DIY Weighted Blanket: Your Perfect Relaxation Aid
Weighted blankets were created to help children and adults who suffer with anxiety and similar emotional disorders. They create a sense of safety and well being, and can have a very calming and reassuring effect. They can however, also be very expensive to buy – which is why the incredibly talented Becky Cole has created a DIY weighted blanket tutorial that will take you step-by-step through the process of making your own!
Time to Make: 5-6 hours
Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
You Will Need:
- Old sheeting or cotton fabric – 2 pieces – each needs to be cut to size: 47” x 62” (118cm x 155cm)
- Cotton Batting – 2 pieces – each needs to be cut to size: 47” x 62” (118cm x 155cm)
- Plastic pellets to the required weight
- Sewing machine
- Walking foot
- Washable fabric pen
- Sewing scissors
- Tape measure
- Set square/Dressmaker’s rule
- Plastic pipe 65” (162cm) long, approx. 1/2” (12mm) diameter (water pipe is perfect for this)
- Sewing thread
- Accurate kitchen weighing scales
- Straight pins
How to Make a DIY Weighted Blanket:
Don’t be fooled by the simplistic look of the project… Although essentially the sewing techniques themselves are fairly straightforward, the necessity for accurate measuring and sewing, the process of filling the blanket, and the sheer weight of the materials to manhandle and manipulate make this a challenging and time-consuming project!
This DIY weighted blanket is fully washable according to the instructions for your particular fabrics.
The first thing you need to do is calculate the weight of your blanket. This should be approximately 7-14% of your child’s body weight. These instructions are to make a child’s blanket approximately 60” x 45” and 3kg in weight. I shall be talking in inches and grams as units of measurement throughout the instruction steps. If you wish to make a larger or heavier blanket, just adjust the measurements accordingly. You may wish to wash your fabric and batting first, before you start.
Lay one of the pieces of batting out on a large flat surface. Lay one of your pieces of cotton sheeting over the top so that you are looking at the right side of the fabric. Next, lay the second piece of cotton sheeting on top face down so that you are looking at the wrong side of the fabric. Then lay the second piece of cotton batting over the top. Make sure all the edges are lined up and there are no lumps or creases in any of the layers. Pin all the way around the four layers, taking care not to stretch the batting too much, but enough that it doesn’t bag or sag. It is worth taking your time over this step, as it will help things go more smoothly as the project progresses! Fix your walking foot to your machine and, starting an inch down from the open top edge, stitch all around the 3 sides, 0.5” in from the edge. Trim away the excess at the bottom corners.
Turn your project round the right way so that you are looking at the right side of both pieces of sheeting, and the batting is on the inside. Turn down the top edge 0.5” and pin the top edge closed. Top stitch the three sewn sides 0.5” in from the edge.
Lay your project out flat on a large flat surface and, using a tape measure and dress makers’ ruler, mark points along lines from the open end to the opposite end 2.5” apart, using erasable fabric pen. Next, mark points along lines 2.5” apart running perpendicular to the others, making sure that where the lines cross is clearly marked on the fabric.
For a blanket of this size, you should now have 18 x 24 2.5” squares. The smaller the squares, the more evenly the weight is distributed across the blanket. However, if you want to make your blanket project slightly easier and quicker to make, just mark fewer squares; for example 9 x 12 5” squares.
Stitch along the longer lines that run from the open edge to the bottom edge, making sure to catch down the folded edges at the top. You should now have 18 channels running the full length of the blanket, open at one end. Remove the pins that were holding down the folded edge.
Divide the total weight of the beads by the total number of squares (432 if you are using 2.5” squares) so for a 3kg blanket, 3000g divided by 432 = 6.9g This means we need to weigh out beads into 6.9g amounts. A tip for this is to weigh the beads to work out what volume of beads are needed and then find a small container that holds exactly that many. You can then use this to measure out your beads rather than having to weigh 6.9g each time.
Hold the blanket upright so that the open edge is at the top. Very gently insert the plastic tubing down through the first channel until the pipe touches the bottom seam of the blanket. Take care not to shove the pipe down, as you could tear the batting inside and cause the beads to lie outside of the padding. Insert the funnel into the top of the pipe and pour in 6.9g of beads. Shake the pipe to make sure the beads have travelled all the way to the bottom before gently removing the pipe. Repeat for each of the other channels. You may find this process easier with an extra pair of hands, if you have a willing volunteer!
Once you have put 6.9g of beads into the bottom of each of your 18 channels, give the blanket a sharp shake, making sure all of the beads have dropped right to the bottom. Hang your blanket over the edge of a table or chair and pin in the opposite direction to which you are going to sew (this makes it easier to remove the pins as you stitch) placing a pin along the stitch line in every pocket; this will help prevent the beads from slipping out of their little pockets while you sew. Take the blanket to your machine and sew a line of stitching along the line running perpendicularly to the channels, enclosing the beads into the bottom row of squares.
Repeat this process line by line until you have filled all of your squares with beads. Please be aware that the further up you go the blanket will get heavier and heavier, and also bulkier to sew under the machine. You may also wish to cut down the length of your pipe as you go, to make it more manageable.
When you reach the final row of beads you may wish to pin along the edge to be sewn as you fill, otherwise the beads may fall out as you go along. Once you have filled the final row of squares, sew a line of stitching along the top edge followed by a second line 0.5” in from the one you have just sewn, thus completing the top stitched border that runs around the other 3 edges. This also gives the blanket strength and durability.
Your DIY weighted blanket is now complete… all that’s left to do is snuggle up underneath it!
If you’d like to explore the rest of our sewing articles, ideas and tutorials, you’ll find plenty of projects to keep you busy right here!