Water bead stress balls

Orbeez Stress Ball | How to Make Stress Balls with Orbeez

by Debbie Chapman

Jump to Instructions

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An Orbeez stress ball is so easy to make! All you need are some Orbeez (also known as water beads), a balloon, and some water and you can make your own super squishy, super satisfying, homemade stress ball!

Orbeez Stress Ball

These stress balls are SO MUCH FUN!! We’ve made a few different stress balls over the years, and these water bead ones are my absolute FAVOURITE.

It’s really fun to see the Orbeez expand, and the bumpy texture when they’re finished growing is so cool! You’ll probably want to squeeze these stress balls harder than other types of stress balls, so they might not last as long. But it’s super cool to see the water beads through the balloon when you’re squeezing them!

Making a DIY stress ball is a fun and creative activity to do with kids of all ages. Best of all, they’re super simple to make! Stress balls are a great sensory toy that help reduce anxiety, and the bright colours of the Orbeez will lighten any mood.

Check out our Orbeez Stress Ball video tutorial:

*Note: Scroll down for the step-by-step photo tutorial.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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The full printable instructions are at the end of this post, but here’s a list of products on Amazon and Target that are similar to the supplies we used:

  • Clear Balloon (12 inch)
  • Water Beads (Orbeez)
  • Funnel


How to Make an Orbeez Stress Ball

An Orbeez stress ball is super squishy and SO FUN to play with. These DIY stress balls have the best texture, and they're so easy to make!

  • 1 clear balloon (12 inch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon water beads (Orbeez or other brand)
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • Funnel

  • Measuring cup

  • Scissors

Step 1: Add Orbeez to the balloon
  • Blow up the balloon, then let it deflate to stretch out the latex/rubber.

  • Place the neck of a funnel into the balloon's opening, making sure it's tight or completely inserted.

  • Pour water beads into 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon.

  • Then pour the premeasured Orbeez into the funnel. Gently shake to ensure all Orbeez are inside the balloon.

    Remove the funnel from the balloon.

Step 2: Add water to the balloon
  • Carefully stretch the neck of the balloon around a kitchen or bathroom faucet.

  • Place a 1/2 cup measuring cup under the balloon. Turn on the tap slowly to create a light stream of water into the balloon.

    Turn the tap off when the balloon fills the measuring cup.

  • Remove the balloon from the tap and tie a knot in the balloon, as close to the water line as possible.

Step 3: Let the Orbeez grow!
  • Set the balloon on its side and wait 3 - 4 hours for the Orbeez to fully expand inside the balloon.

  • Be sure to check in while the Orbeez are growing to see the "magic" happen! It's fun to watch the half grown Orbeez floating around inside.

  • Use scissors to trim the excess balloon neck, cutting just above the knot.

  • Have fun squishing the Orbeez around and admiring the bright colours.

    Your Orbeez stress ball is complete!

It's best to grow the water beads inside the balloon, rather than trying to get them into the balloon after they're grown. My kids have tried it both ways and you can't get many "pre-grown" water beads into the balloon through a funnel. 

What are Orbeez?

Orbeez (also known as water beads) are small, round polymer beads that absorb water and expand to 100 times their original size. They were originally created to keep moisture in plants, but now you see them all over Pinterest being used for kids sensory activities.

We bought ours from Amazon. A tiny amount goes a really long way, so they’re very affordable to use for projects like this. They’re also non-toxic and biodegradable.

What type of balloon works best?

A clear balloon (12 inch size) will work best because you’ll be able to see the colours and outlines of the water beads inside the balloon. We got our clear balloons from Amazon.

If you don’t want to buy clear balloons, you can use any other colour balloon – you’ll still be able to feel the water beads in your stress ball, you just won’t be able to see them. You can kind of see the Orbeez when using a white balloon, especially if you shine a flashlight through as you squeeze your stress ball.

What if I don’t have a funnel?

If you don’t have a funnel, cut the top off a water bottle and use it as a funnel. You could also roll a scrap of paper into a cone and insert it in the end of the balloon.

How long do Orbeez stress balls last?

These stress balls should last about 2 weeks – but that’s not a guarantee. They’re really fun to squeeze and they get squeezed a lot harder than other stress balls (just because it’s so fun to see the water beads in the stretched balloons!), so they may not last that long.

We made two Orbeez stress balls and one of them lasted a month, and the other one only lasted 24 hours. We squeezed our first one like crazy and by the next day it had a tiny pin sized hole in it. I could hear water bubbling out of the tiny hole when I squeezed it and my hands were getting a little wet, so I threw it away.

Balloons become fragile over time and you really don’t want to clean up a water bead mess if it pops in a drawer somewhere. So make sure you keep track of your Orbeez stress ball and don’t forget about it!

Orbeez stress balls are SO MUCH FUN! These DIY stress balls are so simple to make, and are so enjoyable and cool to play with!

These Orbeez stress balls definitely work as a stress reliever, with their bumpy texture and the satisfying squishing sound they make when they’re squeezed. The bright colour of the beads against the clear balloon is so pretty, especially when there’s light shining through.

Here’s even more DIY stress balls:

How to Make a Stress Ball

Playdough Stress Ball

Stress Ball Made with Rice

Homemade Apple Stress Ball

Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!

Where to buy:

You can purchase Low-Mess Crafts for Kids from Amazon, or wherever books are sold:

Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |   Books- A- Million  |   Indiebound  |  Indigo  |  Amazon Canada

About Debbie Chapman, the Author of this Post

I'm Debbie Chapman, founder of One Little Project and author of the book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids. I love creating fun and easy crafts and cooking up delicious recipes for my husband and 3 kids.

More by Debbie Chapman

Filed Under: Crafts for Adults, DIY, Just for Kids, Kids Crafts and Activities, Preschooler and Toddler Activities Tagged With: adult activities, adult crafts, balloons, crafts, crafts for kids, easy kids crafts, kids activities, Kids Crafts, orbeez, preschooler activities, sensory activity, stress balls

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Water Bead Stress Ball - Bitz & Giggles


Water Bead Stress Ball – A transparent balloon filled with colorful water beads makes for a soothing and fun kids toy or stress reliever!

Do you all remember when I made this squeeze ball? If you’re looking for another fun and easy project to do with the kids, you’re going to love this Water Bead Stress Ball. Before we dig into the details of how to make one of these awesome toys, I want to caution parents of small children. . .

If you have any children in the home who are young and put things in their mouths, DO NOT proceed with this project. Water beads are not edible or safe for swallowing.

With that being said, let’s get to the fun! You can watch the video and read through the step-by-step instructions for all of the details on making your water bead stress ball!


  • Water beads packet (.35 ounce)
  • 8 ounce empty water bottle
  • 2-3 clear balloons
  • Scissors


  1. Prepare water beads according to instructions on packet. Drain.
  2. Fill the water bottle with beads.
  3. Blow up one of the balloons and place it over the top of the bead-filled bottle.
  4. Turn the water bottle upside down, shake and squeeze the bottle until all of the water beads have been transferred from the bottle to the balloon.
  5. Tie the end of the balloon and *cut the larger tie off the end of the balloon.
  6. Repeat the steps with the other balloon(s).

*Cutting the tie off of the end of the balloon is optional – the ball will look nicer but will be at a higher risk of opening when being played with.

Now let’s make one together!

Start out by preparing the water beads according to the instructions on the packet. Orbeez can also work. If you have a container of water beads rather than a packet, only use a small amount. The packets I used were .35 ounce.

I let my beads set in the water for about four hours. Feel free to allow them to set overnight if you would like.

You would think the above photo is just blurry, but that’s not the case. This is what the water beads look like after setting about two hours. They actually DO look blurry when you look at them in the water.

Four hours later, they’ll look like this!

Drain any remaining water from the beads using a colander – it’s only minutes now until your ball is ready!

Fill an empty water bottle with water beads.


Partially inflate a balloon.

Place the balloon over the top of the water bottle.

Shake and gently squeeze the water bottle to transfer the beads from the bottle into the balloon.

Slowly let the air out of the balloon and tie the end of the balloon. To make the balloon look a bit more like a ball (and less like a balloon) you can cut the larger tie off of the end of the balloon. This is completely optional. To make the ball a bit more durable, don’t cut the tie.

And there you have it!

I love how colorful it is, don’t you?

The kiddos loved the feel of these balls and played with them for days!

So did I. 🙂

Tip: After days of squeezing, the water beads can start breaking apart inside of the balloon and the “look” of the ball will become more cloudy. When that happened to ours, we just made more!

Have fun and let me know how your water bead stress balls turn out!!




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