Upcycled sock balls

A bowl of soft play balls made from old socks

Upcycle an old sock or two into soft balls which are great fun for playing all sorts of games.

This is an easy beginners sewing project and is my contribution to this year’s Sew a Softie month.

All you need to make some nice soft balls for throwing and catching games, outside and indoors are:

  • Old socks - clean ones of course!

  • Fibre Fill

  • A needle and thread

You can get 2 balls from each sock unless your sock has a large hole on the toes or heel.

a pair of rainbow socks in a bowl ready for upcycling

These socks are well worn, with thin, see through heels and one had quite a hole. Because this hole has caused a run up the back of the sock I couldn’t use the ankle part of this sock so was able to get 3 balls from these 2 socks.


Start by smoothing a sock as flat as possible and cut the toe and heel off.

cut socks.jpeg

Do the same with the ankle part of the sock, cut off the heel and the ribbing.

cut other part of sock.jpeg

Turn the tube you have inside out and prepare a length of thread. Cut a length of thread about 50cm (20”) and fold it in half. Thread the needle and tie a knot at one end. You are stitching with 2 strands of thread so that the stitching is really secure and you can pull really tight without having to worry that it will snap.

Stitch a simple running stitch about 1/2 cm from the top edge all the way round the tube then pull it really tight.

stitch top .jpeg

Now cast of the thread. To do this you make a small stitch and pull the thread till it forms a loop. Then pop your needle through that loop and pull it tight. Repeat that process another time to make it secure and then once more for luck!

casting off.jpeg

Turn it right side out and stuff with fibre fill.

stuff socks.jpeg

Take another length of thread, doubled up as before and work another row of running stitch 1 cm down from the new top edge. Pull this really tight and as you pull, tuck the ends in. Cast off in exactly the same way and that’s it - your sock ball is finished.

stitch top 2.jpeg

I used a contrast thread here so you can see my stitches but you might like to use a thread the same colour as your socks so it doesn’t show.

sock balls.jpeg

The size of your sock balls will depend on 2 things. How big the socks where to begin with - children’s socks will be smaller than adult socks of course and also how much fibre fill you use. If you use less fibre fill the balls will be quite squishy and easier for little ones to grip and hold, but if you add more filling then the balls will be firmer. There is no right or wrong, you make them however you like!

Old socks turned into soft play balls
soft balls for children’s games made from old socks on the grass
Soft stripy balls made from old socks

Balls like this made from old socks are great for summer outdoor games. Use them with a cornhole board, or homemade skittles with plastic bottles part filled with water, for simple throwing and catching games or dunk them in a bucket of water for a water fight. Make them small and add some rice in with the fibre fill and you have juggling balls. So versatile eh?

If you have a bunch of old socks/odd socks that you’d like to use to make something you might like to take a read through of these ideas too:

The Sew a Softie project has been running since 2015. Each July Trixi, the organiser, gets a load of creative bloggers together and each one creates a soft toy tutorial, ideal for children (and adults!) who are learning to hand sew. It’s about learning sewing skills which will stand you in good stead for life.

You can join in on the Instagram using #sewasoftie and on the Sew a Softie Facebook group and find loads more ideas there too.

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I’ll be sharing this project at these link ups