$30 for a 12 lb medicine ball? $60+ for a 20 lb medicine ball?! Those prices are outrageous for what is just a heavy ball. Why are these balls so expensive when other balls are only $10 – 20, even less if you buy them used or on sale. Refusing to pay this price, I figured out how to make my own medicine balls.
You can easily make your own medicine ball by filling up any variation of sports ball (basket, soccer, volley, etc) with a filler of your choice. I went with sand. I found a basketball for $5 and soccer ball for $10 at Walmart. The soccer ball was only that expensive cuz I wanted the nice padded looking one. Sand was on sale for $1 per 20 lb bag, so I got 2 bags, though while reading other diy posts, some people went so far as to steal sand from their local beach. The liquid nails only cost $2, and I had tape and a funnel already, so I was able to make 2 medicine balls for less than $20. After being filled up, the soccer ball came out to around 13 lb and the basketball came out to around 21 lb. You could also use a mini soccer ball to make a 5 pounder. If you don’t want to go this far, I read that a gallon of water comes out to about 8 lbs.
- Basketball, soccer ball, volleyball, or any other ball of your choice
- Sand, gravel, water, etc
- Tube of liquid nails
- Box cutter/razor blade and/or scissors
First, cut a hole in your ball. The obvious choice I went with was to pull out the nipple (lol) where you pump in air. From there, I could cut a larger hole. However, I learned that the nipple area is often thicker since it’s reinforced with extra rubber. Knowing this now, I would probably suggest trying to cut a hole elsewhere. The size of your hole really depends on personal preference. If you cut a huge hole like about 2″ x 1″, you can easily just dump in sand and fill it up quickly. However, you’re left with a very ugly hole to patch up. If you don’t want the big, ugly patch, you could cut a small hole that is just large enough for a funnel to fit. However, this means you will have to slave over your ball gradually filling it up. I opted for the small hole, so I could make my medicine ball look pretty. Another thing to note when cutting your hole is that you should not just hack away until you have a hole, but rather you should cut a flap that you can later put back and glue over. I settled on cutting an X flap.
Second, insert funnel and fill ball with sand. I used a cup to scoop the sand into the funnel. One trial and error I quickly regretted was not waiting until my sand was completely dry. The sand I had purchased was left outside, so the bottom half of each bag was extremely damp. I tried to spread the sand out on a variety of pans (baking pans, paint trays) in hopes that it would dry out over a couple hours. Some of it dried, but for the most part, it stayed damp, resulting in the funnel getting clogged repeatedly. That’s where the chopstick comes in handy. However, in hindsight, it would have saved me hours of work if I just spread out all of the sand and let it dry over a couple days. If you are lucky enough to start off with dry sand, you can ignore this.
Shake ball periodically to help sand settle. Once your ball is about 75% full of sand, you’ll notice that the sand will start to form a pyramid inside the ball. This causes the sand to get backed up in the funnel. Just twist and shake the ball and let the sand settle and keep on trucking. Towards the end, I periodically weighed each ball to make sure I hit my desired weights.
Plug the hole. Once done, wipe down the hole to make sure no sand is stuck to it. Then just lay on the liquid nails. Make sure you have enough to completely cover your flap. Once done, let it dry for a complete 24-hour period. I applied multiple layers of liquid nails every 12 hours just to be safe.
Enjoy. Once the liquid nails have dried, you can stop there and go ahead and use your medicine ball. I wanted to be a little bit safer, so I went ahead and duct taped a stripe over the liquid nail patch. Alright, I’m guilty of also wanting the stripe to look aesthetically cool or else I could have just taped one piece over just the patch instead of wrapping it all the way around. To each his/her own. I’ve seen some people duct tape their entire ball. That just seems overkill to me and also makes it difficult to repair your patch if it happens to burst. With this job, I wouldn’t recommend slamming it, but the ball is good for tossing and other weighted exercises.