For those of you who have recently discovered weighted blankets, they are self-explanatory. A blanket with additional weight that forms part of the inner stuffing, they are available in a variety of weights & sizes and have a number of known benefits for both children and adults.
Recommended by occupational therapists around the world, for their calming and soothing abilities, weighted blankets are often used as a comforting method for those living with a wide variety of disorders, including:
- Stress & Anxiety
Two of the main ways in which weighted blankets offer therapeutic support to those looking for relief from the symptoms associated with these conditions, include their ability to calm the nervous system and help your body to release the mood boosting chemical, serotonin. The way in which weighted blankets achieve this is through DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy), where they evenly distribute weight across the body, applying gentle pressure, which many describe as similar to a hug.
To buy a weighted blanket, you are looking at a cost upwards of $125, depending on its weight. However, in our step by step tutorial below, we will show you how to make your very own custom weighted blanket at a fraction of the cost.
Materials and getting started
Before you get started making your weighted blanket, you are going to need to calculate the appropriate weight of your blanket. This is dependent on the person you are making it for.
To calculate your blanket’s weight, you will need to work out 10% of the person’s body weight. The optimum weight of a weighted blanket should be between 5 – 10% and no more than 15%.
You will also need to calculate the size of your blanket in order to work out how much fabric will be required. As a guide, you should need between 1 – 2 yards for a 36” x 60” blanket.
Once you have calculated the ideal weight of your blanket you will need to gather the following tools and materials.
• Sewing machine
• Fabric marker
• Weighing scales
• Poly pellets*
*Note – alternative weighted blanket fillers – If you would prefer not to use plastic poly pellets as part of your weighted blanket there are many alternatives, including: rice, glass beads, small pebbles, sand, or steel beads. Read our weighted blanket filling guide.
Step by step tutorial to make a weighted blanket
- Cut your fabric into two pieces (for the top & bottom of your blanket), according to size.
- Place your two pieces of fabric together (with the outer side of your fabric facing inwards).
- Using your sewing machine, sew along three sides of your blanket, leaving one end open (we will refer to the open end as the top of the blanket). Top tip: When sewing your pieces of fabric together, leave between ¼ – 1 inch seam allowance, depending on the fabric you are using.
- You can now flip your blanket so that the right side of your fabric is facing outwards. Top tip – If you feel it is needed, now is a good time to iron your fabric.
- Next, you need to work out how many squares your blanket is going to have. Using a fabric marker and ruler, mark out evenly spaced rows and columns across your blanket. Top tip – Make sure your columns are wide enough to fit your arm inside, in order to stuff the blanket with your filler. This may vary but anywhere between 6 – 7 inches per column should be sufficient.
- Using your sewing machine, sew along your blanket’s columns, leaving at least two inches of space before you reach the top of your blanket (the open end). Don’t start sewing up the rows yet!
- Before you start stuffing the blanket with your filler, you will need to calculate the weight of filler required per square. To do this, you should divide the total weight of your blanket by its number of squares.
- Having weighed out your filler per square, you can now add the filler down each column, for the first row of squares.
- Go back to your sewing machine and sew along the first row to finish the squares that you have just stuffed.
- Repeat steps eight and nine until you have filled all the squares in your blanket.
- When you come to sewing up the top of your blanket (the open outer edge), before sewing, fold the edges of the fabric inwards approx. 1 – 2 inches and sew along the edge to create a tidy seam.
There you have it! In just 11 easy steps you will have created a beautiful, bespoke weighted blanket for either yourself a child or loved one to enjoy, helping them to feel at ease and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
For those of you with a few questions about making a weighted blanket, see below a selection of regularly asked questions:
How long will it take to make a weighted blanket?
Depending on your sewing skills, it can take, on average between one – two hours to make a weighted blanket, subject to you having all the tools and materials to hand.
What are the best fabrics to use for a weighted blanket?
There are many fabrics you could use for your weighted blanket. However, cotton or satin – cotton is ideal for an easy to clean and breathable option, whereas fleece and minky are perfect if you want to create an extra-warm and soft weighted blanket.
How do I care for my weighted blanket?
Take into consideration that your weighted blanket is heavy and it is important to check the maximum load of your washer/dryer before washing your blanket at home.
If you choose to use a traditional plastic poly pellet filler, you should have no issues washing your blanket and provided that they are heat resistant, you will be able to dry it on your dryers lowest setting.
However, if you decide to use an alternative filler for your blanket, do remember to take into consideration how you are going to clean and dry your blanket. For example, it won’t be possible to wash your blanket if you use rice as a filler and air drying is recommend for a non-heat resistant fillers i.e. steel or glass beads.
We hope this guide to making a weighted blanket at home has been useful and that you and your family can enjoy the benefits of your blanket for years to come.