Glass beads and plastic pellets for weighted blankets
We’ve received a few dozen questions about choosing and buying glass beads and plastic pellets over the last few months.
So, we decided to put together a guide that would give you all the information necessary chose right – from the type and size that would work well for this DIY project to the more specific questions like, “Where to buy glass beads?”
First things first
For those of you who like to get straight to the point, we’ll to just do just that – offer specific recommendations with links to the original products.
Where to buy glass beads for weighted blankets?
If you’re looking for glass beads choice and you’re not the company that can import in bulk from China, the choice is very limited.
In fact, we only found one product that’s large enough in the amateur so that the beads don’t pass through the fabric or shift between the chambers.
You can see the details below:
- diameter – 0.75 – 1 mm
- color – clear
- one packace – 25 lbs
Plastic pellets for weighted blankets – TOP 5
- density: high, 6 oz per cup
- color: natural white
- packaging: 5, 10 and 20 lbs
- density: 5 oz per cup
- color: clear
- packaging: 12, 25, 50 & 100 lbs
- diameter: 0.125 “
- color: natural white
- packaging: 10 lbs
- color: clear
- packaging: 10, 25, 50 & 100 lbs
We’ll do our best to simplify things here avoid technical lingo.
As you stressed in the title of section were providing this information for reference purposes and all the products listed above meet the guidelines.
We could get into more depth here, but most of the weight aspects are not that important for our purposes.
Two weight properties that had an impact on our choices are density of the material itself and bulk density.
Here’s the difference between the two density properties:
Actual density refers to the material itself. To put it simply, if you took to pellets from different manufacturers and measured them, they’ll have different weight.
Bulk density is slightly different because it refers to how much a cup (or another measure for volume) will weigh. The unit measurements are the same (lbs per cube-inch, oz per cup, etc.) – it will, however, always be lower than the actual density. it’s only natural because “bulk” includes the space between the tiny spheres.
To put it simply…
If the pellets are of the same size, shape and plastic density, they’ll also have the same bulk density.
If they are of the same size and shape but the material density is higher, bulk will be higher too – 1 cup will weight more.
On the other hand, the finer the beads and pellets, the less space between them and, again, higher bulk.
Plastic pellets for blankets – bulk density rule of thumb
The rule of thumb when choosing poly pellets is 4-7 oz per cup. Practically, this means that the higher bulk density you go with, the lower the loft will be.
Let us explain this on an example of the top two products we listed above.
The first one (ReachTherapy) is 6 ounces per cup and second one (Victory) is 5.
This doesn’t change anything in terms of weight. It’s like that famous question, “Which is heavier, 1 pound of iron or 1 pound of cotton?”
Of course they weight the same.
But, if you make two blankets of, say, 15 lbs – the one filled with 5 oz/cup plastic will be loftier and slightly thicker. The higher the difference in density, the more difference you’ll see in loft and thickness.
When you should (or should not) think about this
If you go with any of the plastic filling we listed in the table above, it’s fair to say that you can forget about bulk density – the differences are minuscule and all of them are just right for weighted products.
When to consider it
The density analysis is more important if you’re still deciding whether to go with beads or pellets. The former is much finer (smaller pieces, higher bulk density) and the end result will be different – you’ll need less volume to fill the blanket and it will be thinner (compared weight to weight).
How to choose between the two
As soon as someone mentions plastic, the first thing that comes to mind is safety from any potentially harmful chemicals.
All the products we listed are completely safe. They are made of virgin plastic (meaning that it’s not recycled) and free of any toxins like BPAs, traces of fire retardants or phthalates.
So, if you go with any of them, this is a non-issue.
Texture and feel
Pellets have the texture and feel of miniature pebbles.
They are, however, too small for most people to feel the pebbled-shapes when sleeping.
On the other hand, the beads are so fine that they practically feel like sand and look like sugar (if it was spherical).
Bottom line – for most people, the slight “bumpiness” of pellets will be a non-issue, especially if you plan to use your blanket with a cover.
If you’re particularly sensitive, beads are a great alternative. One caveat here is that beads call work well with dense materials like satin and close stitching.
In other words, if you’re using them to make a blanket you’ll need to make sure that the stitches are crafted with precision (especially at the edges). Otherwise, you might see some movement and shifting between the chambers.
Polymers used for the pellets
There are two types polymers used to make pellets – thermoplastic and thermosetting. The classification is based on the forming of the bonds and flow properties.
A vast majority of products used for DIY projects (like blankets) belong to the group of thermoplastic. This is types plastic that will melt.
Thermosetting polymers form a much stronger bond and will not melt or “flow” when heated.
Thermoplastic vs. thermosetting plastic pellets for blankets
There’s not much to think about here and all the products in the table at the beginning of the guide thermoplastic.
The reason behind using them is simple – the price vs. the job they’re intended for.
The strong bonds in thermosetting plastics are formed through expensive manufacturing processes like electron beams, UV or chemical agents.
Using this type pellets for blanket filling would be like using bulletproof glass for your flower garden. You can do it, but it’s going to cost much more and there is no common sense reason to do it.
Ask, share and apply for our giveaway
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All you need to do to apply is bookmark this page and contact us to share your thoughts.
Finally, if you have any questions or feel like we failed to mention something, use the comment section below to ask us anything.
The Sleep Studies team