Friday, July 15, 2016

Trial and Error to Chalk Ball Designs

A few years ago I designed and sewed a mouse chalk ball as a fun way to contain chalk inside a chalk bag.  In the first series I tried loose chalk and it was finer than block chalk.  I did not realize the material was barely porous enough for that specific type of loose chalk to filter through.  Without customer feedback, I had a difficult time figuring out what I needed to improve on my design.  I had sent chalk balls to a climbing blog who feature items on their site and did not hear back from them.  I figured the balls must have not worked very well or they were just busy.  This is when I thought, I should just test out the materials myself and see what works.

The images below is a comparison of 3 different type of materials.  The first material I bought from the local fabric store, was the best porous option I could find, where holes were not visible.  The second material had visible holes, where the weave of the material is evenly distributed with a pattern and stretches out.  The third material had larger visible holes than the second, and the weave was spread out randomly.  I assumed, like most people naturally do, the larger visible holes in the third material would be the better of the three options.  Check this out, material 1, 2, 3 goes left to right.

The first step I used chalk and a hair band with NO polyester stuffing.

The second step I used chalk, polyester stuffing, and a hair band.

The second material in the picture is the best option.  Not what I assumed.  I will be changing my chalk ball designs to the most porous material.

All the old ones I made are on now on sale at  The hand sewn chalk balls are a good cat toy alternative as well.  Insert catnip instead of chalk.   

Dear All Beta Customers,

Constructive criticism is extremely helpful to improving my designs.  I love hearing from my customers even though it can be a challenge for me to hear negative feedback.  Nonetheless, I would consider them and understand the different preferences and needs that climbers have.  Please feel free to message me through Etsy convo for any defective or flawed designs.  Overall, this will help my small handmade business and encourage myself to create better designs.

Side Note on Chalk:  I thought block chalk would to be the most affordable climbing chalk.  It seemed like a safe assumption to make.  For example, a block cheese must be less expensive than shredded cheese.  It takes time for the business to shred the cheese so it’s got to be more expensive to buy shredded.  Surprisingly enough, if you pay attention to unit cost, it could go either way.  Once in a while, REI has a sale for block chalk knocking down a $2 item and making it the most cost effective type to buy.  The Bison competition chalk is actually loose chalk and sells at the same retail price as block chalk.  My advice is to check unit price.  Do the math and save a bit of money and time for you frugal climbers.

Happy Climbing!

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