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Want to know how to make a weighted blanket for sleep and relaxation? This article will show you how.
Originally used by occupational therapists as a sensory aid to help their patients relax, weighted blankets are now common place and much more affordable to buy.
However, many people still opt to make their own DIY weighted blanket – either because it gives it a lovely personal touch or simply because they love sewing.
And as long as you have the right materials and know how to use a sewing machine, making your own personalised blanket isn’t hard.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Before we start, it’s important to understand the basic ‘technology behind weighted blankets – i.e. how they work! Here’s a brief explanation.
Weighted blankets contain a weighted filler (most commonly poly pellets or glass beads), which are sewn into rows or ‘pockets’ within the blanket. This extra weight, often called deep touch pressure or DTP, applies gentle pressure to the body. Science suggests this ‘massage like’ pressure helps encourage the brain to release chemicals, which aid relaxation and sleep.
When making a weighted blanket, it’s important to ensure it’s the correct weight for the person who will be using it. We’ll explore how below.
Now let’s find out how to make your DIY weighted blanket.
How to Make a Weighted Blanket: What You’ll Need
To make sure you have everything to hand before you start making your homemade weighted blanket, here’s what you’ll need:
- a sewing machine
- fabric scissors/shears
- a plush or cotton fabric of choice *
- plastic Poly Pellets or Glass Beads for the filling **
- fabric pencil/chalk
- kitchen scales
- a funnel
* If you’re not sure what material to use in your DIY weighted blanket, see this Fabric Guide for some tips on how to choose a fabric
** Weighted blankets (homemade or otherwise) most commonly contain plastic poly pellets, or micro glass beads, as the weighted filling.
Poly pellets and micro glass beads are both available online at a reasonable cost. Glass beads are more expensive, but you need less of them, as they are denser than plastic pellets.
For a cheaper option, you can use organic materials such as sand, rice or dried beans, but keep in mind these will make the blanket non washable, as the substances are porous and won’t dry well. Some people also use steel shot or tiny river pebbles, but these will give a harder and lumpier feel to the blanket.
How To Make A Weighted Blanket In 7 Steps
1 – Determine weight & size of your blanket
Firstly, determine the weight and size of your weighted blanket. For weight, the ‘rule of thumb’ is 10% of your body weight for an adult and 10%, plus 1 or 2 lbs, for a child. Or use this guide to help you. For the dimensions (size) of the blanket, you might find it helpful to refer to this Mosaic Weighted Blanket Size Chart.
2 – Cut out 2 equal layers of material
Once you know the size of your blanket, cut out 2 equal layers of material. If you’re not sure what fabric to use, see ‘What Material Should I Use’ in the FAQ Section below or use this guide.
3 – Pin fabric together & sew a seam
Pin your 2 pieces of fabric together, inside out. Then sew a double seam on the bottom and sides of the blanket (so the top remains open).
4 – Mark and sew ‘rows’
Turn your fabric right side out and use a fabric pencil or marker (or chalk) to mark equally proportioned vertical lines on the fabric. Sew a seam on each vertical line so you have a number of rows.
5 – Fill your ‘rows’ with a weighted filling
Divide the weight of the poly pellets or glass beads by the number of rows in your blanket and work out how much will go in each. Use the funnel to fill to desired weight, spacing the beads as equally as you can down each row.
6 – Mark & sew horizontal lines
Now mark and sew the horizontal lines to almost the top of the blanket, leaving a couple inches free at the top.
7 – Hem and finish
Now simply hem the final edge to finish the blanket.
And voila! Congratulations, you’ve learned how to make a homemade weighted blanket.
3 DIY Weighted Blanket Tutorials
If you’d prefer a more detailed DIY weighted blanket tutorial, or you’re more of a visual learner, here are 3 popular weighted blanket video tutorials that should help you out.
1 – The Weighted Blanket: An Easy Quilting Project by Rob Appell of Man Sewing
This is a great (and highly engaging!) video tutorial on how to make a weighted blanket quilt with Poly Pellets, by Rob at Man Sewing. The quilt is designed to comfort those with autism.
2 – DIY Weighted Blanket or Weighted Duvet by SewVeryEasy
A detailed, easy to follow and well watched video tutorial on how to make your own weighted blanket/duvet from Sew Very Easy.
3 – How To Make a Weighted Blanket Tutorial by I Love My Kids
This video tutorial from a Mom Blogger at I love My Kids is super easy to follow, gets lots of great reviews and guides you through the sewing and blanket construction process step by step.
How To Make a Weighted Blanket With Rice
People often ask how to make a weighted blanket with rice. Or indeed other grains, such as barley, or pulses such as dried beans, peas or lentils.
The process is very much the same as the tutorials above – but if you’re thinking of using rice, here’s a tutorial from Martha Stewart which specifically uses rice as the weighted filler. As mentioned earlier, though, whilst rice may seem like an inexpensive option for a weighted filler, remember that it will make the blanket non washable, since rice is porous and won’t dry well.
Free Weighted Blanket Patterns
If you’d like an actual weighted blanket pattern to follow, check out this text and photo based weighted blanket tutorial from Craft Nectar.
It’s both detailed and easy to follow, plus it includes a handy downloadable weighted blanket pattern. The pattern includes details about measurements, as well as blanket construction.
How To Crochet or Knit a Weighted Blanket
The idea of a crocheted (or knitted) weighted blanket may seem a little strange at first. How is the weighted filling going to stay inside such an open weave?
Well, whilst the therapeutic effects work in the same way, crocheted and knitted weighted blankets don’t actually use a weighted filling. Instead, a heavy or jumbo yarn is used, which gives the blanket it’s extra weight.
Knitted weighted blankets can feel really luxurious, warm and homely – but you might find it a little much harder to calculate an exact weight when knitting or crocheting a DIY blanket. So make sure the blanket is suitable for the person who intends to use it.
Here are a few free patterns, tutorials and resources that show you how to crochet or knit a weighted blanket:
- Dream Big Weighted Blanket by Roxanne Yeun on Ravelry (uses finger knitting, so no extra tools required)
- How To Crochet A Weighted Blanket on Becoming Peculiar (uses T Yarn)
- Crochet Marled Weighted Lapghan Pattern (video) by The Crochet Crowd (you’ll need some crocheting experience)
How To Make a ‘No Sew’ Weighted Blanket
Whilst it’s easy to imagine your dream weighted blanket with its beautiful fabric and homemade feel, things can of course go wrong! So if you don’t feel you have enough prior sewing knowledge to make your own blanket, or you’ve fallen out with your sewing machine, ‘no sew’ weighted blankets make a practical alternative.
Try this infographic and video tutorial from Yorkville Weighted Blankets for easy to follow instructions on how to make a DIY No Sew Weighted Blanket In 7 Easy Steps. All without going anywhere near a sewing machine!
The tutorial will teach you how to make your own DIY weighted blanket, using just these few simple materials:
- Some fabric
- Duct tape
- Heavy Ziploc bag or cloth pouches
- Weighted filling of your choice (poly pellets, glass beads, beans etc)
What’s The Cheapest Way To Make a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets are much more affordable than they were a few years ago, but even making your own can prove quite costly depending on the fabric and weighted filling you choose.
So if you want to know how to make a weighted blanket that’s cheap, why not try the ‘no sew’ option (mentioned in the previous section)? You could recycle an old duvet cover for your blanket fabric and use inexpensive dried beans, or rice, for the filling (remember, though, these fillings are not washable).
Alternatively, use any of the DIY weighted blanket tutorials in this article, again with an old duvet cover and a weighted filling such as dried beans. If you want your blanket to be washable (recommended, ideally) plastic poly pellets can often be picked up pretty cheaply online.
How To Make A Weighted Blanket FAQS
Still got some questions?
Here are are some more detailed answers to a few questions you may ask yourself when planning your homemade weighted blanket.
So there you have it. How to make a weighted blanket for adults or children.
Not only do homemade weighted blankets give you complete control over your fabric and weighted filling, they also give the blanket a lovely, personalised homemade feel. This often works well for a sensory child, as it means they can select their own choice of fabric and filling.
If sewing your own weighted blanket seems a little bit of a stretch, a ‘no sew’ weighted blanket can be a good alternative to consider. Keep in mind as well, that shop bought weighted blankets are also now more affordable than they once were.
Disclaimer: Weighted blankets aren’t generally recommended for children under 6 or 7 (and never for babies). It’s also recommended you use a weighted blanket under the guidance of an occupational therapist or healthcare professional.