Weighted blankets are popular, but most use poly pellets. Learn how to make a weighted blanket without pellets. Find more details on making DIY weighted blankets.
My weighted blanket sewing tutorial is one of my most popular posts on this site. After years of helping readers with their projects – I get emails every day with questions even years after that initial post – I decided to dedicate a series of blog posts to commonly asked questions about making weighted blankets. I also love seeing the blankets people make, especially when they reflect the recipient’s interests like these Harry Potter weighted blankets.
Today’s post features one of my most commonly asked questions: How to make a weighted blanket without pellets.
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How to Make a Weighted Blanket Without Beads or Pellets
Most weighted blankets are made using poly pellets. Poly pellets are a popular filling because they are non toxic and can go in the washer and dryer. They discourage mold growth and are lightweight individually, and therefore unlikely to cause harm.
However, there are a number of reasons to avoid using poly pellets. Some people worry about the fact that poly pellets are man made. Others are looking for a more inexpensive filling.
Luckily there are several ways to make a weighted blanket without using the standard weighted blanket pellets. Here are some of the most popular options.
Growing up, our picnic blanket was made out of old pairs of denim blue jeans. We used it as a picnic blanket because it was so sturdy and useful for protecting us from damp grass, but the blanket doubled as an amazing weighted blanket!
Denim is naturally heavy, and when you pair it with quilt batting and a second layer of fabric it grows even heavier. Whether you make your blanket off of store-bought denim or cast-off jeans, it’s pretty easy to make the blanket heavy enough for most users.
So why not always use denim? Some users want a softer blanket. Denim can get expensive if you are buying it rather than upcycling old clothing. Most importantly, denim takes a long time to dry, so it may not be ideal if you are looking for a quick-dry blanket.
Small glass beads are a popular weighted blanket filling with people looking for a non-plastic based filling. The glass beads wash pretty well, but can get hot in the dryer. They are also more likely to wear through fabric than soft pellets. They are not much cheaper (if at all cheaper) than poly pellets. You can find quite a few glass bead weighted blanket choices for sale.
Glass marbles are another possibility, but they should be used with care as they can be large enough to be individually heavy.
Aquarium gravel is a very popular alternative to poly pellets in homemade weighted blankets. It’s a little harder on the fabric than poly pellets. It also gets hot in the dryer. But it’s a relatively inexpensive option.
Gravel is somewhat heavy, so it may be harder to distribute the weight evenly throughout the blanket. It is more lightly to grow moldy over time than pellets or glass beads.
Make a Ball Blanket
Bouncing balls won’t necessarily hold up nicely in the wash (I certainly wouldn’t stick them in a dryer), but they are a creative filling that lends both weight and texture to the blanket. If you take this approach, I recommend sticking to only one or two balls per blanket section.
Knit a Weighted Blanket
Small Metal Washers
Small metal washers are relatively inexpensive as a weighted blanket filling, but they can be hard to distribute evenly. They are relatively inexpensive for the weight, but also harder on fabric than poly pellets. They will get hot in the dryer.
Many metal washers will stick to magnets. Depending how you look at it, this can be a good or bad thing, but it’s definitely something to be aware of! Stay away from metal washers that are large enough to do harm individually.
Rice is inexpensive and non-toxic. Unfortunately, it cannot go through the washing machine and this is the reason I don’t personally recommend it as a weighted blanket filling unless you are sure the blanket will not need washing.
If you really need a budget filling, consider sewing a blanket with velcro or zipped pockets. Fill each pocket with zip-locked (or double zip-locked) bags of rice until you have a heavy enough blanket.
What About Cherry Pits?
Cherry pits are organic, heavy, and can go through the washing machine. I’ve stopped recommending cherry pits as a natural filling, because they contain cyanide. You have to eat them for them to be dangerous, but children may do that, and possibly even some adults.
Do you have a recommendation on how to make weighted blankets without pellets that I’ve missed? I am always looking to learn about new options and techniques! Please share on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram.