Welcome to the FREE Tutorial on how to make a weighted blanket!
My friend has a little boy that has Autism, she thought he would benefit from a weighted blanket and asked me if I could make one. I had never heard of it, so I started doing a little research. Apparently, weighted blankets can help calm and relax people when they are scared, angry, frustrated or flustered. I decided to figure out how to make one and thought a tutorial would be handy for others who are thinking about making one too! Enjoy!
**Please note, this is just a tutorial on how to make a weighted blanket, I am not a doctor or a scientist, I am a mom that sews and have seen these blankets work for children with autism. Feel free to search it out for yourself and make a choice on if it would be a good fit for your loved one! **
Before I start, I just want you to learn from my mistakes….So mistake #1 was doing this while my “helpful children” were around. I wish I would have done this project after bedtime or during school. I had to stop every few minutes to get a drink or milk for one child, stop them from using my sewing scissors ON the blanket I was trying to sew, etc….learn from my mistakes! I’d also recommend reading through the whole tutorial once before starting….too many times I start to follow a tutorial and jump ahead and have to unpick my project…again, learn from my mistakes!
What you will need:
- Fabric (I used 2 yards to make this size blanket-turned out to be 36 x 60-you get however much fabric you want/need)
- A disappearing ink pen
- Ruler OR straight edge of some sort
- A scale that can measure ounces
- Poly Pellets (don’t worry I will tell you where to get them)
- Poly Fil (stuffing)
- Then of course a sewing machine, thread, scissors! 😉
Ok! Lets get started!
The first thing you need to do is MAKE A PLAN-You need to know how many squares are going to be on your blanket. This depends on how much fabric you use. My blanket measures 36 x 60. I decided that I could make each “column” (length wise) just a little over 7 inches each that gave me 5 squares a long the top.
**Mistake #2–make sure your “columns” are at least 6 or 7 inches as you have to stuff your arm all the way down to the bottom row to push the stuffing in….you don’t want your arm to get stuck in there!** Since the long side was 60 inches, I decided that having 10-“6 inch” squares would be perfect. So I made a 5 x 10 blanket, which meant I had 50 squares. Are you with me so far? If not let’s try saying it another way. Divide your blanket into equal squares….was that easier?
You also need to know how many lbs of poly pellets you will need based on the weight of the person you are giving the blanket to. After researching I read that you should take the weight of the person/child and use 10% of their weight. The child I made this for was about 90 lbs, so I needed 9 lbs of poly pellets. Polly Pellets are small, round, clear, bead-like balls that are generally used in stuffed animals. They are machine washable and safe for the insides of a blanket. You can purchase poly pellets at any craft store, but they are pretty pricey, you get a small 1 lb bag for $4.99. I found a screaming deal on eBay, I got 25 lbs for $30 and split the box with my Mom who used them to make a weighted blanket for her granddaughter/my niece.
Here is a close up of what they look like: (Update Dec 2016: I have had many people ask about the poly pellets. Prices definitely have gone up since I wrote this post a few years ago, Ebay still seems to be the best price. I recently made another blanket for a friend using this tutorial and the best price I have found is $1.94 a lb HERE is a listing for them. What I like about these specifically, is tells you it can handle up to 250 degrees, so you KNOW these will be machine washable and able to dry in your dryer! Here is another pellet option HERE There are more options besides just clear pellets as well, I’ve used white ones and black ones before too. If you need it fast and have Amazon prime, this was the best deal I found with the free 2 day shipping!)
UPDATE 8/15/17- I found an incredible price on poly pellets today on Etsy! It was 25 lbs for $27 and I think shipping would be around $18. Not sure though. It’s worth checking out I think! Even with the shipping it breaks down to $1.80 per lb!
Now figure out how many ounces of poly pellets you need in each square. I had 9 lbs which equaled 144 oz. I divided that by 50 squares and I needed to put 2.88 ounces in each square. My scale wasn’t that specific, so I settled for 2.8 ounces in each one and made one row with 3 ounces in each square….it evened out! OK…..NOW lets really get started!
You need to sew your fabric right sides together. Sew the 2 long sides and one short side. Leave one “short side”–which we will now refer to as the “top”–open so you can flip it right side out. I didn’t take pictures of this (sorry) so I made this handy little picture 😉 That’s right all you visual readers….I’ve got your back!
Flip your blanket right side out and if you are awesome….iron it so your edges are flat and perfect like your Home EC teacher would ask for….I am not awesome, I skipped this step. (Just being honest)
NEXT measure along the bottom and the top and make a mark every _ X_ inches. In my case I measured out every 7 inches and used my disappearing ink pen to draw a long line all the way up and down my blanket. Then starting at the bottom of your blanket sew your lines up to the “top” (remember when we name the open end the top–just reminding ya!) It is really hard to see the sewn lines, so look at the next picture below this one for a close up!
When you get near the top stop sewing 2 or so inches so later we can fold over the “rough edge” for a clean finished edge. Here is a closer picture of the lines and the “open space” you leave at the top.
Once your “long lines” are sewn it is now time to prep to fill your first row of squares. I took my disappearing ink pen and measure out how “tall” I wanted my squares. In my case (since it was 60 inches and I was doing 10 rows) I measured out 6 inches.
Time to weight the blanket:
Once your line is drawn, measure out the proper amount of poly pellets for each square.
Once it is measured out dump them into each square. In my case I had 5 squares. Give the blanket a shake to get the pellets to settle to the bottom.
Once all 5 (or however many you have) are filled then it is time to stuff them with a handful of fiber fil. The fiber fil just makes the blanket plush and soft.
Now take this to your sewing machine and sew along the disappearing ink line you made….watch out that disappearing ink will disappear on you. 🙂
Here is the first finished row and you can see the 2nd line that I “drew on” with my disappearing ink.
Then you repeat for the next row, and the next, and the next. etc. As you get farther and farther each row the blanket will start to get heavy, so make sure when you are sewing it, the heavy part has a table or something to sit on, so it won’t hurt your machine. **Mistake #3-this soft kind of fabric is hard to sew on, it is hard to sew straight, luckily since the blanket is stuffed, you can hardly tell, but in the future, I will only make them with cotton fabric**
When you get to your final row you will want to stop the normal “routine”and do a couple of things to make a “finished” look to it. First you want to fold over your rough edge (this is easier if you do use an iron–to press down your nice edge, but again, I didn’t.)
Remember when I told you to leave about 2 inches from the edge, this is why, after you fold over your rough edge, you will want to “finish” sewing up your long columns (I had 5 columns-you may have more or less depending on your blanket size.)
Finally you stuff your final row of 5 pockets (or however many you have) with your poly pellets and your stuffing. CAREFULLY take to your machine and sew (with your folded over edges) to make a clean looking seam. YOU ARE DONE!!!!!!!
Mistake #4—DO NOT leave your poly pellets out when you go answer the door if your kids are awake….they are just WAY to tempting to play with and throw all over the floor–go ahead ask me how I know!
It took me about 2 hours to complete the blanket, it would have been less time if I had not stopped so many times to take care of little “emergencies” that my children created during that time. The best part about these blankets is they are VERY forgiving! You can see in this picture (this is after I sewed my original long lines) how my fabric is super wrinkles, not sewn straight, and bumpy:
The blanket is stuffed, so you are hardly able to tell that I had trouble sewing straight lines on this fabric! See:
So even if you are a beginner, you can totally make this weighted blanket!
Update if you missed. We have a brand new weighted blanket post with step by step video tutorial.
Oh one more mistake of mine to learn from: Mistake #5 After you clean up every little poly pellet (they aren’t cheap, so I wasn’t going to vacuum them up) DON’T put them within reach of your 2 year old or she will pull them down and spill the entire BOX-even when you are sitting right there sewing! (I didn’t take a picture of that one….but I couldn’t even SEE the brown carpet-they were EVERYWHERE!)
How to care for your weighted blanket:
So how do you wash this blanket? It should go through your washer just fine on the gentle cycle if you have it. It will be VERY heavy in the washer. As long as you use poly pellets that are heat resistant, then you won’t have trouble if you use your dryer’s lowest heat setting. If you are worried at all, you can head down to your local laundr-o-mat and use one of their giant machines to wash and dry it! Another idea is to use waterproof shower curtains to sew the “blanket” and then make a cute fabric duvet cover type thing to make it cute. Then when it needs to be washed, you pull it apart and wash the fabric and hand wash the waterproof “blanket”.
I tried really hard to make sure this tutorial was clear and understandable, but I wrote it really late at night, so if there is anything unclear or if you have questions PLEASE email me your question to (cjclaytons at gmail dot com) You can also leave a blog post comment, and I will answer your questions there BUT you will have to make sure you come back to look, since it won’t email you my reply. I’d love to hear about/see your blanket that you make! Please visit the I Love My Kids Facebook Fan Page for more awesome tutorials, funny posts about parenthood, and some AWESOME Giveaways!!!!
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