Weighted Blankets are quickly becoming a great non-medication based therapeutic tool for people dealing with anxiety, depression, autism, and PTSD alongside good old insomnia. But, you’ve looked around and maybe found that some producers of weighted blankets seem to be asking for a lot of money, and want to give making the blanket a go yourself. In that case, check out this guide to see what is involved, and how to make your own.
How to Sew a Weighted Blanket
Whether making or buying a weighted blanket, there’s one thing for sure: it’s a big investment, and should be treated as such. Before sewing can begin, you have to have the right materials to craft with. The first choice should be fabrics, which has several considerations. The first is that the internal layer of the blanket should remain sturdy so as to effectively prevent rips and tears that can cause a spill into a softer fabric or onto the floor (Note: some individuals forgo the inner layer, which is of course an option, especially if you are looking to save money). Speaking of, the “texture” layer should also be a matter of great consideration. What fabric does the person feel calmest with? Some popular choices include cotton, Minky, and fleece, though the sky really is the limit for options if you are making your own. In general, you will need at least 2 layers of 2.5 yards of the fabric(s) of your choice.
Next, you need to select and purchase your filler, which is likely to either be Poly or Glass pellets, which we will cover in more detail below. After that, it’s a simple job of getting a needle, some fairly strong string, and a ruler and following these next steps.
First, you are going to need to line up all the fabrics in an inside out configuration so that the initial stitching does not show. Next, lead in 2 inches from the long sides and 1 inch from one of the short sides, marking your stitching lines. Then, sew down your designated lines, allowing for a bit of extra reinforcement on the corners. After this is done, turn the blanket inside out to have the proper sides facing out and the stitching concealed. Now, begin making a grid within the blanket with as even squares as possible both going vertically and horizontally. Most will find that these squares will be somewhere near 6 inches, but these should not be any larger than 10 inches. Now, count the number of squares that are within the grid and divide your total weight of beads or pellets by that number- that’s how much you will need to measure into each square.
Now here comes the fun part. Stitch vertical lines down from the open side of the blanket that match up with your grid. Then, once the initial stitching is complete (needing to be very tight so as to not allow beads to slip or pool into an area), begin to fill the bottom with the first layer of beads down each channel. Then, seal off the filled layer with similarly tight stitching and repeat using the aforementioned grid until it is properly filled. After this, fold in any remainder fabric from the top and stitch it in tight to make a final seal.
How Much Should it Weigh?
In general, weighted blankets should not exceed 15% of the body weight of the person it is intended for. The basic rule for creating a weighted blanket is to take 10% of the weight of the individual and add one or two pounds, so long as the individual is old enough to have a weighted blanket. For most adults, this means a 15-20 pound blanket, and for children it may be better to be between 7 and 15 pounds, depending on size and age. Keep in mind that if the individual is by any definition “frailer” than counterparts their age, to err on the side of caution and make the blanket lighter.
What Size Should it be?
When determining the proper size of your weighted blanket, more than a few factors need to be determined. First, do you want a blanket that is used almost exclusively for bed? If so, then it’s a simple matter of selecting what size bed you have, whether it’s Twin, Double, Queen or King. Keep in mind that a 15lbs King blanket will feel lighter than a 15lbs twin when on a bed, so adjusting up on the amount of weight by a pound or two may not be the worst idea. If you don’t plan on the weighted blanket being bed exclusive, a general consensus is that final measurements should be 36 to 44 inches wide and 44 to 78 inches long, dependent of course on the height of the soon to be blanket owner.
What to Fill a Weighted Blanket With?
For the best feeling weighted blanket, you have two primary fillers you can use which are either poly beads, or small glass beads. To make things easier, let’s split up the options and take a look at the pros and cons of both glass and poly.
For poly (short for polypropylene plastic), one of the most apparent pros is price. Taking a quick look, most poly pellets come in at around $3 a pound, and can be ordered with minimal shipping charges (assuming you go through Amazon, for example) which is great. One con though is that you may need to purchase polyester cluster fiber to ensure that the texture of the beads is not too rough or offputting, which can add up to 100% of the price of the beads if it’s determined to be needed.
In comparison, glass beads are universally seen as the more luxurious and comfortable option (if you have the right bead size, in general the smaller the better), but also cost more and are a bit harder to find for the personal crafts market. That being said, it also ensures that at least regarding internal integrity, both machine washing and drying is at least possible.
Where to Buy Beads – Amazon?
In the case of plastic pellets, Amazon is likely to be your best buy, as the cost of the beads themselves as mentioned earlier is going to be in the ballpark of $3 a pound, which is in truth fairly reasonable. When you combine that with Prime shipping, which is free, this can in fact be a steal of a deal (coming in at around $75 for enough beads for an adult size blanket). When it comes to glass beads though, things get a bit more complex.
For glass beads, the first problem is finding a retailer that can fit the size of your demand. Glass beads are typically used in machine processes as a finishing agent or to help deburr metal components through a tumbler, without damaging any other parts of the component or machine. As a result, you often find glass beads that are acceptable for weighted blankets for sale in 50 pound buckets, which can get extremely expensive, fast (in some cases, over $200). Then, finding the correct bead size is key. For the purposes of weighted blankets, the finest is better for texture, which means likely Mil Spec No. 13 beads, which are between .0035 and .0017 inches in diameter (though again, this is up to the discretion of the blanket maker).
In closing, is it possible to make your own weighted blanket out of exactly what you want? Absolutely, but it is a process that takes time, resource gathering, and depending on your options, may end up being more expensive when taking into account shipping and taxes than buying one. Also, if this is your first time making such blankets, the nearly inevitable “first time mistakes” that come with such difficult projects, you may be looking at some duplicate costs. If you find this to be the case, we encourage you to look into our SleepForce blankets, and see if our cheap prices or sales may appeal to you.