Have you ever desperately wanted to make your very own hacky sack? The great news is that you can, with just a crochet hook, some yarn, some heavy filling, and a bit of patience! You can choose any colors you like, adapt the design to suit your tastes, and make your very own crochet hacky sack to show off to friends.
Hacky sacks are great fun for kids and adults to play with, and make good toys that you can stuff in a bag for any occasion. Personalized crochet hacky sacks also make fantastic gifts, and they are very easy to make once you know what you’re doing!
Try this crochet hacky sack with your child or just have a go yourself – you might be surprised by how simple it is, and by how transferable the skills you’ll use are for other projects.
You Will Need:
- Cotton yarn in your color(s) of choice
- 3 mm hook (or another thin one; you do not want large holes in the hacky sack or the filling will fall out)
- Stitch markers
- An embroidery needle
- Sharp scissors
- Rice or some other weighted stuffing, e.g. dried beans. Don’t use light stuffing or the hacky sack won’t have enough weight to play with.
Step 1: Start Off
You are going to begin this craft by creating a magic loop. To do this, take the end of your yarn, and make a circle in it, with a tail sticking out to one side. Position the yarn that is still attached to the ball beneath the circle, and then pull it through the center of the circle, but do not pull the yarn tight.
Put your hook in the loop you have just made (with the long end of the yarn). Do a chain stitch to secure the magic loop.
You are now going to do six single crochets into this magic loop, starting off the hacky sack. Begin by holding the two loops of yarn in your non-dominant hand, to the left of the hook. Loop your hook underneath them, and beneath the yarn that still leads to the ball.
Loop the yarn leading to the ball over, and then draw your hook back through the first two loops of yarn (that form the circle) to end up with just two loops on your hook. Put the yarn over your hook again, and pull through to finish the single crochet.
Repeat the process, going through the center of the loop so that you have the circle of yarn over your hook, and then loop the end of the yarn over your hook and pull it through so that you end up with two loops over the hook again. Put the yarn over, and pull through to finish the single crochet.
You are going to do this until you have six single crochets in your loop. These will only cover about a quarter (or maybe slightly less) of the loop; that’s not a problem, because you’re going to deal with the remaining length now.
Take the short end of the yarn that is not attached to the ball and gently tug so that it pulls the magic loop in to form a tight circle. Put a stitch marker in the last stitch. If you don’t have a marker, use a strand of contrasting wool or something similar.
Tie the loose end to the other side of the yarn in a tight knot so that the magic loop cannot pull open again.
Step 2: Begin Increasing
Crochet two single crochets in every stitch around the circle. Go through both loops. You want to keep your stitches fairly tight so that your rice or filling won’t fall out. You may find it a little tricky, but with practice, you’ll soon find it speeds up.
Work right around the circle. When you reach your stitch marker, move it to your new stitch.
In the second round, you are going to put single crochet into the first stitch. In the second stitch, put two single crochets. In the third stitch, put one, and in the fourth, put two. Continue alternating between one single crochet and two single crochets until you reach the end of the second round.
Step 3: Continue Increasing
For the third round, you are going to put single crochet into the first stitch and the second stitch, and two single crochets into the third stitch. Put single crochet in the fourth and fifth stitches, and two single crochets in the sixth stitch. Continue all the way around, putting two single crochets into every third stitch.
For the fourth round, you are going to put a single crochet in the first stitch, second stitch, and third stitch. Put two single crochets in the fourth stitch. You will then put a single crochet in the fifth, sixth, and seventh stitches, and two single crochets in the eighth stitch. Continue this sequence all the way around.
In the fifth round, put a single crochet in the first, second, third, and fourth stitches, and two single crochets in the fifth stitch. Continue this sequence around.
You can stop whenever you feel that the hacky sack is big enough. You may want to experiment with small ones first while you get the hang of the process, or you might wish to just make one bigger.
Make a note of what round you stop increasing on so that you know which stitch was the final increase (if you stop on the seventh round, it will be the seventh stitch).
Step 4: Crochet Further
Once you are happy with the width of the hacky sack, continue doing single crochets in each stitch around the circle until the ball is the size you would like. Remember that making a large ball will add weight to it, especially if you are using something heavy to fill it with.
You can do as many rounds of single crochets as you like, making the ball as long and oval as you prefer. Remember to keep moving your stitch marker on every round so you can always tell where a round starts and finishes.
Step 5: Start Decreasing
Glance back at your note of which stitch was your last increase. If it was the seventh round, you are going to start decreasing in the seventh stitch.
Do single crochet in the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth stitches. When you reach the sixth stitch, put your hook through and pull one loop of yarn through. You should then have two loops on your hook.
Insert the hook into the seventh stitch, pull a loop through so you have three loops on your hook, and then put your yarn over and pull the yarn through all three loops. You have now decreased one stitch.
Put single crochets in the next five stitches, and then do a single crochet decrease between the thirteenth and fourteenth stitch (if you are decreasing on seven stitches). Keep doing this right around the circle.
When you reach the end of your round, move the stitch marker, and reduce the number of stitches you are decreasing between by one. For example, if you have just decreased on every seventh stitch, you will now decrease on every sixth stitch.
This will make a mirror image of the crochet increases you did in the first rounds. Continue doing this until you have a gap of only about 1-1.5cm across, and then it’s time for the next step.
Step 6: Add The Filling
Get your filling and pour some into the ball. You can curl a piece of paper up to make a funnel if that makes it easier to pour, or just tip it in by hand or from a packet. Remember to make sure your filling is dry!
Fill the ball to the top. It wants to be a little squishy, but you can afford to add lots of rice (or beans) so that it will stand up and provide a nice weight for throwing.
Try not to fill it so full that it spills over the edges of the cotton, but don’t leave it empty. You can always add a few more beans or grains of rice to the ball before you tie it off, but it will be fiddly.
Step 7: Finish Decreasing
Carry on decreasing until there are just six stitches left around. This should leave you with quite a small opening, which now needs to be closed.
When you have just six stitches, cut your yarn, leaving a long trail. Pull your yarn through using the hook, tugging it gently so that the last round is finished firmly and there’s no chance of it coming undone while being played with.
Step 8: Tie Off
Finally, thread the needle onto the yarn end, and position your needle across the hole, with the point outward. Go under both loops of the first stitch and pull the yarn through.
Weave back to go through both loops of the second stitch, and then weave out to go through both loops of the third. Do this for all six stitches, so you end up back at the start. When you get there, pull hard so that the yarn tightens and the hole closes.
You can spend a little more time crisscrossing the yarn back and forth with the needle to make a tighter seal, but this should be sufficient. Knot the yarn firmly, loop it into and out of one stitch, and knot again.
Slide the needle down your yarn, away from the end, and then cut the end so that it is a little shorter than the hacky sack. Use the needle to pull the end through; because the yarn is short, the end should get left inside the hacky sack, while you can pull the needle out again. This will give you a neat finish.
You’re now done! You can use a colored thread and a normal sewing needle to embroider the hacky sack with someone’s name or with a cute picture if you like, but you have now got a complete hacky sack ready to play with.
Hacky sacks are super easy to make, and they involve practicing some great skills, such as increasing and decreasing, as well as magic loops. This is an excellent project to do with children who are learning to crochet and will give them a fun toy they can show off to their friends as a mark of their skill.
Try making their hacky sacks individual by showing them how to change color partway through, or using a multicolored yarn if you want to keep the project simple.
You could sew on some pom poms or other soft embellishments, but as hacky sacks are designed to be thrown around, it’s best to avoid any hard additions like buttons, googly eyes, etc., as these could hurt somebody.