In this tutorial, we will show how to make a very simple puzzle ball using interlocking pentagons and ribbon loops. This one was made for little ones, so the ribbon loops give them something extra to grab.
For this project, you will need:
- Fabric scraps
- Ribbon scraps (optional)
- Poly filling
- Jingle bells (optional)
- Basic sewing supplies
The ball takes a total of 12 pentagons. To make a pattern piece, draw a five-sided pentagon with each side measuring 2”. The corner angles should each be 108 degrees. You can also find this shape online and you can enlarge it to your desired size. Just google “pentagon shape.”
Using the pentagon pattern piece, cut out 12 pieces from fabric scraps. Each half of the ball will have one center piece with five surrounding, so you can arrange your pieces for each half.
If you are adding the fabric loops, cut ribbon scraps into 2 1⁄2” pieces, fold in half and pin them to different sides of the puzzle ball pieces.Place a dot marking in the corner of each piece (on the wrong side of the fabric) 1⁄4” from both edges.
Using 1⁄4” seam allowance and sewing from dot to dot, sew each of the 5 surrounding pieces to the center piece. It is important to sew only between the marked dots, and to backstitch at each start and stop.
Both ends of each seam should look something like this.Looking good! Still sewing the five sides to the center. Once all five sides are attached to the center, sew the sides to each other. Begin sewing where the other seam begins and finish 1⁄4” away from the other edge. Be sure to catch both ends of ribbon loops in the seams as you go.The inside of the ball half will look like this.The outside looks way better.Sew the other half of the ball together in the same way.To match the two halves of the ball, a point from one half fits into the v-seam of the other half. Decide how you want the two halves to align.For accuracy, put a pin straight through the dot of the point and the dot of the v-seam before sewing the halves together. Once you have done one seam, continue to pin and sew until only two openings are left.
Fill with fluffy stuffing. Some people use tiny scraps of fabric and even thread for this—especially if you want it to be very dense. Personally, I have to throw all of that away (for mental health reasons). For babies, it’s good to make it full but still soft.It’s also fun to add a few jingle bells for the babies—just another form of developmental training couched in a sewing project. Push them well into the center of the stuffing so they are heard but not felt.
Sew the opening closed by hand with a hidden whip-stitch.All finished and ready for play – or for gifting and then play.There is a very good book about puzzle balls by Jinny Beyer. It has some really inventive designs ranging from simple to much too difficult for me.
Making puzzle balls is a fun way to use fussy cuts of cute fabric and scraps of different textures. The example had pieces of cuddle, cotton, and flannel. Unless they are just being kind, the babies in my world really seem to like them.