Weighted blankets are not only for the autism spectrum, but it can be used by anyone suffering from insomnia, restless muscles or high energy, ADHD, or any other sensory disorders. So, basically, the job of a weighted blanket is to induce a great night sleep in children with sensory disorders. Buying a weighted blanket can be expensive for you, and therefore, we have listed some DIY weighted blanket ideas that will save money as you enjoy.
Benefit of Using DIY Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets they say, can help the brain to release serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters) that’s known to boost mood and impart a soothing effect. According to experts, these blankets help calm down kids with super high energy levels. They can carry these weighted blankets to schools for those quiet times or simply wrap it around their body for that added soothing deep pressure into their bodies.
Basic Requirements for Making Weighted Blankets
These blankets can be made of different types of materials as per individual requirement. The material used will completely depend on the physical sensitivity of the person using it or the way it is being used. There are several options of fabric for weighted blanket around, but cotton and flannel among them appear to be the most popular options. These materials can be used on each side of the blanket if you wish.
Although weighted blankets take to be prepared, but they are definitely worth the try. However, you must use a recommended size and weight for the blanket by consulting an occupational therapist. If there’s no therapist around, then you may follow this formula suggested by weighted blanket sellers:
Take 10% of your kid’s body weight plus one pound for a small blanket, take 10% of their body weight plus two pounds for a medium blanket and 10% of their body weight plus three pounds for an adult-length blanket.
Read DIY Fire Pit.
So, let’s see how to make DIY weighted blankets and turn it into a fun activity.
- DIY Weighted Blanket Tutorial for Experienced Sewers
1 pound of white or clear smooth Quality Plastic Pellets per 10 pounds of weight for the user, plus one extra pound
- Fabric as per your choice
- Fabric length for the top of the blanket – 2.5 yds.
- Fabric length for the bottom of the blanket – 2.5 yds.
- Tape for Measurement
- A small scale
- Sewing machine
Preparing the Weighted Blanket
- Figure out the size you want. If it’s going to be a small blanket, you should make it smaller than the one that you use on your bed. The above-mentioned materials will make a blanket of size 40inches x 76inches that will fit a twin bed. If the fabric used is heavier, then you would be better off weighing it before you start and make sure that you add this weight into the total weight of your blanket.
- Once you have finalized the blanket size, assemble the right corners of the blanket together.
- Measure upto two inches in on two of the long sides and one of the short sides. Here, you must leave one side open so that you can fill in the pellets.
- Now, start sewing on the lines, and then turn the material inside out. Make the edges nice and crisp by ironing them.
- Now, prepare for filling in the pellets.
- Scale out a grid on the remaining area of the blanket. Given that you are taking 4inches off from each side of the edge, it will give you a weighted area measuring 36inches x 72inches.
- Now, partition the areas into equal sized squares. Make sure that you make them as neat as possible. For instance, if the squares are of 6inches each, it will give you a perfect six squares across the blanket and twelve squares on the upper side.
- Split the pellets into the required portions. For that, you can use the formula:
Weight of the blanket in ounces/number of squares present = number of ounces/square (16 US oz. = 1 lb). Get someone to help you measure them while you continue with the rest.
- Start sewing along the vertical lines. This will help to create channels placed six inches away from each other. Now is the time to fill in the pellets.
- Now that all the channels are ready, fill in the right portion of the pellets in each square into each of the six channels. Shake the squares a bit to settle them at the bottom.
- Go to the bottom seam and measure 6inches. Sew a straight line across the material ensuring that you seal that line containing the weighted squares.
- Repeat the seventh and eighth step till you are done with the last row of squares placed at the top of the blanket.
- Now, take the leftover fabric and fold in two inches and stitch to close the open ends. This will shut the weighted squares at the top row, and your DIY weighted blanket is ready!
- Easy Weighted Blanket Tutorial Using Polyfil
- Dinosaur Cotton Fabric – 1 Yard
- Red Flannel – 1 Yard
- Polyfil pellet bags – 2
- Coordinating Fleece for fleece fringe – 1/4th Yard
Preparing the Weighted Blanket
- Cut off any loose edges and lay out the fabric with right sides assembled. Smooth it out with ironing, and then cut off any extra ends if any.
- Use pins to pin along the sides of the blanket. You will need a lot of pins so, keep them handy. Now, sew up the three sides.
- Trim the corners to avoid bulking up. Now, turn the blanket right side out. Smoothen it out by ironing. This will make it easier to work with.
- It’s time to fill in the pellets so, determine how heavy you want it to be and how many squares you require. You can use the thumb rule of 10% of you kid’s weight. However, it’s recommended to check with a therapist or paediatrics to determine the ideal weight for your kid.
- You can make 15 squares by sewing 4 vertical lines staring from the open end and then down keeping them evenly spaced.
- Since you have 15 squares, divide your pellets accordingly. Which should be 4.3 ounces (4 pounds) equally divided. Make sure that you do not spill the pellets. Now, fill in each column of the blanket with 4.3 ounces of pellets. Shake them to make sure that they settle all the way down at the bottom of the blanket.
- Sew a horizontal line across the blanket creating squares to hold the pellets in. Carefully sew along the line making sure that you do not break your needle by sewing over the pellets.
- Keep repeating the above steps till you reach the top of the blanket and now stitch it shut it up.
- You can add soft fringes to the blanket if you wish. Take a fat strip of fleece and sew along the hem of the blanket and then trim the fringes to smoothen the edges. Your easy weighted blanket is ready to go!
- No Sew Rice Filled Weighted Blanket
- Duct tape
- Ziploc bags
Preparation of the Weighted Blanket
- Measure your rice filling, for instance, take around 1.25 cups of rice in each ziploc bag making it a total of 5 pounds.
- Now, lay everything out. This will make the entire blanket making process much easier. You can use 9 ziploc bags for a 3×3 formation. Place a duct tape each separating the bags equally.
- Fold the Ziploc bags from top and press down on top part of the tape strip. It should be centered top-bottom. Now, space the bags across creating the first row.
- Use another tape strip and fix it at the bottom of three bags. The bottom of the bags should reach the top half of the strip because the top of the next layer of three bags will go on the bottom part of the tape strip.
- Now, repeat the steps 4 and 5 till you have created the desired number of rows. You can do three rows minimum or more if you want. Then affix a final tape strip at the bottom of the three bags in the last row.
- Cover the duct tape rows with seams to seal them tight.
- Finish the four borders with vertical strips.
- Now, use long strips to cover all the rice filled bags. Using horizontal strips/ vertical (as per your choice) helps cover up the entire structure.
- Turn the blanket on the other side.
- Repeat the 9th step (covering up the bags with tapes) till its completely covered. Check out for any spaces or holes which you would need to cover up with smaller pieces.
- Seal and smooth out the edges by folding the tapes on each side, and your weighted blanket is ready to use!
- Know a Weighted Blanket Using Stones
- “Knot-A-Quilt” kit
- Smooth River Rocks – Larger ones
Preparation of knotted weighted blanket
- The target is to double up the squares making a pocket each, instead of making a huge single-layer quilt. The end result should be 6 squares by 4 squares (4ft x 2 ½ft). This will be large enough for a kid.
- The kit contains 8 squares of 8 different colours. Match them into pairs for four pockets in each colour. Place them with smooth sides facing each other while the uneven sides facing out. Now, knot every alternate tab pair on just three sides.
- The remaining tabs have to be tied for each pocket to the ones that are next to it. You have to do all the pockets on three sides which will be a time-consuming process, but once you get a hang of it, you will be able to finish one pocket in 5 minutes.
- It’s now time to fill the squares up with weight and seal them up. Using stones seem much viable in comparison to rice or dried beans that tend to grow mold over time. In fact, plastic pellets also can off-gas with time. The best part about large smooth stones is that they create a very satisfying low-pitch clack sound.
- Using an even 10 pounds seems to be a great idea. Divide the rocks into six equal piles since there are six colours in the quilt kit.
- Now divide each pile again equally between the four pockets of each colour. Seal them up and you are ready to get your weighted blanket together.
- You can choose to tuck in all the tied pairs making easier to see what you are doing.
- Arrange your tabs with the square you wish to put besides it and tie up each of the section twice that is, from bottom to bottom tab, and top to top tab. Pull each of them tight enough to make sure there’s no gap left, or the smaller rocks may slip out.
- Tie off all the tabs on the outer edge and there you go!
- Sensory Friendly Weighted Blankets
- Sewing machine
- Poly pellets
Preparation of Weighted Blankets
- Stitch the fabric from all three sides leaving one side open. For a larger blanket stich edges of the two sides along with a center steam. Now you will fill the blanket from the center out.
- Stitch vertical columns keeping them four inches apart.
- Measure out and draw on your stitch lines using a fabric marker that’s washable or a fabric pen that disappears.
- Fill in the poly pellets. You must fill each column with as many pellets you want each space to be filled with. At the same time, make sure that the finished blanket should not weigh more than 10 to 15% of the kid’s body weight and no more than 5 to 105 of an adult’s body weight.
- Now that you have filled up all the columns, stich that row and keep repeating this process till you have filled up the blanket to the top. You can make the top row about 6” tall as that makes it easier to stich the blanket closed.
- No complete the edges by either binding them together or by simply serging them.
There are umpteen diy weighted blanket tutorials online that one can refer to, but if you are looking for easy to do projects for children with sensory disorders, then these 5 tutorials can be the best bet for you.