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Want to know where to buy glass beads for weighted blankets or sensory lap pads?
** Spring 2021 UPDATE: ETSY currently seem to have the most consistent glass bead stock availability. **
Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular as a therapeutic aid for conditions such as anxiety and insomnia, as well as symptoms of autism & ADHD. Via a weighted filler, such as micro glass beads, weighted blankets exert a gentle deep touch pressure on the user, which science has shown may help calm and relax the body and mind.
And whilst a range of weighted fillings exist, micro glass beads are the most popular. Not only are they considered the most ‘luxurious’ filler; they’re also the smoothest and ‘quietest’.
In A Hurry?
Try these micro glass bead recommendations:
Popular Brands: Try Roly Poly Beads or Reach Therapy Beads
Most Varied Choice Of Weight Sizes Try Victory Glass Beads
Can’t Find Glass Beads In Stock? (Especially in UK), Try Etsy.
Read on for some of the best places to buy glass beads, as well as some common questions regarding the use of micro glass bead fillings for making:
- weighted blankets
- weighted sensory items such as lap pads & vests
- plush toys, stuffed bears and other crafts.
What Size Glass Beads Do I Need?
The glass beads used in weighted blankets are much smaller than the more commonly used plastic poly pellets – in fact, they’re tiny and bear more resemblance to sand or sugar grains than actual ‘beads’.
So look to buy glass beads that are at least .75 – 1mm in size (sometimes labelled as #3), or they may pass through some fabrics or shift between the weighted blanket pockets.
We’ve seen some people using larger glass beads, but keep in mind, the larger bead you use, the lumpier the blanket will get. There is also a risk of chipping with larger glass beads, which could lead to sharp edges.
Although glass micro beads have pretty much overtaken plastic poly pellets as the most common filler in most brands of weighted blankets, they aren’t always that readily available to buy in bulk on their own. We’ve listed some popular options below, but please note this list is not definitive, as stockists and unavailability does seem to change.
Why Use Glass Beads Over Poly Pellets?
Plastic poly pellets used to be the more common filling for weighted blankets. They are generally made from polypropylene & whilst polypropylene is generally considered safe and non toxic, some people still prefer to avoid plastic. This can be for environmental reasons, or otherwise.
Some highly sensitive people also find the sensory stimulation of plastic poly pellets is a bit too intense (although this is not generally an issue for most people).
This is where micro glass bead fillings can offer a good alternative. They avoid plastic altogether, plus highly sensitive people may find a weighted blanket filled with glass beads lies more smoothly/softly on the body.
Where To Buy Glass Beads For Weighted Blankets
Whilst it’s totally possible to buy glass beads for weighted blankets, the options are reasonably limited and stocks do vary. So you might have to dig around a bit to get the best deal or right weight for your needs.
Here are some of your best current options:
1 – Roly poly Glass Beads
Roly Poly Glass Bead Info At A Glance
- Suitable For Weighted Blankets, Lap Pads & Craft Projects
- Quality US Made Beads
- 2X the Density of Plastic Pellets: 1 Cup = Approximately 14 Ounces
- Machine Washable & Dryable.
Roly Poly glass beads are marketed specifically for filling and stuffing weighted blankets and comforters, sensory products such as weighted lap pads or vests or other crafts and sewing projects requiring glass beads.
High quality, the beads are virgin glass (i.e. not recycled) and consistently shaped with round, smooth edges.
Generally available in 10 and 15 lb bags.
2 – Pinwheel premium glass micro beads
Pinwheel Premium Glass Bead Info At A Glance
- Perfect For Sensory Weighted Blankets and Lap Pads, as well as Reborn Dolls, Beanbags & Stuffed Bears Etc
- Machine Washable, Dryer Safe, Non Toxic
- Easy To Measure: Pinwheel Recommend 20 TBSP = 1 lb
- Quality, Smooth Rounded Beads, Made In The USA.
Pinwheel micro glass beads are one of the premier stockists of glass beads in the US. Ideal for use in weighted blankets, lap pads and vests or weighted stuffed animals etc, the beads are easy to measure for your craft projects.
The beads are also high quality, with smoothly rounded, making it easy to sew without damaging your needle.
Some glass beads, with rougher edges, may tear material or not move around as smoothly inside blankets, so smoothness is a key factor to consider when buying glass micro beads.
Generally available in 10 and 15 lb tubs.
3 – Reach Therapy Solutions Glass Beads
Reach Therapy Glass Bead Info At A Glance
- Non-Toxic, Odorless, Environmentally Friendly & Machine Washable
- Approximately 14.8 oz per cup
- Each Bead Measures Approximately 1 mm In Diameter
- Easy To Pour And Sew.
Reach Therapy Solutions also offer 1mm diameter micro glass beads for weighted blanket and craft projects.
American made, the beads are double bagged for extra security, with a resealable outer bag to avoid leakage.
Generally available in 5, 8, 10 and 12 lb bags.
4 – Victory Glass Micro Beads
Victory Glass Bead Info At A Glance
- Smooth & Round Craft Glass Beads for Easy Pouring and Sewing
- Made in the USA
- Washer & Dryer Safe, Odorless, Lead Free
- Approximately 1 mm in Diameter and 14 ounces or 0.875 pounds per cup.
Like the Roly Poly beads, the Victory micro glass beads are also designed specifically for use in craft projects, such as sensory weighted blankets and vests or weighted stuffed animals etc. The beads are easy to measure for your craft projects, with Victory estimating around 0.875 pounds of beads per cup.
The smoothly designed rounded beads are also easy to sew without damaging your needle.
When in stock, Victory offer one of the best choice of bead weight sizes available.
Choice of 1 lb, 5 lb,7 lb, 10 lb, 12 lb, 15 lb , 20 lb, 25 lb and 50 lb bag/boxes.
5 – Micro Glass Beads on Etsy
Another good place to find micro glass beads is on Etsy.
We haven’t listed specific Etsy brands or seller’s here, as we found stockists can change. Just make sure you search for something specific like ‘glass micro beads for weighted blankets’ so you get results for the ‘right’ type of glass bead – i.e. suitable as a weighted blanket filler.
Also check the product description. If the glass beads are suitable for weighted blankets and associated craft projects, it will almost certainly say so. Reviews are also a good indication of what people use the beads for and usually offer a good indication of quality and craftsmanship.
Glass Beads: Things To consider
1. Glass Beads Are Finer Than Poly Pellets
This means they sit more densely inside a weighted blanket.
So although weight for weight, a blanket with glass beads or poly pellets will remain the same, the volume (the amount of space a substance or object occupies) is less in a blanket filled with glass beads.
This essentially means a weighted blanket filled with denser micro glass beads will be thinner than a blanket filled with plastic poly pellets, which are larger and take up more space.
2. What’s Your Fabric & Stitch Size?
There can occasionally be issues with using glass beads with certain fabrics, which have a weave that’s too loose to hold the micro glass bead fill.
So if you plan to use glass beads in a homemade weighted blanket, it’s important to double check your fabric and stitch length to make sure that they’ll contain the beads securely.
According to Namaste Handmade, ‘dot’ minky fabrics should be fine, but some of the specialty minky, such as ‘Sherpa’ or shaggy minkys are likely to have a weave that is too loose.
A few blankets are also starting to use ‘nano’ ceramic beads, as the weighted filling.
Poly Pellets: An Alternative To Beads
Some people who seek out sensory stimulation actually prefer the slightly more bumpy feel of plastic poly pellets. Poly pellets are also generally less expensive than glass beads.
So for some people, they may work well as an alternative to the finer micro glass beads. At the end of the day it comes down to personal choice, but if you want to use poly pellets, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Poly pellets are larger than glass beads, resembling tiny pebbles. They are lighter and harder than glass beads, so make for a slightly bulkier finish.
- If you decide to use plastic poly pellets, look for high quality (such as 100% virgin polypropylene) pellets (these are well rated). They tend to dry quicker than some of the cheaper pellets, which may retain moisture and lead to mold or bacteria build up.
- Not all poly pellets have a high temperature rating either, so if you plan to machine wash or tumble dry your blanket, check the poly pellet product details to make sure they are washable/suitable for dryers.
Some people also use rice, dried beans or barley, as a filling, but keep in mind these will make your weight blanket, or lap pad, non-washable. Grains and dried beans are porous and won’t dry out well, likely leading to bacteria build up and mould.
For more on the different types of weighted blanket fillings, see this weighted filler guide.
Glass micro beads have fast become the weighted filling of choice for many weighted blankets, sensory weighted aids and homemade weighted sewing projects.
Finer and denser than poly pellets, micro glass beads also offer a good alternative for highly sensitive people who find the sensory stimulation of ‘pebble like’ poly pellets a little too stimulating. Glass beads, of course, also avoids the use of plastic.
Places to buy glass beads for weighted blankets are generally more limited than for poly pellets, but with their popularity as a weighted filling, you should be able to source quality glass beads online without too much trouble.