Learn How To Make A Weighted Blanket On Your Own

Weighted blankets have gained popularity over the years as they help people relax and improve their sleep. Despite the benefits of such a blanket, someone might reconsider it before deciding to buy one as it costs a lot.

A grey weighted blanket

Well, luckily, you can make a weighted blanket on your own. It isn’t like sewing a button or a scrunchie. But, if you know how to make curtains or create cushion covers with zippers, then it means you’re comfortable using a sewing machine. Thus, you’ll be able to make this type of blanket. But, even if you have never used one before, you can make it as long as you follow our step-by-step weighted blanket tutorial! Ready to find out how to make your own?

What is a weighted blanket? 

As its name suggests, a weighted blanket is a heavy blanket that mimics the feeling of a hug promoting a calming effect that helps the user reduce anxiety, leading to a peaceful sleep. At first, this type of blanket was used by people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), ADHDSensory Processing Disorders,  insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome, dementia and mental health conditions. Nowadays, though, they have become a mass-market product.

These blankets work according to the principle of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) or Deep Touch Stimulus. The weight of the blanket stimulates the DTP and promotes the release of neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, which help us improve our mood and relax and send the brain signals that it is time to shut down. Their light pressure feels like getting a hug, stimulating and soothing the nervous system. That’s why weighted blankets are perfect and used a lot by occupational therapists for those who have insomnia, anxiety, and PTSD or other special needs, including children.

What fabric to use

The first thing you have to decide before making your blanket is the type of fabric you’re going to use. When choosing the fabric, there are two things you should consider: the weave and the material.

White and beige pieces of cotton and a cotton branch laid on them on a white background

Here’s a table with the materials you can use along with their pros and cons.

Cotton fabric
  • Natural, organic option
  • Breathable
  • Light enough (percale weave) or warm (flannel knit)
  • It might not be warm enough in cold weather
  • Some people, especially those with sensory disorders, can feel it scratchy
Polyester/ Minky
  • Very soft, suitable for sensory conditions
  • Warm enough for cold weather
  • Unsuitable for those who don’t like synthetic fabric
  • Non-suitable for warm climate
Rayon from bamboo
  • Very breathable and soft (often it’s even better than cotton)
  • Some weaves might be torn
  • Not all fillings are suitable for this fabric (particularly heavy ones)
  • Ultra-smooth and breathable. The perfect choice for sensory problems
  • Very delicate
  • Hard to clean
  • It needs a lining to reinforce the stuffing

Types of fillers

Weighted blankets contain fillers that help them become comfortable and heavy enough to help the user soothe. Generally, three types of fillings are used: plastic polypropylene pellets, micro glass beads and dried beans/grains or stone, available online or in craft stores. Let’s see their differences and decide which one to use for your own DIY weighted blanket.

Plastic polypropylene pellets

They’re the most commonly used fillers for weighted blankets, stuffed animals, toys, dolls and so forth. They’re also known as weighted stuffing beads as they’re tiny balls. Poly pellets are flexible enough and easy to shape while sewing into the fabric. Another plus is that they’re non-toxic so that people with sensitive skin can use them, and they are machine washable.

Someone holding plastic propylene pellets

Micro glass beads

Micro glass beads look like white sand and salt crystals. They’re eco friendly and smooth, making them the perfect alternative for those who don’t like the texture of plastic poly pellets. Plus, they’re hypoallergenic.

This filing is a bit more expensive than plastic pellets. But, because they’re heavier than poly pellets, you won’t need many to stuff your blanket. What’s more, they’re machine washable and safe to use in the tumble dryer.

Dried beans, grains or stone

They’re the cheapest fillings for your DIY weighted blankets. Big companies avoid using them as you can’t wash them in the washing machine, but they’re fine to be used on DIY projects. Also, don’t use rice to fill your blanket. It might be the most inexpensive choice; however, it can go bad and attract harmful bacteria.

How much should a weighted blanket weigh?

If you don’t know how heavy to make a blanket, there’s a rule you can follow to determine its total weight: 10% of your body weight, plus 455-910gr (for children) or 910gr-1.3kg (for adults). For example, if a child weighs 40kg, then the appropriate blanket for that child should weigh 4.455-4.910kg.

A young girl is hiding under a white weighted blanker

However, that’s just a formula, which you can alter and adapt it to your preferences. Here are three extra considerations to take into account and help you make your final decision on the desired weight and the blanket size.

  • Decide if you like pressure while being wrapped with a blanket
  • Think of your physical condition. Children and adults with less strength should use lighter blankets.
  • The purpose you’re going to use the blanket. Do you want to cover your whole body or mostly the lap? Lap-style blankets are usually heavier than the whole body ones.

How to make a weighted blanket

Once the fabric and the filling have been determined, it’s time to make your blanket. Prior to measuring and cutting is to wash the fabric to avoid any shrinkage after cutting it.

Needed tools and materials:

Steps to follow:

1. Measure the fabric

Measure the fabric and cut two equal pieces. These will be the front and back of your blanket. Lay the fabric flat and measure how much you need. Then, cut with your scissors two equal parts.

2. Make a grid with chalk

Once you cut the two pieces of fabric, lay them flat and use your measuring tape and tailor’s chalk to mark columns down the length of the blanket. Each column should have about 10cm distance, after allowing a 2.5cm margin.

Next, do the same marking horizontal lines across the vertical columns. Once you’ve done it, you should have a grid of 10 cm squares across the whole fabric. These squares are going to be the pockets to hold the fillers.

3. Sew the blanket

Once the pockets are ready, you need to sew the two pieces with the right sides and the bottom of the blanket to close, plus a 9.5mm seam allowance. Sew the two long sides and the one short side

Woman using sewing machine

Then, open the seams. Starting and ending from the open end, using your machine, topstitch 6.35mm from the end. Next, sew along the horizontal and the vertical lines—Backstitch at the beginning and the end. If you don’t have a machine, a handheld machine can work well.

4. Fill the blanket

Filling the blanket isn’t as straightforward as you may think. You need to distribute the weight evenly. To achieve that, you have to divide the number of squares by the number of grams/kilos you need to distribute. Use your kitchen scale to be accurate. Pour the fillers into the rows making sure it falls all the way down. When you fill the first row of pockets, pin the beads into place and sew. Do the same process until you fill the rest of your blanket.

Tada!!! Your DIY weighted blanket is ready! Trim any loose ends and enjoy your blanket.

EXTRA TIP: Insert your weighted blanket into a duvet cover to keep it clean.

Woman covered in weighted blanket resting on sofa

From now on, your winter nights won’t be the same again. Make a homemade weighted blanket and feel like being hugged while resting on your sofa. It doesn’t matter if you have never sewn before. Follow our step-by-step tutorial and make a blanket as if you were a professional tailor!

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