Faith, Love and Respect for ALL

DIY Weighted Blanket

In October I attended an annual retreat for moms of children with special needs. This was my second year attending, and I always come home with some great ideas, tips and strategies for our Au-Some life. This year one of the most amazing things I learned was how to make a weighted blanket using duct tape, ziploc bags and rice (or filling of your choice). Many special needs children can benefit from weighted blankets or lap pads, but they are just so expensive, and often not affordable for families. The ladies printed out directions for us, and made a small demo with six bags of rice, about the size of a lap pad. I then made a slightly larger one for Beth with nine bags of rice. She does not like the duct tape feel, but really likes her new “blanket” when it is in a pillow case, and it was invaluable when she was sick, because we could just wipe it off and put a new pillow case on it.

I wanted to share this with the world; because it can be an inexpensive way to give your kids some much needed sensory input. Plus, if they are able to, it could be a great project for you to do together; it takes about an hour from start to finish. I hope you have as much fun as I did making mine.

A few words of advice from a friend, which should be noted:

1. The proper weight should be 10% of body weight, plus 1lb (i.e. ideally a 40lb child should have approximately a 5lb weighted blanket).

2. Oral children may chew on the blanket/pad, which could be dangerous for the child, so you must decide if this is a good option for your child.

Other helpful hints:

1. One woman who needed a heavier blanket put metal washers (from the hardware store) in her bags of rice; while another friend combined rice and beans. The possibilities are endless, but I prefer the rice.

2. Some ladies wanted strictly lap pads, so they only did one row, but had 4 spaced across.

3. If you are using rice or beans, you can ask your local food pantries for their expired dry goods, and save a few bucks. It doesn’t make if it is expired because it will be sealed inside the bags and tape.

4. Many of the women have made covers for theirs out of favorite fabrics, but since I am not good at sewing, we simply use a pillow case. You can customize this so many ways for your child; it could really be a fun project with great results.

My cost to make the following “blanket” was as follows:

$2.48 for generic ziploc bags

$2.98 for 5lb bag of rice

$6.74 for 2 rolls of 20yd plain duct tape (you can get 10yds of patterns or popular characters for $3.37 to $5.97)

Total cost of (approximately 6lb, 25″ x 15″) weighted “blanket” $12.20

Step 1: Gather your supplies (I chose to use rice, duct tape, ziploc bags)

Step 2: Measure out your filling (I used 1.25cups of rice in each bag for a total of 5lbs)

Step 3: Lay everything out to make construction easier (I decided to use 9 bags for a 3×3 formation)

Step 4: fold over top of ziploc bag, press down on top strip of tape (you want it centered top-bottom), then space bags across to create the first row (you can put them as close of as far apart as you chose).

 Step 5: Affix the bottom of the bags to the next strip of tape (you want it on the top half of the strip, because the top of the next row will go on the bottom)

 Step 6: Repeat Steps 4 & 5 until you have the desired number of rows (I did 3 rows), then place a final strip of tape along the bottom of the last row

 Step 7: Cover the rows of duct tape to seal the “seams.”

 Step 8: Finish the Border with vertical strips

 Step 9: Use long strips of tape to cover the bags (I used horizontal strips, but you can also use vertical)

 Step 10: Flip blanket over

 Step 11: Repeat Step 9, until completely covered (you may have to fill in any holes with smaller pieces of tape)

Step 12: Fold tape over each side to seal and smooth out the edges, and your weighted blanket or lap pad is done. (I lay the strip of tape down then position the edge in the middle and just fold over)

PDF of original instructions: Weighted Blanket 2

Word document of my step-by-step instructions for easy printing: diy weighted blanket

 

 

Creative Commons License
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Comments on: "DIY Weighted Blanket" (23)

  1. What a neat idea! Great DIY for people that don’t sew. :)
    Very nice of you to share this and to make a downloadable instruction sheet.

  2. That’s a great way to make one! My middle child used one during therapy and loved it, but we never did manage to buy (or make one) for our house. I couldnt’ find any good tutorials then, but we used to swaddle her and that helped. (Never mind she was a big 3 year old at the time so we would do it with a comforter!)

  3. [...] issues. See sensorydirect.com and rompa.com. See also this great article about making a DIY weighted blanket. *This topic is the fascinating subject of Oliver Sack’s article, “The Disembodied [...]

  4. Wow! What a fantastic tutorial!

  5. Would it not be easier to use sheets of contact paper, rather than duct tape?

  6. I am not very crafty but did buy a weighted blanket that was the best purchase we ever made and well worth every penny. It has held up great and can be washed and dried in the machine which is important to me. For those not crafty I recommend taking a look at DreamCatcher Weighted Blankets started by parents with a child on the autism spectrum. A google search for their name will show you the way to the website.

  7. [...] reading this post on the blog “jesttupositive,” I knew I had to make one.  It isn’t perfect by any means, but it was so easy and [...]

  8. I wanted to thank you for posting this! I made one last night, and blogged about mine here. I credited your post. :-) http://thepersonnexttoyou.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/weighted-blanket-diy/

  9. It seems like you could easily combine this awesome tutorial with one of those no-sew fleece blanket tutorials to give someone a blanket that is softer than just duct tape!

    • We put ours in a pillow case, because that fabric is close to the other weighted blanket Beth has. Manny of the ladies, who made blankets, at the retreat sewed covers. Honestly most of them were making lap pads for their kids to use during schoolwork, so the duct tape was not an issue. However if you know of a good no-sew fleece tutorial, please let me know, and I will add it on here. Maybe I will even get brave and try it myself ;-)

  10. Hi Thank you so so much for this awesome tutorial..It was SUPER easy…Iv just finished making it,but something is buggin me about it :( When you go to pick it up,the pad of rice just falls to the bottom of the pillow..Is there anything i could do to prevent that??? Any advice would be greatly appreciated…Im sorry to be a bother,but my 4yr old boy is extremely picky about EVERYTHING.And i can just picture him now,stressing out about the pad of rice not sitting properly in the pillow case…Thanks again for your tutorial :)

    • I asked some friends for help with your question. Here are the suggestions I received:

      1. double-sided tape to secure pillow case to “blanket”
      2. stitching the corners somehow
      3. Using safety pins to secure the corners
      4. attaching velcro between the pillow case and “blanket”
      5. making a DIY, no-sew fleece blanket to cover it more securely and keep it from sliding down in one big lump

      I am not sure if any of these are viable options for you, but hopefully it will trigger an idea for you.

  11. I wanted to say a big THANK YOU for this! I don’t know how to sew and wasn’t sure whether my kids would like weighted blankets, so didn’t want to fork out hundreds of dollars as an experiment. So I tried these and they worked great! Thanks again for the clear instructions.

  12. If just making a lap blanket for a 40 lb child would you still make it to be 5lb weight?

    • My friend who makes cloth weighted blankets says that according to the formula that would be correct. My 4yr is almost 50lbs and her blanket is roughly 6lbs, but she adds stuff to it at times, so I think she likes it heavier. I suppose it depends on how much weight you child likes, if they need it heavier, I would maybe increase it by a pound or two. Hope that helps.

  13. Angie slater said:

    Thank you so much for this!! My son is on the spectrum and I can’t afford a weighted blanket!! I appreciate this more than you know!! Thanks again!!

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