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Should You Make Your Own Weighted Blanket?

Donna Chambers

If your child's therapist has suggested a weighted blanket to help with autism, ADHD or sensory processing disorder, you may have wondered if you can make your own weighted blanket, DIY-style. We explain how weighted blankets work, what goes into making a durable weighted blanket and why it's usually best to buy a weighted blanket from a reputable sensory products company.

How Weighted Blankets Work

photo of a sewing machine and a hand sewing fabric.

Weighted blankets have been a popular therapy tool among occupational therapists and other health professionals for many years. They use a form of therapy called deep touch pressure stimulation, which has been shown to reduce anxiety in children and adults with autism, sensory processing disorders and other conditions. 

Deep touch pressure stimulation (also known as deep touch pressure therapy) works by applying firm but gentle pressure to various parts of the body. It was pioneered as a treatment for autism by Dr. Temple Grandin, a prominent autism researcher and individual on the autism spectrum.

Dr. Grandin first observed the potential benefits of deep touch pressure when she saw how calm cattle became when they were placed in a “squeeze machine” — a device designed to hold them still for vaccinations. This led Dr. Grandin to develop her own version of the squeeze machine for people.

Also known as hug machines, squeeze machines and devices are still used today, however, they are typically quite expensive, with some models costing thousands of dollars. Obviously, this is out of financial reach for most people.

This is where weighted blankets may help. Because they use deep touch pressure therapy, they provide the same benefits of a squeeze machine — at a fraction of the cost.

Weighted Blankets: What’s Inside

Weighted blankets are typically made with weights that are 10 percent of the user’s body weight, give or take a few pounds. At SensaCalm, we design our weighted blankets to be comfortable, effective and extremely durable. You want a blanket you can cuddle up with — and one you can throw in the washer and dryer without a second thought.

Here’s what goes into every weighted blanket we make:

Cotton Fabric

When you order your SensaCalm weighted blanket, you’ll start by choosing a 100% cotton fabric from our wide selection of solid, pattern and gallery fabrics. We offer a broad range of colors and patterns for both children and adults.

We also offer an optional cuddle fleece backing, which is ultra soft and extremely popular with sensory seekers. If you live in a very hot climate or you tend to sleep hot, you may want to skip the cuddle fleece. If you’re undecided whether cuddle fleece is right for you, just give us a call or contact us.   

Our waterproof weighted blankets are made with Eco PUL TM fabric, which is 73% polyester and 27% polyurethane. It is super soft and comfortable while providing a waterproof barrier. 

Polyfil

To give our weighted blankets the full, fluffy look of a typical blanket, we use Fairfields Polyfil filler. This is the same kind of cushiony soft filler you’ll find inside comforters and other types of blankets you can buy at any department store. Our Polyfil is hypoallergenic and helps muffle the sound of the weighted pellets. 

We also offer the option to make your blanket without Polyfil. If you go this route, your blanket will look and feel more like a quilt or bedspread than a blanket. Some of our customers who live in hot climates prefer no Polyfil. Generally, we hear from our customers that the Polyfil sleeps quite comfortably regardless of the climate. If you’re concerned about a blanket that sleeps too hot, give us a call or contact us and we’ll help you design a blanket that’s perfect for you. 

Virgin Polypropylene Pellets

To give the blanket its weight, we sew 100% virgin polypropylene pellets into individual pockets throughout the blanket. The pellets we use are non-toxic, hypoallergenic and heat resistant, so you can dry your blanket in a home or commercial dryer.  

3 Questions to Ask Before You Make Your Own Weighted Blanket

shallow shot of thread spools on a table.

If you’re a skilled crafter or your budget is tight, you may be tempted to try your hand at DIYing your own weighted blanket. For most people, however, it’s better to purchase one from an experienced seller like SensaCalm. There’s a reason we have been the industry leader in weighted blankets for 10 years. Our blankets are affordable and beautifully made. We also offer unmatched customer service and free shipping within the U.S.

Before you break out the fabric and sewing machine, here are three important questions to consider.  

Will You Really Save That Much?

At SensaCalm, we are proud of the high-quality weighted blankets we create right here in the USA. Our team is made up of skilled artisans who work hard to make a product that has helped hundreds of thousands adults and children across the country.

We’re also proud of the fact that our weighted blankets are priced to fit just about any budget. Our children’s size (small) weighted blankets are priced at under $100 and ship free in the United States.

At the same time, we’re aware that many families — especially those who have children with special needs — often need to find ways to stretch their dollars. However, before you try to make your own weighted blanket, consider the cost of fabric, materials and your time. To create a durable, high-quality product, you’ll need a sewing machine, scale and fill materials to add weight. When you price these items, you’ll typically find the cost is the same (if not more!) than buying a weighted blanket or even non-weighted bedding from a department store.    

Why Do You Need the Weighted Blanket?

Will you use the weighted blanket to help alleviate the symptoms of sensory processing disorder? Or are you using a weighted blanket for a little extra comfort and cuddling at night?

Both reasons are important ones, but it’s particularly critical to use a high-quality weighted blanket if you’d like to help address health conditions like autism, ADHD and sensory processing disorder. If you try to make your own weighted blanket, you might not achieve the results you’re looking for.   

Do You Have the Skill?

With YouTube and Pinterest, it’s easy for just about anyone to become a DIY weekend warrior. At the same time, there’s also a reason sites like Pinterest Fail exist. It’s a humorous window into what happens when our imaginations soar just a little bit higher than our skill sets.

Before you try your hand at a weighted blanket, ask yourself if you’re truly up to the task. You want your blanket to be something you actually want to use, as well as something that helps you feel calmer and sleep better.   

SensaCalm Weighted Blankets

Ready to order a weighted blanket made just for you? SensaCalm offers custom weighted blankets made exactly to your specifications. In a hurry and need a weighted blanket ASAP? No worries! We also offer a wide range of finished blankets that ship the next business day after your order.

We’re here to help! Get in touch by calling us at 855-736-7222, or use our online contact form to talk with a member of our team.

Disclaimer: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any type of therapy or treatment.