Thursday, August 11, 2011

Weighted Blanket

For awhile now, I have been wanting to make Ethan a weighted blanket to sleep with since he has been responding so well to weighed objects in his daily life.....lap animals, kid sandwich, yoga ball exercises, joint compression, etc.  But, like most therapy items, it WAY more money than I want to spend. And they seem really complicated to make. So, I haven't done anything about getting Ethan one.....until now.

A couple of weeks ago, Ethan stopped using his pacifier at nap & bedtime....the only 2 remaining times he would still use one. And, as I have shared before, we allowed him those 2 times because oral chew toys & such seem to calm him. And he needs his nap.......and I need him to nap as well. He is so much more difficult when he is tired, and I do enjoy getting a break too. So for the last several weeks, Ethan hasn't been sleeping well. No napping, going to sleep late, and waking early. is time to get serious about a weighted blanket.

I looked up a few websites that I was told would have cheaper prices on these blankets, but they were still more than I wanted to spend. Especially since this was a trial run. We didn't know for sure if this blanket would even help. Here's an example of such a Ethan's occupational therapist told us that Ethan could use a 5 lb blanket...more weight than usually recommended for a child his age. However, I have already added dried rice to the inside of a few of his stuffed animals to make them heavier, and they were about 3 pounds each. Since he craves those items, she said he would benefit from a little more weight in his blanket than standard. Standard measurement is 10% of his body weight + one. So, at the time of his OT sessions, he weighed 31 pounds. Do the math & that would mean Ethan would need a 4 pound blanket. Ethan is currently 36 pounds, but we made the blanket 5 pounds....due to the OT's suggestion. That could cost us anywhere from $50 for a little baby blanket to $120 for a twin size. And this is actually pretty reasonable. But then I thought those 4 words that we all think sometime in our life...."I could make that."

So, I found a easy to follow pattern I already had CARS fabric that a friend gave me over a year was her leftovers from making her son curtains. So my measurements weren't exactly like the pattern, but I was only 1.5 inches short.....still plenty big for Ethan.  So here is what it looked like after I sewed around 3 sides & stitched the columns...ready to be filled with weights.

Now, there are many different options for weights....dried rice, beans, sand.....but I choose to use Recycled Poly Pellets. If his blanket needs washing, it can be thrown in the washer & dryer (on gentle). I did have to purchase these pellets, so I went to EBay. I bought 10 pounds for $ added cost but still cheaper than buying one already made.

These are very light weight & surprisingly soft. I measured out 10 cups (5 pounds), and divided them into 64 tiny cups.....for the 64 squares on my blanket. Originally, I was dumping the pellets into the sewn columns & then shaking the blanket to get them to all trickle down to the bottom...but they were sticking. So, I went & got a role of wrapping paper to use as a funnel.
That worked much better! After I would dump 8 cups into each of my 8 columns, I would sew a line across that section....making my columns into squares. And I only spilled the pellets one time!!!

Well, I finished the blanket in one day. It was a LOT easier than I thought, so now I'm already thinking about making Ethan some lap pads & another blanket. Eventually, I will show you the end product, but there is a little boy in the other room who is using it to take his nap.......YEA!!!!!!!

***UPDATE*** Here's a picture of the final result. I am thinking that I may want to add a trim around the edges, but just for an added element.


  1. Very Clever Jessica, It sounds like it will definitely help with his sensory issues. I took a Craniosacral Therapy class early July, and there was a mother in the class that had her son who has Autism, wear a vest when in public and it was very beneficial to him. She gave me a good website to find things similar to the blanket and vest. When I go through my filling cabinet I will make sure to grab it and pass it on to you. I love that you are a parent that can adapt and help your child cope through the healing and dealing with Autism where as I seem to witness more often some people become more invested in the problem not the healing. Kudos to you and Corey you two are awesome parents!!!

  2. I LOVE that you made his blanket for him rather than bought it. I bet you could make more and sell them! :) If there is anything like this that you need for Ethan, will you please talk about it on your blog. I would like to be a part of something for Ethan but because of distance, it's hard. So if there is anything that long distance family can give/help with, you better be lettin' me know! :) :) love ya woman! PS. a weighted blanket sounds super comfy! I wouldn't mind having that!!!! :)

  3. You are an amazing woman Jess! Love that you made him a weighted blanket. I would love to get the info from you. I'm sure our OT's would love to see how you did it!

  4. Way to go girl! I knew you were crafty, but this sounds like quite the project. I think I would've been too intimidated to even begin. So proud of you!

  5. just found this as I am wanting a weighted blanket for myself. I have borderline personality disorder. I need a "hug" quite frequently and also found the cost to buy one too much for me. I will give this a try or better yet ask a sewing friend to do it.