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Make Your Own Juggling Balls

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A pile of colourful juggling balls

We have lovely Entries on juggling, but what if you want to really get the proper experience now? If you don't fancy starting right from scratch with milk bottles, chainsaws or kitchen knives, but you do have a few party balloons still in the packet, then you're lucky - you can easily make juggling balls that look and feel the part. You will also need some rice, or lentils (or even flour) from the kitchen cupboards, a funnel (or paper that you can use as a funnel), some scissors, a cup and an old water bottle.

This is All You Have to Do!

  1. Make sure the water bottle is completely dry inside.

  2. Measure a cup of rice (or lentils or flour) - not an exact science.

  3. Put the funnel into the top of the bottle and tip the rice in.

  4. Take a balloon and blow it up until it is about the size of a grapefruit (bigger than an orange but smaller than your head).

  5. Put two twists in the neck of the balloon but do not tie it. This will keep the air in if you are careful.

  6. Dextrously stretch the neck of the balloon over the neck of the bottle without letting any of the air out.

  7. Undo the twists and the balloon remains inflated.

  8. While it remains inflated, turn the whole shooting match upside down and watch the rice fall into the balloon.

  9. Take the balloon off the bottle and allow it to deflate. It now grips the rice very nicely but you still have a floppy neck - the balloon, that is1.

  10. Anyway, use the scissors to cut off the neck of the balloon. It will still grip the rice and will look a bit like a pomegranate.

  11. Juggling ball after step 10.
  12. Now take a second balloon and cut its neck off. It's OK, they don't feel it.

  13. Stretch the opening of the second balloon and place it over the open top of the first balloon, like you were putting a condom on an orange. Make sure it is a snug fit. You don't want to lose any rice. The hole of the second balloon will be on the bottom

  14. Juggling ball: step 12.
  15. Now you can stand it on its side and repeat with another balloon by removing the neck and going through the condom on the orange scenario. It's like building up the layers of an onion, but you only need 3 or 4 layers.

A Word to the Wise

You may not want to tell small children or the fainthearted the bit about the condom on the orange - just show them.

The Final Steps

You may add a fourth balloon if you wish. The contrasting colours can be fun.

Right! Now you have a jolly serviceable juggling ball.

Repeat the instructions twice more for the full set of three balls.

Different Fillings

Using different ingredients gives the balls a different feel, which can be fun. Avoid nails, broken glass or pins in the filling for obvious reasons.

Decoration Options

If you are feeling creative you can pinch bits of unstretched new balloon between your fingers and carefully cut them to make little holes in it. Warning: This is only for the 4th or subsequent balloons. Then you can see the colours of the previous balloon(s) showing through and add to the fun and circus feel of it all.

1Author's note: I couldn't comment.

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