Introduction: How to Make a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are usually designed for people with autism, but there are plenty of other uses! The pressure of the blanket causes the brain to release serotonin, which is a calming chemical in the body, much like a strong hug.Weighted blankets can help people with autism, sensory disorders, insomnia, ADD/ ADHD, and Restless Leg Syndrome.
Step 1: Supplies
You will Need:
- Rotary Cutter and Board
- Large Ruler
- Iron and Ironing board
- yard stick or fabric measuring tape (for measuring fabric length)
- An empty wrapping paper roll
- A funnel with a large mouth
- binder clips (optional, but extremely helpful)
- a scale that can measure at least up to 1/10 oz. (0.1oz).
- cups or bowls to hold poly fill pellets (I recommend using something like paper cups)
- Sewing machine
- WALKING FOOT ATTACHMENT for sewing machine- Not required, but it will help a lot with the final sewing steps, and help you not to break as many needles.
I recommend using one side cotton fabric and one side flannel, as this makes a nice balance. The length of blanket is up to you, but here's the measurements of fabric needed for the two blankets I'm making in this instructable. The end size of this blanket will be about 40"x 50".
- 1 1/2 yards (54") cotton fabric (this will be on the outside)
- 1 1/2 yards (54") flannel fabric (this will be on the outside)
- 3 1/2 yards (126") of 32" muslin (get the cheap stuff. Most store have it $3-$4 a yard)
- 2 pieces of batting at least 1 1/2 yards long by 40". I use a package that is made for a twin quilt, and I can easily get my two pieces out of that
- Poly Fill Pellets: These are the "weight" in a weighted blanket. These are extremely expensive to buy most places, so I recommend getting them online. I get mine from an Etsy shop where I can get them about $2/lb. You will need as much as you want to put into the blanket. It's recommended to use about 10% of the recipient's body weight, and you shouldn't exceed about 15lbs. I suggest putting the beads into a plastic tote with a lid, they can be very messy if you spill.
Step 2: Ironing and Measuring
Wash your fabric on a gentle setting with cold water, and tumble dry low. This will prevent the fabric from shrinking after everything is sewed together. After you've washed and dried your fabric, iron out the wrinkles and creases, and use your ruler or straight edge to cut off the frayed/ uneven sides.
Step 3: The Inner Piece- Part 1 and 2
The "weighted" part of the blanket is created using two pieces of muslin. Now, other tutorials will have you put your muslin inside, then sew the columns through everything. I broke a lot of needles that way, so I found this to be a lot easier to work with.
Part 1- The Fabric
Measure both of your pieces of outer fabric (the cotton and flannel pieces from the previous step). One of them is probably going to be smaller. Use the smaller piece for this next step.
You want the inner piece to be no bigger than your smaller outer fabric. This is important when we go to sew everything together. Now, unless you managed to find super wide muslin, you will need to piece it together to get a big enough piece of fabric. Make sure to remember your seam allowance when piecing together.
When you are finished with this step (part 1), you should have two pieces of muslin that are the same size as your smaller outer fabric.
Part 2- The Grid
Now you get to draw on your muslin. This is where a yard stick can come in handy. The first thing you need to do is add 1" margins on all sides of the blanket. If you are especially good at sewing, you can try 3/4" or even 1/2" margins, but it's best to stick with 1" margins. This will be important later on.
After you have drawn your 1" margins, you will use the rest of the space to create your grid. Each square will be filled with a certain amount of beads, and this will help distribute the weight evenly. In my example, my squares were roughly 6" x6". Between 6-7 rows by 8-10 rows usually works nicely. After these are drawn, pin your fabric together and sew both long sides, one short side, and all the columns. The 3rd picture will show you what lines you want to sew. That picture was borrowed from another tutorial.
Step 4: Filling the Blanket
This is where you use your poly fill pellets, scale, cups, tube and funnel. First, determine how many oz you need to put into your blanket. You do this by dividing the number of oz into how many squares you have. Remember, there are 16oz in a pound, and the recommended final weight should be about 10-15% of the recipient's weight. For my blanket, I needed to put in 2.7oz into each square. Make sure to zero out your scale with the weight of the cup/ bowl you are using. After measuring, use the tube and funnel to direct the beads into the bottom of the correct square. After you have a row filled, pin the beads into place, and sew across. Continue this for the rest of your blanket.
Step 5: Bringing It All Together
You may need help with this step. Layer your fabric in this order- batting, outer fabric (face up), outer fabric (face down), batting, weighted piece. See the pictures to help explain. You may need help laying the weighted piece on top. This is where binder clips can come in handy. I use binder clips and pins to hold all the pieces together.
Now, you sew it all together. The easiest way to ensure you get all the pieces is to stitch like I did in the picture, with the side of the walking foot lined up with the outer line of the muslin piece. This will need to be flipped right side out, so make sure you leave enough open space to flip it. After sewing everything together, I found it helps to trim the corners, like I did in the picture. Then flip it right side out, make sure it lays flat, and hand stitch the opening closed.
Congrats, you made a weighted blanket!