How to Build a Yoga Bolster – Stuffing! Part Two

14 Jan

I like to stuff my bolsters with blankets for a couple of reasons – one is that blankets are much easier to come by than the cotton “felt” batting used commercially and the other is that they can be taken out and washed, if necessary.  I also have a fair amount of fabric stashed inside of bolsters:-)

Most blankets are between 80 and 90″ long, which makes them a good size for our bolsters.  They do not have to be exactly 90″.  There is some wiggle room.  I folded this one in 3, so it is a nice 30″ width.  It is a rather awful, cheap acrylic, which turns out to be ideal for a bolster because it rolls well and is lighter than a wool blanket. I pick them up at thrift stores for $5 or so and run them through the wash a couple of times, but have found them in stores like Walmart for not much more.


The next blanket in worked better folded length-wise:


Pretty pink!  Time to start rolling:


In truth, I did add one more small blanket to this to make it fat enough.  It will all depend on the size of the blankets.  Two king-sized blankets may be enough.  Sometimes a blanket must be cut in half to make it fit.  Another good reason to use the acrylics.  They won’t ravel.

Finished roll:


Slide the blanket roll into the liner:


Tie the knot:


Slide the open end into the cover. Mr. Bolster has a lovely hat!



Tie it up.  Now the circle that was sewed into the liner shows through the opening:


Fully  functional bolster:


Stuffing – Part Two (B)

I don’t have any of the studio’s covers and liners here, so I can’t show you that until our group stuffing day.  Here is the bale of cotton we work with:


You can see that it is nearly as tall as the patio table.  The massive plastic bag the bales come in is my pattern tracing medium.  Since we use three bales per batch of bolsters, more or less, I get a lot of tracing plastic!  The heavy brown kraft paper is also great stuff, but I haven’t found a perfect use for it yet.

A partly used bale.  It is unbleached cotton, still with lots of impurities and grit in it.  This stuff is often used in upholstery, under the cover and over a foam block to give the cushy factor.


It is simply rolled and inserted into the liners exactly like the blankets.  Photos will be posted when we have our stuffing party!

19 Responses to “How to Build a Yoga Bolster – Stuffing! Part Two”

  1. Annie January 15, 2014 at 2:35 am #

    Love it – especially the fancy bow on the end – thanks so much!

    • bgballroom January 15, 2014 at 4:47 am #

      Thanks Annie:-) That bow is just a piece of lining fabric sewed in a long tube, turned and tied. Knots in the end to prevent raveling and voila! Pretty bow.

  2. Beth March 31, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Thank you so much for posting! This is the most useful tutorial I’ve found for making a bolster, especially regarding the stuffing. I couldn’t think what stufing would make it as solid as the studio bolsters, but blankets makes perfect sense 🙂

    I’m going to try it with the blankets used to protect furniture when moving house. They’re pretty big and also a good price… wish me luck!

    • bgballroom March 31, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

      Thanks Beth! Those blankets should work perfectly. I’d love to see photos when you are done.

  3. bgballroom April 20, 2014 at 6:38 am #

    Reblogged this on Little Light Yoga – DIY Iyengar Yoga Props and commented:

    More on bolster building.

  4. SH October 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Hello. I’m wondering if I could use the clothes I have in the going to Goodwill as stuffing? Mainly old t-shirts and sweaters.

    I’m super excited to get to using this.

    • bgballroom October 5, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

      Hi SH – I am sure you could. Maybe with lumpy things like jeans, you might want to cut off the waistband and zipper, but OTOH, if you put those things in the middle of the roll, they might not be noticeable.

      I would use the rolling method and just try to keep it nice and even. Arrange the clothes in a way that allows for the bulk to be evenly spread out.

      A blanket or towel layer last would keep things contained and give a smooth surface. A lumpy bolster would not be pleasant! Please let us know how it works for you. Photos would be even better!

  5. Brianna April 26, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    How much batting did you need to stuff the bolster with?

    • bgballroom April 27, 2015 at 7:35 am #

      If you have access to thick cotton upholstery batting (sometimes called “felt”) I think you would need about 5 yards. We buy 20 yard bales and make several bolsters from it.

  6. Sam xenofou September 11, 2015 at 4:35 am #

    I have been trying to get my hands to some proper stuffing for my yoga bolsters and I can’t seem to find anyone able to deliver to Greece. All the stuffing so far has been hopeless. ….
    Would you be so kind as to forward some information where I can actually purchase the bale shown on the picture above. I have 20 bolsters to stuff and I would appreciate some help. Thank you sooo much. Best wishes Sam

    • bgballroom September 11, 2015 at 7:30 am #

      Hi Sam – I order mine from a sewing supply store and they order from a place that sells all kinds of upholstery fabrics and equipment. If you can find someone who makes upholstered furniture or repairs car interiors, you might find the right wholesaler. Ours is in Vancouver BC Canada so not likely to be a source for you as the shipping would be ridiculous. I will email you the site (if I can find it) and maybe that will give you some leads on how to find it in Greece. Good luck!

      • sam xenofou September 11, 2015 at 8:00 am #

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Just so I know what to ask…how much would I need in order for me to make 20 bolsters ?

      • bgballroom September 11, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

        At least 4 bales, I think. Pretty sure we make about 5 bolsters per bale. Good luck! PS – are you an Iyengar yoga center?

      • Diane March 11, 2019 at 8:09 am #

        Hi. Can you send me the company name you purchase the cotton batting from

      • bgballroom March 12, 2019 at 6:58 am #

        Hi Diane – the batting comes from a big wholesaler that sells to manufacturers. Your best bet would be to find a place that does upholstery (home or automotive) and see if they can source it for you. It’s one of the reasons I use blankets. The stuffing is a bit tricky to get and super bulky to store. Let me know how you do!

  7. Sam xenofou September 12, 2015 at 1:18 am #

    Yes I am an Iyengar yoga teacher in the uk and the bolsters are for my holidays in Greece. Thankn you again x

  8. theremedycycle February 14, 2016 at 6:40 am #

    This is an excellent post! Thank you so much for sharing!
    I am wondering about how much a cotton bale costs? Just trying to figure out an estimate to make 10.
    Thank you!

    • bgballroom February 14, 2016 at 8:06 am #

      Glad you like the post. I think the bales were in the $80- 85 range. That’s Canadian dollars and over a year ago. You should get 5 bolsters per bale, more or less. Getting them consistent is a challenge and I have considered weighing the stuffing rolls before putting them in the casings. If we remember to try that for the next batch, I will add that to the post.

      Would love to see yours when they are done!

      • Diane March 12, 2019 at 7:16 am #

        Ok thanks. I think I may if found something online that looks similar to yours but not sure the density. I think I need something pretty dense for the bolsters.

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