Sensory Mats or Fidget Blankets provide a soothing and stimulating activity for people living with dementia or recovering from strokes.
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Sensory Mats or Fidget Blankets provide a soothing and stimulating activity for people living with dementia or recovering from strokes.

The size of your fidget blankets is up to you; the dimensions below make a lap mat as per the photo that can be tied at the waist or positioned on a table with velcro.

What you need

  • Volunteers and sewing machines. Not all volunteers need to know how to sew; they can decorate, cut fabric, and separate items for personalised mats.
  • Decorations: Leftover wool, strings, buttons, zippers, buckles, bells, fabric in different textures, soft toys, squishy and squeaky items, key rings, beads, and more.
  • Stiff stabilizer, fusible on both sides. – 1 piece 24 X 19 inches or 56 X 47 cm
  • Fabric - 2 pieces (front and back) - 24 X 19 inches or 56 X 47 cm


  • Lay first piece of fabric right side up on a table
  • Lay second piece of fabric, right side down (on top of first fabric)
  • Lay stabilizer on top of fabrics
  • Sew around and leave one side open
  • Turn fabric layers inside out
  • Now you have the interfacing between the two layers of the mat fabric
  • Finish mat’s open side by folding inwards and sewing shut.
  • Iron the mat well to allow the interface to fuse
  • Sew all around the 4 sides of the mat once more to finish the base.


Use your imagination; anything interesting and safe is suitable. Decorations should be securely attached to fabric for safety reasons.

For example: Sew on a zipper, attach buttons, make a button hole for large buttons with button flaps, sew in a bunch of wool strands (about 7 inches/18cm - to be braided); attach belt and buckle, sew in a fluffy piece of fabric and leather, attach pom-poms, squish toys, and more. Attach soft toys, sew in a little pocket, large colourful beads, key ring and attach it to mat.


  • Mats may be personalized, e.g. if the client was a hairdresser, attach things she would recognise and enjoy to touch.
  • You may wish to make it into an apron by placing ribbons on the sides.

Remember that people living with dementia must be supervised.

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Comments   Post a Comment

Nicole Grimm 5th Feb 2024
Hi, is it ok to make the blanket without the stabilizer? Should you use thicker fabric without the stabilizer? Thanks!

Diana Micalson 29th Dec 2023
We find that the size needs to be closer to 24" x 36" so as to also keep a lap warm for many people. Some folks just naturally sit with their knees comfortably apart. Items can also be strategically placed along the 1 long edge and 2 short edges to keep them more secure, or the fidget boxes can be limited to the lap top with wide trim around the 3 edges.
Susan 29th Dec 2023 Activity Director
Hi Diane
Thank you for your information
Helen 21st Aug 2023
Where can I send fiddle mats to dementia patients in Maryland?
Susan 23rd Aug 2023 Activity Director
Hi Helen
I am sure there are members from Maryland
What a nice offer you made
Susan 20th Mar 2023 Activity Director
Hi Annie
You may want to incorporate these no sew blankets
Annie Hawker 20th Mar 2023
I don't sew, so can I knit or crochet fiddle blankets?
Teresa Cassity 8th Jan 2023
When making the blankets for the elderly is polka dot material ok and bright colors?
M 14th Dec 2022
Thank you so much for the inspiration! I made one for my partner's grandmother with slightly different activities (a crocheted bunny that she could tuck in to bed, a pouch pocket taken from a fluffy jacket with hidden things inside, and some bouncy string things). She seems to love it. Always something new for her to find. Really appreciative. Best wishes!
Susan 19th Dec 2022 Activity Director
Hi, M
That was so nice of you
Thank you
Ma 25th Oct 2022
I would like the pattern as I would like to make some fidget blankets for our old folks home here in Northam Western Australia
Karen Collins 19th Jul 2022
Is it possible to have the pattern please for the twiddle blankets as my local ED department is desperate for some x
Thank you Karen Collins
Susan 19th Jul 2022 Activity Director
Hi Karen
I do not have a pattern but someone may share one otherwise perhaps you could make up your own or someone else could help
Lorna Falconer 26th Mar 2022
Is it OK to crochet a fidget blanket ?
Edelgard Friesen 4th Mar 2022
Please send the pattern for sewing and for knitting or crochet to my email . I just love the simplicity . Thank you . Edelgard
Teresa 20th May 2021 Life Enrichment Coordinator
Thanks for the instructions! I have been wanting to make some of these
Talita 24th May 2021
You are most welcome Teresa!
Judy Macaulay 18th Apr 2021
Quota Beenleigh Inc. has a newly formed Handcraft Project group (I’m the Coordinator). We would like to make fidget cloths etc for both disabled and dementia sufferers. Can you please give me guidelines regarding safety and construction that I can pass onto our members and community helpers?
Nasrin 25th Aug 2020 Lifestyle
Hi ,I would like to make one for our memory support community ..any ideal suggestions how I can start with?
If any pictures would help me?
Anyone have any clue please drop your idea for me would be appreciated
BreAnne Boyle 10th Mar 2020
Wouldn’t it be easier to decorate the top fabric before sewing together?
Solange 10th Mar 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Breanne, yes, you can decorate before as long as supervision is adequate. The reason we recommend to decorate after is for safety reasons. Some people in the later stages of dementia are fidgety and may pull out the decorations ( buttons, beads, key-rings) which could end up in their mouths. Securing decorations over various layers makes it difficult for clients to pull. Thank you for your inquiry.
Margaret Mc Quillan 28th Jan 2020
What is the ideal size to knit a fiddle blanket please.?
Solange 28th Jan 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi, Margaret. It depends on the wool ply you use. For instance, bulky/chunky wool
need thicker needles. The best is to pick a yarn and make samples with two or three different needles. Thinner needles will make tight samples and thicker needles soft, malleable samples.

Australia U.K. U.S.
5.5 5 9 - 10 - 11
Deborah walker 24th May 2019
Are certain colours better for twiddle muffs I seem to remember someone telling me that colour was important to people suffering with dementia ???
Solange 28th Jan 2020 Diversional Therapist
Yes, black and white are said to be better for people with advanced dementia.
Betty Martin 7th Jan 2019
Do you use twiddle muffs as well? I have a few ready to go if you would like them
Talita 8th Oct 2018
Thanks Janet! We would love to see a pic when you are finished!
Janet 7th Oct 2018
Love the simplicity of your instructions. I can't wait to make a sensory blanket for my grandma.
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