Handmade Gifts for Boys: DIY fabric ball pit [a tutorial]

Say you have a baby who isn’t walking and has three older brothers and doesn’t need one.single.thing for Christmas, what can you possibly make for him that he doesn’t have already?? I’m asking for a friend, of course…

Well, obviously the only thing he could possibly need would be a ball pit!

DIY Fabric Ball Pit // If Only They Would Nap

Supplies:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 yds fabric – should be heavier weight than quilting cotton, but not super heavy
  • heavyweight interfacing
  • sewing machine/thread/scissors/etc.
  • 8 pipe cleaners or boning

1. Take a yard of fabric, folded with the selvedges together. Cut the yard in half from selvedge to the folded edge. You will now have two long rectangles of fabric. Place them right sides together and sew the short ends together.

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2. With the fabric still right sides together, iron interfacing onto half of it. The interfacing shouldn’t go quite to the outside edge – leave 1/2in. for seam allowance. Then turn the fabric over and iron interfacing onto the other side in the same manner.

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3. Fold the fabrics so that the wrong sides are together, putting the interfacing on the inside. In the picture above, the folded edge is on the left and the right side is open. Press the folded edge.

4. Cut a large circle of fabric to be the bottom of the ball pit. To figure out how big to cut it, stand the ball pit walls up and draw a circle around it. If you have a large compass, you could do some fancy measuring, but I this is the way I did mine. I measured mine to be about 30in. diameter, allowing for extra wiggle room to be wrong in my math. ;)

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5. Pin the circle along the inside of the ball pit walls. It should be pinned to the side with the interfacing. Pin four points [like the N,S,E,W of a compass] first to give you an idea of how tight you should make it.

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Then pin all around. I had a fairly significant amount of extra seam allowance, which I cut off later. It should look like the above picture when you’re done pinning.

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6. Sew the bottom fabric to the interfaced side of the ball pit wall.

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When you’re done it will look like the above photo, with the top layer of fabric not attached.

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8. Twist the pipe cleaners together in pairs. Cut them so they are slightly smaller than the height of the ball pit. Mine were about 8in. These will act as an extra support for the wall. You could probably use boning or something else similar, but this is what I had, and I’m a “make use of what you’ve got” kind of girl.
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9. Pin them in four places [again like the N,S,E,W of a compass] between the two layers of the ball pit wall. Do NOT sew them in at this time, though.
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10. Fold the unsewn edge under 1/4in. and press all along the ball pit wall, pinning as you go.  Then sew it down slowly, adjusting as necessary. Then go back and stitch along either side of your pinned pipe cleaners. Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and the end. Using your zipper foot will also help.

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Then fill it with balls and watch your baby giggle with joy!

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And also be happy that you can try it out with him before Christmas, and he won’t remember on Christmas morning that he’s already seen it. ;) photo DSC_0250_zpscc9f2881.jpg

Seriously, he LOVED this thing.

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Happy baby! And this happy baby wants you to head over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy to see Stacey’s awesome monster mugs and enter today’s giveaway.

Don’t forget to enter our other giveaways! And our week isn’t over, friends. We have a big day tomorrow too! Happy sewing :)

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