Want to know how to make a weighted blanket for sleep and relaxation? This article will help.
Let’s face it, we all need quality sleep, especially our kids.
But many kids are finding it increasingly hard to relax and get the quality sleep they need.
In fact, there’s been a dramatic rise in children with sleep disorders recently and a huge rise in prescription medications.
But if, like many parents, you’re reluctant to turn to prescription drugs to help your child sleep, or have a child with autism, ADD or ADHD, you may find weighted blankets an effective tool for relaxation and sleep.
Weighted blankets come with a whole range of benefits and can be used by adults, as well as children.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets apply gentle pressure to the body (a bit like a gentle massage or hug!), which encourages the brain to release the chemical serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and also converts to melatonin, an essential hormone associated with relaxation and sleep.
There are many wonderful weighted blankets on the market, but some are quite pricey, so learning how to make a weighted blanket can be a great alternative.
This not only gives a lovely personal touch to the blanket, it can be comforting for a child, or loved one, to know you’ve made the blanket with your own fair hands…
OK, let’s find out how to make a DIY weighted blanket.
How to Make a Weighted Blanket In 8 Simple Steps
If you’ve got a bit of experience at sewing, making your own weighted blanket isn’t as hard as you might think.
Most weighted blankets contain plastic poly pellets or glass beads, so you’ll need to invest in some of these, but they’re readily available online at a reasonable cost. For a cheaper option, you can also use rice, but keep in mind this will make the blanket non washable, as rice is porous.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own weighted blanket at home in just 8 steps:
How To Make A Weighted Blanket – What You’ll Need:
- a sewing machine
- fabric scissors/shears
- a plush or cotton fabric of choice (see ‘What Material Should I Use’ in FAQ Section below for some tips)
- plastic Poly Pellets or glass beads for the filling (you can use rice but this makes the blanket non washable)
- fabric pencil/chalk
- kitchen scales
- a funnel
How To Make A Weighted Blanket: Instructions
- Determine the size and weight of your weighted blanket. You can use this guide from Mosaic Weighted Blankets to help you.
- Once you know the size of your blanket, cut out 2 equal layers of material. If you’re not sure what material to use, see ‘What Material Should I Use’ in the FAQ Section below.
- Pin the 2 pieces of fabric together, inside out.
- Sew a double seam on the bottom and sides of the blanket (so the top remains open)
- Turn 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.
- Divide the poly or glass beads by the number of rows in your blanket and work out how much will go in each. Fill to desired weight, spacing the beads as equally as you can down each row.
- Now mark and sew the horizontal lines to almost the top of the blanket, leaving a couple inches free at the top.
- Hem the final edge to finish the blanket.
And voila! You’ve made your very own weighted blanket.
3 Recommended DIY Weighted Blanket Tutorials
If you’d prefer a more detailed DIY weighted blanket tutorial (complete with visuals) here are 4 weighted blanket tutorials I really like, which you might like to try:
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 simple quilt weighted with Poly Pellets, by Rob at Man Sewing. This quilt is designed to comfort those with autism.
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.
Weighted Blanket Tutorial By Craft Nectar
This text and photo based weighted blanket tutorial from Craft Nectar is both detailed and easy to follow, plus it includes a really handy downloadable weighted blanket pattern.
No Sew Weighted Blanket Tutorial By Yorkville Weighted Blankets
If you’re not a fan of sewing, check out this video tutorial from Yorkville Weighted Blankets.
You’ll learn how to make your own weighted blanket, using just a few simple materials. And all without having to go anywhere near a sewing machine or needle!
Still got some questions?
Here are some commonly asked questions about DIY weighted blankets you might find useful when planning and making your blanket.
How To Make A DIY Weighted Blanket FAQS
How Much Should My Blanket Weigh?
As a guide, therapists usually recommend that a weighted blanket for kids be 10% of the body weight plus 1 or 2 pounds. For adults 10% of the ideal body weight is usually recommended. For older children, teenagers and adults this can feel quite heavy, so always consult a healthcare professional or licensed therapist if you’re not certain which weight and size is right for you or your child.
Always keep in mind, as well, that the blanket needs to be heavy enough to provide deep touch pressure, but not so heavy that it becomes a potential safety risk during sleep.
According to Harkla Weighted Blankets:
‘Infants, babies, and some toddlers should not use weighted blankets because they lack the motor skills and strength to manoeuvre a weighted blanket off them should the need arise.’
What Fabric Should I Use To Make My Weighted Blanket?
Generally, people use either a plush fabric, such as minky dot or fleece, or a more breathable option like 100% cotton.
Essentially, it comes down to the individual, but as a guide if you want a soft and warm blanket, try fleece or minky. These fabrics are tactile and cuddly, but not as breathable as cotton or linen fabrics. They are also often heavier, so take the weight of the fabric into account when determining how heavy your blanket should be.
If you (or the person the blanket is for) is prone to getting too hot (or they don’t like man made fibres) a more breathable 100% soft cotton is quite likely a better option.
For people who are sensory, need to sleep at a certain temperature, or wake easily if the bed isn’t just right, a more breathable 100% cotton blanket may also be the better option. 100% cotton releases body heat more efficiently than plusher fabrics and will adjust better to the temperature of the room.
Where Can I Buy Polly Pellets?
You can buy plastic Poly Pellets from a number of places online. Try Amazon, Ebay and Etsy.
If you live in the UK, Poli Plastic Pellets offer a wide selection of plastic pellets, available in either smaller bags or in bulk.
With regards to glass beads, they tend to be less readily available, but you can usually get them fine on Amazon.
Should I Use Glass Beads or Plastic Poly Pellets?
Again, this comes down to preference – poly pellet beads are more tactile and feel a bit like tiny pebbles, whilst glass beads are much smaller and have a texture closer to sand or sugar.
Unless you’re highly sensitive, the plastic beads are not likely to bother you when sleeping though. For those who are very sensitive, glass beads are a alternative option.
Glass beads are also a good choice if you’re not a fan of plastic.
Here’s a video explaining the difference between plastic poly pellets and glass beads in more detail:
So there you have it, how to make your very own weighted blanket for kids or adults. I hope you found this article useful and find much comfort in your weighted blanket.
Disclaimer: Weighted blankets aren’t generally recommended for children under around 6 or 7 (and never for babies). Always consult a healthcare professional or licensed therapist for advice, before using a weighted blanket as an aid for treatment of any specific disorder.