A backpacking trip in northern British Columbia is something in the works for me and my husband. We love to hike and are pre-planning to see what exactly we need and how much we can get in our packs without weighing us down too much. Since we will be in-the-middle-of-nowhere I figured an emergency blanket should be a vital part of our packs.
My son recently had a superheroes themed birthday party with life-sized superhero mylar balloons. I couldn't bring myself to throw away that much material and found the perfect use for it. Turns out mylar is very easy to work with and makes for a great homemade emergency blanket! An emergency blanket helps regulate body temperature to prevent/counter hypothermia.
Fashionable too I might add. As I am shivering to death at least I will be in style!! I'm kidding.....really!
Step 1: Have a Party - Then Wait
Have a party with many small mylar balloons or a few HUGE mylar balloons! Or, save them up over time.
Wait for them to deflate or until your kids don't remember that you have new members of your household. I have to say in the middle of the night having these things lurking around the living room is kind of freaky!
Anyway, it's a good idea to get permission from your kids before cutting up their balloons!! Save yourself a tantrum!
Step 2: Dismember Superheroes
Using sharp scissors cut the balloons apart. The body parts will have seams. Try to follow the seams as to salvage the largest pieces of mylar possible.
Flatten all of the pieces.
Step 3: Cut Mylar Into Squares
Store bought emergency blankets are 52 x 84 inches. I thought I would save myself some hassle and round the size to 50 x 80 inches. This way I would need 40 ten inch squares.
Using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat cut out 10x10 inch squares until you have 40 squares.
Cutting in layers makes the process faster. Once the mylar is cut it rolls very easily. I sandwiched the pieces in a large book after they were cut to keep them somewhat flat. Rolling doesn't really matter it just keeps things more organized!
Step 4: Iron Squares
Supplies needed for assembly:
-12 inch long (or longer) piece of scrap material
Mylar bonds to itself when exposed to high heat. A household iron will fuse mylar sheets together forming a very strong bond.
Mylar will also fuse right to your iron if you don't cover it with a cloth to protect it!! Be careful! I have an iron I only use for crafts so if something gets melted it can't ruin my clothes. This is a good idea!
Layer in this order:
1. Old cloth
2. Two sheets of mylar - shiny (unprinted) sides together - The printed side of mylar will not fuse.
3. Scrap fabric covering the very edge of the mylar
I used a piece of scrap fabric that had an edge on it so I would know how far to iron onto the mylar. If your fabric doesn't have an edge draw a line 1/4-1/2 inch in from the edge to give you a guide. Doing this will keep your pieces square and rows straight.
Using an iron on the highest setting iron along the edge of the fabric covered mylar.
Peal the scrap fabric off of the mylar and the mylar off of the old cloth. Open the two pieces. Fuse another square of mylar on one end until you have eight squares in a long row.
Repeat the entire process until you have five rows of eight.
Step 5: Iron Rows
Once you have all the squares ironed together you will need to iron the rows together. Using the same technique as in step 4 fuse the rows together.
Step 6: Fold and Pack
Now that the blanket is finished it will need to be 'packable'. Fold the blanket as small as possible and place in a small resealable bag. Label for clear reference.
Since weight is an issue when packing I wanted to show that it weighs in at 2.7 ounces! Pretty good for any pack!
Now, I can just hope I never actually need to use it!!
Runner Up in the
Great Outdoors Contest