How to make a dorodango

After my last more technical tutorial, the typography guide you might want something more relaxing. So, just for fun, I tried the art of dorodango, it’s extremely meditative, maybe it’s something you’ll appreciate doing to counteract your intense business life and enhance your well-being. It costs nothing and is easy to do, give it a shot.

What is dorodango?

So I stumbled upon this awesome video from P2 Photography on Bruce Gardner, who is a dorodango artist. Dorodango is a Japanese art form in which earth and water are molded to create a delicate shiny sphere, resembling a billiard ball. Here is the video:

Which inspired me to try it myself. That being explained, welcome to my tutorial on Dorodango:

How to make a Dorodango

What you need

  • Two clean container
  • A fine-meshed sieve
  • Water & Dirt
  • A Pillow
  • 3x Plastic Bag

As you can see these are materials everyone is able to get without large spending. Worst case the total cost will be ~10$. But it is very time-consuming, so what you’ll need is time. But trust me, it is very relaxing, even somewhat meditative.

Form a ball

First filter your dirt with your fine meshed sieve so that you get rid of rocks and twigs.

shaking the sieve to filter the dirt

 

Then grab some of it (different dirt will create different colors and different textures, so every ball will differ) and put it in another clean container. Mix it together with a little water until you create mud that feels like dough.

adding water to the bowl filled with some dirt, then shaping the dirt into a ball

Lastly, begin to shape that wet mud to a sphere try to gently squeeze out the water while shaping it. You need a smooth, round core to begin your dorodango, any cracks can ruin it.

Do that until your sphere becomes sticky like cake dough, if needed, add more dirt to absorb the moisture.

further shape the ball by sprinkeling dust on it

The layers

Take some of your fine dirt and sprinkle it over your ball. While doing so, continue to shape your sphere. Roll your ball with one hand and shape it with the other. Only press lightly, you don’t want to remove a layer of dirt. Do this until the surface is dry. If the surface begins to crack, you can add a bit of water to the surface to help smooth it back out.

placing the ball in a plastic bag

Once dry, put your ball in a plastic bag. Lay it on your pillow to keep its ball shape. Leave it there enough time for moisture to condense on the surface of the sphere and the bag. It will take one or two hours. When the outer layer is humid again, remove the ball from the bag and repeat: take some fine dirt and sprinkle it over your ball while shaping it into a sphere. Then place it in the bag again. Do this about ten times. Every time you repeat this it will take longer for your ball to become humid again. So put it in the fridge if you’re not that patient, it will go faster, but be careful not to over chill. 30-60 minutes in the fridge are enough. Don’t forget the pillow.

Dust it

For this step, you need extremely fine and dry dirt. Keep sifting your dirt to create finer dirt until it feels like dust. Pat your dirt to get a fine layer of dust on your hand. Apply this dust all over your sphere’s surface. Remove excess dirt. Do this until the surface feels dry and dusty. Place it in a new plastic bag and leave it in the fridge overnight. Repeat this process until dust no longer sticks to the surface. Then place your dorodango in a new bag again for one last sweat.

polish the ball with a cloth

Polish it

Then begin polishing it with a cloth until it starts to shine! This might take very long, but at the end you should have something like this:

a beautiful polished shiny ball of mud called dorodango

It took me several trials until I finally succeeded. Welcome to the Zen part of life 🙂

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