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Updated by Gail Zahtz on Jul 12, 2017
Headline for DIY Sensory Weighted Blanket Tutorials
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Gail Zahtz Gail Zahtz
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DIY Sensory Weighted Blanket Tutorials

We have a list of profesional weighted blanket companies, and individuals who have made companies from their sewing ability for weighted blankets, vest, wraps, laps pads, animals and more. Here is a special list of tutorials for the DIYers out there. In the final section online will also be tips and tricks. The big issues you need to look at is:

*What kind of filling do you want to use? *

*Pellets or Balls: *

  • Poly pellets (often PET and BPA free) are the most common and can be bought in bulk easily.
  • But if you want a much thinner blankets, then weighted steel pellets provide that.
  • You can find all forms of balls at http://www.cicball.com/ including plastics, hollow plastics, polyurethane (like shown in the loose Ball Blanket in the ones already made), rubber, stell and phenolic balls. These can be used for weighted blankets and also for a host of other sensory projects. Other
  • There is controversy over glass beads, some companies highly recommend them as the best way to go (it has a sand like consistency within the blanket) while others say that you absolutely should NOT use glass beads.
  • Organic: One high end company uses a form of bird seed, another company says that attracts mold inside the blanket. There is a great DIY example here of a no sew lap buddy that uses rice. Quite simply- when selecting weight, you may be going on price and ease, and natural materials while not ideal for other reasons, are great for the DIYers, especially for "shorter term" projects like lap buddies over more expensive and long lasting full blankets. Also, if sustainability is a big part of your life, then using natural materials may feel much more comfortable to your beliefs.
  • Others use a form of magnet blocks that go into pockets. It does not offer the same kind of distributed weight, but it is a preferred method by a number of DIYers in particular, or companies that increase weight by the customer buying additional weights and inserting them into the pockets.
  • You can also create packages or bags of a filler of your choice, and use those in pockets using a similar method.
  • Neoprene rubber - Flaghouse makes a blanket using weighted packages of neoprene with sewn in material- we have provided a link to where you can buy neoprene, and there are many considerations on the use of it. Also with neoprene it can come waterproof and light like a wet suit, or heavier and breathable.
  • Some like the quilted feel of a poly filler like regular quilts to go around the beads or other weights of your choice, others either don't like the bulk or say the filler isn't safe. Another personal selection.

What kind of construction can you or do you want to use?

  • First there is the sew or no sew DIY versions. Those that are sold professionally are all sewn, the no sew DIY tutorials are simply for those of us who can no sew. Plus the no sew options are often much faster and less expensive.
  • A sewn version that's very popular is a quilt of pockets in which you pre-measure the total amount of weight and then break up the filling into the equal quantities for each of the generally 5" pockets.
  • A sew or no sew version uses open pockets, often closed with velcro, that can have weights inserted into the pockets.
  • Some versions come with an inner liner and some do not.
  • Some people love snaps or inner zippers so they can wash the outer lining, while others with sensory issues can't take the feel of tags let alone snaps and avoid them at all costs.
  • The same issue is related to whether you add anything to the ends or outside of your weighted product. You can add loops or other fabric that is safe (no long strings of course) but for many who are sensory issues, these are counter productive to the weighted blanket.

What kind of outer materials?

  • This is very much a personal choice on what people like- some love the soft feel of minky materials that have come into big fashion, others find it hard on breathability and don't like it all.
  • Some who live a sustainable life want to go with organic cottons- and if you are artistic in your DIY you can make your own patterns on the material through batik or tie-dye or non-toxic fabric paint, or whatever your artistic mind can conceive.
  • Weighted blankets are directly linked to sensory issues- so the feel of the material, and whether it is constructed thin or thick- should be heavily kept in mind when deciding what materials and construction you are using.
  • You can certainly learn and "borrow" from the pre-made companies as much as you can from the tutorials in material. If the users are more than one or may have different preferences depending on the day, you can mimic several of the professionals and use a fleece or flannel on one side and the opposite or a cotton on the other. This also gives you a reversable look if you choose to use it.
  • There are several options for waterproof materials, especially if you are making it yourself or having it made for you. The typical institutional answer was and still is for some vinyl. Yes, it's easy to clean and keep anti microbiotic, but for many they don't like the feel or the look. On the high end, there is now patented material available (show link) that is waterproof, sanitary and meets all the needs of institutions or those with gripping, spilling, or other restless challenges (or a lot of kids in the house!) But if you are a DIYer, you can look at waterproof indoor outdoor material, like that made by Sunbrella, where you can get many beautiful cotton like materials and patterns that can take the outdoor level of water- so they can definitely handle incontinence or spilt milk!

How much weight?

  • The standard by many is from a chart we've included that basically goes for ten percent of the body weight for the total amount of inserted weight in your blanket. However, there is other research that strongly disagrees and goes for more of a 15%- 20% weight ratio.
  • For the best choices, you should work personally with an occupational therapist and the person who will be using the product to decide the best amount of weight and materials.
  • Remember, unless otherwise stated, most of the tutorials and even blanket companies are not healthcare providers- so include your healthcare team when making these choices!
DIY Weighted Blanket Free Tutorial

The pin link I put up on this site has been constantly trending almost daily with thousands of repins of the actual link I put up. The filling given is poly pellets that are recommended to be weighed in proportion for the user's weight and divided throughout the blankets using filler foam and sewing blocks or pockets in a quilt-like fashion throughout the blanket. It can obviously be made in any size and any material for the exterior. While the author doesn't give an exact amount of what was spent, she does show where she bought pellets (25 pounds on eBay for $30). So a rough estimate would be that her** 36" x 60" DIY would run about **$50 to make if using fairly inexpensive material. It took the author 2 hours to make, but from what I can tell, compared to my own almost no sew abilities, it would take beginners much longer- it all depends on how adept you are with a sewing machine.

DIY Weighted Lap Buddy

This DIY *tutorial that also has a video is for a *no sew "lap buddy" that will cost less than $5. The post is geared towards children who fidget with ADHD, autism or otherwise, but if you make accommodations in size, weighted lap materials have been equally positive in results for those with Alzheimer's, adults with pain management, and more. In this tutorial there is not an emphasis on the amount of weight you use, so if you want to use the standards made available, you can measure your rice filling to size of the sock. This is about as inexpensive and easy of a weighted lap sensory solution as you can get!

Materials

  • socks, legging, or tights
  • rice
  • essential oils if you want to add the sensory smell to the weight
  • optional ribbon
  • scissors

In short, cut the ends of the leggings or tights off, tie knots on the end, fill with rice (and oil if used), tie off the other end.

You can then choose to decorate the lap buddy as you want- do make sure to use appropriately safe materials based on the users.

Estimated cost: $5

Snagglebox: The Great DIY Weighted Blanket Experiment

A truly no sew weighted blanket:

Create Baggies full of measured rice.

Duct Tape them together in rows like a quilt.

Cover it all in duct tape.

Cost: $20

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Thank you so much for making this blanket for my classroom! My students asked to use the blanket. While we were using it, I noticed that there needs to be a way to attach the cover to the weighted part of the blanket. Like maybe a snap or a ribbon to tie the two together. Again Thank you SO much! I love it!

13 DIY Weighted Blanket Tutorials {Sensory Hacks for Kids}

How to make a DIY weighted blanket for kids with autism and/or sensory processing disorder, including some no sew weighted blanket tutorials

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