Weighted blankets are used as a therapeutic tool for individuals with high energy levels, attention deficit disorder, autism and illnesses that require sensory input to restore calm. The pressure from the weighted blanket provides the desired sensory stimulation and soothes the person. Commercially available weighted blankets can be expensive and are not totally customised to meet individual sensory stimulation needs. It is easy to create your own weighted blanket and customise it according to your size, fabric and weighting specifications.
Purchase a square-patterned blanket, that is, the blanket should have squares sewn on it. Make sure you have a "down alternative" blanket with natural or synthetic fibres such as wool, silk or polyester filled in. These blankets are better option than normal down blankets, which have a goose feather lining, and may cause feathers to spill all over the place if the blanket accidentally tears. Count the number of squares on the blanket. Generally, a twin-size blanket will have 48 squares sewn on it.
Check with your doctor or physical therapist on the ideal weight needed to balance your sensory restlessness. Once you have the weight requirements, estimate the final weight of the blanket by dividing the blanket's total weight by the number of squares. For instance, if you have a twin-size blanket with 48 squares, divide the total weight required by the 48 squares to arrive at the amount of weight needed for each square.
Use a measure scale to weigh the amount of weighted poly pellets required for each square. Poly pellets are machine washable, non-allergenic fillers that are used to fill stuffed toys. Fill heavy-duty Ziploc bags with the appropriate amount of weighted poly pellets and close.
Cut open one side of the seam on all 48 squares of the blanket. Measure the length of the square opening with a measure tape. Cut Velcro strips in the same length for every square.
Attach Velcro strips to the inside and outside of the square opening with extra strength fabric glue. Place the filled Ziploc bags inside each square on the blanket. Press the Velcro strips together to secure the square.
Adjust the weight of the blanket, to suit your sensory input preferences, by adding or removing the weighted poly pellets.
Avoid filling weighted blankets with edible items like rice and beans, to reduce the risk of attracting mould.
Tips and warnings
- Adjust the weight of the blanket, to suit your sensory input preferences, by adding or removing the weighted poly pellets.
- Avoid filling weighted blankets with edible items like rice and beans, to reduce the risk of attracting mould.