DIY: How to Make a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety

January 28, 2019 separator DIY Tutorial

Learn how to make a DIY weighted blanket for anxiety, including a video on why weighted blankets help!

Have you hear about weighted blankets for anxiety?

A lot of people find them super helpful — adults and children alike.

There are all sorts of treatments for anxiety, from therapy and medication to exercise and meditation and aromatherapy or even a bubble bath. 

I was pretty excited to hear about weighted blankets for anxiety because besides a hot bath, there’s not much I love more when I’m feeling really anxious than curling up under the sheets with a book. 

How Does a DIY Weighted Blanket for Anxiety Work?

I’m no expert, you guys. You should always discuss things like this with a healthcare professional.

But here’s an article on why you should use a weighted blanket for anxiety

They say it can help lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels by “grounding” your body during sleep. Essentially, by weighing you down, it could help your body physically relax and then mentally relax when the accompanying stress hormone decrease kicks in. 

Lowering your cortisol levels can help regulate things like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain

After reading all that, are you as excited as I am to give it a try? 

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How to Make a DIY Weighted Blanket for Anxiety and More

Video: Why to Make a Weighted Blanket

 

Not Ready to Make a Weighted Blanket Yourself?

If learning how to sew a weighted blanket for anxiety seems a bit daunting, that’s okay. You can always buy one. 

The only thing is that weighted blankets can get really pricey. Be sure to read reviews if you’re going to invest in an expensive one.

Here are a few places to buy a weighted blanket:

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Make a DIY Weighted Blanket

Can I make a weighted blanket? 

Yes, you can definitely make your own weighted blanket! You don’t even need very advanced sewing skills. This tutorial below will walk you through exactly how to do it. You can use different types of fabric and filling to customize your weighted blanket as much as you like, and you can make it in any size. 

How do you wash a weighted blanket?

For a store-bought weighted blanket, you should always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. For a DIY weighted blanket filled with glass pellets or poly pellets, you can machine wash on cold, and tumble-dry on low heat or hang to dry. Using lower temperatures for washing and drying will help lengthen the lifespan of your blanket.

What do you fill a weighted blanket with? 

There are a few different weighted blanket filling options. You can use poly pellets, which are made of a type of plastic. They’re machine-washable and less dense than glass, so they’ll take up more volume in the blanket. You can also fill your DIY weighted blanket with glass pellets, which are machine-washable and super dense, so the blanket would be thinner. Glass is definitely a more eco-friendly option. Some people use rice or beans to fill a weighted blanket, but I would avoid these, as they’re not washable. 

What weight should a weighted blanket be? 

Deciding the weight for a weighted blanket is part personal preference and part math. But don’t worry — it’s easy math! Your blanket should be 5-10% of the weight of the person you are making it for. For example, for a 150-pound person, you want a 7.5-15 pound blanket. Similarly, for a 200-pound adult, 5-10% of their weight would yield a 10-20 pound blanket.

Can you sleep with a weighted blanket? 

Is it safe to sleep under a weighted blanket? Yes, you can sleep with a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are perfect for sleeping — especially for people with insomnia. The only downside is that, depending on the type of fabric used, you may find your weighted blanket to be a bit too warm for overnight use. Try it out and see what you think. 

Other DIY Sewing Projects You Might Like

Supplies

Have fun and go crazy picking out the fabric for this. You could do the same fabric on both sides, but it’s fun to mix and match, too! The supply list contains affiliate links, so I may make a small commission at no additional charge to you. 

  • 1.5 yards of extra wide flannel in a solid color
  • 1.5 yards of extra wide flannel in a complementary pattern
  • All-purpose thread in a complementary or matching color
  • 52″ x 52” quilt batting*
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight pins
  • T-square (Optional, helps with measuring and marking even rows and columns)
  • Empty wrapping paper cardboard roll to use as a funnel
  • Weighted pellets: Amount depends on weight of blanket. See instructions to calculate the right amount. You only need poly OR glass, not both. They’re both machine-washable.
    • Poly pellets: Less dense so more volume, slightly more affordable
    • Glass pellets: More dense so less bulky, more eco-friendly
  • Sewing scissors

*The quilt batting will make your blanket more durable, but you could try leaving it out if you want something less hot.

Instructions for How to Make a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety

1. Wash and dry both pieces of flannel and cut off any loose strings.

Teal measuring tape laid across two sheets of fabric on a wooden floor

2. Lay out the flannel and cut each piece into a 52″ x 52” square.

Person's hand cutting sheet of fabric on a wood floor
3. Cut your quilt batting into a 52″ x 52″ square.

Tip: The quilt batting will make the blanket sturdier and warmer. If you want it to be really lightweight and aren’t as worried about durability, you could try to omit the batting.

Three sheets of fabric layered on top of each other on a wood floor

4. Lay all pieces of fabric on top of each other: first quilt batting on the bottom, then the solid-colored flannel face-up, and finally the patterned flannel face-down on top of the stack.

Hands measuring a large square of fabric on a wood floor

5. Make sure all 3 pieces are the same size, and if not, measure and cut off any uneven sides.

The reverse side of blue floral fabric pinned together with sewing pins

6. Pin three of the four sides of the blanket together, one at a time, leaving one end open, like a pillowcase.

7. Sew the three pieces of fabric together on the three pinned sides one at a time using a straight stitch. And make sure to back-stitch at each end.

Remove the pins as you go.

8. Your blanket should now look look a stitched pillowcase.

Flip it right-side-out from the open side that hasn’t been sewn yet.

Sewing machine sewing a straight stitch on blue floral fabric

9. You should now have a pattern on top, quilt batting inside, and a solid color on the bottom.

10. Make sure the edges/corners are smooth and flat (use an iron if needed).

11. Next, top-stitch along the the sides that were previously sewn on the top of the fabric for a decorative look and to stabilize the pieces together.

12. Then you should lay your blanket flat.

13. With the opening as the top of your blanket, measure the width of your fabric from top stitch to top stitch and divide that number by eight. This is how wide your eight columns will be. Do the same for the rows.

Mine were 6.375” wide, but yours may slightly differ depending on the how close you sewed towards the edge.

14. Use a ruler/measuring tape to mark the lines with pins to make even columns. This picture is wonky, and t’s hard to see them in this image, but I marked the heads of the pins with red dots.

Sew a vertical straight stitch all the way through for each column.

Figuring Out How Heavy Your DIY Weighted Blanket Should Be

15. Next you will want to figure out the weight you want your blanket.

Your blanket should be 5-10% of the weight of the person you are making it for. For example, for a 150-pound person, you want a 7.5-15 pound blanket. Similarly, for a 200-pound adult, 5-10% of their weight would yield a 10-20 pound blanket.

This blanket will have 64 squares, so divide the total weight by 64 to calculate how much poly pellet should go into each square. A kitchen scale is great for measuring this. 

16. Since this blanket is for a 150-pound person it weighs about 10 pounds. It has approximately 1/2 cup of poly pellets in each square. 

How to Add Weight to the Blanket

17. Slide the cardboard roll into each column, one at a time, and add enough poly pellets for one square. Because this one has 1/2 cup per square, I poured 1/2 cup into each of the eight columns. 

Tip: Above all, make sure you pour the poly pellets in the same side of the blanket each time. I poured them in between the batting and the patterned fabric. 

18. Once you’ve added your first set of pellets to each column, then carefully and closely pin the row across using the measurement you calculated in Step 13.

Tip: Use a T-square here to make sure your rows are perpendicular to your columns for nice, even squares.

Tip: In case you’re having trouble visualizing it, you’re pinning parallel to the bottom of the blanket to enclose the pellets inside the first row of squares.

19. Carefully sew a straight stitch along the line, removing the pins as you go.

Tip: Try to avoid the pellets because they could break your sewing needle. In other words, use lots of pins to keep the pellets on the proper side of the line.

18. Repeat step 16 until you have 8 rows across and vertically.

19. To finish the blanket, fold the fabric on the top of the blanket inward about an inch. Pin it closed, and top stitch across the top of the blanket.

20. Finally, double stitch the top of the blanket so the poly pellets stay in securely. 

13 comments

  1. I have been making weighted blankets for a few years using a similar method. I bought a piece of 1.5 inch pvc pipe which was only a few dollars at a hardware store. It holds up better if you’re planning on making several blankets. I also use satin blanket edging to close the top sometimes. Makes a nice edge. Best wishes with your sewing out there!

    1. You can use a variety of fabrics, but just make sure it’s heavy enough to stand up to the weight. So something muslin or gauzy would be too light.

  2. I’m concerned about your instructions. Your eight columns are 6.75″ wide on a 52″ square blanket, so that would mean that each finished square would be 3.?”. If you only used 1/2 cup Poly-Pellets in each of the eight columns, it doesn’t seem to me 1/2 cup Poly-Pellets would be contained in each 3.?” square when the blanket is finished. Am I misreading your instructions?

    1. Hi Ella. The columns are 6.75″ wide, and since you’re making squares, the rows are 6.75″ tall. So the squares are 6.75″ x 6.75″.

  3. Thank you for these instructions. Ive been needing to get a weughted blanket for my self but didnt know the proper way to fill it. This pattern is exactly how i make baby quilts/lap quilts except i use squares of fabric. Where is the best place to get the poly beads?

  4. Wonderful and easy instructions, I am so glad to have found this on Pinterest! I am going to make some for my friends who happen to be veterans with anxiety, ptsd, and other problems…I will keep you informed with a later comment…thank you so much!
    Cheryl

    1. Great question, Melanie! I’d say it’s probably around $65 to make this version. I’m getting ready to make one that’s just fleece on both sides without batting, so that one will be slightly less. I’ve linked to a few purchase options nearish the top of this blog post, but they tend to run in the $100-$250+ range. So you could get a cheap one for not too much more than making it — and less when you consider your time. But if you make it yourself, you can customize the look of it. So it’s whatever you prefer!

    1. Hi, Soli! The poly pellets it’s filled with can be machine washed and dried. Just make sure you launder according to the care instructions for whichever fabric you choose.

  5. Thank you so much for weighted blanket instructions .. may I ask what type batting you used? I am so anxious to make one of these … Thank you again.

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