Weighted blankets are special blankets that help with sleep problems in children, adults, and even people with special needs. They have a soothing and calming effect that helps with symptoms of autism, ADHD, and other sensory disorders. These blankets can be expensive though, but through this DIY weighted blanket guide, you can make your very own snuggly weighted blanket.
DIY Weighted Blanket
A DIY weighted blanket may take some time and a lot of effort to make, but it is worth it. Creating a custom DIY weighted blanket can be a practical way to save money, especially for people on a budget. The process itself can also be a fun home activity for the whole family to bond over. You can get your children involved from choosing the fabric color and design, weighing the fillers, and assembling the entire blanket. Let us now show you how to make a weighted blanket.
DIY Weighted Blanket Materials
- Thick and durable fabric for the top and bottom
- Weighted stuffing beads
- A small scale
- Measuring tape
- Quality thread
- Tailor’s chalk
- Sewing machine
Assembling Your DIY Weighted Blanket
1. Determine the size of the weighted blanket
Decide what size your weighted blanket should be. A weighted blanket needs to cover the body of the user. If you want a bigger weighted blanket, go with the exact dimension of the user’s bed or lower. If you want a portable weighted blanket, make it smaller than the one you use on the bed.
Determine also the size of the squares for the weighted stuffing. The size of the squares should be a multiple of the size of your weighted blanket less 4 inches.
2. Determine the weight of the weighted blanket
Follow the general rule when deciding what weight should your weighted blanket be: 10 percent of the user’s ideal body weight plus 2 pounds. For children’s weighted blanket, make sure to consult a therapist or health experts for help on what weight is safe for the child.
Consider also the weight of the fabric as this can add a pound or two to the whole weight.
3. Sew the fabrics together for the front and back of the blanket
Using a tailor’s chalk, mark 2 inches in from both the long side and 1 inch in from one short side. Sew the fabric together with right sides in. Keep one short side open for adding the weighted stuffing beads.
4. Turn and press
After sewing, turn the fabric inside out. Press the seams flat using an iron. Topstitch ½ inch from the edge.
5. Prepare the grid for the weighted blanket filling
Use a tailor’s chalk to mark out your predetermined grid on the remaining area of the blanket. Sew all the vertical lines. It is better to sew first the center vertical line, then the next lines next to it, to prevent getting off track or have the fabric puckering.
6. Fill the bottom row pockets with weighted blanket beads
After sewing the vertical lines and making sure that there are no open lines between them, you are now ready to start putting in the weighted stuffing beads.
Make sure to weigh the proper amount of beads to place on each square. The formula to determine the weight of pellets per square is the total blanket weight divided by the number of squares equals the weight of pellets per square.
Fill the bottom row squares with the correct amount of stuffing beads. Shake the beads down and make sure the beads reach the bottom of the blanket. Some beads can stick on the fabric, so feel for any stray beads and push them down to their respective squares.
7. Sew horizontally across the filled row
Seal the row filled with beads by sewing the marked horizontal line. Use pins to hold down the beads in place and push any stray beads out of the way as you sew. This way, you can avoid sewing over one of the beads.
8. Fill in and sew other pockets
Repeat steps 6 and seven until you have reached the last squares at the top row. Make sure to keep stray beads out of the sewing line to avoid breaking your needle. As you progress, the weighted blanket will get heavier and will pull as you sew, so make sure to support the weight of the blanket.
9. Sew the open end of the blanket
When you filled the last row of squares, sew the last horizontal line to seal it. After that, fold in the leftover fabric and then topstitch it shut. You now have your very own DIY weighted blanket.
How to Choose Weighted Stuffing Beads
There are different types of fillers or weighted stuffing beads that you can choose. Among the commonly used fillers are plastic poly pellets, micro glass beads, and steel shot beads.
Plastic Poly Pellets
Plastic poly pellets are a popular choice as weighted blanket fillers. As it is from ABS virgin plastic, it is safe and nontoxic. Weighted blankets with poly pellets are also washable.
A disadvantage of using plastic beads for weighted blankets is the faint rustling it produces when you move the sheet. A thicker fabric or a cotton stuffing added with the poly pellets can help minimize the noise.
Micro Glass Beads
Micro glass beads are much smaller than plastic poly pellets. As they have a consistency similar to sand, glass beads lay more smoothly on the body. As they are smaller and denser, a weighted blanket filled with micro glass beads is thinner compared to ones filled with plastic poly pellets.
Micro glass beads are fragile and prone to breaking or chipping. A broken bead can lead to the fabric tearing because of its sharp edges. Since micro glass beads are tiny, make sure that the stitch you are going to use can secure the beads and will not result in leakage.
Steel Shot Beads
Steel shot beads are larger and heavier than micro glass beads. Thus, a weighted blanket filled with steel shot beads is also thinner. As these beads are larger, you will not worry about them leaking through the stitches. Compared to glass beads, steel shot beads are not prone to breaking. Steel shot beads are also washable and are usually dryer safe as they have a high-temperature rating.
A disadvantage, though, is that they also produce a rustling sound and can be a bit lumpy because of their size.
A cheap alternative to the other weighted fillers is organic fillers: grains, stones, and sand. They are readily available and are excellent choices budget-wise.
However, these organic fillers are prone to decaying and have an expiration period. They can create molds and even attract insects towards the blanket. When wet and not dried properly, they can get lumpy, which then would damage the weight distribution on the blanket.
How to Choose Fabric
Just like on regular blankets, there are loads of fabric options you can choose for your weighted blanket. However, the fabric should be strong and durable enough to be able to hold the weight of the weighted fillers.
Cotton is a popular choice for a weighted blanket. When buying a cotton fabric, be aware that there are organic and conventional varieties. Organic cotton is a safer choice, as they do not contain chemical pesticides that can be harmful to health. There is also a mix of organic and conventional variety that is a cheaper alternative for organic cotton.
Minky is the fabric for baby products because of their soft and plush characteristics. It is also a great fabric to partner with plastic poly pellets as its thickness can reduce the rustling noise the pellets create. If washed and cared for properly, the minky will retain its softness for a long time.
Minky is super warm though so it is not great for summer and for people who have heat sensitivities.
Just like minky, flannel is an excellent fabric to partner with plastic poly pellets and also with steel shot beads. Because of its thickness, it can mask the noise from plastic poly pellets and the lumpiness of steel shot beads. Plastic poly pellets tend to stick on the flannel fabric a lot, so be attentive of stray beads when pouring plastic poly pellets onto your flannel fabric.
Why Make Your Own DIY Weighted Blanket
Inexpensive alternative to commercial ones
A weighted blanket can be expensive and heavy on the budget. Weighted blankets for kids run about $150 a piece. Add to that the cost of shipping if you are going to purchase it online. If you are tight on budget and have the skills and resources to make your weighted blanket, then you should go for it.
You can choose your fabric and design
There are times when the weight and size of the weighted blanket are perfect for you, but you do not like the color, or you are sensitive to its fabric. Why force yourself into buying that grey weighted blanket for your child when you can make a more colorful one? You will also be able to experiment and choose the fabric to your liking.
You can customize the weight and size according to your preferences
Not all commercial weighted blankets come in the exact weight and size that is comfortable for you. With a DIY weighted blanket, you can add or subtract a few pounds depending on what works for you. You can also sew the size that fits your body frame precisely.
You do not have to worry about trial periods and warranties
Finding the perfect weighted blanket requires trial and error. Some manufacturer who sells weighted blankets offers a trial period and warranty for their weighted blanket while others do not. But with a DIY weighted blanket, you do not have to worry about the trial period or warranty ending as you can customize your weighted blanket at the comfort of your home.
How to Care for Your Weighted Blanket
Making a weighted blanket is an expensive and not so easy task. It is, therefore, best to know how to take proper care of your weighted blanket.
Consider the water temperature when washing your weighted blanket
Consider the fabric type before washing your weighted blanket. Warm water works for most fabric types, but for fabrics like minky, warm water can affect its softness.
If you have plastic poly pellets, do not wash them on warm or high-temperature water as the pellets can melt. Glass beads and steel shot beads, however, are generally safe to clean on the warm water.
Do not mix the weighted blanket with other fabric
Washing your weighted blanket with different fabric can cause abrasion. Abrasion can affect the quality and texture of the fabric, so it is best to clean it separately.
Washing a 20-lb weighted blanket
For weighted blankets weighing 20 pounds or more, it is best to have them cleaned at your local Laundromat. Your washer can get damaged from the wear and tear caused by the weight of a weighted blanket.
Hand wash if possible
The best way to clean delicate fabrics is through hand washing. Do this by filling a tub with warm water and mild laundry detergent. Submerge the weighted blanket entirely in the water and gently knead each section of the blanket. Rinse the blanket by draining the used water and pouring another fresh set of water in the tub until there is no more soap residue left on the blanket.
Drying the weighted blanket
You can either hang dry or tumble dry your weighted blanket. If you are going to tumble dry, do it at low heat cycle. Drying at high temperatures can damage the softness and quality of the fabric. You can also hang your weighted blanket dry on a sturdy clothesline. Do not hang on one end as this can put strain and damage the seams of your weighted blanket.
Add a removable cover on your weighted blanket
Frequent washing causes wear and tear on your weighted blanket. To keep your weighted blanket clean and reduce the washing frequency, add a removable cover. A removable cover is thinner, lighter, and easier to wash. It is also less expensive to replace compared to the weighted blanket itself.