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Oh MAN, is it HOT!! When we have hot, steamy summer weather, the kids and I love any and every way we can possibly stay cool. Which means we drink and eat a lot of really cold things (check out my popsicle and summer drink recipes in my “Beat the Summer Heat” series), and we’re frequently wet. And last year I worked out how to sew splash balls, which is a perfect way to get wet and have fun!
You know, splash balls, water bombs, super splasher: those squishy balls that soak up water so you can throw them at each other for a very satisfying wet splat!
It’s also fun to play with them in the bathtub or even just a big bowl of water! But here comes the best part… guess what these water bombs are made from?
You guessed it: your family’s old bathing suits! I used our bathing suits with ruined elastic (I donate ones that are still usable) for this project. Not only is this a great way to save money, but you can also remember favorite swimwear this way.
I bought that retro green tankini just because of the cool fabric, so I loved seeing it continue to live on…
So, want to learn how to sew splash balls with your old worn out swimwear? I’ve even got a free template for you! Let’s get started!
- free splash ball pattern (this, and all other free patterns and downloads, is available to all Cucicucicoo newsletter subscribers. Sign up here for the Cucicucicoo Newsletter and, upon activation, you will receive an email with a link and password to enter the private area of Cucicucicoo, where there are dozens of free PDF files to download to your heart’s delight!)
- one or more old bathing suits, bikinis, swim caps, or any other swim wear with stretchy swim fabric. Board shorts are not made from the same type of fabric and will NOT work!
- polyester thread*
- 90/14 stretch needle*
- ballpoint pins*
- polyfil stuffing*
- regular sewing machine
This project doesn’t require perfection, but bathing suit fabric can be slightly tricky at first, so you might consider first reading this post with 10 useful tips and tricks for sewing swimsuit fabric.
How to sew splash balls
1. Print the free pattern at actual size (so DON’T select “Fit”). There are two possibilies. The wider piece is for a ball with four sides, while the more narrow piece is for a ball with six sides. The 4-sided ball is easier and faster to sew, but the 6-sided ball is slightly rounder. Both work just fine. Take your pick!
2. Trace the pattern on the back of the old bathing suit and cut out the pieces. Remember to trace the number required for the pattern that you choose.
3. Put two pieces together, right sides facing, and pin them down one side. Do this with all the pieces. So you’ll have two pairs for the 4-sided ball, and three pairs for the 6-sided ball (#1 above).
4. Sew down the pinned sided with the stretch stitch (#2 above), then trim the sewn edge with pinking shears (#3 above).
Sewing a 4-sided splash ball:
5. Turn one pair of pieces right side out and put it inside the other pair, so that they’re right sides facing. Pin the edges, making sure to match up the seams (shown by the arrows above).
6. Sew around the whole edge with the stretch stitch, leaving an opening on one side. Then trim the sewn edge with pinking shears.
Sewing a 6-sided splash ball:
This is pretty similar to sewing a 4-sided ball.
7. Pin two pairs together, right sides facing, on one curved edge, making sure to match up the seams, then sew along that side.
8. Pin the third pair to the others on the free sides, making sure to match up the seams sewn up til now. The arrow above shows the point where all the pieces meet. Make sure that they join correctly.
9. Sew around the whole edge with the stretch stitch, leaving an opening on one side. Then trim the sewn edge with pinking shears.
It can be tricky to sew the pieces together where they all join. I suggest positioning this point under the needle and sewing towards the center, then stopping and doing it again from the other end, so that the stitching meets in the center of the side, as you can see above.
Stuffing the splash ball
10. Pull the ball right side out through the hole. Poke it out with a chopstick or pull it out with a large pair of tweezers, like the ones that come with an overlock sewing machine.
11. Stuff the ball with polyfil stuffing.
12. Close the opening with the invisible ladder stitch. (Click here to read my tutorial and watch my video on how to sew this essential hand sewing stitch.) You could also use the whipstitch, but it doesn’t look as nice.
You can see above that the 6-sided ball is rounder than the 4-sided ball.
Now that you know how to sew splash balls, make a few more and start playing! At first they float in the water, but as they soak up water, they sink.
Or, if you don’t want to wait, just squish them underwater, and they’ll fill right up with water, ready for throwing and having some fantastic summer water fun!
These are a wonderful gift to make for all the kids you know. That’s what I did last summer and an added bonus is that they want to try them out with you right away!
You’ve learned how to sew splash balls, so why not try your hand at another wonderful handmade water toy: crochet water balloons! All kids love playing with water balloons, but they are far from ecological, and also leave bits of broken latex everywhere. These crochet water balloons, on the other hand, leave no mess and are reusable over and over again. This is another fantastic gift to give kids in the summer!
If you love every suggestion on how to keep cool in the hot, steamy summer, make sure you check out my “Beating the Summer Heat” series!
Do you want all the new sewing techniques and cool modern sewing projects, in addition to the FREE template for this DIY water bomb? Then sign up for the Cucicucicoo Newsletter here for access to dozens of free printables!
And, of course, if you liked learning how to sew splash balls from old swimwear, click here now to save this tutorial on Pinterest!
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7 thoughts on “How to sew splash balls from an old bathing suit”
What a fabulous upcycle Lisa – I love the alternative to plastic water balloons.
Thanks, Vicky! I was so pleased with myself when I thought of this way to use those ruined bathing suits! 🙂
What an awesome idea, Lisa. As Vicky said, so much better than those little plastic balloons.
Aw, thanks so much, Pam! I love the fun of plastic water balloons, but I hate picking up after water balloon fights and I feel horrible for the waste!
Showcased today, Lisa…
Oh yes! Water balloons are so much fun, but the waste and plastic and mess are just awful! This is great!
I agree! It always disturbs me to see just how much plastic is wasted for just a few splashes. That’s why I love this type of water toy!