DIY Stress balls

I was cleaning out a cabinet last week and rediscovered our stash of Orbeez-like balls* (little polymer beads that grow to more than 100x their volume when placed in water). The minute Anna found out they were still in the house, she begged me to make a batch so she could play with them.

I was about to say no because OMGTHEYGETEVERYWHERE until I remembered that we had a craft that needed them. So I obliged, much to her enjoyment, and made a double batch. And now said batch has given us a full week of enjoyment with no end in sight.

“Why?”, you ask.

Because I have commandeered the Orbeez for … drumroll, please … DIY Stress Balls.

This is my favorite kind of project because it takes very little hands on time with a lot of enjoyment post-craft. Each stress ball took 2 minutes to put together once the ingredients were ready to go. (Orbeez take like 3-6 hours to “grow” to their full size.)

We decided to try three different kinds of stress balls: one using Orbeez, one using dried rice, and one using all purpose flour. We ended up making a total of 7 stress balls — 2 of each because Anna had a friend over plus one for me to play with and photograph.

Total crafting time: 15 minutes

Total enjoyment time: 6 hours and counting

The verdict on which one is the best:

Hands down, everyone we asked thought the one made with flour was the most squishy and enjoyable. I will say it is also the messiest with the most potential for mess if the balloon happens to pop. (Please talk me off the ledge WHEN — not if — that happens.)

With that in mind, my personal favorite was the one with the Orbeez. They were the easiest to make, the least messy overall, and the one that I’ve been playing with for the past 2 hours.

That doesn’t mean that the one made with rice was terrible. Quite the contrary. It has a satisfying crunch to it and makes for some good stress relief. It’s just that when you compare to the other two, it kind of pales in comparison.

How To Make DIY Stress Balls


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  • 1 balloon
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cups of filling (Orbeez, dried rice, or flour)


  • Place widee mouth funnel over empty water bottle and pour in your\ choice of filling. Set aside.
  • Blow up your balloon and pinch the end so that the air stays trapped inside. Still pinching the end, twist the balloon several times so that it closes without having to tie it in a knot.
  • Stretch the mouth of the balloon over the top of the water bottle and allow it to untwist. The air will stay in the balloon and you’ll be ready to fill it up.
  • Turn water bottle over and pour the filling into your balloon. You may have to gently squeeze the water bottle a few times to get everything to move (especially with the flour), or even shake it a little so that everything makes its way from the water bottle to the balloon.
  • Once everything has transferred over, carefully remove the balloon from the water bottle and hold tight while the air is let out. Pay attention because the filling can creep up the neck of the balloon and start to come out.
  • Tie the balloon in a knot and squeeze away to your hearts content.

And there you have it folks. A super easy and super satisfying craft that will keep you entertained (and de-stressed) for hours on end. Bonus: we now have like 93 balloons to play with and do other things with. A fact that Anna is super geeked about.

Pin for later:

DIY Stress Balls — 3 varieties that are so satisfying they will melt your stress away. Or at least keep your kid occupied for a few minutes so you can take a deep breath (or ten).

hi, i’m emily and i love making things with my hands. i always have a project (or ten) in the works and love to draw, paint, cook, sew, crochet, cross stitch, and make soap. this year, i’m focusing my creative efforts on trying new things and just plain having fun.

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