Vikram Aggarwal

Make your own juggling balls, with this easy technique.

Motivation

Here are instructions on how to make reasonable juggling balls with minimal requirements. The advantages of these balls is:

So maybe the last few aren't exactly qualities for you, but they are for me. The method of construction is really easy. I'll show you all the steps, so you can make your own set quickly.

All the equipment required

Here are a list of all the raw materials you need to make one ball:

Take a look at this ball, which will be converted into a nice juggling ball. The photograph on the right lists all the raw materials. Be very careful with the box cutter, kids.

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Box cutter and balloons

Let's look at each implement to make sure you have the right kind. The box cutter comes first. It should have a comfortable grip, and you should be able to pierce the ball with about the effort required to open a can of soda. The cutter should be treated with respect.

If you're a kid making juggling balls, try to ask someone old to be around just in case. Kids are encouraged to make juggling balls using this method, and encouraged to learn juggling.

Next up are balloons. I prefer helium balloons, with vibrant colors. You want bright colored juggling balls. Orange is good, as are blue and yellow. I picked up this bag from Walmart for about $3. It has seventy two balloons of 12" each. You can pick up balloons that are either bigger than 12" or smaller, but try to stay within 6-20". With smaller balloons, it would be a very thin covering. With bigger balloons, the rubber might be too loose which is a no-no when juggling. Twelve inches are perfect for tennis balls.

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Seeds and First Step

You want small seeds, but not too small. Actually anything will do, but I find a mixture of seeds to be the best. I had a box full of old mixed seeds which were used. The seeds must be dry, otherwise they will rot inside the ball. Any seed will do, any old seed, any lentil, rice, wheat, corn, ...

The first step is to use the box cutter to make an incison in the tennis ball. This should be not too big. It should not open up by itself. Rather, you have to squeeze the sides to make it open up. The smaller the incison, the better. However, you have to spend more effort putting the seeds in. You decide how big to make it, but definitely don't make it so big that it stays open. It should close up when the ball is left alone.

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Second Step

Squeeze the ball to open the hole up. Fill it up with seeds. I fill the full ball, but you can fill as much as you want. If you have weak arms, or plan to juggle for hours, fill about half. Less than half is not a good idea. Too little seeds and the ball will be very light and will not fly well. Too many seeds and it will be very heavy. After you have filled a few seeds, toss the ball around to get a feel. Experienced jugglers will have a good instinct for this, and you might want to consult one if you are a beginner. Weight, however, is quite a personal issue, and you should be comfortable with the set that you make. So just apply personal judgement. If it is too heavy, force a few seeds out. If it is light, put some more seeds.

Now is also a good time to take some balloons out of the bag.

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Third Step

I will make an yellow ball with a slight orange patch. Get rid of the trunk of the balloons using a normal pair of scissors. The balloon will encase the tennis ball inside it. Don't worry about where the ball is cut. The cut will not open, and the seeds are secure inside it. On the right, you can see the ball with just the orange balloon on it. The yellow one is awaiting deployment.

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Final Step

Now cover the remaining ball with the yellow balloon. Since the trunk was chopped off, it leaves a small window through which you can still see the orange balloon within. You can make a full orange ball by using two orange balloons. Feel free to experiment with different styles of colors, different patterns, and materials. I would appreciate mails with suggestions and comments.

Here is a look at the full set that I made.

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Hope you liked this page. Do send me mail at the address below to tell me what you thought.


This page was last modified at: Thu Oct 13 14:20:20 PDT 2005