Beyond the Kitchen

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys


Now might be a good time for me to look you straight in the face and tell you two things:  I’m a full-blown crazy cat lady and… It’s about to get weird.  If you think you should go, I totally understand.  If you think you should stay and read about homemade cat toys…. ohmygodILOVEYOU!

I’ve had an image of little kittens playing with yarn balls running through my head ever since my grandmother bought me on of those cat-a-month calendars when I was a little girl.  I’ll pretend I don’t still have one of those calendars, for sanity’s sake.

IMG_8425Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

It turns out that making homemade cat yarn ball toys is totally easy!  Cat calendar here we come!!!

All we’ll need are styrofoam balls, catnip, an excessive amount of yarn, and a good wrapping sense.

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

Just the making of these toys felt like heaven to my cat.  He was certain I’d portioned out this bowl of catnip as his afternoon snack.  He was also certain that all the strands of yarn being pulled and wrapped were for his pouncing pleasure.  He was mostly right.

Ps.  If you’re as cat crazy as I am, you’ll definitely want to check out the homemade Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats on Design Sponge.  If you’re smitten with the cat treat jars above… they’re exactly what you think they are:  mason jars, cat figurines, hot glue, and spray paint.

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

It all start with styrofoam balls.  Golf ball size is great.

I also chose some larger balls because I thought that tempting my cat with giant balls would be funny.  I find that he mostly plays with the golf ball size yarn balls.

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

Balls are lightly painted with Mod Podge and coated in dried catnip.

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

It’s best to allow the catnip and glue to dry slightly, just so your hands won’t be a sticky mess when wrapping the balls.

In the meantime, heat up the glue gun and organize yarn colors.

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

Press a bit of hot glue onto the catnip ball, press yarn into the glue and start wrapping!

It doesn’t have to be perfect, especially for the initial yarn wrapping.  Work in one direction for a few turns, then have the yarn switch directions and angles to hit another space on the catnip ball.

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

After glueing the initial pieces of yarn, you won’t need much hot glue.  The yarn can be wrapped and tucked inside of itself for securing.

I also think it’s satisfying for my cat to slowly unravel the yarn ball.  He’s a destroyer of things.

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

These fur legs.


Just after this picture was taken, this cat flew into a yarn ball frenzy.

Yarn a-plenty.  Yarn a-everywhere.  He’s cute, but I actually live with a monster.  It’s sometimes scary.  Is that normal?  (Don’t answer that…)

Note:  keep an eye on your cat when they play with these yarn balls.  Cats shouldn’t swallow string.  Actually, no one should swallow string.

Immeasurable help on this post from Love and Cupcakes.

How to Make Yarn Ball Catnip Toys

Print this Recipe!

What You’ll Need:

– golf ball size and larger styrofoam balls

– hot glue gun (helpful but not totally necessary)

– mod podge glue

– dried catnip

– yarn in various colors and thicknesses

– a disposable paintbrush (we’ll be dipping the brush in glue, so no need for your fancy brush)

– craft paper

Place catnip in a medium shallow bowl.  Place Mod Podge in a small bowl.  For easy clean up, work on top of a large sheet of craft paper.

Using the paintbrush, lightly brush a styrofoam ball with Mod Podge glue.  Place the glue covered ball in the bowl of catnip and toss around, coating evenly.  Set aside to dry while you glue and catnip the remaining balls.

Use a bit of hot glue to adhere the initial yarn pieces to the catnip covered ball.  Wrap for several turns in one direction, then wrap in an alternating direction.  You can cut the yarn and start fresh in a new direction to make sure to cover all sides.  The initial yarn covering doesn’t have to be perfect.  the second round of yarn covering can be more directionally intentional.

When ball is completely covered and layered twice in yarn, tuck the end piece into the yarn ball (and tie into a knot if you’d like) to adhere.  Toss around the house.  It’s kitty playtime!

Note:  keep an eye on your cat when they play with these yarn balls.  Cats shouldn’t swallow string.  Actually, no one should swallow string.