Calm. Soothed. Loved. A weighted blanket helps a child feel these incredibly necessary things, especially if your chid has sensory processing issues or high energy levels. A DIY weighted blanket, made with love, is not only a way to bond with your child but can also cut costs and learn more about caring for children with special needs.
Moreover, young children, teenagers, and adults who experience anxiety or sleep disorders can also benefit from the pressure the blanket gives, soothing our deep pressure touch receptors.
Rule of thumb: A weighted blanket should weigh 10% of the body weight with 1-2 pounds added. The blanket should not exceed 15% of the child’s body weight. If it’s for an adult, the ideal is 5-10% of the IDEAL body weight.
Step-by-Step Guide DIY Weighted Blanket
Generally, this is how this DIY weighted blankets are made: First, sew the blanket together, but leaving a side open for us to fill the blanket with polyfill pellets. Second, sew rows across the blanket one pocket at a time while filling them up with polyfill. Then, seal those pockets to make sure that the weight is evenly distributed.
(1) What do we need:
- 2 similar lengths of fabric -1.5 to 2 yards each, depending on the age and size of the child. Fabric that is soft to the touch with a hint of texture is also recommended. The one shown here is called Minky which is really popular with children
- Polyfill pellets – also depending on the weight of the child. Ideally a weighted blanket should be 10% of the child’s total weight plus an additional 1-2 pounds.
- Washable marker for the fabric
- Basic washing machine and spool of thread
Important: First, make sure your pellets are the correct weight. The total weight should not exceed 15% of the child’s weight.
(2) Sewing the basic blanket
Put the two pieces of fabric together, right side facing each other. Sew three sides of the fabric, leaving the top open. You’ll end up with a huge open bag.
Turn the blanket outside in so the right side is now showing.
(3) Divide and mark into 8
Either measure the blanket to be perfectly accurate or simply fold into eight parts. Then, start marking the folds using the washable fabric marker or pins. The marks should run across the blanket, starting from the open side down to the opposite closed side. Make sure that the open side is divided into 8. You can also mark horizontally and divide the blanket in equal parts to create squares.
(4) Sew the marks
Sew vertically down the blanket. Start with the open end and sew your way down to the opposite closed end. This is why we have these marks: you will be pouring the polyfill pellets into these long pockets across the length of the blanket.
(5) Fill in with the polyfill pellets
You can do this easier if you pour all the pellets into a big clean container and weigh them, then simply divide into eight equal parts. Each part should fill the whole vertical channel. Then you would need to further divide the polyfill pellets to fill each individual sqare pocket along the vertical channel.
First, put pellets into each of the 8 long pockets, then shake the blanket so all the pellets are down at the bottom.
Starting from one edge, sew horizontally to seal off each length and create the pockets. Do this horizontally across the blanket until all 8 channels have been sewn and you have 8 sewn pockets.
(7) Repeat number 6 until you fill the whole blanket
Repeat until you have pockets with polyfill pellets. Remember to shake the blanket each time to make sure that the pellets are at the bottom of each sealed pocket.
(8) Seal the edges
Finally, seal off the open edge by machine or by hand. Folding in the two pieces together, sew, making sure that you doubly reinforce the stitches so the pellets won’t escape. They are a choking hazard especially if the child is asleep.
Source: Kate’s DIY Weighted Blanket
10 DIY Weighted Blanket Tutorials and Ideas
(1) Love need not cost too much
When Trina wanted to buy a weighted blanket for her son Aidan, she was flabbergasted by the prices – $200!! It was just too much and, as she said, “her inner Martha (Stewart) just came out”. Going to her local store, she bought these materials and right away started planning and sewing this adorable red dino diy weighted blanket for Aidan. She even added fringes for that extra sensory touch – and her son absolutely loves it.
Materials Trina used:
- 1 Yard cotton fabric with dinosaur design – $.93
- 1 Yard flannel red – $1.04
- 2 Bags of polyfill pellets – $7.90
- 1/4 Yard fleece – $.67
The total cost of her blanket – less than $11. And she even added a fleece fringe that Aidan would rub on his face. The adorable look of joy on Aidan’s face – priceless.
(2) Comfortable weighted blanket
When MaryAnne learned that one of her sisters wanted a weighted blanket for a son who had sensory issues but found the blankets just too costly – she offered to look into it. She was after all an avid DIYer and intrepid sewer so she slept on it, read through some materials, and then designed a blanket.
Her nephew loved it. It was soothing and calming and he absolutely adored playing with his blanket. Moreover, MaryAnne’s own kids also wanted their very own weighted blankets. Taking feedback and suggestions from her readers, our diyer-slash-sewer constantly updated her tutorial and has even made her design adult-friendly.
For Kids: A weighted blanket should weigh 10% of the body weight with 1-2 pounds added. The blanket should not exceed 15% of the child’s body weight.
For Adults: The ideal is 5-10% of the IDEAL body weight. You can check charts for that, though remember that the ideal weight for adult males and females are different even if the heights are the same. Also check with your BMIs.
Tip: MaryAnne advised that for a full-size blanket, it is better to start with a comforter cover. You also do not need to fill the edges of the comforter – only the parts that cover the body. In this way, you get to cut costs especially for adults who would be using more poly-pellets.
She also suggests going to a local source for poly-pellets since those found online can be quite costly. Take a look around. And also check online for nearby sellers or by word-of-mouth.
(3) A relaxing DIY weighted blanket
CJ’s friend had a child who had autism and had asked her to make a weighted blanket. It was the first time CJ heard of weighted blankets so she started researching and making preparations. Finding out that these blankets can relax and help people who are scared, frustrated, and angry made her think a tutorial would be handy for others who also want to make their own.
(4) Husband-daughter DIY weighted blanket
Enthusiastic crafter Weeks had a husband and daughter who were truly restless. When therapists suggested that they were “sensory seeking”, her husband Bill then took measures to alleviate that restlessness. He would walk with their daughter to school rather than taking the car, and they both increased their physical activity. And then finally, both father and daughter made a heavy soothing blanket to combat the restlessness. Week’s own weighted blanket was soon to follow.
(5) Project Linus weighted blanket
Nancy – sewer, quilter, and all-around original creator, teamed up with Project Linus, a volunteer sewing program to sew weighted blankets for children with sensory disorders. For our creative sewers who find themselves with some free sewing time, Project Linus provides templates and instructions on how to make these blankets that are so necessary for children with sensory disorders.
(6) Machine-washable weighted blanket
Wondering how to make this weighted blanket machine-washable so it can grow with your kids? Bean bags. By placing the poly-fill beads inside beans bags and then sewing the bean bags in equal distance inside the blanket, the weight is distributed without filling the whole blanket or weighing it down. More than that, the blanket is bigger than needed for a small child, but as your kid grows up, unknot an end and then fill up with new bean bags.
The most important thing to remember is that the weight of each bean bag should be all the same and that each bean bag should always be equidistant to distribute the weight uniformly. The total weight of the bags and blanket should not be more than 15% of the child’s body weight.
(7) Joint project weighted blanket
Weighted blankets are a great comfort to people with autism. Ron Appell of Man Sewing, shares a tutorial for a joint project with Green Farms for Autism Awareness Month.
Source: Sewing with Love
(8) Adjustable and machine-washable DIY weighted blanket
The trick to this blanket is similar to the bean bags blanket. However, to make the blanket truly adjustable, pockets are made for the whole breadth and length of the blanket. The difference is that not all pockets have to be filled with weight – what is more important is that the weight is uniformly distributed.
Also, instead of sewing the weights inside – use velcro. This makes for easier removal of the weights if necessary. The blanket can easily be used by a child or an adult.
(9) No-sew weighted blanket
Weighted blankets are sold as therapy items, which is one reason it is so expensive. But with a “knot a quilt” kit, you can make a weighted blanket within a small budget. Something different with this weighted blanket is that instead of using poly-fill beads or rice to weigh down the blankets, river rocks were used. Adjustments were also made to make sure that the knots won’t unknot. The blanket is big enough for a child to use.
Source: DIY weighted blanket
(10) DIY weighted blanket with rice
Parents do everything they can for their children. And for parents with children who have special needs, they find ideas wherever and whenever they can. The problem with rice is that eventually, you need to dispose of it as a filling. But with this “weighted blanket” that you can slip it inside a comforter cover, thus solves the problem. A bag of rice, some Ziploc and a lot of tape later, you have a weighted blanket that you can use and then dispose of later.