How to Build a Mini Hay Press or Baler

Things You\’ll Need

  • Straw or hay

  • Shoe box

  • Twine

  • Scrap plywood

  • Saw

  • Scissors

  • Spray bottle with water

... Turn loose hay into decorative mini bales.

Mini hay bales make a great decoration for autumn holidays. Mixed with mini gourds, pumpkins and dried corn cobs, they make a colorful centerpiece or a decoration for your porch or picture window. Bales are simple to make with some hay or straw and a few items found in every house. A shoe box or any other box of similar size makes a great form to press the hay into bales and a bit of twine will tie them up.

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Step 1

Lay three lengths of twine across the narrow side of the shoe box, dipping down to the bottom and with about 6 inches extra on both sides to tie up the bale.

Step 2

Cut the plywood to about one-half inch smaller on all sides than the opening of the box.

Step 3

Fill the box to overflowing with straw or dried hay and moisten slightly with the spray bottle full of water. Do not soak or the hay will mildew or rot.

Step 4

Press down firmly with the plywood to form a bale. If necessary, add more hay, moisten and press down again.

Step 5

Tie the twine into knots and snip off extra length with scissors.

Step 6

Remove the bale from box by the string and, if necessary, snip away loose straws at both ends to get a uniform look.


Garden stores, home centers and craft stores sell bulk straw during the fall season. For larger bales, use a milk crate or similar box with a larger piece of plywood to tamp the straw down.

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