Ball tutorial

How to build yourself a cheap ball


This is a tutorial to build a cheap ball.

The ball is a light-coloured football surrounded by a harness to which six leather handles are attached. The ball we will build is made with synthetic strap, which is much less durable than leather, but anyone can build it with very few material/skills. It takes about 4 hours for one person to build a ball, but the work can easily be shared.

sewing party


Circumference of ball 650 mm
Length of handles (1)310 mm
Distance between fixing points of a single handle. 200 mm
Width of handles 20 mm
Thickness of handles 6/8 mm

(1) Length of the handles measured without taking in to account the stitchings.


item info
1. Synthetic strap7 meters, 25 or 30 mm large. You will find it in any haberdashery.
click to enlarge
2. Threaduse strong thread, or flax thread.
3. Ropeabout 12 meters of 6 mm diameter, but you can use a biger one shorter: it is used to give thickness to the handles.
4. Footballa size-4 football (senior football players play with a size-5 football). You do not need a high quality ball as it will not suffer as much as in football.
5. Ruler
6. Scissors
7. Candleto burn the end of the strap pieces.
8. Big needle
9. Pump and special needleto deflate and inflate the ball.


1. Cut the synthetic strap as follow:

- for the harness: 3 times 680 mm = 650 + 30 for the stitching
- for the handles: 3 times 870 mm= 310 x 2 + (650 - 2 x 200)
6 times 370 mm= 310 + 2 x 30 for the stitchings
cut diagram

2. Burn the end of each piece of strap.

3. About sewing: make strong sewing with double thread. But remember that it is better that the thread brakes before the strap, because it is much easier to change.


We will now build the harness. It is made of 3 rings crossed. The circumference of each is 650 mm. Take a special care not to make it too loose, either too tied, so it will fit firmly when the ball will be inflated. It is better too make it slightly too small than too big, but just one milimeter, no more.

Each ring can be sewed separatly, then put together. When assembling the rings of the harness, try not to have the overlaping parts all at the same place.


We will now build the handles. Each set of 2 handles is made by a big loop (the 870 mm pieces) so it gives maximum resistance when a player attemps to seize the ball from an opponent. This piece does not overlap, but is just presented end to end. Each handle is then doubled by a smaller part (the 370 mm pieces) and stuffed with several lenght of rope to give thickness. We use 6 lenghts with the specified rope (6 mm diameter).

Warning: keep one handle set open for the final assembling! Well... if you do not understand now, you will understand sooner or later.

lateral seizing

Finish up

We will now sew the handles to the harness. Each handle must be 310 mm long, and the distance between fixing points is 200 mm. The sewing which ties the handle to the harness is the most critical, because it will suffer the most when a player is seizing the ball from an opponent, both players holding transverse handles.

transversal seizing

And finally, we deflate the football to place it inside the harness, then we inflate it back. The pressure is about the same as a volleyball.

achieved ball