DIY Weighted Blanket - How To Guide

DIY Weighted Blanket

Making your own weighted blanket may sound like an intimidating ordeal. But by the end, you'll realize it's worth the effort. Homemade weighted blankets are becoming quite popular primarily because of their benefits. Whether it's anxiety or insomnia that's giving you restless nights or just like the fantastic cozy hug of a gravity napper, these blankets are an excellent self-care solution. 

In fact, the extra thickness distributes deep touch pressure evenly across the entire blanket to your body. The pressure is therapeutic and gives you a calming effect for better sleep throughout the night.

Weighted blankets are among the most expensive high-end sleep products on the market. So instead of paying loads of cash for a new weighted blanket, why not make one for yourself? If you like the challenge DIY projects come with, you'll enjoy the DIY weighted blanket as outlined in this article.

Why DIY?

Weighted blankets are among the most sought-after blankets because of their numerous world-class benefits, such as stress relief. As previously mentioned, these blankets are pricey, and some of them may not fit some users' preferences. That's why other people prefer homemade blankets. 

Because of its therapeutic calming effect, most physiotherapists recommend it to patients with PTSD, autism, and RLS (restless leg syndrome). 

Making your own DIY blanket shouldn't feel like rocket science. Essentially, all you need is basic experience with a sewing machine. Having a weighted blanket as part of your bedding arsenal gives you a better feel and knowledge of the product. Moreover, the process allows you to make use of the best materials on a budget. 

How to Make your Own Weighted Blanke 

Depending on the fabric material, pattern design, filler types, and other aspects, the steps for making weighted blankets vary. The difference, though, isn't that significant whether you want to make a heavier or a lighter blanket. 

How Heavy Should the DIY Weighted Blanket be?

Generally, when purchasing a weighted blanket, it's recommended you choose an option that's 10% of your body or the intended user's body weight. The same applies to making a DIY weighted blanket. Also, you can consult with an occupational therapist to determine the appropriate weight. 

After you've determined the total weight of the final weighted blanket, the next step is to determine how many ounces it weighs. Then after, subtract the fabric weight. Then divide the result by the number of squares on the weighted blanket. The resultant weight is equal to the amount of weight for each square of the blanket.

What Should be the Weighted Blanket Size?

When determining the size of your DIY weighted blanket, keep in mind that its size doesn't have to be large like a quilt or a comforter. You shouldn't aim to cover the mattress but instead cover the intended user. More importantly, you'll need to saw in squares to withhold the fillers inside. 

The appropriate measurements for the square area should be between 3 and 5 square inches. This means that all the fabric measurements should be multiple of square size. However, you should add 4 inches for the edges. For Instance, a DIY weighted blanket with squares measuring 3 square inches should be 37 inches wide and 61 inches Long. That means the width results from 3 x 11 + 4, equating to 37 square inches, and the length is 3 x 19 + 4, equating to 61 square inches.

Best Fabric Materials for Making a Weighted Blanket

Advisably, pick a soft and durable fabric material that can effectively withstand the blanket's overall weight. Common options to pick from include; flannel, cotton, and microfiber. 

If you're having trouble sleeping due to conditions such as ADHD, pain disorders insomnia, among others, it's best to choose a fabric that suits your preferences. For instance, if you or your family member is sensory sensitive to fleece, it'll be pointless trying to calm such a person with a fleece blanket.

If you reside in colder places, a Minky material would be the best choice. Breathable fabrics are also suitable for hotter climates. More importantly, it's best to check with the intended user in case of any sensory sensitivities.

Types of Fillers to Use to Give the Blanket its Weight

Fillers are an integral part of a fully functional weighted blanket. A considerable percentage of the deep therapeutic pressure touch exerted by the blanket on the body comes from the fillers. Commonly used fillers in making a DIY weighted blanket include;

Plastic Propylene Pellets

Plastic pellets are the most popular and traditional fillers for weighted blankets. Plastic poly pellets have a small pebble-like appearance, plus they make any typical weighted blanket machine washable. Like plastic polycarbonate, these fillers are readily available at your local craft store. Also, you can purchase them on online platforms like Amazon.

Plastic Polycarbonate

These plastic poly beads are one of the inexpensive fillers options and are readily available at your local craft stores and supermarket. The upside of using these fillers is that they don't melt in hot water, plus they make washing the weighted blanket relatively easy. The downside, however, is that poly beads can be a choking hazard for kids aged below 5 years. 

Micro Glass Beads

Aside from plastic pellets, glass beads are the most commonly used fillers on store bought weighted blankets. The difference between these two is glass beads are much smaller than plastic poly pellets. However, they ensure the weight evenly distributed across the blanket is also equally distributed on the body. Glass beads are a bit hard to come by and are even more expensive. This explains why most store bought blankets with micro glass beads filler are more pricey than plastic poly pellets filler variety.

Stones, Grains, and Dried Beans

The cheapest way to add extra filler blanket weight to your homemade weighted blanket is using either aquarium stones, grains, or even dried beans. Though great options for someone on a budget looking to make a gravity napper, they are not commonly used fillers by big companies. The consequence of using these fillers is you can't wash the blanket. Otherwise, organic fillers like beans or rice can easily rot after washing, leaving your blanket with a nasty bug-attracting smell.

Steel Beads

Steel beads provide consistent weight distribution, especially for heavier blankets. Since they are heat treated, they make the blanket easy to clean. Steel beads are best for making a blanket heavier. If used on thinner blankets, it may create uncomfortable bumps and lumps that may interrupt your sleep comfort. Moreover, they may be noisy, given their sizes, due to metallic clinking. 

What You Will Need to Make the Blanket

To make the best custom-made weighted blanket, you'll need to assemble the right materials for the task. They include; 

Tools:

  • A sewing machine
  • A tailor's chalk
  • Pair of scissors
  • Pins
  • Kitchen scale
  • Measuring tape

Materials: 

  • Weighted blanket fillers
  • Sewing thread
  • Durable fabric material for the back and the front

Step by Step Guide to Making a Weighted Blanket 

After confirming you have all the appropriate equipment and determining the weight and size of the blanket, proceed to sew the back and the front part together. Do this by marking 2 inches from the fabric edge. Depending on the square size of your choice, mark a grid of squares. But ensure there's a ⅜ inch horizontal center seam. Sew one short side of the blanket to Its 2 long sides. But remember to leave the top open. 

Turn the weighted blanket inside out, then open the seams. Measure a short distance from the blanket edge, then proceed with top stitching of about ¼ inches. Next, starting from the open side, measure 2 inches along the marked lines, then 2 inches from the edge of the fabric along the marked lines, and start sewing. Sew the two longer sides and the bottom. From there, Backstitch from the beginning to the end. In the end, you should have a weighted square grid within the inner topstitching.

Sewing the Vertical Channels

On the marked lines, ensure you've sewed the vertical Channels. Begin stitching at the edge of the closed bottom part but over the vertical lines, about 2 inches from the topstitching inner side. Proceed to stitch all the way to about the 2-inch mark. Don't forget to backstitch at the end and the beginning. To properly sew these lines, begin at the center by sewing the lines at the center of the section. Not only will this prevent bunching, but it also allows uniform linear sewing. 

Fill the vertical Chanel with your preferred fillings —in this case; it's Glass Beads

Using a measuring cup, scoop a measured amount of beads the place them in the vertical Chanel. Remember, the scooped beads should be of the right weight depending on the square numbers in that particular channel. Shake the channel to level out the beads in it. Based on your choice of material, some beads may stick to the channel. But don't fret about it because it happens.

Horizontal Sewing Across the vertical Channels

Using the pins, keep the beads in place by forming a line. Away from this line, mark the squares for the horizontal line to avoid sewing accidentally over the beads, as it might break the needle. As you sew the marked horizontal line, firmly support the blanket's Weight to prevent it from pulling the stitches. Remember to push away stray beads as you feel the marked lines as you go. In case of any obstacle along the way, it's probably a bead. Repeat the procedure for filing the vertical channels with your filler, then sew them horizontally. That ensures the square-filled rows are closed off. 

Topstitching the Open end side

Sew the final row of the closed squares after reaching the top. Ensure that this stitching meets up with the inner topstitching line, and it should overlap a little bit. 

Measure about ½ an inch of the edges, then fold them. Remember to start and end where the topstitching is on the blanket's sides. Notably, the topstitching should stand at ¼ inches from the edge. 

Tips to Note

  • If possible, make your homemade blanket a separate blanket cover
  • Ensure you've made accurate measurements and calculations so that the final weight is either less or more by a pound. 
  • The blanket's removable cover should be made of an easily washable fabric. 
  • Avoid using materials and fillers that may be choking hazards to kids, especially children aged below 3 years.
  • The material you've chosen should be non toxic to avoid any health risks or sleep discomfort.
  • If your child is the intended user, consider sewing an elastic pouch on the weighted blanket for their favorite toys they like to sleep with.
  • When sewing, locate where the pins are and beware of breaking needles. Above all, be careful and keep your fingers out of harm's way.

Pros and Cons of a Homemade Weighted Blanket

Making a weighted blanket that assures you of better sleep nights over the coming few years is no easy feet. Before embarking on your DIY project, be sure to weigh first the pros and cons outlined below to determine if it'll suit you. 

Pros: 

  • Compared to purchasing a new blanket, making one is relatively easy
  • Allows you to make your blanket according to your personal preference. For instance, you can accurately measure the desired weight

Cons:

  • Depending on the material used to make the blanket, it may not last compared to a commercial one
  • Those with less than minimum sewing skills may find the DIY project a bit challenging

Commercially made weighted blankets offer tremendous sleep benefits compared to homemade ones. Primarily this is because most are built in collaboration with sleep professionals. 

Preferably, it's wise to purchase a weighted blanket than make one for yourself if you're looking for long-term sleep benefits. Since the industry is flooded with a wide range of options, most weighted blankets come at a reasonable price point. 

Final Thoughts 

Making a weighted blanket isn't that hard. Maintaining it, on the other hand, is something else entirely. Remember that frequent washing can make the weighted blanket less durable. You should purchase a separate blanket cover that's easy to clean. Alternatively, you can use a stain or water-resistant material for the outer layer that's easy to spot clean. Overall, it's best to spot clean your homemade weighted blanket to extend its lifespan–rather than tossing it into the washing machine.

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