How to make a weighted blanket (and why you’d want to)
We know you want one, but now you don’t need to buy one.
Homemade weighted blankets can cost as little as $30 to make
Making a weighted blanket allows for greater customization to the user
Millions of people find weighted blankets to be extremely comforting. They are said to help reduce anxiety, and some doctors recommend them to patients with neurological conditions, such as autism. As beneficial as these blankets are, they can be very expensive. To curb the cost of purchasing a store-bought weighted blanket, many have made it a DIY project. These tips will make any homemade weighted blanket a success.
Make it personal
Weighted blanks are the most comforting when most of the weight rests on the person. To make sure the weight is evenly distributed, the blanket should not be as large as bed-sized blankets. The blanket should be just big enough to cover the person, allowing for a little extra room to pull the blanket around the person for comfort. This will require measuring the person or matching the measurements of a blanket that is the right size.
The weight of the filling inside the blanket must also be specific to the person. For individual medical issues, an occupational therapist can provide guidance about the best weight for the blanket. As a rule of thumb, it is safe to make the blanket up to 10% of the person’s body weight. This provides a comforting feeling without creating a safety hazard.
Pick The Perfect Fabric
When choosing a fabric, consider temperature and feel. Make the weighted blanket out of a fabric that the user is already used to. Minky, fleece, linen blends, polyester, Kona cotton, and flannel are a few of the fabrics that many crafters use for weighted blankets. Minky is a very soft fabric to the touch, but it is also slippery making it harder for inexperienced sewers to use.
Some people get hot very easily when they sleep. If that is a problem, linen, light cotton, and polyester make great choices of fabric. Fleece and flannel are much warmer and cozy, which can be a plus depending on the preferences of the user.
Kona Cotton is a natural cotton sewed in a blend that is heavier than the average cotton material. Of course, it’s also great to pick a fabric with a design that the user will love.
Getting it even
The easiest way to add weight to the blanket is to use plastic beads or pellets. These are very commonly found in most arts and crafts stores. For a weighted blanket to have the intended effect, the weight must be evenly distributed. If pellets were simply poured into the blanket all at once, the weight would constantly shift as the blanket is moved.
To keep the weight evenly distributed, the beads must be sewn into several pockets. After each pocket is filled, the pocket should be closed off by sewing it shut. Next, move on to the next pocket, repeating the process until all of the squares are filled with beads.
How to fill
To evenly fill the blanket, divide the entire surface by squares that are at least four by four inches big. Use a ruler, and mark off each square using a washable fabric marker. Sew all of the vertical lines closed, leaving several open vertical columns. Divide the total intended weight of the filling by the number of squares to determine how many beads to add to each pocket.
Start at the furthest-left column and pour enough beads to weigh down one square into the bottom of the column. Smooth the blanket down so that all of the beads are in the bottom of the column, and close off the square by sewing along its bottom horizontal edge. Repeat this process in the same column until the column is completely sewn. Continue moving to the next column to the right until the blanket is complete.
The process requires considerable time and effort. But for very little cost, anyone can make a weighted blanket at home. Use of a sewing machine, some sort of funnel, and scale are necessary. Instead of paying a huge retail markup, simply pay for the price of beads and fabric.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
- Should You Go To An Emotional Support Group Instead Of Therapy? | Living 101 Looking for more ways to cope with anxiety? Consider a support group.
- How ASMR May Help With Anxiety And Depression | Living 101 ASMR is to the ears as a weighted blanket is to the body.