How to Make Your Own Weighted Sensory Blanket – Special Needs

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This is a picture of the weighted sensory blanket that I made for my son. Yes, I know it’s pink- this was an experimental blanket for me, and I used the only fabric that I had at my house!! 🙂 You will also notice the edges of the blanket are NOT done yet. I have not actually finished the edges and he loves it just the way it is!
I am NOT good at sewing, I am completely self-taught. I sew maybe once a year-so making a blanket like this IS attainable – it was SO simple! I realize that some of you may not know what a blanket like this is- and why in the world would it be weighted? And what is it weighted with? So many questions!!
Very simply blankets like this are specifically used for children with Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) and other proprioceptive disorders such as autism, Asperger’s, even ADHD, bipolar, etc. These blankets, specially weight based on the child (or adults!) size- provide a “deep pressure” from the weight of the blanket which helps to give the extra proprioceptive input that some individuals seek/need. Recent studies have shown us that deep pressure touch helps to release serotonin (a neurotransmitter)- which provides a calm and happy feeling. People with disorders like SPD, autism, ADHD, bipolar, etc. have low levels of serotonin.
Ok- enough of that- you can do a LOT more research studying that subject! On to the blanket. I found the instructions at Craft Nectar after looking into buying a weighted blanket for my son. One for his little 3 year old body would run my about $170!! WOW! So I began the search online. Craft Nectar has an AWESOME tutorial! Please read her post on how to make a weighted blanket. I am NOT good at sewing, and to be very honest I did not even measure my blanket. I just cut, sewed, finished! (well, I did measure how many squares I wanted!)
What to weight it with?? At Walmart you can buy Poly-Pellets- a *machine washable* little plastic pellet beads. They cost $4.97 for 2 lbs. and you can find it in the crafting/quilting/stuffing section. (Michael’s also sells it but for about $8 for 2 lbs) How much do you need? The general rule of thumb is 1/10th of the body weight plus 1 lb. SO for my son, who is about 40 lbs., I made him a 5lb. blanket. I bought TWO bags of Poly-Pellets. I marked my blanket off in 80 squares and put about 1 ounce of Poly-pellets in each square.
Craft Nectar can give you better measurements, but basically you just sew around 3 edges of the blanket leaving one side open. Then you sew 9 strips down the blanket, leaving the top open- it’s like 9 SUPER long pockets! I poured 1 oz. (or about 3/4 small Dixie cup) of Poly-pellets in EACH row, then sewed a line across the bottom sealing off the pellets. Then I repeated till I filled up all 80 squares! Seriously- I didn’t measure anything, my blanket was completely made to be functional- not a pretty show blanket! BUT I am SO proud of my blanket- and it really turned out great!!
The idea behind having a weighted sensory blanket is to give your child extra sensory input IF it is needed. For my son, I let him use his blanket for about 10 minutes, 3 x’s a day, and I allow him to sleep with it. PLEASE do your research if you are considering a blanket. I am NOT an occupational therapist- I simply knew that some of you were very interested in learning how I made my blanket.

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  1. Thank you! I am going to try this! May ask a sewing friend or two to help though. 😉

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