but they used the tiny plastic canister that comes with hair dye and has the rubber gloves in it, it is about the size of an old fashioned film canister but nicely rounded on both ends. The round ends seem to help the balling process move along faster and makes felt beads that would be necklace size in no time flat.
unfortunately no link, she said it was just a short paragraph - we tried it with a couple of layers of merino, very small amount and crammed it in the container with drop of shampoo and hot water, put the lid on and shook it - it took shape very quickly, you do need to experiment to see just how much wool will work, too much and it won't move about in the container. Once it forms you can take it out and condense the ball further by just rolling in your hands. One of our friends took my green wool balls to make topiary trees for his dollhouse garden.
I just found this info.! So anxious to try this! In one of your earlier replies, you mentioned covering a little larger sized styrofoam balls with the wool, putting pantyhose over it, and putting it in the washer. Hot water. But down ANY soap need added? And how long do I keep it in there?Thank you!!!
Yes if I remember right I added just a tiny bit of soap. I can't remember how long I left them in the washer. I just kept checking on them until they seemed felted (usually you can see the wool fiber coming through the pantyhose when they've started to felt, and they feel very firm). Once I thought they were done I opened the one on the end to check if it was felted. It maybe took 15-20 minutes. But it also depends on the type and color of wool- there's no hard and fast rule on how long it takes.
Wow! Thanks for such a quick reply! I am going to play around until I get it. Real felting on styrofoam is such a long process. Any way to speed it up, I'm there! :)Thank you sooo much! Just made my night!
Happy to help- And I'd love you see the results of your projects! It was a lucky coincidence that your comment came through while I happened to be checking my email. But in general if you have questions the best way for me to respond is if you leave your email in your comment. Or if you don't want to do that- you can always email me, it's in my profile : )
ok i must be crazy are these little balls coming out perfect you all? I tried it mine is all crumbled and in pieces not pieces but not together like it should be. I even tried some wet felting today over a vessel type shape with also not so desirable results what am I doing wrong I would show you a picture if I knew where to upload it???Meg someone...please help deb :O([email protected]
Hi Meg - great tip! This is so easy to do. I've made four balls with varying success. I think I've figured out the right soap/water ratio but two of the balls have creases (they look a bit like Pac Man) and I think it's to do with the way the wool goes into the container. I'm fluffing it out and trying to make a neat, spherical shape with no ridges but this doesn't seem to work every time. Can you elaborate on your wool fluffing technique? Thanks in advance!
I sort of tease the wool out into a big fluff ball. Sometimes I also used a skewer to wrap the wool into a loose ball- that might be something that works better for you.This is just a guess but creases could be caused by the bottom of the container, if ithas some sort of ridge or a shape that lets the wool settle. I've had a few creases wile doing more traditional wet felting and sometimes it can be fixed by needle felting over the trouble spot after the wool is dry.Hope that helps!
Too cool! I've been trying to find any info on hand felting yarn balls (into dryer balls or beads) and am pretty much coming up empty..after 3 days of searching, I found you - just a few hours after trying something I thought of a few days ago: to throw my yarn balls into a large-ish container, with soap and water, and shake it. I also added a stone (will add more when I find my bag of river rocks) and after 5-10mins of shaking/shocking in cold/shaking again in reheated water, the 2 balls are starting to felt! I can't wait to finish them off and see how long it actually takes but your tutorial here has bolstered my confidence! ;-) thanks!!
HiIve just come across your article on making felt balls.... Ive just tried several times and all I am getting is a wadge of messy felted wool! I wont be giving up though and am set to try again.Ive just been given 6 huge sacks of newly shorn sheep fleece. I am a complete beginner at dealing with it! But, I have washed one through and am now taking wads of it and picking,teasing it open, it and with my fistful of fluffy freshly picked wool I have been making felt balls using soapy water and my hands to roll them. Should I be carding the wool after I have teased it open to get rid of the bits of rubbish. Would that make it felt better for using the container method?Your advice would be greatly recieved.Thank you Sylv
Hi Sylv- Sorry you are having problems with this method. From what you are describing I am guessing that you might have too much water and/or soap in the container. It takes very little water and just a drop of diluted dish soap. Too much of any of these will give you a soggy mess instead of a nice felted ball. Hope that helps!
HI again......... Thank you so much for the really speedy reply......... I came back on to say I had used much less soap and looked at your photos again and saw you had used just a little water....... I have just made several little felt balls..... hurrah .... they are a bit looser than the ones made by hand but I just finished them off by hand taking a only a wee minute or so!So thank you........ I am aiming to make a felt ball rug! I know ambitious!Kind regardsSylv
Hi!! I am making some felt name banners and I have a question. I'm sorry if this has been asked already. I have not been able to read all of the comments. Where can I buy roving that isn't expensive but still good quality? I'm making about 30 of these name banners for all of the kids in our family for Christmas. So I need to be careful on how expensive the supplies are. Thanks so much!! I'm adding small balls to either side of the letters. They will go from small to larger. I'm so excited about this project. I was nervous about hand felting them. Not now! ;)
I know this post is older, but I have to comment on how amazing this is. I have about a pound of raw, unwashed black lamb wool that I wanted to felt into little round balls... but I didn't want to go through the long process of carefully washing it and drying it the way it is supposed to be done. I actually hand picked the cleanest handful of wool from the bag, making sure there was no foreign debris, then pulled it apart over and over again until it was a huge fluffy mess (basically teasing it, as if it were the 80's and I was making a big-hair ponytail hairstyle!). Then I gently squished it into a round shape and followed your instructions with one modification. I changed the soapy water twice and rinsed my ball twice during the process, since the raw wool smelled like lanolin. After only a 20 minute investment, I am the proud owner of a perfectly round, gorgeous fresh-smelling black woolly sphere! It's perfect. This was the most helpful blog article/tutorial I found about making felt balls. Thank you SO MUCH. -D.
Well I've now tried the wool yarn balls - only made 2 from yarn given to me -yay! Not sure if it is quite felted yet so have left them in the pantyhose 'til they look "right". Put the whole thing (pantyhose too) in the dryer & wonder if that is why I did get static. Don't usually use fabric softener/sheets in the summer since it is humid here, & I think the scent attracts mosquitos, maybe other bugs. . . Anyway, mine are a work in progress & I just might try your method too. Glad I spotted this older post!
Meg this a great bit of info. Thanks for sharing it. I have heard that using a salad spinner will work if you are trying to make several balls at the same time. I would use your method to get them started as individuals and then throw them all in together.Also I have had success using 100% wool yarn to felt. I use lengths not more than about 4" and undo them into their separate plies. 2 wire brushes from the pet section of the local $ store will fluff the wool further. Hold them pointing in opposite directions with one above and one below and the yarn between them. Look for pics/videos of carding to understand the action needed. This is also a great way to blend colors either a little or a lot.
Hi there, Mega Crafty,This looks like a fabulous method of making felted balls. I make a lot of pom poms...I find it therapeutic! I end up with heaps of fluff on the floor after trimming the pom poms. Can I use that, in this case?Thank you so much for sharing this great idea xx
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Gunpowder, also called black powder, is a simple mixture of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal. The trickiest part of making black powder is sourcing these three supplies. Once you find them, you mix them together and create an explosive black meal. Be extremely cautious when handling black powder, and make sure to store it away from heat and flame. Read on to learn more about how to make gunpowder.
To make gunpowder, start by buying saltpeter, which you can either do online or by looking for stump remover at a garden store. Then, grind separately the saltpeter, charcoal, and elemental sulfur into powders using a mortar and pestle. Before mixing the powder, decide how much gunpowder you want, then use a scale to measure out the components, which should be 74.8 percent saltpeter, 13.3 percent charcoal, and 11.9 percent sulfur. To mix the ingredients, put them in a mortar and pestle, dampen them with water for safety, and grind them for 10 minutes. For tips on how to store gunpowder safely, read on! Did this summary help you?YesNo