calming the senses with weighted blankets

wrapped

Note from Weeks:

Both my husband and daughter are restless sorts. When our daughter was little and we went to a restaurant, Bill would  take her out to run up and down the sidewalk while I paid the bill so she wouldn’t start squirming at the table. Those kids who kick the back of your seat on planes have the same issue. Therapists refer to them as “sensory seeking.” One therapist explained to me that the way I would feel if I sat in a car for ten hours straight is how she feels after sitting for one hour. So we walk to school instead of taking the bus that stops in front of our house, ride our bikes everywhere we can and are mindful that if she gets her antsies out, it’s easier for her to focus.

Bill has talked for years about finding a way to create a heavy blanket that would calm his and our daughter’s restless muscles. Last Friday they finally made one for her. It’s only a matter of time before they end up making another one for Bill. So I thought I’d let Bill guest write for me today to share with all of you his adventures in making weighted blankets:

Like me, our daughter is frequently restless and, at the end of the day, often asks for a heavy quilt on her legs or for a deep-muscle massage. She finds it calming in the way I do when a dentist drapes the heavy lead x-ray apron on my chest. The weight soothes me deeply and instantly. I considered looking on ebay for an old lead apron to replicate this feeling, but decided there must be a way to make something similar. I did a quick search for “weighted blanket” and it opened up a new world.

Little did I know that weighted blankets and vests are in widespread use as therapeutic devices for children and adults with sensory conditions including ADD and autism. Many cottage industries have sprung up making these blankets. I discovered general directions about making them yourself, so I had to give it a try. I’ve put what I learned into the following illustrated tutorial and downloadable pattern. Thanks to all who helped me by posting their approaches.

You should ask your doctor or physical therapist whether to use a weighted blanket, and if so what the best weight is. This pattern is intended to show how to construct such a blanket, not what is the best size or weight for you or your child.

The general rule of thumb to determine an appropriate weight for a blanket is 1/10th the child’s body weight plus 1 pound. So a 70-pound child would need a blanket weighing 7+1, or 8 pounds.

I’ve read of people filling weighted blankets with everything from rice to beans to sand, but those risk harboring mold. The most practical filling I read about was Fairfield weighted poly pellets, made for dolls and small stuffed animals. ( $6.99 for a 2-pound bag at wards5and10) These can be machine washed and dried on gentle. I used flannel for one side and a smooth cotton batik for the other, giving warm and cool weather options.

You can make your blanket any size and weight you want. The downloadable pattern is for an 8-pound, 40” x 52” blanket divided into 4” squares. To determine the amount of filling needed for each square, I divided the weight I wanted (8 pounds, or 128 ounces) by the total number of 4” squares (130.) The amount of filling needed for each square was about 1oz per square. While intended for her, it feels great as a shawl for me too.

scale2

I sewed the front and back together, and stitched vertical channels 4” apart (this is all detailed on the downloadable pattern at the end.) Using a postal scale, I weighed 1 ounce of pellets in a small cup and put a tape marker at the fill line. If you don’t have a sensitive scale, you could take a little baggie of pellets to your local post office and see if they’ll weigh them for you.

measuring-into-cups

I set out one glass for each of the vertical channels and our daughter had fun filling each with 1 ounce of pellets.

filling

She then poured the measured pellets into each of the channels..

sewing-channels

After filling each vertical channel, I sewed across horizontally, sealing those pellets into squares. We filled and sewed row after row.

in-progress-held-up

It does become a bit cumbersome to sew as it reaches its full weight, as you can imagine from this photo taken at the halfway stage. We kept a broom and dustpan handy for minor spills which were more frequent as it got heavier! Once fully filled, I top stitched the end seam.

weighted-blanket-pattern-thumbnail

The downloadable pattern has more details about the measurements and construction.

Not only was it fun to make together, but she has become incredibly attached to the blanket. Eager to try it myself, I tried to sneak it off her after she fell asleep that first night. Though normally a deep sleeper, she woke just enough to murmer, “May I have my blanket back?”

The next morning she carried it down the stairs to the breakfast table and even brings it with her in the car when we have to run long errands. This blanket is so calming to her that we promised we’d make one to keep in the car. Who knew that a few bags of plastic pellets could have such a calming effect?

118 Comments

  1. Barbara
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    This is so cool, I wonder if one would help me??? Going to try it, seems like since I retired I have what I call restless legs all the time, but especially at night.

  2. Jean
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    When I was a child a slept with an old fashioned, very-heavy sleeping bag, two wool blankets and a quilt because I liked the weight on me. My parents also liked tha they could keep the heat turned down : )

  3. Posted September 4, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I didn’t know this was a common problem. I sleep with many blankets even in the summer and have very restless muscles. I think I might have to try making one of these for myself. Thank you so much for posting about this!!

  4. Posted September 4, 2009 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for posting this!! I’m thinking about making something like this for my toddler now. If not a full blanket, at least a crib-sized one. Hmm…

  5. Posted September 5, 2009 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Two sensory people in our house over here! Thank you so much for posting directions on how to do this. Now that the Tongginator is in kindergarten, I may actually attempt this. We need one for her, but the ones you can find on-line are pretty cost-prohibitive. Thanks so much!

  6. Sharon
    Posted September 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    What a sweet and lovely girl Sophie is…and helpful too.

  7. candace
    Posted September 5, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    We love our weighted blanket although, can’t sew a stitch so we purchased ours from DreamCatcher Weighted Blankets. The blanket backing is smooth on one side which we didn’t find in other blankets. They have a monthly drawing for a free weighted blanket. You can enter at their website.. it is http://www.weightedblanket.net.

  8. Angela
    Posted September 5, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    I love this! My husband has to have light cover, but I just can not sleep that way. I’m excited about trying this blanket but making it just wide enough for my side of the bed. I’m glad you found a solution for your little one. Thanks!

  9. Posted September 7, 2009 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I’d never heard of a weighted blanket before now, but it sounds wonderful! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-sew-a-calming-weighted-blanket/2009/09/07/

    –Anne

  10. Erica
    Posted September 7, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this tutorial!!! I’m a teacher and I work with children autism. Many of my students have the sensory issues you referred to. I have been looking for a pattern for a weighted lap blanket to no avail. This tutorial is a blessing and just in time for the new school year. Thank you again!

  11. Posted September 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    THANK YOU!!! Your tutorial is just what I’ve been looking for to help me make a weighted blanket for my nephew. Your directions and photos are great (love the ones of your daughter helping) and your design looks easy and affordable. Your efforts will benefit many people! Thanks again.

  12. Posted September 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations!
    I’m occupational therapist in Portugal and i think that you had a wonderful idea! I felt proud about you, also as a mother, because you found a way to compensate your daughter needs, alone!!! This means that you really understand her needs.
    I posted your picture in my young blog, because i’m very “green” in this “crafter world” and i was surprised with the fact of find something that’s related with my job.
    Now, i invite you to visit my humble blog and to know me a little. I don’t write in english there, but pictures are universal, aren’t they? So, You’ll be very welcome.

  13. Posted September 8, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Wow-this is fantastic! When I was little I used to love sleeping at my grandmother’s becuase she would pile heavy afghans on me until it was hard to move my arms and legs. I loved it! I might have to give this a shot. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll be linking to this as well.

  14. Posted September 9, 2009 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    I was always one of those kids that used to pile blankets on the bed and sweat to death in the summer because I needed the weight of the quilts to get me to sleep. I going to have to make one of these. Thanks for sharing!!

  15. Posted September 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi there! I love this project! I have made a few weighted blankets in my own design (in channels instead of pocket-sized ones, though I love love love the pocket idea) for my daughter as well who has sensory integration disorder and autism. I would love to do a feature of you on my blog. It was recently moved to a new location (http://reclaimingthehome.blogspot.com/), but has been previously active for 2 years as a companion blog to a large message board of homemakers that I run. If you would be interested in doing an interview for a blog feature on the site, facebook, and message board, I would be honored. My email address is homegrownrose@gmail.com. Thank you!

  16. edie
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I have a 110 pound 19 yo Aspy who needed one of these and we found the price for 20+ pounds of pellets prohibitive. We improvised by sewing 5/8 in channels and filling the channels with marbles from the dollar store. Cost less than $10 for enough marbles for a 45″ by 36″ rectangle. Since it is so heavy and would be difficult to wash, I made “duvet covers” for it in various flannels and nappy fabrics because he likes the feel of those fabrics.

    Just another option to consider!

    Edie

    • Donna Lineman
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      Edie, I love your idea of making it with the marbles and then making Duvet covers for the actual blanket! I may try this idea!

      Blessings,
      Donna

  17. Posted October 2, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    thanks so much for this — I’ve been meaning to make a weighted blanket for some time, for one of my nieces who is severely “special needs”. I’ve printed out the tutorial and ordered my bags of pellets (Fabric Depot in Portland, OR is another inexpensive supplier). Can’t wait to deliver it and see how she likes it…

  18. Posted November 7, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi — I finished my blanket and posted it on my blog with a link to yours. Thanks again for the instructions!

  19. Juli
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    I just discovered this page via StumbleUpon and I had to comment, I always sleep under tons of blankets, as well as three cats! It never occurred to me that the weight is what helps relax me, but it makes perfect sense now! Thanks for the heads-up as well as the lovely tutorial.

  20. Jess
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    As a kid, I was afraid of something “getting” me, so I slept under covers at all times. Then, as an adult, I found myself struggling to stay secure while trying not to create a bed-sauna.
    I worked in a medical office with my x-ray tech mom, and I would borrow her lead aprons to nap with on my lunch breaks. I always ask to keep them on at the dentist, too.

    I now have a son who will just PILE blankets on at night, no matter the weather, and I will definitely be looking into making one of these for him.

    Thanks!

  21. Trevor
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Wow! The dentist example hit home for me! I never realized it but I am really relaxed when that put that goofy thing on and I’m always so sad when they take it away… almost empty!

  22. Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Wow, maybe this is why I always want something heavy on my legs at night– I feel very restless without it. i think both me and my kids need these. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Cassandra
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this. I am a mental health counselor as well as a sewer! I had never heard of these blankets before and am so glad to know about them!

  24. li
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Hey Bill,
    I have to tell you that reading this brought tears to my eyes. You are a super dad and your daughter is so lucky to have a father that will do projects like this with her.
    Thanks for making my day
    Li

  25. Jane
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering if this is very hot, since I am not only a restless legs sufferer but also sometimes experience night sweats. I would LOVE to have the additional weight without the additional heat. I can’t “weight” to make one. Thanks for posting this.

  26. Posted December 11, 2009 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    A few years ago, I made “lap weights” for a classroom with kids that needed to learn to sit quietly and listen. Our sensory challenged students asked for the weights during “circle time”. I made several types, some with stretchy lycra on one side and flannel on the other side. and some with smooth fabric and fuzzy fabric. Not only did the students like the weight, they liked touching and pulling on the fabrics.

  27. Posted December 14, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Very cool! I learned a lot reading this, and it is such a great how to for a craft project. I think if you make this for a child, you have to make 2 (in case one gets lost or the child has to be parted from it while it is in the laundry) :-)

  28. Kevin
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I just finished making one that is 76″ by 60″ and 21lbs. I love it and even brought it with me when going to a friends to go skiing for the weekend. Just thought everyone would like to know that Michael’s the craft store has them for $7.99 for a 2 pound bag, but then you can get printable coupons for either 40% or 50% off. Either google for printable coupons or check your local paper for coupons which there usually always is. I managed to get all my pellets for around 2 bucks a pound this way.

  29. Kelly Smith
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Awesome instructions! My daughter has some sensory issues and the prices of buying a blanket was just so much so I was thrilled to find your site. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Kelly

  30. Donna
    Posted March 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! My 8yo son with sensory issues needs a weighted blanket, and the prices just about popped the eyes right out of my head! I thought I could make one but had absolutely no idea how to do it. A friend and I brainstormed some ideas, but this is so much easier, it’s PERFECT! I can’t wait to try it!

  31. Maureen
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    This is interesting. I sleep with 3 quilts on my bed for the same reason.

  32. Miranda
    Posted April 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks now I know why I love having heavy blankets to sleep with. It explains alot about my childhood!

  33. Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Thank you! I was wondering if I should buy or try to make one of these. My sensory seeking son’s OT recommended one and I just couldn’t justify paying over $100 for a blanket. Now I can make it how he wants it.

  34. Sarah P.
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    This would be PERFECT for an autistic child!

  35. Sarah P.
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Woops! I see you’ve already mentioned that in your article. Just stumblin’ by… :)

  36. Liz
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    What a great idea.

    And… I love you’re daughter’s (?) pants. :)

  37. Tanya Eland
    Posted June 25, 2010 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    THANK YOU so much for posting this…we recently found out my son has Sensory Integration Disorder and I love to sew so this is going to be a fun project for him and I….such an easy pattern and the pics were great!

  38. Kelly
    Posted June 25, 2010 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    This post is awesome! My daughter wasn’t too crazy about the whole blanket, so I modified it and just made a lap pad using the same principle. It’s great!

  39. Posted September 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I did find the pellets cheaper by buying in bulk at batt-mart or something like that. I am making it with flannel too, and I hope it works for my daughter with sensory issues. She loves the one at OT, so I am making one for home and school. I can’t wait to get started!

  40. Katel
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Is the weight formula the same for a lap blanket? I am VERY excited to learn about these.

  41. Posted October 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Katel,

    I would assume that it would be the same for a lap blanket. We didn’t come up with this formula. We found it on various sites so you might want to Google it to check other people’s experiences.

  42. Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I made a weighted blanked last year for my daughter who has restless leg syndrome. The blanket has helped her tremendously. She has now loaned it to her sister who has the same problem.
    So it looks like I’ll be making another one.

    I have checked out many sites for patterns and find this site to have one of the best pattern with the least confusing directions. Thanks so much for posting it and making it available to those of us who need it.

    Thanks Lila

  43. Sue
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Interesting post – while I don’t have a sensory disorder, I have always wanted a heavy blanket on me when I sleep, even in the hot summer months (so it’s a battle between my internal thermostat and my desire for the weight of a blanket). I’m curious – has there ever been any sort of study done on the relation between childhood trauma (such as abuse – physical or sexual) and the desire to have weighted blankets when sleeping? I’d be interested in finding out.

  44. Geoff
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I have 4 yo son with SPD, I plan on making a blanket and a lap belt for him…
    Thank you for posting this!!

    (And it’s nice to know that I’m not the only guy who knows his way around a sewing machine=)

  45. Posted November 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    We made a weighted blanket for our daughter last year. She is 6 and has ADHD like symptoms – one of the biggest being that she has a REALLY hard time falling asleep.

    We made an 8 lb blanket with fleece on one side and cotton fabric on the other.

    She instantly LOVED it and now uses it all the time – from going to bed to simply sitting around watching cartoons.

    It has literally transformed her bedtime routine. Thanks for sharing a great pattern!

  46. Posted November 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    FYI: We have poly pellets that (last I checked) may be cheaper than elsewhere. The site isn’t fancy, but we sell pellets, which isn’t inherently fancy. :-)

  47. MaryLou Rupp
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    As I read about your weighted blankets it reminded me about the woman, Temple Grandin, who had autism and made herself a “sheep squeeze” sort of contraption that she would use when she was overloaded. It worked very effectively for her.
    I noticed you had many comments regarding autism and asbergers so obviously Temple was really on to something a long time ago. If you haven’t seen the HBO movie about her life I recommend you do.

  48. CM
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much, it was so easy to make! I also put a layer of quilt batting between the two outside layers for more stability. My son has SPD and autism, and thanks to this blanket he’s sleeping all night!!!

  49. Posted December 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing this info! My son has sensory processing disorder, and I would like to make him a weighted blanket. Bought the weight pellets today, and was wondering how to construct the blanket. Now I know!

  50. Posted December 30, 2010 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I have to tell you this is the most concise weighted blanket tutuorials I have seen anywhere! I am constantly sending people to it! Could I use your tutorial on my blog? http://www.davidsblanket.com
    I have a pattern there, but it is not nearly as well written and descriptive as yours. Great job!

    • Posted January 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi Donna,

      Sorry it has taken so long to respond.

      You may link to our blog but we’d prefer that you not lift the whole tutorial. We’re glad that you found it helpful.

      Best Wishes,

      Weeks

  51. Keri Kennedy
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! I was wanting to make one for my daughter who has a seizure disorder and has major developmental delays. She is a sensory seeker so trying to get her to calm down for therapy sessions can be a challenge. As a mom who loves to craft I knew I could figure out some of the basics of creating a blanket such as this, but your project really lays it all out – including the biggest dilemma – what to fill it with that will hold up in the washing machine (this is for kids after all and we all know they are going to get messy).

    Thank you! I hope your daughter is still enjoying her blanket.

  52. Carol
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    This is amazing! This article and all the comments have been a real epiphany for me. It’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one comforted by the lead blanket used at the dentist. And not the only one that loved to be weighted down by blankets. Stumble Upon brought me here and I’m delighted. I’ll be making one of these blankets for myself. Thank you! Thank you!

  53. writernubbin
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for posting this how-to! I am going to make one for each of our grandsons using your instructions. :)

  54. Kimberly
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the tips! I’m disabled and suffer from severe, intractable Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement while awake. Day or night, the moment my brain senses any attempt to rest or sleep, something misfires, triggering what feels like ‘flight’ response. This can last for as long as 8 – 10 hours per night, every night, prior to passing out from sheer exhaustion. As mentioned above, interestingly, I too have had the same comforting experience after a hygienist suggested using the dentist’s x-ray bib to cover my legs during treatment. She told me it had worked well for one of their Parkinson’s patients…and it did. If it’s true that such a blanket will also help with my Serotonin, even better, as all anti-depressants exacerbate RLS/PLMD. I am anxious to make my weighted blanket and see if it works for me. I’ve tried every medicine and trick in the book. It’s so bad that I understand completely why Michael Jackson resorted to such a drastic and dangerous choice of Propofol. I often wish someone could just knock me out….so hoping this works! Thanks again!

  55. Posted March 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I have been thinking about making a weighted blanket for my son who has ASD (possibly high-functioning Aspergers) and he seeks heavy weight on him all the time, but I was unable to find good instructions until now. He just picked out his material patterns today at JoAnn Fabrics & they also had the 32 oz (2 lb) poly pellets for $6.99 (so no shipping costs :). Thank you so much for these wonderful instructions!!!

  56. Jem White
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I found this tutorial quite a while ago and had sent it to my mother in the hopes she’d take the hint and make me one. She gave it to me at Christmas in 2009 and I absolutely love it. I only sleep without it when I’m in a hotel or at a friend’s house. As a neurotic and nervous person, the blanket (and my nightlights) actually allow me to sleep at nights when I definitely could not before.

  57. Clara
    Posted March 23, 2011 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    My grandmother accadentally made a weighted quilt once, out of my dad’s old courderoy and wool pants. We all loved it so much that eventually my mother had to replace the worn-out cotton liner. We still use it, it’s almost 30 years old!

  58. robin sellrs
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    my 5 yr old is mildly autistic and uses a weighted blanket at school. i’m going to make him one for home too. thanks for the directions. they do work great.

  59. Grandma Jean
    Posted April 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I have seen weighted vests for
    Autistic children to wear at,school,home,trips.For some it is easier to keep on.

  60. Johanna Frtiz
    Posted May 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Weeks,
    Found this online after you mentioned this in your class today 5-20-11 in Brookfield, WI
    Thought you might want the info.
    Johanna – the woman who won the door prize of the Clover Bias Maker…thanks.

    http://www.batt-mart.com/site/490194/page/90969

    Pellets are 25Lbs for $63.00 or
    10 lbs for $29.00

  61. anita jones
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Please send me a copy of your pattern, I need it for my little grandchild. Thank you, anita

  62. Lorie
    Posted June 4, 2011 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Wanted to say thanks for the pattern and tutorial. It proved to be very helpful in making my daughter’s blanket. She is now sleeping through the night. I actually took an a premade blanket and cut the hem out. Saved some sewing time and was quite a bit cheaper (remember when sewing was actually cheaper than going and buying clothes?) Now I am on the line to make 2 more for the other kids and I might make one for myself. Thanks again. Your photos and instructions were very fabulous!

  63. Jennifer
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this wonderful pattern. If it weren’t so late and the stores weren’t closed I would begin this now! I am in tears thinking I can make this for my little guy, who is 3 and has SPD, to comfort and help him.

  64. Jenn
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the pattern! A weighted blanket was suggested to me for my son who has sensory issues–we are in the early stages of diagnosis, but he loves hard hugs and wrapping himself like a burrito in blankets!

    We went to the fabric store today and he picked out two crazy fabrics and I got the pellets and a very light cotton batting to cushion the blanket.

    I’m about halfway finished right now and it’s looking great, despite my mediocre sewing skills and crooked lines! I’m liking the extra puff the batting provides, and it makes a nice cushy edge when I sewed an inch border around the whole thing.

    Can’t wait to let him use it and show it off (I’ve been taking pics of the process)!

    Thanks again!

  65. Paula
    Posted August 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I googled “how to make a weighted blanket” and your site looked the most interesting!! I am so glad I clicked on the link!!! These instructions are perfect for me! I don’t sew, nor do I have a sewing machine, but I am taking my son out to buy fabric and pellets and we will start working on it! Maybe during the hurricane coming to Jersey this weekend. Thank you so much!!!

  66. Posted November 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Six years ago our family started a non profit state certified school for children with autism (clearhorizonsacademy.org in Provo Utah. We are now constructing a school that has ten classrooms. Parents and a 17 year old scout have joined together on an Eagle Scout Project to do 12-15 weighted blankets made from used Levis. We will have these in the school in the quiet (time out) rooms attached to each of 10 classrooms and also in our larger sensory room. Our LDS congregation has adopted our school to help the autism children. This is one of their projects. By the way, my daughter-in-law made me a large full size Levi weighted blanket and I just love it. She has made more which we auction off at our annual school auction.

  67. Amy
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I made this with my mother in law yesterday. While it seemed from the directions easier than another pattern I had found online I think I would have prefered to use the other pattern. It used a piece of muslin that you drew lines on to make a grid of the squares. We found it very difficult to keep straight lines as the balnket got heavier with each row. We did finish and it looks great but it was quite a challenge to sew.

  68. SusieQ324
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your pattern. My dad and I made an adult sized on this past weekend (40″x75″) and while I originally was shooting for about 15lbs, the finished project ended up closer to 17…and that’s quite alright. I have RLS and have found that the last 4 nights of sleep have been heavenly. I fall asleep faster, sleep sounder and wake up feeling refreshed. It’s been years since I’ve slept this well. I used a 350tc queen sized sheet folded in half as I didn’t want to add much heat with my blanket. I also used the lightest quilt batting I could find for inside and this makes it quilt-like as well as provides softness from the beads. We found that using painters tape (the blue stuff) to make our lines worked wonders in keeping things straight. We also experimented with basting and pinning the heck out of it to keep the beads in place while we sewed the sections closed. Oh, my last tidbit – I bought the poly-pellets in bulk from http://www.craftpellets.com and even with shipping was more cost effective than buying 2lb bags, especially for a quilt of this weight.

    It’s been 4 days and i can’t imagine sleeping without one. Now I’ve got to make a “travel” sized version that I can get on a plane and in the car!

  69. Tara
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I made one for my restless boyfriend. I had to make it 16×16 and 19 pounds. When I got to the middle, I started sewing on the floor so the blanket didn’t slip off the table and spill everywhere. We both really like it. I might steal it back from him, haha.
    Thanks again!

  70. mellissa stephens
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    call around to plastic companies got 15 pds of poly beads donated from a local company. Just called and got them donated after explaining why i needed them ebay is a good place too. thanks so much for the information and pattern on how to make it.

  71. Julie
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I am glad I found this post! I will be making this very soon for my son with SPD (sensory processing disorder). Thanks so much for sharing!!

  72. Posted March 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I sewed a weighted blanket last week using your pdf tutorial. It was very helpful, and the blanket (which can be viewed here: http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2440124774817073264#editor/target=post;postID=3776642332236359894) came out beautifully. Thanks for clear instructions and a great tutorial!

  73. Stacy
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait to make this. My daughter has difficulty falling asleep… we have tried EVERYTHING, but bedtime is still a battle every night. What a great idea.. thanks for the tutorial!

  74. Posted April 18, 2012 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this post, I just found it on pinterest. I work with children with autism, and I know that there are a lot of parents looking for instructions like this, so thank you. I will refer them to your site.

  75. Jen
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    this is great thank you

  76. Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    I completely adore this post! definitely going to need to put this on the list.

  77. Posted July 3, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I am about to make a weighted blanket for my 2.5 year old with special needs. I bought synthetic batting to sandwich the polly pellets, but I just came across your page and I see you didn’t use poly-fill or anything. Are you happy with it? we live in a place that is warm most of the year, so we don’t need any extra warmth, I just want her to sleep through the night, please G-d!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Yosefa – Yes we are happy with the weighted blanket without the batting. It’s already very heavy and in the summer it’s unimaginable to have batting in it. It’s sometimes too warm in the summer without the batting so I would not include it. I would also add that it’s worth seeing if your child likes the feel of the dentist’s blanket. Not all kids like it but if they do they will love this. Our daughter is almost 11 and she still uses it especially when she’s overtired or she’s had a lot of stimulation on a particular day. Best Wishes for helping your child get a good night’s sleep so you can get one too. Parents of special needs children are heroes in my eyes.

  78. Posted August 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Txlonestargal's Blog.

  79. mari
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I work with special needs children, and this will help many of our kids. I can’t wait to make it for them.

  80. Mariva Gonzalez
    Posted September 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    My friend has a daughter that was recommend that this blanket will help her…and we were thinking of making her one…can’t wait to show my friend and get started.

  81. Posted October 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for making this pattern for those of us that need to see it done. I have never heard of weighted blankets until my daughter told me about them. She was talking how expensive they are and I said someone has to have pinned a great site. That is how I found yours. I would not have known what to put in for a filler. My grandson is going to love his new weighted blanket and I have you to thank…

  82. Mrs Moreno
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    If my weight is 163 what would my amount be for the blanket.

  83. Posted November 3, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing such a fastidious thinking, article is pleasant, thats why i have read it completely

  84. Janie
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for posting this I have been looking at getting a weighted blanket for my cousin with Autism. But they are very expensive, luckily I love to craft so this should be a fun new experiment. I also have a aunt with Parkinsons and my mom has restless leg syndrome so I am existed to make one for them too if this goes well.

  85. Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    This may have already been stated, but can this type of blanket be washed in a top loader? Front loader?

    I have 3 spectrum children and didn’t know how in the world I was going to buy 3 weighted blankets. Thank you so much for sharing your design.

    • K Smith
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Not sure if this design can be washed…check online for the product used to fill the blanket. I have not washed mine…tried to keep it clean as possible. Good luck!

    • Alex
      Posted May 6, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      It says in the original post:

      ” These can be machine washed and dried on gentle”

  86. Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this. How would I find a pattern for a larger-sized blanked, like a queen or a king size?

  87. Lon Wollff
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    What aboult a weighted vest to bring to school?

    • Paula
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      The schools OT should have them. They know how to size them for the kids.

  88. Posted February 13, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    The idealist is often a individual who aids other folks to get prosperous.

  89. Alex
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, love the pattern and going to attempt to make one for my SPD son.

    Question, did you use just a plain straight stitch for the 4″ squares, or did you use a reinforced straight stitch due to the weight (2 forward 1 back?)

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 3:51 am | Permalink

      Just a regular straight stitch.

      Weeks Ringle co-owner and designer

      Modern Quilt Studio 719 Iowa Street Oak Park IL 60302 (708) 445-1817 http://www.modernquiltstudio.com http://www.craftnectar.com

      • Alex
        Posted May 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Thanks so much! Because of you I completed a 2lb weighted blanket, 24 individual 4″ squares with 1.3 oz of poly beads in each.

        See here…

        http://www.phone2forum.com/interface/scripts/viewimage.php?photoid=103163&code=F3szBUGzkRku8A21JZI6vA%3D%3D

        Amazed how it came out, this is sort of a car/lap blanket. Next will be a larger version for sleeping.

        My son already loves it and can’t wait for his bed version. His sister is already angling to get her own as well.

        Thanks again!

      • Alex
        Posted May 9, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        One more follow up… What’s your strategy for keeping the poly beads to one side of the 4″ pocket while stitching? Are you putting in a fold and pinning the pocket to keep the beads to the left and the stitch to the right?

        Thanks!

      • Posted May 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        No, we just smoothed them to one side but do whatever you think will work for you.

  90. Posted May 11, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Great post.

  91. Phoebe Scott
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the pattern and what the weights are and where to buy. I cannot buy a thunfershirt for my great pyrenees but now I can make one and also I thought of a vest for myself. Or a short scarf? No one iwll know I am wearing my own hug! Thank you again!

  92. Posted June 8, 2013 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    This would be good too for PTSD. I’ve used a weighted blanket for PTSD issues and have found it effective. I made the blanket myself but have since lost it in the move. I need to make one again and your pattern is easy. Thank you for that. I hate long winded patterns. LOL
    For PTSD it gives a secure feeling, it helps me stay in the present. I’m not certain why it helps so much but it does.
    Faith

  93. noel
    Posted June 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Just wondered about washing and drying instructions. Also my child chews holes in his shirts. Also chewed a hole in feather duvet and pulls the feathers out one by one. (Almost seems calming for him to do this) How easy would it be for him to open up this blanket and swallow these beads?

    • Posted June 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      If your child chews holes in anything, I would not use these beads. I would also add that this is a great design opportunity for you to design something that allows him to pull it apart if that’s calming to him. You might think about filling the pockets with something easy to put back into it and making the pockets open so he doesn’t have to chew holes to get them open. Or even some sort of chew toy? But I wouldn’t give him anything that you’re not comfortable ending up in his mouth.

    • Julie
      Posted March 12, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Chewing actually is often very calming for people!

  94. Charli Wetzel
    Posted July 28, 2013 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    My little great nephew’s first weighted blanket was quite small because he was small. It was loaned to him by the school that determined he was autistic. He outhgrew it very quickly. My niece asked my help to make a new one since I sew. His birthday was coming up so I found fabric he’d like and set out to the task. Once he had a new blanket of his own his mother returned the borrowed blanket. They were so impressed by his new one that I made another to donate back to the school. They were so appreciative that they sent me a thankyou note. Don’t forget the schools when making these blankets. They have a need for them too. A friend with connections to a local pellet manufacturer even got them to donate enough pellets for each of us to make a blanket. Hers went to her new autistic step-grandson and mine went to the school.

  95. casey
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    i saw you had a chance to win free weighted blanket if we share our story well my story is i am 21 and have autism i have meltdowns almost daily when in a meltdown i want to be squeezed and hugged tight for a few minutes but my mom wont listen cause she dont beleive me and she wont do it so i am stuck getting stress or my anxity acting up on a daily basis causeing meltdowns that i cant control i have wanted a weighted blanket since i was first diagnosed with autism and spd and since i first heard of them when i was 18 i am on disability and we struggle to pay bills and feed our house with just mine and my moms check already but we try our best so we cant afford to buy a weighted blanket i have tried many time to win one but i never win nothing which upset me even more well if i where to win you could get me either on facebook or at phone at 4788673563 i am trying to get me one i think it will help alot with calming my meltdowns i only have facebook by phone and i can only get on internet if i stay at my grandmas which i dont do much but thank you for listening i did try to win. my facebook name is casey no

  96. LaVon
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing- this is amazing- I love that you can customize this to your own child’s liking. This is really great and I can’t wait to make my daughter one!!

  97. desiree davis
    Posted January 9, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I want to make a weighted scarf do u know if its still 10% of there weight? Thanks

    • Posted January 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      We’ve never made a weighted scarf but because it’s going to be smaller and you won’t be able to fit as many beads in, I’d just make it the size you want and fill it up until it feels good to you.

      Weeks Ringle co-owner and designer

      Modern Quilt Studio 719 Iowa Street Oak Park IL 60302 (708) 445-1817 http://www.modernquiltstudio.com http://www.craftnectar.com

  98. jennifer a
    Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    These look wonderful! Do you sell these?

  99. Julie
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Love this!!! You mention to ask a Physio about the weight of the blanket, it is actually occupational therapists who are trained in sensory processing issues.

  100. Posted March 29, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the instructions. My mom just made a blanket for my daughter and we learned the hard way that not all poly pellets are the same. I ordered POLYETHYLENE pellets from ebay. These have a very strong odor and don’t seem to be appropriate for this use. Thankfully the seller was gracious and is sending me polypropylene ones at just the cost of shipping. So BUY POLYPROPOYLENE pellets. (We had to rip our blanket apart and start over…)

    • Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      In the post we recommended a specific brand Fairfield Poly-Pellets. While we have no relationship with Fairfield, these pellets are designed for use in stuffed animals so we felt they would be the most appropriate for the project as the material, size and the weight were calculated for them. For that reason we’d encourage readers to stick with that brand.

  101. Maren
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I just finished making a weighted blanket for my son. I thought I was going to go insane after trying to put the first row of pellets into the channels because they all stuck to the cotton batting. My genius husband suggested that I use a tube (we used an empty wrapping paper tube) to get the pellets in place and prevent the sticking. It made that step a million times easier, and I was able to finish the blanket in a few hours. Hooray for smart husbands, and hooray for our new weighted blanket!

  102. Cindy Kaapana
    Posted October 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I am an Occupational Therapist and made a weighted blanket for one of the children I work with. It worked so well, my mother started making them to give out to families in the clinic where I work. She has now made 50! Your instructions are the best most concise that I have seen! Would it be OK for our facility to make many copies of your instruction page just as it is to give to people who are interested in making their own or to sewers who are interested in making them for us to give to the kids who need them?

    I was thinking we could do your page on 1 side and then some tips we have discovered along the way to make it easier to sew across the rows, put in the pellets, etc on the other side.

    If it is OK, do you want the information updated as funquilts is at the bottom and I see that is no longer your name.

    Thak you so much! Cindy

    • Posted October 10, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Hi Cindy – yes you may use the instructions but please update the name to Modern Quilt Studio. Thanks.

  103. nancy Ippplito
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Wow…thank you for the tutorial! I have adult ADHD & always had that exact feeling of instant calm with the xray blanket The dentist. Never heard anyone else say that before. Definitely making this!


23 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Craft Nectar made a weighted blanket for her daughter because of its calming properties, and shares a tutorial showing how she did it.  According to her blog, weighted blankets are sometimes used as a therapy for ADD, autism, and other sensory conditions.   Please note that  you need to consult your physician to determine whether this kind of blanket would be helpful and the amount of weight that is appropriate.  Go to the tutorial to find out how to make one. […]

  2. […] Craft Nectar has a great tutorial on how to make a weighted blanket. Pookie does like the deep pressure of things like this, alot of kids with Autism do, but so far it has not been a huge issue. I do wonder, however, if this is something he would like. I am putting this on my “maybe” list. It really is a good idea, and she gives very good instructions. […]

  3. […] was really difficult and I’ve decided I never want to make anything again. We used this plan, which meant sewing vertical columns 4 inches apart.  Then, dividing out the beads so they were […]

  4. […] I don’t want to end up curled in a ball rocking back and forth, waiting for someone to put heavy weights on my back so that I can calm down. (Side note: That really works with me. To calm the shaking. I […]

  5. […] around, kicking seats, squirming in seats. They’ve created .pdf instructions for creating weighted quilts for sensory seeking kids and adults, using weighted poly […]

  6. […] Calming the Senses with a Craft Blanket by Craft Nectar […]

  7. […] the next few days my time is going to be spent making Weighted Blankets for two of my grandsons.  These blankets are a wonderful tool used to calm the senses of Autistic […]

  8. […] Click here to download a free pattern for a weighted blanket and get more tips for making these blan… […]

  9. […] DreamCatcher weighted blankets 2. Craft Nectar 3. Craft Pellets (includes pattern) .gplus #___plusone_0, .gplus […]

  10. […] can do a LOT more research studying that subject! On to the blanket. I found the instructions at Craft Nectar after looking into buying a weighted blanket for my son. One for his little 3 year old body would […]

  11. […] blanket!”  So, I googled How to make a weighted blanket and found this really great blog with directions.  Of course, I actually read the directions and looked at the photos and came to […]

  12. […] http://craftnectar.com/2009/09/03/calming-the-senses-with-weighted-blankets/ […]

  13. […] inside weighted part out of muslin that I already had and used rice to fill it up.  I found this tutorial online as my guide but then made some modifications.  Like I said, I used rice which […]

  14. […] D–a weighted blanket.  He’s our running-tripping-bouncing-punching kind of kid, so I think he’s going to dig having a weighted blanket thrown over him at night.  I have a hunch that this is going to help him sleep better.  Even as a small baby, he constantly wanted to be up against our chests.  We couldn’t put him down or else he would cry for hours.  (That was a big learning moment as a mom:  every baby has different needs.  Give them what they need.)  So, a weighted blanket it is for him.  I think he’s going to love it–once he’s tried it. […]

  15. […] Make a Weighted Blanket […]

  16. […] Weighted Blanket Tutorial – Craft Nectar […]

  17. […] who get easily overloaded by sensory input may help you. An easy one to adapt to the bedroom is a weighted blanket. Many people (and most animals) find being gently but firmly held, or nestled under heavy blankets […]

  18. […] Calming the Senses with a Weighted Blanket (downloadable template too) —————— […]

  19. […] wise, my most recent finish is this weighted blanket I made for my niece. I used this lovely weighted blanket tutorial @ craft nectar. I had read the tutorial through and then decided it was straightforward enough that I could just […]

  20. […] never gets old, The Weighted Blankets and sleep. I stumbled across this article/blog about them. Calming the Senses with Weighted Blankets  It explains a little more about how it works for them and how to make […]

  21. […] WEighted blanket that you can sew […]

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