DIY Calming Weighted Lap Pad

Categories: Kid Friendly, Quilts, Utility

Weighted lap pads and blankets are widely used to help calm people with anxiety, ADHD, autism, and other conditions.  The human body finds the weight soothing.  It’s easy to make your own weighted pad with some fabric and poly-pellets.  Pop it in the freezer to use as a cooling pack to make it especially refreshing during the summer or to help with a headache.  Make one for yourself or a child you love.  If you’re making it for a child, choose fabric in bright colors and themes that they enjoy.

Note: These instructions are not intended to be taken as medical advice, nor are the weighted pads meant to take the place of recommendations given by your doctor or therapist.

What you need to make this project

Materials
Poly-Fil® Poly Pellets® Weighted Stuffing Beads 2 pound Bag
Two coordinating cotton or cuddle fabrics
Smooth Fusible Fleece Interfacing (Optional)
Extra sewing machine needles
Coordinating Thread
Supplies
Sewing Machine and related supplies
Chop stick or thin stick
Tablespoon measure

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Smooth Fusible Fleece Interfacing 44.5″ Wide X 6 Yard Roll

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Price: $48.99

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Poly-Fil® Poly Pellets® Weighted Stuffing Beads 2 pound Bag

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Price: $10.99

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Instructions

Step One

Size

The size for these is flexible.  I chose my size based on the size scraps I was using.  I made one starting with pieces approximately 13″ x 28″ inches and a second one that was 16″ x 24″.  Both work great for my daughter’s lap, but I prefer the longer skinny one because it can fold more easily to fit around her neck.  You would want to make one slightly larger for an adult.  Each one required almost a whole 2 lb bag of poly-pellets.

Fabric Choices

Cotton fabrics or cuddle fabrics work well.  Cuddle fabrics are nice because they are denser than other fabrics so they add some extra weight.  They are also thicker, so offer more padding against the poly-pellets if you’re making one for a kiddo with sensory issues.  I found making one side cotton fabric and one side cuddle was ideal.

If one side of your lap pad is pieced or is especially thin, you’ll want to add a layer of Smooth Fusible Fleece behind it.  (We definitely don’t want those polypellets leaking through.)

Step Two

Start by cutting and squaring your fabrics.  I like to cut them out at the same time with RIGHT sides TOGETHER, to make for easy pinning.  I preferred 13″ x 28″, but use whatever size makes sense for the fabric you have on hand.  (Pink Cuddle fabric shown is Flowerfly Cuddle in Paris Pink.)

DIY Weighted Lap Pad

If you’re using pieced or thin fabric, you may want to apply a layer of smooth fusible fleece to the back.

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Step Three

Pin and stitch RIGHT sides TOGETHER with a 1/2 seam allowance on three of the sides.  Leave one of the narrow ends open.  Clip corners.

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Turn right side out.

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For a more polished final product, you may want to iron.

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Step Four

Mark parallel lines every 2 inches or so.  (Choose a width that makes sense for the size of your pad, but I wouldn’t do less than 2 inches.)  For the pad I made with the piecing, I just went through the middle and sides of the blocks.

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Stitch on your marked lines, still leaving one end of your project open.

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Step Five

Add approximately 1 Tablespoon of poly-pellets to each row.  If your rows are wider than 2 inches, you way want to add a bit more each time.  Be prepared to make a bit of a mess.

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Shake or push the poly-pellets to the bottom.

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Step Six

Stitch to close in your poly-pellets and make your next pouch.  I found it useful to use a chopstick to make slide the poly-pellets all the way to the end and to hold them clear of the foot.  You will definitely want to be cautious sewing.  Even being careful, I still ended up breaking 2 sewing machine needles and polypellets that I missed.

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Step Seven

Continue filling each row with 1 Tablespoon at a time and stitching until you get to the end.  You need about 1 or more left at the end…otherwise it’s REALLY hard to sew in that last row of polypellets, and you need some extra to finish off the end.  Trim even.  Then fold your excess over twice to hide the raw edges and pin.

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Stitch closed.

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Step Eight

My daughter will be taking one of her weighted pads to use at school to help calm her anxiety (and she’ll still be getting extra help learning coping skills from her therapist and professionals at her school.)  She can have it on her lap while she’s doing her schoolwork.  And we’ll keep on at home that she can use during some of her favorite activities…like reading or playing her math games.

Weighted Lap Pad  Weighted Lap Pad  

And it can feel good all rolled up on your neck too.  And if cool is what you crave, try putting in the freezer for half an hour for a soothing cool-down.

Weighted Lap Pad

 

And we’re big Harry Potter fans at our house, so we also made a Harry Potter version.  You can read more about it on my Pieces by Polly blog.

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