Puzzle balls have long delighted young children. The ball is designed to be an educational toy stimulating critical thinking and fine motor skills. Many puzzle ball tutorials skip this important feature and give instructions for making a ball without the puzzle.
The secret of the puzzle ball is in its design. The ball is made of 12 segments sewn together into three rings which fit together to make the whole ball.
Young children can figure out how to take the ball apart and put it back together again thereby solving the puzzle.
Materials needed to make a 10 cm diameter ball:
- Woven fabric (cotton, linen, chambray, lightweight corduroy, flannelette): 51 cm x 36 cm
- Toy stuffing
- Needle and thread
- Heavy thread, embroidery floss (if these are not available just double the sewing thread)
- Sewing machine (optional)
Trace six circles on the wrong side of the fabric. Cut out the circles. Cut the circles in half and then in half again to make four wedges from each circle; 24 wedges in total. Trace and cut 12 of the ellipses from the fabric.
With right sides together, match the round edge of one side of an ellipse with one round edge of a wedge (1). Sew this together using a 4 mm seam allowance (2). Sew the other side of the ellipse to a second wedge. Your sewing now looks a bit like a bird’s beak (3). Sew one side of the edge together and sew halfway down the other side. Turn this piece right side out (4).
Sew 11 more wedges in the same way and turn them all right side out. Stuff each wedge fairly solidly. Whipstitch or ladder stitch each wedge closed.
Use a heavy coat thread or embroidery floss or doubled sewing thread to join the ellipse corners together to make a circle of four wedges. Sew the wedges together tightly enough to keep the pieces touching but loosely enough that the wedges are not smashed together.
Here is the secret of the puzzle!
- Leave one of the rings as is with only outer edges joined.
- Take the second ring and imagine the inner points numbered 1 through 4. Sew points 1 and 2 together and sew points 3 and 4 together. That ring now looks a bit like a mouth.
- Sew all the inner points of the third ring together closing it up completely.
To put ball together, work the “mouth” ring (#2) over the fully closed ring (#3). Make sure all the inner points are aimed at the center of the ball. Now take the open ring and bring it over the others and push all the inner points in place aiming toward the center.
This project is my most requested and downloaded. To download a ready template for this puzzle ball, click this link for the PDF. For more free patterns and tutorials, visit the SweaterDoll blog and join up for a little Irony in your Inbox, a weekly newsletter sewing digest.
|Contributed by Allison of SweaterDoll.
A thrift store stalker and tinker of textiles, Allison grew up sewing from the rag bag in the kitchens of Southern and farm women in the 1960s in the U.S. Four years ago, she met Mr. True Love and moved to Australia where she is living happily ever after teaching fibre arts crafts and designing sewing and stitchery patterns.