Sewing Tutorial: How to Make a Weighted Blanket (Sensory Friendly)

How to make a weighted sensory blanket

A couple weeks ago one of my sisters mentioned that she wanted a weighted blanket for her son, who has some sensory issues. Weighted blankets are pretty expensive, so I said I would look into making one. I slept on it for a couple nights, and came up with this very effective method. I was surprised at how nice the weight of this blanket felt – I definitely see how it can be soothing and comforting. My nephew adores his, and – after playing with this one before we shipped it off to my sister – my kids want me to make them one, too!

I would love to see your photos if you make a blanket using this tutorial – email pictures (or links to pictures) to mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com with “weighted blanket” in the subject line.

 

Weighted Sensory Blanket Tutorial

Materials:

  • 100% Cotton fabric – enough to make whatever size blanket you want, times two.
  • Poly-Pellets Weighted Stuffing Beads – Amazon is an expensive place to buy these, but the link will give you an idea of what to look for. We got ours from a highly rated eBay seller. If you can find them locally, that’s probably the most cost-effective solution – they are heavy, so shipping can get expensive quickly.

Note: I know that poly pellets are expensive. The best alternative I have seen in reader comments (thus far – January 2014) is Anita’s suggestion to use denim as the fabric with no special filling. It will naturally make a heavy blanket, but it will not dry as easily as one filled with pellets. Rosie also mentioned that you can use cherry stones as a natural alternative – she says you can wash them at up to 40C and tumble dried on low. Read through the comments for more suggestions and helpful comments.

STEP 1: Stitch your fabric together on three sides:

how to make a sensory blanket step 1

STEP 2: Stitch vertical columns. Mine were about four inches apart.

how to make a sensory blanket step 2

This process is much easier if one of your fabrics has a pattern you can use as a guide; otherwise I recommend measuring out and drawing on your stitching lines with a washable marker or disappearing ink marker (you can buy these at the fabric store; the Crayola kids washable markers also work). I was having camera issues and this photo isn’t very good, but if you look closely you can see how I used the pattern as a stitching guide. You could stitch directly on the printed lines; I found it easier to line up my presser foot with them:

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STEP 3: Add your poly pellets. This is what they look like – and I think it’s cool that they accidentally formed a heart-like shape.

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STEP 4: Fill each column with however many pellets you want per space. I used about 1/4 cup of pellets for each roughly 4×4 inch compartment. Note: the final blanket should not be heavier than 10-15% of the user’s body weight.

how to make a sensory blanket step 3

STEP 5: Once all of the columns have been filled, stitch across that row. Then repeat until you have filled up to the top of your blanket. I made the top row about 6 inches tall instead of 4, because that made it easier to stitch the blanket shut.

how to make a sensory blanket step 4

Here you can see the filled, stitched pouches. Orange is my nephew’s favorite color, and I’m showing the plain side so that you can see the stitching:

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Update: Reader Linda Schmidt emailed me this tip for finishing the final rows, which I know a lot of people have struggled with:

“Getting closer to the last few rows I stitched almost all of the way across each of the the pockets leaving only enough room for the bottom of a funnel to fit in.  This kept most of the pellets from cascading out as the last stitches were placed.”

Thanks for the tip, Linda! I love seeing photos of the quilts people have made and receiving feedback like this!

STEP 6: Finish the edges. You can bind them, but I took the easy route and serged them.

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If using with a child, please be sure they keep their head outside of the blanket.

How do you help your kids calm down? I’ve written before about how sensory play helps my kids break out of grumpy moods, and you can find all sorts of sensory play ideas at my collaborative sensory activities for kids board on Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Linda says

    Fascinating! I never heard of them, but I have a grandson with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and wonder if it might make him feel good. What were the dimensions of the quilt you made your nephew, and how did you figure how heavy to make it?

    Thanks for the Tutorial!

    • says

      The one I made for my nephew was about 34″ by 40″ (I just took a yard of fabric in two colors, and that was what I had after pre-shrinking the fabric.

      For weight, I just went for a bean-bag-like weight per square, which in our case added up to a little over four pounds in the end. I think how heavy to make it will vary from individual to individual, but the quarter cup (or slightly less) of pellets for 4×4 inch square worked well for us – then how heavy the final blanket is comes down to how big you make it. I did want my nephew’s blanket to still be something he could carry around on his own – so that may be something to consider.

      I don’t have any sensory issues (that I know of) and I think the blanket feels pretty neat!

  2. says

    Oh my gosh this is awesome! I remember seeing these when my kids were little, but they were kind of pricey. One of these days I am determined to learn to use my sewing machines. I mean I will have grandkids one day :)

  3. says

    I love this idea!

    This would create a non-washable version, but maybe someone might find it useful: I was looking for those pellets when I wanted to re-stuff a toy, and I couldn’t find them, so I used lentils instead. The toy went back to its “beanie baby” self and felt nice and heavy. The lentils were the cheapest thing I could find at the supermarket that would have the same feel.

  4. says

    I’m not on the spectrum, but I do love to have a heavy blanket on me at night; maybe I’ll make one for me!I’m wondering what the dimensions of your nephew’s blanket are and how much the pellets cost for it, all together.

    Loving Shannon’s lentil suggestion. :)

  5. Grandma Pat says

    As a quilter & grandma & great aunt of Coop w/ CP, I’m pleased to hear about this blanket and you have nudged my creativity. There is a lady that makes cherry pit bags that are heated in the micro wave and they have some weight to them. Might be an alternative to use without going out of the USA. I need to call her for her opinion. Probably not washable. Not sure about the expense as well. Thank you for the guidelines.

    • says

      I would love to hear if you find another washable option! For non-washable, rice works well also – and another reader also suggested lentils.

  6. Carrie says

    My son is gonna love his when I make it. He has ASD and in addition to weighted vests, etc. he also likes snuggling with things that are super soft, so I am going to make this blanket using an ultra soft “Furry” fabric on one side. Others may want to try this too because most kids with sensory issues also like the super soft and fussy like my guy. Just a suggestion.

  7. says

    You are such a wonderful aunt for making this as a gift! I think a weighted blanket would be perfect for my kiddos but sadly i lack the skills to make one myself. But I have considered buying one because I want to make a sensory corner for our home for those long, hot summer days where we are stuck inside and don’t have the sensory release by spending time outdoors.

  8. Jo-Anne Petrie says

    Fantastic!

    I know many children who sleep or use a weighted blanket for compression. They truly work wonders!

    Try selling them!

    Thank you so much for posting the directions.

    Jo-Anne

  9. Anonymous says

    The pellets are sold at Hobby Lobby. They are about 8 dollars a pound. I made I of these for my grandson who has autism. He normally slept with several pillows piled on top of him and then he did not sleep very long. The first time he used his blanket he slept through the night.

  10. Momof8 says

    I made one of these a few years ago for my son. I took one of his favorite blankets, kids w/sensory issues, textures are a BIG deal! I sewed columns on a blanket then made tubes as long as the columns were. I made sections on the tube and added rice and poly fill to keep the rice in place. Along the open side there was Velcro sewn for closure. When making weighted items make sure the weight is appropriate for age and size.

  11. amom says

    Thanks for this! Is it washable? Son needs the weighted blanket but also pees out of his diaper most nights.

  12. Diane says

    I love the fabric you used! What is the name of it or where did you find it? My son has sensory issues and LOVES construction equipment! This would be perfect for him (plus I love that you don’t have to mark it to sew it). Thanks!

    • says

      I don’t remember what it is called (and don’t have the selvages any more), but I found it in the quilting section of JoAnn’s – and I think it may have been a JoAnn brand print. I picked it out because my nephew adores orange and trucks, but having the lines to sew along definitely makes this project easier!

  13. Patti says

    I just heard about these last night when a friend posted about wanting one for her son. i googled it and found your site. First of all Thank You! I’m thrilled with all your info. I called around and JoAnn’s has the beads for $6.99 for a 2lb. bag. That is the cheapest I found but, with their 40% off coupon it is only $4.20 a bag. I will be going there tomorrow to pick up beads and fabric. I’m so excited to begin. Again thank you.

    • says

      I’m so glad you found my post helpful! That’s a pretty good price that you found at JoAnn’s – good thinking to use a coupon! I hope your friend’s son likes his blanket!

  14. Verba Tinsley says

    I am making one of these for an adult – 5’2″ tall. How big should I make it???
    I have 5 yds. of 45″ fabric. Can it be like a throw?

    • says

      You can definitely make it like a throw. The ones I have seen for adults are quite narrow (37 inches wide seems fairly standard) and then as long as the adult they are intended for.

    • Maria says

      I made one of these for my grandson and did a little research first. Poly pellets are the best option. Anything organic such as buckwheat or rice you are risking mold, insects, and you can’t wash it. Although my is washable, I also made a duvet cover, so that could be washed more frequently.
      Weight of blanket is dependent on the user and should be no more than 10% of their body weight. I used 8 pounds.

  15. Vonnie says

    You are a life-saver! I live in Ireland and these blankets cost a fortune to buy. My 12-yr-old Aspergers boy has real issues with bedtime. Insists on having 2 feather quilts on his bed but then can’t sleep ‘cos he’s too hot! He keeps saying one is too light. I had heard of weighted blankets before but yours looks very do-able and is quite attractive as well. The poster who said it felt like a hug put her finger on it as that is exactly how my son describes the feeling he wants. Thank you! Will get sewing asap (as soon as I source the beads, of course!)

      • Vonnie says

        Hi MaryAnne. No, I couldn’t get the beads in Ireland. Tried everywhere from art and hobby shops, craft shops, DIY stores, home furnishings, plastics manufacturers. I even tried a wedding supplies shop (they have little weighted bags to keep helium balloons down for table decorations but no loose beads). To order from the UK costs €40 a kilo (!)for shipping (about $30 I think)so that wasn’t really an option. Eventually I gave in and got one from a company called Adam and Friends based in Dublin (http://adamandfriends.ie/estore/large-weighted-blanket)and that worked out at €100 for a single bed size blanket, which was actually cheaper than it would have cost me to make it myself taking in the cost of the beads and fabric. (All the other companies were costing between €200-€450.) My son loves it and it does seem to have resolved his sleep issues. Thanks for the call back.

        • says

          That’s a shame that you couldn’t find the beads, but I’m glad you were able to find an affordable solution! Thanks for responding to Colette, also!

  16. Marie says

    Thanks for a great tutorial! I can’t wait to get started on one of these for my son.

    The occupational therapist said 10-15% of his body weight is the right weight for a blanket, for those that asked :)

  17. Lisa says

    I am curious if you could use rice for filling or does it have to be the beads? Rice is a lot cheaper by the pound. Also does it have to be cotton? My ASD son loves fleece…

    • says

      Fleece works as well as cotton; it’s just warmer. I know these are sometimes made out of fleece because kids with sensory issues prefer that texture over cotton.

      Rice works for weight; the problem is that you can’t wash it, and if it gets wet it will become moldy. That is why I went with the beads. If you can find someone nearby who sells them in bulk, that is probably your best bet; otherwise try ebay for a better price.

  18. Carey says

    My mom made one for my daughter. she absolutely loves it. I have wanted one but to purchase one is too expensive. She made it for about $30 for materials.

  19. cvsmithot@gmail.com says

    As an occupational therapist it is great to hear parents are passing the word about weight being calming. Kids alo like weighted lap pads or weighted ” shawl like” collars and weighted vests. I always thought the leaded protectors you wear for X-rays at the dentist were very calming. Exact same principle.

    • Anonymous says

      I too am an Occupational therapist working with children. Weighted blankets are gret but please adhere to the weight guidelines as mentioned in previous posts. Also do not eave the child wrapped totally in it (or head inside) as this has proved fatal. Keep the head free and remove when aim has been acheived. They are great on beds if head free and not too hot.

  20. colette says

    hi love the idea of a weighted blanket for my son would love to make one wondering did Vonnie in Ireland source the pellets I live in Ireland and cant find pellets i need about 10lbs my son is 18 and quite a big lad thank you for info

    • Vonnie says

      Hi Colette. MaryAnne got in touch to see did I manage to get the beads in Ireland (see my reply above) Adam and Friends based in Nutgrove in Dublin do the large weighted blankets tailored to any weight/size. See http://adamandfriends.ie/estore/large-weighted-blanket. If you phone the number on the website and talk to Gemma she’ll go through the weight requirements with you. I collected mine but they mail order for approx €5.00. The large blanket is single duvet size and will fit in a normal single duvet cover so you don’t need to order a custom-made cover, which reduces the cost. I loved the idea of making one but alas the beads were not to be had in Ireland. Best of luck

  21. linda says

    This idea was suggested to me for my daughter with Down Syndrome and I think it is a great idea, but Tabi also LOVES her blanket with fringe. Do you think I could finish this type of blanket off with fringe around the edging or would that distract from the calming purpose? Just curious. Thank you

  22. says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I finished the blanket for my son in hopes it will help keep him calm after his upcoming surgery. He responds well to weight when he gets a bit wild :) He loves the blanket regardless. He always loves wrapping himself in blankets in general.

  23. KK says

    Curious about toxicity of pellets – many sensory children are also very oral and I wonder about outcome of ingesting pellets.

  24. patti gibson says

    my grandson has mild autism. I think he would love a 2 blankets one for my house and one for his. How much would you charge to make to toddler blankets

  25. Shannon Chalden says

    I just returned home from a trip to JoAnn’s Fabrics. On the shelf, the poly pellets were listed as $7.99 for a 2 lb. bag. They actually rang up at $6.99 and I was able to use a JoAnn’s coupon and a Hobby Lobby coupon, one for each bag. The total came out to $8.38 for 4 lbs. Not too shabby! I have never made anything in my life (besides a pair of shorts my mother and I made together when I was a teenager. It’s a miracle we both survived the ordeal!) but I am hoping that I can make this blanket for my son. Thank you for providing such awesome instructions! The whole project cost me $23.43, including tax! Much better than the regular retail price of $80.00!

  26. KB1992 says

    I have a minor sensory issue along with anxiety issues. It works wonders if you wrap yourself with it if your having a panic attack. Its as almost like getting a hug which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to help you calm down.

  27. Tasia says

    I have MS. In MS Yoga class today we talked about sensory blankets. Thank you for all the links and information. I will be making a weighted blanket for myself.

  28. Kerstin Starzer says

    I can’t express how happy and thankful I feel to see these types of sensory strategies being shared so freely and globally!!!! I’ve been using weighted blankets for 19 years in therapy (Ayres SI OT) . Dr Ayres would be so thrilled!!! Thanks to her (and those who implement these ideas), countless children all of the world are more comfortable in their bodies each second of their day!!!

  29. Ellen says

    My husband has a denim quilt, which his grandmother made from old jeans (with towels in place of the batting). It definitely has weight to it, so denim could be another option for getting a weighted blanket if you cannot find poly-beads.

  30. Mod says

    My daughters therapist suggested using the rocks that you put in your aquarium as filling for the blanket. It can obviously get wet and should be non-toxic since it doesn’t harm the fish. She said the mom of a patient made a bunch for their practice and they get washer a lot with no problem.

  31. Christine says

    I am not that experienced at sewing, so I have a quick question. Once you have put the poly pellets in the blanket, how did you keep them in there while you sew that row? So as you finish that horizontal stitch, how did you keep the poly pellets from spilling out?

    Thanks!
    Christine

        • says

          Maybe your sections are too small for the amount of beads you are using? You could stitch larger squares for more beads; another option might be to stitch each square mostly shut, then fill with beads (using a funnel), then finish stitching – this would only work for the final row, unless you attached the funnel to a hose or something. Making these blankets is fairly labor-intensive, which I imagine is why they cost so much when you buy them commercially!

  32. Joanne Olson says

    I used bean bag bags for my great grandson’s blanket. I used cotton material from Walmart.
    Each bag cost $3. 74 each. I used 1 tablespoon per pocket. I had 154 pockets. My great grandson was 3 in Feb. and he
    is Austic. I bought my beads at Kliens in Watertown SD The last row was the hardest to fill. He weights 40 lbs.
    That is what the lady in the craft store suggested. Joanne Olson

  33. torako says

    any particular reason it needs to be 100% cotton? i figured i’d kill 2 birds with one stone and make a weighted blanket out of super fuzzy fleece since i love soft things so i figured i’d check if there was a reason you specified cotton.

  34. anonOT2 says

    Hi I am an OT too. ( Occupational Therapist). We use sensory items to help people. At a school I work at people have sewn little bean bag like
    squares – long bags with sand in them for lap blankets( weighted item while you sit in a chair.) Someone made a very nice fleece soft covered covering for them(so that the outer fabric could be washed if soiled). The outer cover is like a pillow case shape, and it is closed at the ends with velcro.
    Weight is calming, but the body will aclimate to it after awhile. The calming sensation helps re- fresh the nervous system into memories of being in the womb with its snug feeling up against ones skin. There is no perfect way to do this, fringe ,fabric size etc. The real wonder comes from having someone whom cares about you. Good luck! And snuggle on! Another thing. Stretchy fabric gives a similar swaddled effect.i.e. compression vest and or: another idea, Picture having a tube of stretchy fabric sewn end to end – ( like taking a pillow case size piece of fabric – and sewing it together from the open end to the closed end. slip your arms in to the hole of the “donut” shape- reach your hands up in to the air, the fabric slips behind your back, then you bring your arms down close to your chest. This makes a shawl like fabric which also can swaddle and comfort a person, while they are awake and upright.

  35. Angie Wilson says

    I am going to make a blanket for a friends 5 yo son with sensory needs. I purchased a weighted blanket about 8 years ago for my son who is bi polar. The gal that made the blankets used popcorn seeds. She also included a cover for it (duvet) so that I would not have to wash the main blanket. I think I will use seeds for my friends – but just wanted to mention it since my son’s blankets at inpatient care will filled with popcorn seeds.

  36. Deb McNamaa says

    I made one for my adult son with sensory stimulation issues with 2 twin sheets. He weighs 150 pounds and I made it with 25 pounds of poly pellets. I am making another to donate to our local brain injury association. The best price I have found for the pellets is at http://www.qualitypolypellets.com/ and the shipping is included $34.95 for 17 pounds or $55 for 50 pounds. My son can also get easily overheated, I feel the sheet material keeps the blanket cooler so it can be used even when the weather is warmer. I was worried the fish rocks might have sharp edges and anything organic as shared before could get bugs or attract mold.

  37. says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial – found it via Google. I’m looking forward to making one of these for my son and one for a friend who is a child psychologist.

  38. Jessica says

    Hi MaryAnne! I am a mental health counseling graduate student, and I work with children, a lot of whom have sensory issues, autism or ADHD, and sensory blankets are wonderful for them! It’s amazing how much it can calm an upset, unregulated kiddo! I also have a niece who has sensory issues and after looking into buying her a blanket ($170 – no thank you!) we found your tutorial. I can’t wait to make her pink blanket – I know she is going to love it! Thank you for your tutorial!

  39. candi says

    I bought the poly pellets today at JoAnn Fabric. You have to find a larger JoAnna because the small ones don’t carry them. I paid 6.99 for a 2 pound bag. I can’t wait to make the blanket.

  40. Gizella says

    When I make the blanket, do I need to put a betting in? Just like the regular quilt? Or just use the top and bottom of the materia?

  41. Laura says

    Thank you for posting this tutorial. I found it via google as well bcz my 4.5 yr old SPD little boy definitely needs a weighted blanket and I have been looking for one for him that was not an absolute fortune. He really calms in his OT sessions when his therapist puts one on his lap for “table work” and I know it will help his sleep quality. Now to find someone to sew it for me!

  42. Savanna says

    I’m about to make this for my nephew and I have a few questions. I ended up getting 4 yards of fabric and 4 pounds of fill. Will the weight be too spread out, in your opinion? Its for a 3 year old. I can easily make it smaller. Also, I read that its necessary to add batting in the middle so the user isn’t feeling the pellets. Do you agree with that?

    • says

      If you think that the pellets will bother your nephew you can certainly add batting, but it won’t completely mask the feel of the pellets. Some people think the pellets feel neat. I didn’t put batting in because we didn’t want it to be too warm.

      I probably wouldn’t make the blanket that large for a three-year-old. The ones I have seen are large enough to cover the wearer up (shoulders to feet), but not much larger than that. If you have access to an occupational therapist, I would go with their advice.

    • Candi says

      Savanna,
      I made a twin size blanket for my 4.5 year old and what I did was measured down about 6 inches or so and started to fill there and then filled the area that would land on his body. He is 44 inches tall so I filled about 44 inches then left the bottom half unfilled so I could add more fill as he grows. As for the weight. I have always been told by my OT at school 10% of the child’s weight. I used about 5 pounds of pellets and that ended up being just over 1/4 c of beads per 4 in square. I have 72 squares
      How I figured out the 1/4 c was I dumped the beads that I was going to use in a big measuring cup and then divided that number by how many squares I was going to have.
      Hope this helps. I will post a picture of my blanket soon.

  43. theresa says

    Is the pellet version washable? Dryable? I guess the pellets would melt in the dryer.

    I’m so glad I saw this on Pinterest! Thank you for taking the time to share.

  44. Jennifer says

    I couldn’t find poly pellets so I went to Petland and bought 1 lb bags of aquarium rocks. They are small polished rocks that are non-toxic and dust free. Cost me around $3 Canadian per bag and they worked fine. I used flannel for the back of the blanket. Thank you so much for the directions!
    Wish I could post our picture but not sure how?

    • says

      Hi Jennifer,

      I would love to see a photo! If you can email it to me I can upload it and then post a link here? My email is mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com. Thanks!

  45. Brenda D says

    My daughter, who is 24 yo, expressed an interest in getting one for herself.
    Decided I was going to make her one for Christmas, as a surprise.
    Hopefully, I can master this and really surprise her.
    Fingers crossed

  46. Nancy says

    Hi MaryAnne,
    My daughter has recruited me to make a weighted blanket for her classroom and possible more. I was wondering for the size you made how many columns and squares did you have on your blanket. I have never made one. Many of the students at her school have special needs and would benefit from a blanket.

    Thank you,
    Nancy

    • says

      Hi Nancy,

      This blanket was about 1 yard by 1/2 yards. I don’t have the blanket to check, but I believe it had 9 columns and maybe 12 rows. I made the top row about twice as tall as the rest, to make it easier to sew shut with the pellets.

      Hope this helps – good luck!

      MaryAnne

  47. Vicki Jeffries says

    I had never heard of a weighted blanket until today. my foster daughter has a 2 yr old with sensory problems. she just started ot and it was suggested that she get one. Since I sew, I started searching for directions. Thanks MaryAnne for yours, also for all the other suggestions from this page. I will be starting mine soon.
    Thanks,
    Vicki

    PS if anyone needs one made (after I make the first one) please contact me.

  48. Rosie says

    The last row isn’t difficult if you make the blanket longer than it needs to be and cut off the excess before finishing it after the filling has been done.

    I used cherry stones for the filling. They can be washed at up to 40C and tumble dried at a low temperature.

    I didn’t use a funnel/tubing, just poured them into each column, shook them down, and then laid the blanket flat on the ground, knelt on it, and used a strong ruler scraped over the top of the fabric down the columns (4 at a time) to push down any which had got caught. That might not work so well with filling which comes in smaller pieces (like the pellets) though.

    • says

      Rosie, you are brilliant! Thank you for sharing this tip!

      I didn’t realize that cherry stones could be washed and dried – what a wonderful all-natural solution!

  49. Brenda D says

    I just put the final touches on the weighted blanket for my 24yo daughter.
    After a few mistakes, and a sewing machine that quit on my towards the end, I am quite pleased with it.
    I cannot wait to see her face on Christmas morning.

    Thanks for the great directions.

  50. Kari says

    Help, currently sewing one but struggling with my needle braking if it hits a pellet. Is there a good way to keep the pellets clear of your sewing line?

  51. Meesha says

    I’m going to try this for my son…he has ADHD, and has trouble “sleeping loose” (as he calls it). My only concern is using the poly-pellets. We try really hard to avoid plastics as much as possible (for environmental reasons), so I was wondering if anyone had tried any natural fillers. Flaxseed or buckwheat hulls? Any ideas?

  52. Brenda D says

    pics of daughter opening weighted blanket on Christmas morning!

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    /Users/brendadiamond/Pictures/iPhoto Library.photolibrary/Previews/2013/12/25/20131225-140200/EBM2PsmuTSWJRQRDBPzDcA/SAM_0406.JPG

  53. Karen says

    Thanks for the tutorial. I’m going to look at making these for my friends support group for those with children who have Autistic Spectrum Disorders,

  54. Amanda says

    I been looking to purchase these I have 4 kids that are all in need of one. I already make blankets that I sell at craft shows so can’t be to hard but I’m trying to figure out the best fabric and filing options. I thought about using a flannel with that soft material w little bumps or flannel/fleece. I like the aquarium rock for price reasons but do you guys think it would need a batting I want this to be fully washable. Any more filler ideas ?

  55. danrew50 says

    Should a 13 year old boy have one of these if he like to move but does not want to yes or no and if yes then why

    • says

      Sometimes the weight has a settling effect, but there are no guarantees. You can make small ones that just go on your lap when you sit down, and sometimes that helps. Some people also make weighted vests that you wear.

  56. Brenda D says

    I just wanted to update you on the “magic” of the weighted blanket,
    I made my 24 yo daughter one for Christmas,after she expressed her interest in one around Thanksgiving.
    She knew what it was when she tried to pick up the box on Christmas morning.
    She says it is “magic”! she sleeps MUCH better and told me the other day, she has been able to stop taking OTC sleep aids.
    For that I am very happy!

  57. Anita says

    I’ve made two heavier quilts for my great-nieces with sensory issues or ADHD issues by just using heavy jean material as the batting. Ended up about 4# or 4-1/2# on quilts slightly larger than baby quilts. To add some sensory feels, I used flannel backing on one quilt and a chenille backing on the other quilt.

    Just another possibility for those out there possibly interested in not dealing with pellets.

    Thanks, Anita

    • says

      I used about 60 ounces, because I was aiming for the final blanket weight to be just under 4 lbs. How many ounces of poly pellets you need is directly tied to how heavy you want the completed blanket to be. Everything I have read recommends that the final blanket weight somewhere between 10% and 20% of the wearer’s body weight – with 20% being the absolute maximum.

  58. says

    I just bought the beads at Joanne’s Fabrics. I was looking at the cotton fabric and it seemed a little lightweight for the weight the blanket needs to be (about 15-20 pounds for my teen daughter). What do you think about using muslin sheets? I’m thinking it might even be cheaper and the muslin might be sturdier? (I have a friend who is helping me as I don’t sew . . . so any advice is SO welcome!) Thanks for this wonderful tutorial!

    • says

      I think that’s a great idea! You could even buy some fabric markers and let your daughter decorate it herself (Sharpie pens, work, too)…

      I’m very happy to hear you are finding this tutorial helpful!

  59. Kathy L says

    This is very similar to how I make mine…. I contacted a local injection molding company and bought my pellets from them at about $1-1.25 per pound. When I first contacted the gave them the low down on what I was doing as well as attaching a couple links about SPD and OT suggestions for weighted blankets, and they gave me the first batch for free, which was enough to make one for each of my 3 kids :) worth looking into.

  60. Paula says

    A good idea someone told me when working with beads is to place the beads on a towel so they don’t roll all over the place. I’m looking into this for an autistic nephew and his mom, both of whom have trouble sleeping. Maybe a heavier washable fabric over a nice soft cotton fabric. And maybe make a smaller easier to wash blanket for sitting in a chair to wrap around the shoulders or place on the lap. Great ideas here.

  61. Anonymous says

    I love this! Having worked in education, I have seen children who benefit from weighted blankets or “lap weights”. Additionally, this could be modified slightly to offer soothing moist heat for aches and pains by exchanging the beads with uncooked rice or buckwheat. :)

  62. Katie says

    Hi, I just finished making both my kids their blankets, using your tutorial, thank you so much!
    I used quilt covers as the material, so the first step was already done and we were able to choose patterns that they both love.
    Thanks again your instructions were so easy to follow.

  63. chas says

    I was wondering about the sewing of the squares because I tried it and it seems hard to work with as you add more pockets any suggestions thank you so much

    • says

      It is definitely a fiddly process. Larger squares are easier, and one reader pointed out that if you leave a little extra fabric at the top you can sew the top row shut more easily, and then simply cut off the extra fabric. Good luck!

      • chas says

        Thank you I found it was easier for me to go use my mother in laws sewing machine. It sits level with her table I didn’t have to worried about lifting the weight up and ran smooth after that and I made little pouches to put the pellets in before sewing them in. Thanks for the insurations on here I have one with ASD and two kids with sensory issues these blankets will be a blessing.

  64. says

    A friend pointed me to your tutorial because one of her friends used this tutorial. I’m actually making one for myself, and I don’t have a sewing machine, and I’m making it double size to fit my bed. Figuring it all logistically, what I’m doing is making squares each with four squares in them full of pellets, and then I’ll sew these onto a master piece of fabric a square at a time, like a quilt.

    This way between the size, the weight, and the fact that I’m doing it by hand, it will be manageable. It’s going to be 22 pounds when it’s done. Because this is for me, I’ve only just been diagnosed on the spectrum after a lifetime of “Oh, right, she’s not like everyone else.” And that’s the nicest of things folks have said over the years.

    It’s almost amusing to find out at nearly fifty that you’re autistic and have answers to a lifetime of questions fall into place. So a weighted blanket, given my chronic sleeping problems that no one could ever figure out, is such a gift. Your tutorial confirmed what I was thinking. I was lucky enough to find a place that has the cheapest price for pellets around (I paid $35 dollars plus tax) and they were only a 45 minute drive away. You can find them online at http://www.qualitypolypellets.com and they ship anywhere. Luckily they were close enough for me to go to them and avoid the shipping. Which is a really good thing, because I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to be the last weighted blanket I make.

    Again, thank you so much!

  65. Mary Lou Conton says

    Awesome thank you, I plan on making a similar one, but thought I would make the columns, pour in 2 oz of pellets per columns, and stitch across, The add another 2oz per column, stitch across until I had 50 squares. (5 columns long x 10 columns wide.) Total pellet weight 10lbs for a 104 lb 12 yr old. I also plan to use batting to buffer the sound of the pellets, which will add to the weight. I was wondering if solids are more calming then a print?

    • says

      It was at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts store back when I made the blanket – in the quilting section. I hope you can find it, or something similar!

  66. Katie says

    I was wondering if anyone has tried this filler for hot or cold packs. I’ve tried rice and I don’t like the smell and rice doesn’t hold the cold as long as I’d like. Would these melt in the microwave? Please share your thoughts. TIA.

    • says

      I’m pretty sure they would melt, unfortunately. And I don’t think they would work especially well as a cold pack either, because they don’t absorb cold.

    • Autumn says

      Cherry pits don’t release a food odor when heated, and they are washable unlike rice. If you don’t want to wash, you can also add fragrant herbs to your heating pad.

  67. Frauke von Hatten says

    I was asked to make one for a 3 year old. but living in Namibia getting these beads is a problem any suggestions what else I could use to fill it up?

  68. Brenda Anthony says

    I was unable to locate pellets locally. I made one thigh/lap blanket using glass beads! Then, another using pea pebbles (from home/garden store) for only $3.88 a 40 or 50 pound bag. I made long sleeves and put the pebbles in them, then slid them into the long channels. So far, it’s working! The bags of pebbles can be removed in order to launder the basic blanket.

    • says

      Beans work as weights, but the blanket will not be washable. Another commenter suggested cherry pits, which can be washed but are harder to find.

      • Brenda Anthony says

        You can make a separate sleeve to fit inside the sleeve on the blanket. The separate sleeve will contain the rocks or beans or whatever you use for weight (I used small rocks! not gravel, but rocks!). I sewed “channels” onto a piece of fabric. Made tubes and filled them with rocks and slipped the rock tubes inside the channels. I added a button to keep the tubes inside the channels. I works great! The tubes can be washed, dried, then slipped back inside the blanket channels. The blanket can be washed separately!

  69. Julie Davis says

    Used your basic instructions to make a quilt for my granddaughter. I would love to send you a pic.

    • says

      This all depends on how much you want the blanket to weigh in the end. 10% of body weight seems to be a popular weight, but you will want to research this for yourself. Then you divide the polly pellets evenly between the columns.

  70. says

    I’m having trouble with the pellets being static-y and wanting to stay all along the fabric of each column… I’m using cotton flannel and fleece… Has anyone else had this problem, and is it because of the fleece that they’re doing this? Does anyone know of any easy way to get the pellets ALL the way into the pocket so I don’t keep breaking needles? :/

    • says

      How frustrating! The fleece is probably the problem – the pellets don’t normally stick to cotton. I would try pouring the pellets through a cardboard tube (like the kind you get with wrapping paper) – or a length of PVC pipe would work even better!

    • says

      This is where I got mine from as well. Much less expensive than anyplace else I’ve found. Plus for me, they were ‘local’ so I drove over and got 25 lbs for 37 dollars, and no shipping charge. Awesome!

      Another ‘trick’ I’ve been using is to fill a row, then pin the row to keep the fill out of the feed line so I can just sew straight across without having to keep pushing the pellets out of the way. Makes it so easy to just zip across.

    • Diana says

      I stitched down the left & right side only, turn right side out pressing seams then I stitched a horizontal line ‘splitting’ it in half, then did the vertical lines 4″ apart (stop stitching 1 & 1/2″ from ends, blackstitching slightly-you can fold in the ends when finished filling to close). By stitching the horizontal line you don’t have to drop the pellets as far, just fill one half, then turn & fill the other half.

  71. DR says

    Curious if anyone else tried the aquarium rocks as April suggested ? If making for calming, rest or sleep, feng shui says best to use gentle colors and soft patterns, if any (“dramatic colors and patterns, too many toys, video games, and colorful linens depicting cartoon charactets represent the fire element, which is not restful in the bedroom. Options to soften the bedroom are to add plants, an aquarium or indoor fountain, and gentle lighting…TVs computers and other electronic devices create an electromagnetic field in the environment. The unnatural chi that they emit can disturb sleep and cause insomnia, depression, and a feeling of waking up tired…” -Taoist Feng Shui by Susan Levitt).

    • says

      Thank you for these tips! I don’t know of anyone else who has tried the aquarium rocks, but it seems like a great idea! One thing to be aware of is that the rocks will be a little rougher on the fabric than poly pellets, so the blanket may wear out more quickly.

  72. Kim Naik says

    Thanks for posting this pattern! My sister has a surprisingly heavy quilt made this way, but each channel is stuffed with nylon stockings. You wouldn’t think they’d be heavy, but…. it adds up! One thing I will do when I make one of this is double up on the fabric, especially around the edges. We have a purchased weighted blanket, and my son likes to rub the layers of fabric together and feel the texture of the pellets inside. He has worn holes into the corners and around the edges doing that! :)

  73. Tammy says

    Could you not fill the top 8 inches so that the part of the blanket near the head/face isn’t weighted? Thinking of safety while sleeping. My daughter does not have sensory issues but I’m hearing they are also good for chronic illnesses.

  74. says

    Adding a great tip that was emailed to me by Kathrine Z.:

    I had the fabric with right sides together and stitched the way around the outside on all four sides, so I wouldn’t have to finish the edges because I don’t have a Serger and I didn’t want to add bias tape. I turned it inside out and then sewed the vertical columns. I then ripped out ONE stitch on the top edge of each column, and that was enough for me to make an opening enough for a funnel. When I got to the top row for filling, I would fill 2-3 squares at a time and sew across the entire top edge as I filled. I sewed really close to the edge, so you can’t tell the stitches are there unless you look for them.

  75. wendy says

    Decades ago, my grandmother made a quilt like blanket with cordoroy. I remember the thing weighted a ton. even as an adult for a queen size bed it weighted a good 25 to 30lbs. My daughter has autism and have been trying to figure out how to make this. I may put a few layers of cordoroy in between some textually soothing fabrics. I know the cordoroy is durable and washable. Hurricane Katrina destroyed that quilt, I’m going to attempt to remake it. I may have a few layers sewn in like hers. God, that thing was awesome on cold nights.

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