There is a lot of talk coming out about weighted blankets and their seemingly endless benefits. The weight of them simulates the sensation of being hugged or cradled. They’ve been proven to help with anything from anxiety and insomnia to relaxing special needs children, or those who suffer from severe OCD.
Weighted blankets are also pretty expensive. Their prices can range from $80-$200. You can shop among the dozens of choices yourself on Amazon or you can check out a few of our favorite weighted blankets in our full-length buyer guide.
If you want to experience the benefits of a weighted blanket, but don’t want to fork over the money for one, making your own is a great option. You can also personalize your DIY blanket with whatever materials, weight, and size you want. By the way, this is a job best left to intermediate sewers, i.e. pass if this is your first time picking up a needle and thread for something besides sewing on a button. It may be more worth it for you to just purchase a blanket.
We just mentioned how weighted blankets mimic the feeling of a hug, and we can all acknowledge the comforting benefits of a soft embrace. Especially when you’re in need of one. But what’s actually going on scientifically? The blanket stimulates DTP (deep touch pressure), which increases the levels of serotonin levels in your body.
To give you a quick biology lesson, serotonin is a chemical in your body that promotes happiness and relaxation. So when you wrap a weighted blanket around your body, its gentle pressure evokes positive feelings, especially in folks with anxiety or children with developmental issues.
Here is where you get to decide what size your blanket is going to be. The nice thing about making your own weighted blanket is that you can have it be any size and weight you choose, whereas when you purchase, the larger blankets are usually heavier. A 5 lb king size blanket is pretty difficult to find.
If you plan on using your blanket as a layer on your bed, we recommend you make it larger in size. If you plan on using your weighted blanket around the house and cuddling on the couch with it, make it small enough that it won’t drag on the floor or be very difficult to carry. Think throw blanket size.
Next, you need to determine what size you want your quilted squares to be. Anywhere from three to five inches is a good range, but again, it’s very much up to your personal ideas.
The measurement of the entire blanket should equal the size and number of the squares, plus another four inches. An example would be if your blanket has nine squares (3×3) and is 37” wide (3×11=33+4=37) by 61” tall (3×19=57+4=61).
Experts say that as a general rule, safe weighted blankets are 10% of a person’s body weight, and then give or take a pound or two. Once you’ve experienced sleeping with a weighted blanket that’s approved for your weight, you can start experimenting with heavier weights.
If you’re making a weighted blanket for a child, keep the blanket on the lighter side. If you’re making a blanket for a child with special needs, you should check with an occupational therapist to determine the best weight. Same goes for an adult with special needs.
To accurately measure the weight and volume of pellets per square, we recommend using a kitchen scale. Weights and volumes will differ depending on what type of weighted filling you use. To measure out how much should be in each square, simply take your desired weight and divide it by the number of squares your blanket will have. An example would be if you wanted a 16 lb blanket with 16 (4×4) squares, you’d measure out 1 lb of filling per square.
There are generally three types of material you can fill a weighted blanket with: plastic poly pellets, micro glass beads, or dried beans/grains/stone. How do you know which one to fill your blanket with? Here’s a little info on all three types of material.
Plastic polypropylene pellets – The traditional and popular filling for weighted blankets are plastic poly pellets. They look like small pebbles, and one huge plus side to them is that they’re usually machine washable. Just make sure to check the fine print before you purchase them. You can buy plastic poly pellets online like on Amazon.com, or pick them up at your local craft store.
Micro glass beads – More and more manufacturers are filling their weighted blankets with micro glass beads. They’re even smaller than poly pellets, but they’re more efficient when it comes to even weight distribution. They are a little harder to come by for folks trying to make their own weighted blanket, and a bit more expensive.
Dried beans, grains, or stone – Using dried beans, grains, or aquarium stone are the cheapest methods for filling your homemade weighted blanket. You won’t usually find big companies using these materials, but they’re fine for somebody on a budget looking to make one. The main downside to using dried beans, grains, or stone as filling is that they’re not machine washable. Also, try to stay away from using rice. It could go rotten, leaving you with a nasty smelling, bug attracting blanket.
Step one — Take both the front and back panels of your blanket. Arrange them so that the front sides of both panels are facing each other, and the back of the panels are facing outward. Line up the corners so they match perfectly and pin on the four corners.
Step two — Take your batting and line it up with your blanket on both sides. Pin all around the border, about an inch into the fabric and batting.
Step three — Sew it up on three sides. We recommend leaving it open on a shorter side of the blanket. After the blanket is sewn up, flip it inside out.
Step four — From here, you’ll need to make vertical lines with the opening at the top. How many lines your create will depend on how many squares you want. If you want your blanket to have 16 squares (4×4), you’ll need to sew three lines, to make four columns.
Step five — Next, measure out your weighted filling per square. If you’re unsure how much weight per square, reference the Blanket’s Weight section above. Fill each column with one squares worth of filling. Then, pull the blanket up so that all the beads fall to the bottom of your blanket and then pin out one row, creating a row of squares. Sew the row up.
Step six — Repeat this step until all your squares are filled and sewn up, and then sew up the edge to seal the blanket completely.
Step seven — Trim any loose ends and enjoy your new weighted blanket!