Weighted blankets have become really popular in the last few years. They help people to regulate their sensory issues, deal with anxieties and overcome sleep problems. But what if you don’t have the money to spend on a blanket? Or can’t you find a design that you like? Maybe you need a very specific weight that you can’t find for sale.
If you have a creative side then there is a different option, you could make your own! All you need are a few different materials and some instructions. If you’ve wondered how do you make weighted blankets and want to know more, then read on.
Disclaimer: The tips and recommendations given here are intended to be used as guidelines. Do not replace our advice for a registered health professional or therapist’s advice. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional if you have a special condition.
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What are weighted blankets?
If you haven’t heard of the term weighted blankets before then you might be wondering what on earth one is. Basically it is a blanket that contains a heavy filling that is evenly distributed across the whole blanket. It can be of any size and of any weight (although the actual weight of your own blanket is important).
Originally, weighted blankets were the only custom made to fit people’s exact requirements, but now you can buy a standard bed sized blanket of assorted weight from many online retailers.
The problem is, they can be expensive. Retailers are seeing that this trend is popular and as such have hiked the price up. Not everyone can afford these high prices and this has led to people asking how do you make weighted blankets in order to save on cost. You may be surprised to know that it is actually quite simple to make your own.
Who uses weighted blankets?
When weighted blankets were first created, they were designed to be used by people on the autistic spectrum. It was found that the pressure on the body helped to regulate their emotions and give them a break from their sensory overload. In more recent years medical research has shown that the pressure these blankets create on the body actually has many more positive health benefits.
One of the main benefits is for anxiety sufferers. When people find themselves worrying or stressing about things that may be happening in their lives then a weighted blanket can be used to help “ground them” using the pressure from the weight. The calming sensation of light pressure all over your body (especially when you are asleep) helps to lower your stress levels and gives you a calmer outlook.
It also works in a similar way for poor sleep sufferers. The pressure from the blanket through the night automatically calms your central nervous system and creates a better environment for a good night’s sleep.
Choosing the right materials for your blanket
When you look at the different weighted blankets that are for sale online, you’ll see that they boast 7 layers of cotton, natural filling, bamboo covers, etc. In reality, because you are learning how do you make weighted blankets, you are able to choose the materials that work for you. You might have an old blanket or quilt in your stash that you can repurpose, or the person you are asking it for might have an obsession with dinosaurs.
Either way, there are only a few things that you really need to buy to make this blanket. It is important to obtain materials that are fire-safe and non-toxic, especially if you are gifting the blanket or making it for a child. Glass microbeads are most commonly used as the weighing filling for mainstream blankets as they are safe and easy to work with.
They are also readily available from most online craft retailers. Weight is important for the blanket so make sure you only use 10-12% of the person’s body weight. There are several online calculators available to work out the different pressures and different weights, use these if you are unsure how to work it out.
What you will need
- 2 rectangles of quilt wadding (dimension determined by your required blanket size).
- 1 rectangle of decorative fabric.
- 1 rectangle of backing fabric (Minky or plain cotton).
- Glass microbead pellets (weight as explained above).
- A sewing machine.
- Quilting pins.
- Quality fabric scissors.
How to assemble your weighted blanket
- First things first, lay your rectangles out on top of each other. The order should go backing and decorative fabric (good sides facing each other) then both layers of wadding on top. Sew around both sides and the bottom of your fabric rectangles. Once you have done this, turn the fabrics inside out so that the decorative fabric is at the front and the backing fabric is at the back.
- From the bottom of the rectangle (the top will stay unsewn until the very end), sew vertical columns equally up to near the top of the rectangle, stopping 3 inches before the top. We recommend 8 columns at least.
- Split your weights evenly into however many columns you have created, for example, if you have 20lbs of weight you will divide that by 8 columns. Fill the columns with these amounts. Pin the top of the rectangle so it is neat and then lay the blanket flat to evenly distribute all the weight across the blanket.
- Sew rows across the blanket evenly, ensuring that each square you create has an equal amount of weight in it. It may be useful to measure and pin guide rows before attempting to put the rectangle through the sewing machine. It’s worth taking your time over this step.
- Neaten the seam and sew together the end of the rectangle. Your blanket is now complete and ready to be used.
So now you have the answer to how do you make weighted blankets, you can save yourself some money and create a lovely looking addition to your home.
You can personalize them, create something completely unique or simply use up all the scraps of fabric you have in your home already. Not only will you have a beautiful looking blanket, but you will also have something that no one else has!
What are weighted blankets filled with?
Great question! Mass-produced weighted blankets are filled with glass-beads or pellets. Other fillers include beans, rice, and sand but are uncommon.
How do you calculate weighted blankets?
When it comes to the right weight, it needs to be 10-12% of your body weight. If you’re a couple looking for a weighted blanket, it’s different. With the 10-12% rule, go by the lighter partner’s weight. Even if you’re bigger, you’ll still receive the benefits of a weighted blanket
Can I make a weighted blanket with rice?
Yes, you can make a weighted blanket with rice. But, it’s not recommended. If you make a weighted blanket with rice, you can’t wash it. If you do wash your weighted blanket, there can be health-related issues. Wet rice will create a bad odor, mildew, and other health-related issues. Plus, it will create a huge mess and ruin your washing machine.
Can you wash a weighted blanket?
You can wash a weighted blanket but you need to make sure it’s done correctly. Each manufacturer is different when it comes to what they’d recommend. Some weighted blankets are machine-washable or are dry clean only. Make sure to read the washing instructions that came with your weighted blanket.
Can you wash a weighted blanket made with rice?
Physically, can you but it’s not recommended. It’s not a great idea to wash a weighted blanket filled with rice.
Are poly pellets machine washable?
Polypropylene plastic pellets are machine washable. They’re also dry-ready and non-toxic towards human skin. Be cautious of fake knock-off plastic pellets. Fake plastic pellets can be harmful/damaging if machine washed.
Can you wash glass bead weighted blankets?
It’s safe to wash a weighted blanket with glass beads. The glass bead won’t melt and it’s extremely safe to wash in a warm cycle. We recommend you avoid hot water and high washing cycles. Use a modern washing machine that can handle heavyweight as well.
What is the best material to use to make a weighted blanket?
It comes down to your needs and preference. Organic bamboo cotton and satin-cotton are great for hot sleepers. This is due to their breath-ability factors. Fleece, Minky or funnel for their softness. For durability and strength, we’d recommend a linen-rayon blend.