How to Repurpose Old Tennis Balls into Furniture Glides
Old tennis balls can be given new life by turning them into furniture glides. Furniture glides are devices that attach to the bottom of furniture legs to protect floors from scratches. Tennis balls are an inexpensive and easy material to repurpose into smooth glides. With just a few tools and materials, you can create custom glides for chairs, tables, dressers, and more.
Benefits of Repurposing Tennis Balls
Saves money. Buying premade furniture glides can cost $5-$10 per glide. With recycled tennis balls, materials cost mere cents per glide.
Reduces waste. Over 300 million tennis balls are produced globally each year. Repurposing old balls keeps them out of landfills.
Protects floors. The fuzzy surface of tennis balls glides smoothly across hard floors without scratching them like bare furniture legs would. The cushioning of the balls also absorbs noise and impact.
Easy DIY project. Tennis ball glides are one of the simplest upcycling projects. They require no sewing, glue, or special tools.
What You’ll Need
- Old tennis balls
- Utility knife
- Screwdriver or drill
- Optional: Hot glue gun, Velcro, chair leg pads
1. Clean and Prep the Tennis Balls
Use a wet rag to wipe down the tennis balls and remove any dirt or debris.
Let the balls air dry completely before proceeding. Wet tennis balls won’t slide well underneath furniture.
2. Cut an X Shape into Each Ball
Use a utility knife to carefully cut an X shape into each tennis ball, about 1 inch deep.
The X should extend from one side of the ball to the other, crossing in the center.
Tip: Put a cutting board inside the ball while slicing to protect your hand.
3. Spread the X Open
Use your fingers to pull the flaps from the X cut open into a star shape.
The star should open wide enough to slide the ball over the furniture leg. About 2-3 inches across is ideal.
4. Slide the Ball Over the Leg
Place the spread-open ball over the bottom of the furniture leg, with the star opening facing down against the floor.
The ball should fit snugly onto the leg. If needed, make another deeper cut into the ball to widen the opening.
5. Secure the Glide (Optional)
For extra hold, you can secure the tennis balls in place using:
Hot glue around the edges
Velcro strips across the star
Furniture leg pads wrapped around the ball
If the balls fit tightly, they likely won’t need any securing. Simply placing them on the legs is enough.
And that’s it! The tennis ball glides are ready to slide. Test them out by moving the furniture across the floor to ensure the glide moves smoothly without snagging. Enjoy your updated furniture and repurposed tennis balls!
Tips for the Best DIY Tennis Ball Glides
Seek out extra duty or heavy duty balls – They have thicker felt and withstand more weight.
Replace the glides every 1-2 years as the balls compress with use.
Glue a small felt pad onto the ball’s underside for extra smooth sliding on hard floors.
For outdoor furniture, use a waterproof sealant like marine epoxy on the tennis balls to prevent mold.
On rugs or carpets, flip the balls so the flat side contacts the floor instead of the star shape.
Creative Ways to Reuse Tennis Balls
Beyond furniture glides, old tennis balls have many other handy uses:
- Foot protectors on chair and table legs
- Non-slip pads on stairs or ramps
- Walking cane tips
- Door stoppers
- Toy blocks for kids
- Pet toys
- Draft stoppers to seal gaps under doors
- Jar openers to improve grip
With a little creativity, you can find dozens of ways to repurpose tennis balls rather than sending them to landfills. Give them new life!