Learn how to make a weighted blanket with this weighted blanket sewing tutorial. Step by step instructions for the perfect sensory blanket. These sensory blankets may be helpful when dealing with anxiety, autism, ADHD, sleep struggles, Parkinson’s disease, and more. Find more details on making DIY weighted blankets.
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Looking for a Ready-Made Weighted Blanket?
If you decide to look for a ready-made weighted blanket, I recently discovered these for sale on Amazon. There are also several sellers on Etsy, and weighted blankets have become so popular that you can even buy them at Target!
Even with so many ready made blankets available, sometimes it makes more sense to make one. This is especially true if you are trying to cater to a child’s interests, like I did when making these Harry Potter weighted blankets.
This tutorial can be used to make weighted blankets to sell, but please give credit to my site in your listing.
Drop by this post if you are looking for more resources for dealing with sensory issues.
You may also find these sensory activities to help kids calm down and stay calm helpful.
Learn How to Make a Weighted Blanket
Weighted Blanket Tutorial
What Are Weighted Blankets Made Of?
Choosing the right materials is an important part of sewing a weighted blanket. This post on what weighted blankets are made out of has everything you need to know, and I highly recommend reading it before you start sewing. T
These are the basics you need; you can also buy weighted blanket kits on Etsy.
- Sewing machine
- Poly pellets (learn how to make a weighted blanket without pellets)
- Fabric (some readers use receiving blankets or duvet covers)
My weighted therapy blanket materials post offers some alternate fillings if you don’t want to use poly pellets as a filler.
How Much Should My Weighted Blanket Weigh?
The basic guidelines for weighted blanket weight is 15% of healthy body weight for children and 5-10% of healthy body weight for adults. There are a few studies, however, that show that there may be benefits to using heavier blankets. You can find more details along with weighted blanket weight calculators, charts, and more in my weighted blanket weight post.
DIY Weighted Blanket Sewing Instructions
STEP 1: Stitch your fabric together on three sides. OR, if you are sewing a large blanket, stitch the two side edges plus a center seam. You will then fill the blanket from the center out.
STEP 2: Stitch vertical columns. Mine were about four inches apart.
Making larger blankets: Anniebananie also had the wonderful idea of leaving both the bottom and the top open for larger blankets. She then stitched a horizontal center seam and worked her way out from both ends – less bulk to work with while stitching!
Another reader, Cicely, turned her sewing machine sideways, as she found it easier to manipulate the fabric and keep the beads in place that way.
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 fabric marker or a disappearing ink fabric pen (you can buy these at the fabric store; but if you don’t have a fabric store nearby 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:
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.
Filling Your Homemade Weighted Blanket
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 for children, and no more than 5-10% of an adult’s ideal weight.
Here is a calculator you can use to figure out how many pellets to put in each square:
(number of ounces needed)/(number of squares) = how many pellets you need per square.
Remember, there are 16 ounces in each pound, and calculating this amount in grams may be easier. You can weigh out the amount of pellets for each square using a kitchen scale.
If you prefer to measure your pellets, put them in a measuring cup and then calculate how many tablespoons you need per square. There are 16 tablespoons per cup.
Multiply the number of cups by 16, and then divide that number by the number of squares you intend to sew. This will tell you how many tablespoons of pellets to put in each square.
How to Figure Out How Many Pellets Per Square in a Weighted Blanket
Use this simple formula to figure out how many pellets to put in each square of your weighted blanket:
(number of cups x 16)/(number of squares) = how many tablespoons of pellets you need per square.
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.
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:
Finishing off your DIY Weighted Blanket
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!
Another reader recommends filling only a few pockets at a time towards the end.
STEP 6: Finish the edges. You can bind them, but I took the easy route and serged them. Stitch on binding for a more finished look.
If using with a child, please be sure they keep their head outside of the blanket.
Now that you know how to make a weighted blanket, I would love to see photos of the blankets you sew!
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MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
379 thoughts on “How to Make a Weighted Blanket Sewing Tutorial (Sensory Friendly)”
I am having a hard time finding the plastic pellets. I read on one website that they used sand (as a bag of sand from the hardware store can be rather inexpensive). Do you think this would work? and what problems might I encounter using it?
Sand would need to be really coarse if you don’t want it to break through the seams. It will also wear the fabric down more quickly, and it becomes hot in the dryer. Otherwise it is fine to use it. People also use the aquarium gravel (be aware that it will also become hot in the dryer). Amazon sells the poly pellets, and should ship anywhere in the US.
I don’t have a sewing machine and am not in a position to buy one currently. How possible would it be to hand sew this? I am also somewhat of a beginner at hand sewing lol. I am willing to try it but don’t know of it is a project that would be worth the attempt at hand sewing.
It would be difficult, but possible. To prevent pellets from escaping, I would roll the edges and then stitch them with the smallest stitches possible.
It might also be worth posting on your local freecycle or nextdoor lists to see if anyone has a sewing machine they are willing to give away.
Is the weight of the material included in the total weight?
You should include the weight of the material in the total weight.
A lot of people with anxiety do find them helpful. It feels a bit like wearing a hug, if that makes sense. I hope one can help you!
i AM MAKING A WEIGHTED BLANKET OUT OF FLEECE AND MINKY. THERE IS A LOT OF BULK BUT IT IS LEAKING A FEW PELLETS HERE AND THERE AND THERE IS NO WAY I CAN FIND OUT WHERE IT IS COMING FROM. I TOOK EXTRA SPECIAL CARE TO NOT HAVE THIS HAPPEN, BUT i SURELY CANNOT FIND IT EITHER. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
DOES THIS NORMALLY HAPPEN?
I have not had that happen before. Maybe the stitch length was too long? I would recommend a shorter stitch length and re-stitching your seams. Good luck!
I’m new to this. I’ve not even made my first one I’m at the research stage. I need to make one for my daughter who has sensory difficulties and anxiety. I did read that you need to Batting is this true. I’m struggling to work out what I actually need. ANY advice will be well received
I don’t usually use any batting in the ones I make. Did you read the materials section in this post?
Thanks for idea, grandson may be candidate for this. Will let u know how it goes it i ever get it made!
I hope it helps, and I would love to see a photo of your finished blanket!
How do I know what size to make the blanket for my 12 yr old?
Most weighted blankets are designed to cover the wearer’s shoulders down to their feet – so it depends on your child’s height. Weighted blankets should never cover heads.
For marking the grid, I used a quilting ruler. Mark your seam lines with blue masking tape, especially great for minky.
Our weighted blankets at school are in a duvet like cover that Velcro’s at the bottom corner about 1/4 way across. That way they can be washed. I peeked inside one to see how it was put together so that I could make some over the summer for our program. I am sure that I can make them cheaper than what they’ve bought them for in the past!
The one at school has a filling I can’t identify.. It is small and pelletized, smaller than the poly pellets. Any ideas what it may be? Didn’t want to investigate further and damage what we have!
The poly pellets I use are maybe 1/4 inch wide – do the ones at school have a filling even smaller than that?
Paula, there is a good chance those are glass beads in the blankets at school. Larger than grains of sand but smaller than the plastic pellets. Many blankets are made with organic fabrics and glass beads as children with sensory issues often have problems with synthetics and plastics.
Has anyone used cherry stone grit?
Not that I know of. Isn’t it sharp, though? I would worry about it wearing through fabrics. If you do use it, I would love to hear how it works.
Lots of comments, so I didn’t read through them all. What about those little neon pebbles sold for aquariums? Has anyone tried that? My 4yo has SPD and will not sleep alone and we are looking into ways that could help with this.
People have done that, and they work. It will probably wear out the fabric more quickly, and be aware that the rocks may be hot coming out of the dryer. I hope this helps your 4yo!
So i have a few question, I’m an adult and i want to make one for a twin bed when i used my regular blankets they are all full/queen size so that they hand to the floor on both sides and the bottom. My blankets get pulled up alot and this is the only way my feel still feel covered.
I’ve read that the weighted part is only supposed to be the size of the bed, but i think for my purpose it might need to be the whole blanket or i will be covered with an edge that has no weight in the middle of the night. If i do the whole blanket should it be heavier than the 10%-15% of my body weight because the whole blanket’s weight wont be on my body at once? Also I’m thinking of using glass beads instead of poly pellets because they’re washable and way cheaper other wise I’ll have to use rice and make it removeable. I read that sand blasting glass media is the glass beads people use in the real like newborn dolls for weight. The glass beads are so small however how would i keep them in the pouches and not leak out the stitch holes? Also is there a way i can temporarily keep open the pouches somehow so i can test the weight with sleep and add or subtract weight without massive seam ripping and more stitching? I’m thinking of adding the glass beads (if i buy them) to a weighted stuffed animal for myself aswell since the container is 50lbs, any ideas on a way to do a pouch where they wont leak out? They are TINY!!
link for glass beads if anyone asks and i havent bought them so i dont vouch for them i just found them.
For adults, I wouldn’t recommend a blanket heavier than 10% of your body weight, even if some of that weight will hang over the bed. The 10-15% of body weight is for children; for adults it should be 5-10% of your ideal healthy weight. You also need to factor the weight of your blanket fabric.
I would look for slightly larger beads, but if you want to use the tiny ones you will want to double stitch edges and use a fairly short stitch length. Some people have created rows of pockets rather than this system, which they then test fill with ziploc bags of pellets (or glass beads).
I hope this helps!
I plan to make a blanket for my adult daughter and I found this source for beads that seemed very reasonable.
Your Etsy link doesn’t seem to work. Can you post a link to the shop you bought from maybe? Thanks!
I made funnels for the poly beads by cutting off the top of a plastic juice bottle. The beads flow easily with the wider opening. I’ve been making blankets at a local sewing store that does “helping others” projects.
I was reading about alternate stuffing materials. Has anyone used the whole buckwheat hulls? I know they make pillows from them. Pretty sure they are washable and dry quickly but looking for any feedback from someone that actually knows :).
I’m interested in using glass beads instead of the poly. Are the glass beads the same material used for glass bead blasting? If so, what is the best grit to use? I’m looking at this site as a possible source: http://www.kramerindustriesonline.com/GB.html?gclid=CjwKEAiAmo_CBRC9qbGQssjqi28SJABYTgZxNKoxI0zCeqdJePc3yFA3uHpw2P_Zvd_WJmZi9PhX5RoCnUDw_wcB
Everything else I’ve seen is much more expensive (~$35/lb). Do you have any sources or recommendations of size for using glass beads as a filling?
I don’t know anything about glass beads, but would love to hear if you find a solution you like. The poly pellets are 1-2mm thick, if that helps.
I found it easier to work from the middle out as suggested. I sewed the pockets partially closed at one end as suggested for the last couple of rows, but after I got close to the other end, I put it on the bed and decided to make the blanket shorter than planned. Once I placed the last row, I used my rotary cutter to trim off all but 2 inches for the hem. It was much easier to fill and stitch that last row with 14 extra inches on the blanket.
I also used a scraper from Ranger Ink to move the beads away from the stitching line but one such as you get with a stoneware pan from Pampered Chef or an applicator that you might get with vinyl wall art would also work.
Here’s a picture on Instagram of my finished blanket: https://www.instagram.com/p/BNk_Hs4gCXS/?taken-by=jan_tink
Thank you for sharing these tips, Jan. I love how your blanket turned out!
For the woman who wanted to use the Disney print and not see the stitch lines, you can use the
invisible clear nylon thread. That way the whole pattern shows through.
Brilliant. Thank you, Alleison!
This is a brilliant tutorial!
I’m hoping on making one of these blankets for myself.
I hope this doesn’t sound a tricky question, but I am hoping to use a Disney duvet, but how can I sew over the pictures on the duvet without the thread/lines showing?
The lines will show up some no matter what, but you can try to match your thread color to the design as much as possible. Good luck!
I wanted to make sure you saw another commenter’s suggestion of using invisible clear nylon thread so that the image shows through.
Thanks for a great tutorial–what I’m wondering is, I can’t fill each pocket completely full of the poly pellets, since I only need a 12 lb blanket and want to make a twin sized blanket. Do you find that the pellets shift around too much to one side or the other, or is this not a problem? The other solution is to sew smaller pockets but space them further apart, but I’m worried that might feel…gap-y.
I’m also thinking about using river rocks instead of poly pellets (I can get 40 lbs of river rocks for $11, and I already have the fabric!). Do you know anyone who has tried this and liked it?
I don’t recommend filling pockets completely full of pellets. The pellets will shift around, which is why you typically want smaller pockets – probably no more than six inches by six inches. You could create narrow (maybe 1-2 inch) panels that would frame these pockets and I think that would work all right.
I do know people who have used river rocks. They are a much more affordable solution; just be aware of two issues:
1) They will wear through your fabric much more quickly.
2) if you put them in the dryer they can become very hot.
I hope this helps!
I also wanted to add that you can use a cotton as an inner fabric, but as an outer fabric I have flannel. I have SPD and do not like the feeling of cotton directly on me, so I used flannel. I love my blanket, and it is much more affordable to make one.
Thank you for the tutorial, loved it.
This is a great tip, Jane – thanks for sharing!
The poly you’re recommending using is horrific for the environment and sea creatures.
The problem is with littering and poor company practices regarding disposal of warehouse materials, not the pellets being placed in weighted blankets.
Wow! So many comments……
I like the updates you’ve added, I actually did buy a jean quilt once in college, and it did have a nice pleasant weight to it, but your comment is correct, they are difficult as all get out to dry.
Thanks for this! I’ve been wondering what to do with the leftover baby swaddle blankets I made for my youngest who has recently outgrown them. (They’re about 42×34″). I have two 5 lb ankle weights and I think it would be very easy to make two different weighted blankets for my 4 year old with sensory issues and possible Aspergers! I can sew two swaddle blankets together and then use the contents of one of the ankle weights for the weight! This method looks very quick and easy. Thank you thank you thank you!
I made a weighted blanket for my autistic son a few years ago after going online and seeing how expensive they were. I bought fabric from joanns fabric and made a quilt out of it. I also noticed how expensive the Polly beads were and we had so many Bennie baby’s laying around that I used the Polly pellets from them. I also posted on my local Facebook consign site what I was looking for and why and had people donating them to me. Turned out great and MUCH cheaper than buying a blanket online or from my OT’s catalog.
Great comments!!! Getting ready to start a blanket for my college bound Thing 2. She likes to sleep in a nest of many blankets at home and that is not practical at college (she is adhd). Love the tips-excited to start. I purchased muslin to make an inner layer of the pellet pouches. I figure that I will make 4 to 6 sections and then “quilt” them together and then cover with a natural batting with the outer layer being the soft touch fabrics… oh and of course a “silky” edge… Thanks for this info. I am feeling encouraged for sure!
Your blanket sounds lovely!
I have a question… I’m wanting to make a blanket for my son but I’ve never sewn a day in my life. This seems like something that would be on the easy side for a beginner, could you possibly reccommend a sewing machine and/or accessories that is easy to use for beginners?
I use the Janome HD1000, which is a sturdy starter machine. There is a link to it in the post. If you live near IKEA, they sell a nice starter machine that also works well.
I have a question that may already been answered I’m just not seeing it…so you have the first rows and your putting in the beads…how do you know how many to put in each row?
You could divide them up by weight, but I think most people guestimate.
I have made one but using a shop bought pillow case so less work ( and I know 3 sides are securely sealed) and just columned, filled and rowed. Very effective and do able even with my nans old singer ( with turning wheel to power, you can imagine my arms by the end).
The site says –
Are your pellets non-toxic?
poly says: In their current state the pellets are non-toxic. If you melt, heat or change their structure the pellets become toxic. Also, like any plastic, pellets cannot be digested.
Just purchased 10 pounds of poly pellets from Ebay for $21.99 with free shipping! Since they are washable and reusable I consider it a great deal! I will be making a weighted blanket for my two year old grandson who has SPD.
If anyone is looking for wholesale plastic pellets, feel free to check-out our site http://www.hobbypellets.com
The Gopher !
for people looking for the plastic beads, head to your local thrift store and the toy section. There are a lot of toys with the pellets in them. For as little as $10 you can have a goodly amount of pellets, and stuffing to boot.
Thanks for the great tutorial! My mom and I just made one of these for my 5 year old today. He loves it! He’s asleep under it already after being quite wound up at bedtime. Very easy to follow your directions.
I’m so glad you were able to make one for your son, and that he loves it!
My grandson’s teacher made one using those flat glass marbles in a double thickness quilt. It’s washable and the flat glass is fairly inexpensive at the dollar store or even at big box stores. I don’t know if this is a good option for young children due to choking hazard if it ripped.
Thank you for sharing this creative solution!
Maybe I’m not following right, but when you add the filling you said you used 1/4 cup per each 4×4 square…are you putting all the filling in each row and then sewing up the other way, or putting your 1/4 cup per 4×4 then sewing each 4×4 space? If you are filling up the whole row, how do you evenly spread the pellets? Also, if you’re doing it that way, are you adding up how much you need by multiplying by 4’s the length of the blanket? Sorry if this question is confusing. :/
Sew the columns first, then put one quarter in each column, then stitch across horizontally, closing off your first row. Repeat until your reach the top of the blanket. Does that make sense?
I got a hand-me-down weighted blanket that came from a company (specializing in sensory issues). The blanket has long channels (length-wise) that hold long, skinny beanbag tubes filled with beads that attach to the top of the blanket with a loop and velcro. The top then fully velcros shut. When the blanket needs washed, I just unvelcro the blanket, pull each beanbag tube out, set them aside, and throw the blanket in the washer.
The blanket came to me in a boy theme (cotton on one side, polar fleece on the other), so I took two of my daughter’s thin toddler comforters, sewed them together with the correct width channels, slipped the beanbag tubes in place with loops and velcro, and walla… a girly weighted blanket.
Just thought I’d share that with others if they happen to get a hand-me-down weighted blanket with removable beanbag tubes and channels and want to change gender colors. :)
Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this option.
I do quilting, and I have a friend that I have known since she was born. Her dad is now my Pastor where I attend Church. Then reason I am interested in the weight blanket-Quilt, is she got married around three years ago,her and her husband have adopted a downsyndrom beautiful little girl, some one gave her one for Christmas and it has helped her so much with her sleeping.and my daughter has a problem with her nerves aching and muscles as well I thought that I would try to make her one so that she might can sleep bettert and get off of meds that she is taking to rest.I hope it helps Thank you so much.
MaryAnne, I found the plastic pellets on eBay 10 pounds for only 24.99 with free shipping! Thanks for your tutorial as I am making a blanket for my 5 year old Grandson. Other instructions had Velcro pockets
and I can just imagine him removing the pellets lol. I will send pictures once I am done!
Yes, I don’t think velcro and pellets go together very well. Thanks for sharing your eBay find, and I look forward to photos when you finish!
Thanks for sharing this point about the helpfulness going in phases, as well as your creative alternative to poly pellets!
I’m thinking you could probably use rice and make a duvet cover for it if it needs washing. I want one for my 3 yr old AND myself! :)
That’s a great, affordable compromise!
I had a wheat germ neck wrap made of flannel that I used for many years. I did microwave it to use on migraines. I did not like the smell of the “scented ones” yuck. I did empty it recently and re filled with navy beans. Will not wash ( unless I take the beans out first) I have a wool blanket great grandma made and often use that for “hugs.” My son LOVES to have his sheets over his head so I would definitely want to “not fill” the top two rows or more if I made one for him.
If someone was going to make several, buying a bean bag at a discount store or garage sale may be a good idea. If using a pre-owned one I would recommend disinfecting the beads in antibacterial solution and air drying.
Great tips – thanks for sharing.
I am so excited to try this. I need to get to work–my youngest 3 adopted kiddos– all have different sensory needs, but would love these! thanks for the details.
I hope it helps them!
This is exactly what I’be been saying my daughter needed, and everyone I have mentioned it to thought I was crazy. I am going to make one for her birthday. (She requested a new special blanket today!- perfect timing) I have an idea to use for the poly-beads for those having trouble finding them……could we use kids crafting beads? They can be washed and tumble-dry on low. And from my experience, kids love the feel of them. Any thoughts?
I think that would work! I think the poly pellets weight more and can withstand higher temperatures, but the crafting beads could be a great alternative. Thanks for sharing this idea!
I think I missed this when you first posted it, but then was happy to end up on one of my favorite blogs via a google search! I just finished making one for my son for Christmas.
Hooray!!! This is my all-time most popular post, and it’s so great to see it used by so many people, including friends who find it via Google!
This tutorial was great!! My son has ASD, and I was looking to buy one of these weighted blankets until I saw that they were in the hundreds of dollars. I decided to make one instead; so I started searching for the pellets and you are right about the prices at amazon, they are really high, so I ended up buying a 10lb bag on ebay today. I paid $24.99 and it was free shipping. I havent started sewing it yet because I only just ordered the materials today, but I will definitely update you with the finished product. FYI I live in MA and tried Michaels craft store but they didnt have any pellets in stock or online at the time.
Thank you for posting Tracy-Ann! I live in Massachusetts as well so I will go right to eBay when I am ready to purchase pellets :)
As promised I made the blanket for my son and he loves it because I used “Thomas” fabric. I followed your tutorial almost all the way. The only thing I didn’t do was the closing like in your tutorial, I did it another way but it turned out nicely if I may say so myself.
I really want to say that this was easy ;seriously!! Even though I have a machine I never used it; I actually had to go on “YouTube” to find videos on how to thread the machine and full the bobbin lol; no joke, so the tutorial was great, thank you!!!
Now I just need the tutorial on how to make the weighted vest :)
I will send you a video of the finished blanket. Thank you again.
This is wonderful to hear! I look forward to seeing your photo :)
Thank you so much for this tutorial! My son has recently been diagnosed with SPD and was told we should get him a weighted blanket. Store bought weighted blankets are way too expensive. So I had a look on Pinterest and saw your tutorial. It was easy to follow and even though it took 7hrs to sew I feel so good knowing I made it! Once again, thank you so very much!
I made one but the hard way with 6″ squares finished at 5 1/2 so each piece of fabric (flannel Minkie and Chenille) had a pocket of 2 fabrics behind it so when I sewed seams there were 6 layers. A bit more difficult but then I got the hang of inserting beads without spilling them and I added wide satin ribbon binding and a coordinated flannel back. it took a long time. I can not find an email to send you a photo
I would love to see a photo! You can email me at mamasmilesblog (at) gmail.com. Thanks!
I make baby quilts using batting. One of my friends asked me to make a weighted quilt for her daughter who has Rett’s Syndrome.
With a weighted quilt do I use batting and pellets or just pellets?
You can do either one, but it will feel more like a traditional quilt with batting. I usually leave the batting out since it can make a weighted blanket too warm for year-round use.
Is there any cause for concern as far as the PLASTIC pellets and health concerns? BPA, thalates, etc.
Most poly pellets are BPA and phthalate free. I recommend making sure that the pellets you buy are made out of polypropylene, which is considered one of the safest plastics (most yogurt containers are made out of this plastic). Most pellets that I have seen are made out of this plastic. I have seen a few made out of polyethylene, which is also considered safe (milk containers are usually made out of it).
Hi, Thanks for that information. I also read on here somewhere that somebody tried cherry pits. What do you think about that? Is that washable?
I have heard that they are washable, but they will eventually break down. If you are not washing that frequently they should work just fine. They do get really hot in the dryer (pebbles create the same problem) so you need to be careful of that.
Hi! Thanks for posting this DIY! I am making a weighted blanket for myself (I have SPD) and for my step son (who is autistic) plus some lap pads.
My OT suggested using aquarium gravel inside the blanket. It’s cheap and it’s washable. Hope this helps! :o)
I’m glad this helps! The aquarium gravel is a great tip – just be aware that it can get very hot in the dryer (and will wear out the fabric more quickly).
I found the beads at joann fabrics ans used a 40% off coupon.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, that would certainly work! I hope this helps your daughter.
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! :)
What a cool filling! Thanks for the tip about reenforcing edges!
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.
What was the size of your blanket?
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.
It depends how heavy you want the blanket to be. 10% of body weight for the intended user is a fairly popular amount.
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.
Thanks for the pinning tip! I’m glad you were able to find an affordable local source for the poly pellets!
I would suggest buckwheat hulls organics of course.
Can they be washed?
I had a pillow and it was NOT washable
That’s what I would expect. Thanks!
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? :/
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!
How many bags of the poly pellets did you use for each column?l
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.
Used your basic instructions to make a quilt for my granddaughter. I would love to send you a pic.
Please do, I would love to see a photo! My email address is mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com. Thanks!
Your quilt is beautiful! Thank you so much for sending me the photo!
wondering if you could use small dried beans in place of the pellets?
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.
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!
Thank you for sharing this tip!
I used aquarium gravel. Much cheaper than poly pellets, bought local so no shipping, and washable.
I’m looking into making one of these for my nephew. Is the gravel machine dryable?
I got the pellets at Joanne fabrics……with a 50% of coupon
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.
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?
Thanks for sharing this resource!
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.
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.
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.
My friend made one for herself using rice… worked great and much cheaper. :)
please do not use rice as it is not washable, will attract bugs and eventually has a musty odor. Especially for a child quilt.
Where did you find this fabric? My son would love it.
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!
Awesome was wondering how they were made our son has one and i love it for him and me
Awsome idea I’ll be trying that for my 15 yr old son thank you and god bless
Thanks for this! I too found poly pellets at Jo Ann’s for 6.99!!
Joann’s has the same beads for $6.99 a bag :)
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.
Again, thank you so much!
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
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!
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.
Sounds like you found a great solution! I’m happy to hear you were able to put this tutorial to use.
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.
I’m so glad you were able to put this tutorial to use! Using quilt covers is a brilliant solution!
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. :)
Excellent suggestions – thanks for sharing!
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.
Great suggestions – thank you for sharing, Paula!
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.
Thanks for this tip, Kathy!
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!
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!
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.
Thanks I am going to try it for my grandaughter!
I’m glad you can put this tutorial to use!
Sensory comforters for autistic children can be in the form
of something fun, like the Cuddleuppets (as shared by Wendy at her Savette.com
website). You can sneak a peek at these soft & snuggly comforters at http://handi-dandi-crafts.com.
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.
This is an excellent suggestion, Anita – thanks!
I recently made a blanket for someone with pellets. I’m wondering if, while weighted, they would produce heat like multiple layers of fabric?
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!
This is wonderful to hear, Brenda!!!
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
I’m sorry; I don’t understand what you are asking. Can you rephrase the question?
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.
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 ?
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,
I’m so glad you can put my tutorial to use!
Has any one tried using rice? Out OT therapist suggested rice….
Rice works weight-wise, but it’s not washable…
pics of daughter opening weighted blanket on Christmas morning!
These links don’t work for me, unfortunately! You can try emailing them to mamasmilesblog (at) gmail.com …
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?
Another reader wrote that she used cherry stones, which she says can be washed up to 40C and tumble dried at a low temperature.
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?
That can be tricky! If you sew narrower and taller channels it might help?
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.
I’m so glad you were able to use this tutorial!
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.
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!
Just made two! I appreciate your tutorial- I loved how I could take it and make it fit my kiddo and a friends perfectly…
Hooray! So glad that you were able to put my tutorial to use!
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.
PS if anyone needs one made (after I make the first one) please contact me.
Wonderful! I know people come through here frequently who are interested in having one made, so hopefully you will get some emails soon.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
The pellet version is fully washable and dryable, although I don’t recommend drying on high heat (medium should be fine).
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?
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.
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.
What a great solution, Candi! Thanks for posting here.
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!
I hope you do find someone to make him one soon!
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?
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.
I’m so glad you were able to find the pellets!
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!
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jessica! I am always excited to hear about readers who are able to use this tutorial!
Nice to see drawings. This is the same exact DIY method as the pollybeads web site.
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.
I’m glad you found my tutorial helpful!
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.
Thank you for sharing this pellet source! I’m so glad you were able to find a solution for your son!
I also love that you are making one to donate. Thank you!
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.
Thank you for sharing this option for filling the blankets!
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.
Thanks for sharing these ideas here!
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.
No reason – that’s just what I used. Fuzzy fleece definitely works for this project!
great! i’m autistic, and i’ve wanted one of these for awhile. any suggestions on how much pellet stuff to use for an adult?
Everything I have read says to use somewhere between 10-15% of your body weight (10% seems to be the most common recommendation, but no more than 15%).
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
The last row is definitely the trickiest! Thanks for sharing the bean bags solution.
You can also use a glass beads, a bit more expensive but a much better feel, heavier, etc…but thanks for posting this!
Ooh, I hadn’t thought of that! Have you tried it? I wonder how they hold up in the wash, but seems like they would do pretty well.
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?
You aren’t filling each section full, so you just have to keep it tilted so the pellets don’t fall out. Does that make sense?
I had this it own l problem too. The kept slipping and my needle would get stuck in a bead. Any tips? Thanks!
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!
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.
What a brilliant solution! Thanks for sharing this alternative!
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.
Great idea! My mom had a jean quilt, and I agree that it gives a similar weight.
I have made a throw size quilt in denim and flannel, it has the softness and the fringing adds more texture
What a lovely idea!
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!!!
Thank you! I love the additional wisdom shared in the comments on this post!
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.
I didn’t realize that sensory blankets could be helpful for MS. I will have to look into that – my MIL has MS. I’m glad this post was helpful for you!
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.
It really does feel like a hug!
It also helps with my PTSD/anxiety minutes.
Yes! Thanks for mentioning that.
Thanks for sharing this resource!
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!
I’m so glad that this tutorial helped you make a blanket at an affordable price!
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
I’m not selling the blankets right now, but if you would like I can put a call out on my facebook page to see if anyone is interested in making one for you?
Did you get your blankets? Just email me.
Thanks for sharing this site!
Curious about toxicity of pellets – many sensory children are also very oral and I wonder about outcome of ingesting pellets.
Yes, that is an important thing to think about! The pellets I used were non toxic.
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.
I hope your son’s surgery goes well, and that the blanket does help soothe him.
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
I’ll see if I can find out. Can you get them through Amazon?
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.
Thanks for these! I added a couple notes to the post with your guidelines.
I’ve seen weighted vests, but love the idea of shawl like collars. I’ll have to look those up.
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.
That is wonderful! I came up with this tutorial because they are so incredibly expensive to buy.
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…
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.
Reposted this info for you.
March 24, 2013 at 10:18 am
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.
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 :)
Thanks for the weight info!
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!)
I’m glad I could help! I hope you manage to track down the beads without too much trouble.
Were you ever able to source the beads in Ireland? I have another reader wondering.
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 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.
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!
Buckwheat hulls are also great!
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.
Thanks for sharing this information. A duvet cover is a great idea!
Thanks for helping. Am thinking of doing one up for my son and grandson.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Thanks for this! Is it washable? Son needs the weighted blanket but also pees out of his diaper most nights.
Yes! Using poly pellets makes it completely washable.
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.
What a great way of getting around needing poly pellets! Thanks for sharing your technique!
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.
What a wonderful, thoughtful, elegant solution!!!
Thank you! I was so happy with how it turned out.
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.
My sister says it has made a huge difference for her son! I think I’ll make one for my family as well!
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.
I’m planning to make at least one for my kids – they really are wonderful
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.
That’s a great idea, Carrie! Thanks for sharing!
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.
I would love to hear if you find another washable option! For non-washable, rice works well also – and another reader also suggested lentils.
Fish tank rocks
Yes, fish tank rocks work. Just be aware that they will wear down the blanket more quickly and can be quite hot coming out of the dryer.
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. :)
It feels really lovely – now I need to make one for my family!
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.
That’s a great low-cost alternative!
What about aquarium stones? That would be eco-friendly & still washable…. ?
Aquarium stones will wear the fabric a little more, but they can certainly be used! Just be aware that they will be hot coming out of the dryer.
That is super cool!
We love this blanket so much, and JC has been sleeping better with it. Thank you!!
Can anyone tell me how these wash up? If my step-son has a pee accident, can the whole thing be tossed in the wash?
Yes! It is 100% washable!
Wow, I have never heard of a weighted sensory blanket before. It sounds like a nice utilitarian item to have handy. Thanks for the tutorial!
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 :)
I found the blanket soothing, and I don’t think I have any sensory issues. I was so happy when my nephew liked it as much as my sister hoped he would. :)
The finished blanket was really cool! It was a very satisfying project. :)
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!
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!
Rule of thumb is that the blanket should be about 10% of the child’s body weight.
Thanks for this info!
Now if I could find those pellets! Should check local web for that. Thank you for such detailed tutorial!
I am pretty sure they are made in China, so the trick is to find where they are sold locally! They are also used to fill small stuffed animals, if that is any help?
The pellets are sold at JoAnns, Walmart…. anyplace that sells sewing stuff. It’s used as filler for bean bags, dolls….
If you have any plastic manufacturing companies near you (extruders, injection molers, etc) you could call them to find out if they have any. Many companies have scrap laying around.
funny you should say extruders I work in a plastic factory and this is what we use these pellets
Yes, it is possible to find. I just have to translate the words into Chinese! Stuffed animals are mainly made with synthetic stuffing. Very few that I’ve seen have pellets in them
If they do have pellets, it is usually only a few, for weighting purposes (for example, to help them stay in a particular position). I hope you manage to find these!
Beanie Babies are filled with pellets.
Stuffed animals (critters) are what I do mainly. The pellets are used for weight on a few of them…horse, elephant, t-rex, etc. The cheapest place I found for the pellets was here . I am a parkinson’s patient, and am considering making one of these for myself to help with sleeping issues.
the pellets are sold at lens mills store all over ontario and they are reasonably priced. $2.50 per lb. also while i was searching for them i found that they are in an upholstery section not sewing. hope this helps:)
Thanks for sharing, Lori!
Another idea would be rice. I make rice bags instead using heating pads and it would do the same thing
But if using rice the blanket could not be washed
I made one using rice. I know it’s not washable, but they just use it while doing school work. I’d like one they could sleep with. :)
That is a great solution for a day blanket.
Yes, rice works well so long as you do not need to wash the blanket.
I found them at Joanne’s fabrics. With a coupon you can get them for $5 a bag.
How much does a bag from Joanne’s fabrics weigh?
I found a plastics manufacturer that had little plastic bits that would work instead. It was about a quarter of the price of polly pellets. I just phoned them up and explained what I was making.
I want to make one (or two) but, I think I’m going to make the pellets into a sort of bean bags first.
Measure and weigh the fabrics 1st for the overall blanket. Then for the remaining weight that I need, I’ll measure and divide the pellets and put into fabric squares. Like bean bags.
I’m planning to measure and weigh the fabrics to make the overall blanket/s fluffier and maybe warmer.
Sounds like a solid plan! I’d love to see photos when you are done.
I have occasionally thought I’d like to make one for myself, and I don’t have any sensory issues, or at least not that I’m aware of :)
This blanket sounds lovely!
I was really happy with how it turned out!
Oh, this goes so well with my recent post on sensory issues and homeschooling. I think I am going to go back and add a link to this post!
I would love for you to do that! I would love for you to link to your post in the comments here, as well!
Here it is!
I think I might like a weighted sensory blanket for myself!
I was surprised at how nice it felt around my shoulders – sort of like wearing a hug!
this sounds great, I bet my kids could use this!!!! the calming down with sensory play sounds fascinating to me !!!
It feels really nice – I am definitely making one (or maybe more than one) for my kids now!
Do you have any suggestions for a fleece and flannel blanket? The needle keeps breaking and jamming the machine when we try to sew across with the pellets getting in the way… Thought I’d ask and see if anyone had tried using fleece and if so, what worked for them?
Make sure you use a zig zag stitch since fleece is stretchy. You could also try making the individual squares larger so there is more room for the beads to stay out of the way of the stitching line. Also use a funnel or even a long cardboard tube to get the beads to the bottom of the blanket for the early rows. Good luck!
I read that someone used some fiberfill to keep beads in place and it gives the blanket a “puffy” feel.
Yes, that is definitely done sometimes.
we have done several with fleece, and you can feel the pellets between the layers, so you can keep the pellets pushed away. this means that you have your fingers close to the needle, and pushing pellets to the side when they are in the way.
use a ruler to hold the beads back out of the way
Great tip! Thanks.
I used fleece on one side and flannel on the other. I basted each row to keep the pellets out of the way. Only broke one needle and it was because I was a bit careless and trying to go to fast. I made it for my granddaughter for Christmas but decided to try it out. I couldn’t believe how much better I slept so I’m going to make myself one. I did have a perfect pattern on the fleece so was easy to do.
I’m so glad this worked for you!
There are tutorials that make a bead filled packet. You sew around three sides and partially the fourth side. Then fill it with the beads and sew the last little bit up by hand or sewing machine by holding the pellets back. Then put them down into the blanket and sew horizontally when you have the pellet bags in one row. Then continue to the next row putting the pellet bags down the columns and then sewing the row across when you’ve put all the pellet bags for that row.
Yes – like this: https://www.mamasmiles.com/easy-sew-beanbags-plus-games/
I laid my blanket over my ironing board or sofa and shook the beads to the bottom of the square. I then pinned a line 3/4 the way up the squares that went the full length of my blanket. (Parallel to where my stitch would be). It was time consuming but the line of pins allowed me to use my machine without any pellets getting in the way. I did the same line of pins all the way around the blanket when I was ready to add my binding.
Thank you. What a great idea. It would be weighted but not necessarily hot.
I read somewhere that it is 10% of the person’s weight plus 1 pound. So for a 100 lb person, the blanket should have 11 lbs of material in it.
Thanks for sharing this info!
My son’s OT said the blanket should weigh not less than 10% and no more than 20% of the users body weight.
Remember that the blanket item self is about a pound so u would only need 10 lbs of filling.
Thank you for the instructions. I have made 3 and have 2 more to make. I will say it took 2 to get it down. But it sure beats paying over $100. The blanket really does help and my grandson has calm nights of sleeping now. Thank you again.
I am so glad that these instructions were helpful for you! Please do let me know if you have any suggestions of ways in which I could make the instructions more user-friendly.
What type of material do you use?
I used quilting cotton, but flannel would also work well. You could use something like fleece or minky, but just be aware of how much warmer the blanket would be with those materials.
I think another idea could be the grains they use in heat bags. More environmentally friendly.?
Yes, the grains work but the blanket is then not washable.
How about making the blanket in cheapest material – fill with grains or lentils and then a simple outside cover or covers that are washable much like a doona cover!
That could work for some, but I wouldn’t suggest it for all of them. I’m hoping to make one of these for my daughter soon, but she’s not potty trained yet. :-/
I need mine to be washable! Lol. Good idea though!
couldn’t the inner material also be made out of something waterproof, such as an old shower curtain liner, so that the filling could be any material (beans, rice, lentils) and not worry about bugs or it getting wet. Just pop the outter comfy cover in the wash and wipe the other one down?
That solves the water issue, but it means the blanket will not breathe at all.