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
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.
Comments on: "DIY Weighted Blanket" (63)
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.
Here is a bigger version, that a friend made: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=498319663533931&set=a.397372900295275.97779.394701980562367&type=1&theater
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!)
[…] 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 […]
Wow! What a fantastic tutorial!
Would it not be easier to use sheets of contact paper, rather than duct tape?
Margie, I never thought of that. The people that gave us the directions are quite crafty, I will have to ask, and will let you know. Personally, I wonder if the contact paper would not be flexible and durable enough.
Okay, I asked my guru, and her response was: “not as flexible to work, maybe makes the blanket a little stiffer, you can do it however you like…” I think the duct tape is really just a jumping off point, people could find many other substitutes and really have fun with this design. 🙂
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.
[…] DIY Weighted Blanket. […]
[…] 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 […]
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/
Thank you so much, I just took the pictures and typed out directions, a woman named Rose was the real genius. I am so thankful for all her wonderful knowledge. By the way your blanket looks amazing and so much more even than mine. 😉
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 😉
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.
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.
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.
I made mine out of out denim jeans cutting the legs off. Two zip-loc bags full for the weight. I use them in my classroom.
[…] DIY Weighted Blanket (no sewing required) […]
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!!
[…] Weighted Blanket DIY […]
[…] Please note: These directions and pictures are adapted from a great blog at jesttupositive.wordpress.com […]
As a new special ed teacher in a low-resource district, I can’t tell you how excited I was to find your tutorial!
[…] No-Sew weighted lap blanket […]
Awesome tutorial! I just finihed making one for a kiddo when the inevitable happened. One of the bags got opened and came through the duct tape! For now, it’s been patched, but I think the next time I make one I will cover at least the opening of each bag of rice with duct tape before I start lining everything up so I know it will stay shut !
Do NOT use the $3ish duct tape – spend a little more and get the duct tape with xtra hold. I used the basic and I found that it can un-stick fairly easily (which can be good in some cases, but not this one!)
Don’t overfill the bag with rice. This will make it hard for the duct tape to get in nooks and crannies.
Next I plan on making a cover for the blanket by sewing 3/4 of the sides and using velcro on another.
[…] https://jesttupositive.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/diy-weighted-blanket/ […]
What a great diy project! I’m a single mom, with limited resources. With that being said I LOVE cheap easy ways to do different things. I started out making a 6lb blanket for my son. I did 12 bags all together, 3 across 4 down-he’s taller. When done it seemed much heavier than 6lbs. I weighed it, and sure enough it indeed did, it was just about 9lbs. Only thing I could think of would be the amount of duct tape used? I was able to give it to my nephew, do no big deal. I’m in the process of making another one, figured I’d use a little less rice in each bag. Hoping to have enough for both a blanket and lap pad. Also because of the size I decided to use the no sew knot blanket sets. I used Velcro on the inside and knotted the ends as normal. Keeps the duct tape pad in place, and is comfortable for the kids. Thanks for the great idea!
Extremely wonderful and thank you for the good instructions about how to figure the weight to emphasize the importance of not making it too heavy and possibly dangerous.
Thank you so much for posting such clear instructions! I found them easy to follow – and so cheap! Our boy is very happy with his new blanket.
[…] no longer write on this site, but I keep it active for those who utilize the DIY Weighted Blanket […]
My 4 year old son as SPD (diagnosed at 18 months), I have looked at many weighted blankets and lap pads and this is by far the easiest and most frugal! I am big on sewing, so I will probably make him a Thomas the train cover for his. Thank you for posting.
I went to thrift store and got King sized pillow shams, then a durable pillow case($8 total) then I hand sewed the channels and filled one with flax seed (89 cents/pound in bulk) and one with dried beans. I have teenage boys, so the blanket fits the torso perfectly. I do love the duct tape, too, and it could also be fitted for the sham.
[…] first one from Jest Tu Postitive requires plastic zip-lock bags, rice or beans, and duct tape. If you don’t want to sew a […]
I really like this idea! I have been trying to find a weighted blanket for myself mi suffer from anxiety and the weight helps to soothe me. Do you think it could be heated in the microwave?
I am not sure that it would work in the microwave, but the same women who taught us how to make this also helped us make our own “bed buddies.” They were knee length socks filled with rice (and beans if people chose), those can be used hot or cold. I have put mine in the microwave for moist heat relief, but I mostly keep it in the freezer, because the cold weight feels wonderful on my eyes and neck. the nice thing is you can make them as heavy or light as you want.
Reading the other posts a kind of cool idea would be to extend the duct tape border on each side and then you could punch holes in it and use those to thread the fleece through from a no sew blanket and tie it to incorporate the duct tape. You could even attach the two in the middle by sewing the layers together. I think I may give this a go. Will send pics if I do.
What a wonderful idea Barb. Thank you for offering to share pictures if you make it. 🙂
[…] Use a weighted blanket (Bought Blanket; Sew-able Blanket; Tyable Blanket; No-Sew Blanket). […]
[…] DIY Weighted Blanket by Jest_Tu_Positive […]
[…] I was first introduced to the idea of a no-sew weighted blanket by The Person Next to You who shared a post from from Autism Proud – Journey With Us. […]
Showed this to a friend and she had the idea to us those over the door shoe racks. You know, the plastic ones that have about 18 compartments. You could put in a cup of rice and seal up each slot. Could even make a bigger blanket by places two side by side.
What a GREAT idea!! Thank you so much for sharing, Jessica. ❤
Hi. I like your idea. Would you use duct tape to close the shoe organizer, Velcro, super glue, etc? Does anyone know how much rice id put in each slot? My son is about 45 lbs. Any help would be appreciated! He has severe sensory issues and I’m a broke college student. 🙂
Hey, just followed your instructions an made one a little bit bigger. Thank you so much! I’m using it for my SPD/anxiety kiddo hoping he sleeps good tonight!
[…] via Jest Tu Positive […]
I just tried this, just a single row for my little guy. One word of advice- if you use the fancier patterned duct tape, make sure you line things up. I used the rainbow wave kind and it looks kinda jumbled, but very colorful. (My little guy loves rainbows!)
[…] Источник: DIY Weighted Blanket […]
Thank so much for posting your idea. I had the perfect blanket in mind but not idea how to fill it. Plastic sandwich bags or bags with a seal didn’t cross my mind. Smarter than filling the bags with plastic beading that I would have to send away for.
The nice thing about the duct tape, is you can wipe it clean. Although, my daughter did not like the feel of it, so e kept ours in a pillow case.
I just want to thank you for posting this. I’m not much of a seamstress but both my eldest daughter and I have spd… And I had a heavy weight quilt that I sewer heavy washers all around the edges… And she and I would fight over it. Lol. But that blanket died. Lol. I can’t wait to make one!!
[…] I’ve used Pinterest for many to do’s. Crafts..receipes.. exercises.. fashion. I’ve used it briefly for OT stuff for crafty type things like worksheets and handwriting activities. This is my first sensory DIY pin i found. I made a weighted blanket using this DIY weighted blanket. […]
I absolutely love this idea! I make the no sew fleece tie blankets and would love to incorporate the two ideas together. Do you think it would be ok to machine wash and dry? Thanks for your help!
I apologize for my delay in responses, we have has a few months riddled with health issues. Anyhow, the duct tape blanket cannot be washed in a machine, you can just wipe it down with soap and water.
That’s awesome & so much easier!!
I’m getting the stuff to make one for my oldest this weekend! We just started navigating a diagnosis for ASD. I’m hoping one of these could help.
Thanks for posting. 😃
Reblogged this on ArtYourEatOut and commented:
Maybe this will help you feel grounded:
Love that for a no sew idea. If you do sew and wounder what to use for the weight. You can purchase fish tank rocks. Then you even can wash the item.
Thank you so much for this tutorial. I sew, but I was looking for a quick and easy way to make a weighted blanket for myself. I learned about the many benefits of using a weighted blanket when I was taking my education courses in college. The autism spectrum was a huge topic in our class since so many of us teach little ones who are on the spectrum. As the class went on we learned that weighted blankets and things of that nature are also good for helping with with anxiety and insomnia. I LOVE this tutorial with it’s clear instructions; the blanket was easy to make and I like using it. Thank you!
[…] via Jest Tu Positive […]
Thanks! I made mine tonight. I did mine at around 18lbs. Got a 20lb bag of cheap rice from Walmart, 2 official duct tape brands of tape, and 10×11 freezer bags. I poured two coffee cups of rice into each bag and created a whole where you zip it and sucked out as much air as I can (kinda like vacuum sealing). I made a blanket around 40″ by 55″. I found a comfy blanket that had two sides (empty and loose in the middle). I opened one side of the blanket with scissors. I made duct tape tabs at each corner to use to sew the blanket to the corner tabs made out of duct tape. No, it’s not super squishy, but it cost me $20 instead of $200 and it works.