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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Photo Tutorial: How to make a No Sew weighted blanket for Sensory Processing Disorder

No, this is not edible. :-)

However, I know that a lot of our readers also have children with SPD, Aspergers, Autism etc and might find this helpful.

Brother Chef struggles a lot with sensory overload so we've been working with his therapy team to come up with ways to help him cope. (That's him in the photo with his new noise canceling headphones, another tool that he has really been enjoying.) One of the suggestions was "heavy work" or the use of heavy objects to calm him. Rice socks, deep pressure massage, weighted blankets, and a dentist's x-ray apron were all tools that were mentioned.

Brother Chef liked the idea of a huge, heavy blanket to wrap around his body so I looked into that option. There seemed to be two ways of attaining a weighted blanket:

1. Buy one
2. Sew one yourself

I wasn't fond of either because,
1. They cost hundreds of dollars. (Obviously, if this is something he needs to help him cope we will gladly purchase one, but first we wanted to know for sure he would actually enjoy it. )
2. I don't know how to sew... I know how to cook. :-)

So. I decided to make another option.

3. Make one without a needle and thread!

I was pleasantly surprised that it acutally worked! And it was less than $30 to make.

Photo Tutorial: How to make a No Sew weighted blanket for Sensory Processing Disorder

You will need:

* down alternative blanket 
* Stick on velcro
* Huge bag of rice
* Double zip baggies (Not pictured... because I forgot. Sorry, I was distracted because I had cookies in the oven.)

You want a down alternative blanket, like THIS one, because it has little squares sewn in all over it. This will allow you to insert weights that will not be sliding all over inside.

First lay your blanket out and decide what squares you want to add weight too. My blanket was a queen size because it was on clearance at the store for $10, a twin would have been smaller and easier but they were $40 at that store so I went with the one on sale. Since it was so big I left a 2 square border around the edge and decided to add weights to every other square in a checkerboard pattern. If it had been a twin I probably would have filled every square.

Now that you know which squares you will be cutting, start cutting!

Cut a line in the square. You will see the stuffing. I just left it in there.

Now cut another line so you are snipping out a little rectangle of fabric. 

Now get your sticky Velcro and cut a piece just a little bit bigger than your rectangle.  

Stick the two pieces of Velcro on either side of your rectangle.  Press firmly.
(Edit to add: It's been brought to my attention that it would have been a good idea to stick these on with fabric glue and that if so they would probably hold up even if washed. So you might want to do that. )

Do this to every square that you want to fill. When you are done let it sit overnight to make sure the Velcro is set.

Count how many square you have and get out that many baggies.  You are going to fill them with rice but first you need to know how much weight to put in them. Google suggests 10% of body weight plus one pound but to make sure your occupational therapist would be the best person to ask about this. Once you know how much weight you need, divide it by the number of bags, and start filling.

Take one bag. Make sure all the air is out of it.

 And insert it into a square.

Make sure to smooth it out all nice and flat. 

Now close up the Velcro. 

Do this to every square. 

Give to your child and see how well it is received. :-)

*I have not tested how this will wash. We can try taking the rice bags out and washing it but I can't promise the Velcro won't come off, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So, there you go...an affordable and no sew way to test out a weighted blanket!

Momma Chef


  1. That's a creative idea. It's impressive that you're so willing to help your kids in any way you can. I like your dedication

  2. clever you
    did the cookies taste nice?

  3. Thanks Michele, that's what mothers are for!

    Hah Toucan, the cookies were good. We were trying to make chcoalte chip cookies using coconut flour, they tasted ok but not great so we will try again. :-)

  4. Awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

  5. another option to velcro may be to only cut slits and then use iron patches. freezer bags are thicker but then line/flat dry only if permanently sealing inside the blanket

  6. Thank you, thank you! I cannot thank you enough! My husband is on the spectrum and my 3-year-old daughter definitely has sensory needs (no diagnosis). I used to work as an OT and have tried like crazy to figure out how to make one of these, but never been able to wrap my fatigued mind around it.
    Bless you.
    I CAN sew, but I had never figured out the zip baggie thing. Using an already-made quilt is genius.

  7. This is genius! My fiance has Asperger's and I've been trying to think of a way to make a weighted blanket for him. Thank you for posting the tutorial!

  8. You're very welcome, Jarod still uses his every day!