How to make a weighted blanket

By now, you have, of course, heard about all the great therapeutic benefits of weighted blankets for children  with a variety of diagnoses. No?  Well, don’t feel bad, I was out of the loop, too…until my friend, Sheri, asked me about them for her daughter.

Ok, now that you know you want a weighted blanket, the second phase is sticker shock.

So – you do what any smart parent does, you seek out local artisans to make one for you! Disclaimer: I make and sell custom weighted blankets!

Unfortunately there is still a bit of sticker shock, as the materials are the major cost involved.  Next best alternative? Make it yourself!

Why on earth would someone who makes and sells weighted blankets give you instructions to make it yourself?  Well, my reasoning is two fold:

1) You will see (as I will tell you) the cost of the materials involved, and why the cost is so high to have someone make it for you

2) The potential benefits to your child out-weigh the benefit to my bottom line.  I’d rather help you make one, than to have your child do without.  If it takes away a “sale” of mine (or anyone else, well, too bad for us.  But your child/ren benefit/s, which benefits everyone (the greater good!), so I’m happy to share my experience with you.

Ok, roll up your sleeves!

You will need: two pieces of fabric (I used cotton), 1.5 yards long and 44″ wide.  This makes a great blanket for up to about a 10 year old, depending on their height.

Right sides together, serge three sides (two long, one short). I leave the top open (rather than the bottom), just a preference.

Corner ties for duvet
Right sides together, Serge the three sides

I added ties to the four corners, because this weighted blanket I paired with a duvet cover.  Weighted blankets are (in my opinion) not fun to wash. So a duvet cover means less frequent abuse of the washer and dryer.

Scroll down for complete instructions (after all the pix).

Top Stich three sides you just serged
Tried chalk to mark my vertical lines down the full length of the blanket (you are making long channels).
Sewing along the chalk lines – this worked poorly because the chalk made the feed dogs slip on the fabric.
Spread out to mark the lines
Switched to a water soluble pencil
Time for the pellets! This is what a box of 50 pounds of poly pellets looks like!
Measure and weigh each square’s pellets.
Pour the first row of pellets, one by one, in each channel. When you’ve completed one row (filled all the channels with the first squares pellets), Hold up your blanket and shake all the pellets so they fall to the bottom of the blanket.
Pin across the top of where the pellets are. Notice I am pinning well below the line. This ensures I won’t run over a pellet whilst sewing. The pellets will easily break a needle. Ask me how I know!
Here’s a pinned row, ready to be sewn.
Sew your horizontal line. This will encapsulate the first set of pellets into a nice square.
Here’s a perfect square full of pellets.
Continue filling, pinning and sewing horizontal rows until you get to the top. Turn under the top of your blanket, and sew a double line across the top row. You are finished!
Ready for the Duvet Cover to be made.
Oops, didn’t take pix of the process – maybe that is a different blog post.
Here they are together. Ready for their new girl!

Ok, so when you make the vertical lines of stitches, stop a couple of inches (maybe one inch) from the top. Leave room to fold over the raw edges after you sew the final horizontal line of stitching.

I’m terrible at formatting these blog posts. Please forgive me.

I tried to put the instructions in the captions of the photos. Hopefully it’s clear what you need to do.

  1. Right sides together, sew two sides and bottom (I used a serger, but it’s not mandatory!).
  2. Turn the blanket right side out.
  3. Push out corners and press.
  4. Top stitch the same sides you just sewed/serged.
  5. Mark vertical lines running from the bottom of the blanket up to the open top of the blanket. Chalk is not your friend.
  6. Sew the vertical lines from BELOW the topstitch line, taking some reverse stitches to lock your stitches, all the way to about an inch short of the open top end of the blanket.
  7. Calculate how many squares your blanket will have, how much weight per square: In my project, I used 5″ squares.  I had 8 squares across and 11 squares down, for a total of 88 squares.  The recipient needed 7 pounds of weight.  So covert your pounds to ounces. There are 16 ounces in a pound. 7×16 = 112. Divide the number of ounces by the number of squares (112/88=1.27…).  So, we want about 1.25 oz per square.
  8. Measure using a small kitchen square, (be sure to subtract the weight of the cup, or set the scale to Zero with the cup on the scale, if your scale does that).
  9. Pour the pellets into the channel made by the sewn vertical lines.  Measure, pour, measure, pour. Fill one square at a time, moving horizontally across the blanket.
  10. Once all the channels have had their allotted pellets poured into the channels, hold up the blanket and shake, dispersing the pellets to the bottom of the blanket.
  11. Pin close to the pellets, a solid line of pins, such that no pellets can escape. Make the line of pellets lower than the line you will be sewing, by a fair margin, so that you don’t sew over pellets.
  12. Sew your horizontal line, sealing in the row of pellets into neat little squares.
  13. Measure, pour, shake, pin and sew the next row.
  14. Continue until you are doing the last row.  Prior to sewing the horizontal stitching across the top of the blanket, fold in the raw edges at the top.  When you sew the top line, it will make a nice edge.  However, you need to sew two lines here, for security and to catch the raw edge under. Make sense?

Ok, so here are some links to the products I used:

These are the poly pellets.  If you buy them at Hobby Lobby, they are $5/pound. If you buy in bulk at amazon, much cheaper.

Joann’s is where I got the Hello Kitty fabric.  They don’t seem to have the exact fabric, but HERE is something similar.

I used regular Coats & Clark hot pink poly/cotton thread for the regular machine and their serger thread in the serger.

Please ask any questions if I’ve been confusing. Best of luck!


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