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The Great DIY Weighted Blanket Experiment

The Great DIY Weighted Blanket Experiment

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to consider a weighted blanket for my kids.

Maybe because they’ve always been good at settling in at night... until we moved house last year and Attie had a room of his own for the first time. He doesn’t like this one little bit, and it’s been a nightly struggle to get him to conquer his fear of being alone. Finding the right kind of night light, leaving a fan on for white noise, letting the dog sleep in his room. Letting the dog sleep on his bed. Letting the dog sleep on the floor when they argued over who got the pillow.

One night after the tenth round of “but your bedroom is so far awayyyyyy” (dude, it’s three feet), I squeezed him extra hard and said “Here, I’ll give you enough hug to last until morning.” Underneath the weight of my body I heard a muffled “Mummy? That squashing feels really good. Do that some more.”

D’oh.

I headed back to bed to research how to make a DIY weighted blanket. They’re expensive to buy, and what if he didn’t like the feeling? Spare cash isn’t exactly abundant at the moment, so I figured making my own would be a great low-risk solution... completely ignoring the fact that I have no skills of any kind. But hey, I’m a crafting optimist.

A couple of hours later I became despondent at all the tutorials touting “It’s sew easy!” (see what they did there), and talk of exotic things like seams and stitching and cotton batting. I’ll let you in on a secret. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SEW. Oddly, this has in no way dampened my enthusiasm for collecting vintage sewing patterns, of which I have over 500 for no reason other than they’re completely and utterly awesome and I am in intense fascination with every single one of them.

See? How could this not make you insanely happy.
The collar! The sling-backs! The Farrah Flip!

I digress.

Just as I was getting sick of people telling me how easy it would be to sew my own blanket, I stumbled across instructions to make one when you DON’T KNOW HOW TO SEW. Like an oasis in my crafty-skills desert, here was this awesome post telling me that all you needed was rice and duct tape. I totally know what those things are!

So the next day we pounced on the local grocery store and bought pretty much all of their rice (I’m not kidding, it’s a small town). As I heaved the bags onto the counter, I smiled at the lady and said “Yup, making risotto for fifty”. Mental note: She will never get you.

I thought the blanket-making would be a neat homeschool activity for the kids, so we sat together and calculated the weight of rice we needed in each bag and how many grams were in 1 cup... then converted that to 2/3 cups since I'd ruined my 1 cup measure making the plaster bricks for our DIY Ancient Egyptian pyramid. Did I mention I'm not exactly crafty?

You can read the instructions on the original post, but long story short... rice was poured into baggies. Baggies were taped together. More taping. A crapload more taping. Taping taping taping for-the-love-of-god-when-will-it-end-taping then voila! A finished weighted blanket.

Look, I made a thing!

I’d made it based on the size of Attie’s sleeping bag, which I thought was kinda genius on my part because now all I had to do was slip it inside and zip it up. Who needs to sew when you have stuff that already zips!

The boys couldn’t wait to try it out and argued over who would go first. The weight immediately calmed them and they both loved it to bits... woohoo, success! Then Max asked when I was going to make him one. Cue many silent expletives and a second round of Tape-a-palooza, and an hour later we had not one but TWO of these extremely ugly looking suckers.

The worst part: Duct tape in bulk kinda smells. A lot.
The best part: They work, and each one cost me less than $20.

Which is awesome, because two nights later the kids decided that they were over it and don’t want them anymore.

So I’m really glad we made that discovery with the cheap prototype, and not after spending hundreds of dollars on the real thing. And it’s not all bad, I’ll probably use one of them (I have restless legs) and with this stockpile of rice we’re now totally prepared to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Anybody got a tutorial for making a swing dress out of duct tape?

 

UPDATE:  
Check it out, apparently people really do make dresses out of duct tape
Wow. Thanks to Mel for the link :)

This article was first published on 26 May 2013

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