If you’ve ever wanted to start your own vegetable or herb seeds indoors, and don’t think you have the space, you have got to see this super easy, small-closet grow space video I made. I show you my actual grow closet as I’m setting it back up for the year.
This idea could be used in any small areas like crawl spaces, sheds, garages, basements, closets, and more. If you have heat and power, you can set up your own grow space. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy growing your own food from seeds.
Here is a list of supplies for this closet:
When trying to decide what DIY to do next, I have a huge list of things that I can choose from. I have a big list of things I want to show you and I can’t really know what you want to see. This site really is about the readers and viewers. You’re suggestions would really help me narrow down and fine tune what you really want to see.
Do you prefer written tutorials, or are you a visual learner, and you want to see more videos? Fill out the form below and tell me what you think.
Is there a tutorial that you would love to see me do? Send your ideas for DIY’s and I’ll pick one each month and make a tutorial. What would you would love to learn?
Did you ever want to make something out of resin, but didn’t know where to start? Have you ever wondered how people make custom things out of resin for their art? I’m going to teach you how you can make anything you can imagine, a finished resin piece of your very own creation you can actually hold.
The amount of things you can make are unbelievable. Please share this DIY!
I get a lot of questions about how I make the things that I do, and the crazy things I create, and for the projects that I get myself into. I’ve used this technique to make a lot of things for products, art, props, costuming, and sooo much more.
This year I am very excited to be a designer for the most prestigious and creative of all the wearable arts competitions in the world. I’ve worked my tail off, using these exact same techniques, to produce some of the outfit that I’ll be featuring in the competition. Because of the nature of competition, I can’t show you any of my actual project. Expect photos after September.
In this tutorial we’ll sculpt, mold, and cast little things, so you can try it out for yourself. This is a long DIY, so I will be taking off next week. You can expect another DIY after that.
We’re going to make the dangling feathers on this decorative sun-catcher. This DIY is for beginners, so we’ll be making a fairly easy shape that has one main side with detail, and a back that doesn’t matter, similar to a button or cabochon . This is NOT how you make things with detail on all sides, like a figurine. That’s far too much detail and for this. That’s fun for another time.
We’re going to focus on creating, the whole thing – from start to finish. I chose this DIY, because I want you to know how unbelievable your own ideas are, and how easily you can make them reality!
Let’s get on with those steps already!
Supplies for this tutorial are:
- Clay – I use Chavant NSP Oil Based Clay, but any non-drying clay works
- Alumilite Amazing Mold Putty Kit
- Silicone Mold Release Spray
- Resin of your choice (this is similar to what I used) Alumilite Amazing Clear Cast resin
- Inexpensive Cooking tray
- Resin colorant/pigments Transparent Green Resin Dye
- Embroidery floss
- Sandpaper Fine grit and medium grit (for any sharp edges)
- Sculpting clay tools or anything to help create shapes
- Popsicle sticks, spoons, toothpicks, and your hands are options too
- Fine Glitter
Start by warming a small amount of clay in your hands or with a hairdryer if you’re using oil clay. Each type will be different, but work a bit around in your hands to soften it. Roll it into a ball then slightly flatten in your hand to get closer to the shape you want to make.
Press the clay to the center of your tray to make it stick slightly. You don’t want it to move around much. The feather we’re making is fairly thick, between 1/4 & 1/8 inch so we can drill a hole and hang them. The clay is even thicker than that at this point.
Use sculpting tools to shape the feather, working on the basic shape and thickness first. Remove material to make your shape. Add a central vein down the middle by carving out the sides and leaving the center strip.
Smooth out the shape and then add the fine detail lines to the feather, starting at the main vein and going out and down, just like a real feather. Anything on the clay will show up, so keep it clean and smooth for the best results. I added additional texture to mine, you can do anything you want.
If you’re familiar with sculpting or clay, use its solvent and a very soft paintbrush to smooth it out more. Otherwise use your fingers or tools to smooth it and remove the little pills (balls of clay) that form from sculpting it.
Place this is the fridge, or outside if it’s cold out to harden the clay a little. You don’t want to try to freeze it, that would be bad in the end, but rather chill it to make it firmer.
Note: You can either do the next step on the tray, or carefully lift the clay from it and press it into the mold (that’s what I did.) Use string to cut it off the tray if needed and smooth the edges.
Get out equal parts of mold putty part A and part B using a spoon or other thing that can reach it. Do not touch one to the other. Measure them side by side separately, so you have the same amount of each. You want them to cover your shape, so use your judgement.
Quickly mix both parts together in your hands, until there are no swirls in the color and they are fully mixed. You only have 2-3 mins of working time, so quickly make your mold. Make a ball out of it, then slightly smoosh it and stretch it to closer the size of the clay feather.
Place the silicone on a tray and slowly press the clay shape FACE DOWN into it. Submerge the clay’s detail and press the silicone around the edges of the clay with your fingers to enclose the shape, without covering the back -now top. Lightly push the edges snugly around the shape.
Give yourself at least 1/4 inch around the outside edge of the clay shape and be careful not to press it too deep because you don’t want the mold to be thin where your detail is.
Give the mold 15 minutes and check if the silicone is cured by lightly touching the mold. If it indents, it’s not done. If it’s hard to the touch it’s finished.
When it’s finished, it’s time to de-mold, or take it out of the mold. Gently remove the clay feather from the mold, getting all the clay debris out. Be careful not to stretch it too far, which will cause rips.
Note: The mold putty comes in two tubes, part A & part B. When you remove the amount you need from one, used a different utensil to get the other one out. Unused parts can’t touch each other at all. Like not even a little.
Interesting Note: Advanced users will know that if the mold ends up with smeared chunks of clay in it that you just can’t get out no matter how much you try or scream at it, you will need to do a first pull, or cast resin in it, just to get the clay out. A fast curing resin, like what’s used for model cars, is usually used for this. Keep it simple so you can try out the materials, not test their limits.
Always spray your mold with mold release suitable for what you’re going to dump into it. You may get one good pull out of it, but resin and other materials will dry out your mold and stick to it, ripping it when you try to de-mold. It’s worth crying over (or at least losing a lot of time and money). This isn’t a mold for chocolate. Just spray it!
Measure out your resin by weight or volume, whichever it needs. I’m using a clear resin with Castin’ Craft’s green translucent pigment. I also poured one of the feathers with fine gold glitter, added to the clear.
Be sure not to over-pour resin into the mold. It dries VERY hard & you will have to sand down the extra.
Let the resin cure for the recommended amount of time, per instructions. Mine is about 24 hours. Every time you pour the mold, it takes that long before you can get it out and do it again. Now you see why I chose three lovely feathers for this tutorial.
Carefully de-mold your resin treasure! I drilled holes in the sides, added gold embroidery floss, and hung them on a small branch. TADA!
You can reuse your new mold around 10+ times before it deteriorates as long as you spray it with release.
I hope you liked this tutorial. I would love to see what this inspires you to make. Email me a photo with a short description of your project @ email@example.com. Your project may be chosen to be featured on my website.
Some cats need space to run around and climb. If you have a kitty, that climbs your cabinets, and looks down on you from bookcases, then this tutorial is for you. I’ll show you how you can easily install shelves on a wall to create a cat climbing paradise using inexpensive IKEA shelf brackets and shelves. You can create modern shelves that are strong enough for a cat to leap onto, while easy enough anyone with some simple tools can install it.
This tutorial will teach you to install shelves with brackets even if you don’t need a cat wall.
Please like and share this DIY with someone you know could use it!
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas.
Imagine immersing into your bathtub filled with calming, warm (to mildly hot) water with mineral salts and essential oils. Breathe in. MMMM. Breathe out. Do it again. One more time. Yes. Much better. Your stress begins to dissolve. Like magic. Only, it’s science.
My favorite is a relaxing bath. I’m not talking about bathing. The shampooing and soaping – that’s a shower. I am talking about cleansing and rejuvenating. Soothing the mind, body, and emotions. Soaking in a pool of bath salts and essential oils is a surefire way to help your, well everything, CHILL OUT.
This is self care time on a whole other level. The benefits of the bath salts themselves are worth the 20 minutes, and all you have to do is lay there. How beautiful is that?! Add essential oils targeted to a specific issue and you’ve got yourself a power spa of wellness, Baby! (Blends coming up!)
So, here’s a brief breakdown of the benefits of bath salts. For an adult, you only need 1 cup of these in your bath.
- Improved magnesium absorption
- Reduces pain and swelling in muscles and joints
- Promotes sleep
- Reduces stress
- Increases hydration
- Detoxifies the body
- Reduces muscle cramps
Pretty spectacular, right?!
This recipe uses a 1:1 ratio of the two bath salts, and I am laying it out 1 cup at a time. Please, feel free to put more together and store it in a large mason jar. I just find it much more manageable to get the oils and salts as one when this is done one cup at a time.
You will need:
- Bath salts (Epsom, Himalayan)
- Essential Oils (List below)
- Bowl for mixing
- 1 Cup measuring cup (dry ingredients)
- Mason jar(s)
Step 1: Sterilize your jar(s). To do this, wash them by hand in hot soapy water. Rinse them in scalding water. Set jars on a rack in a deep pot and cover with hot water (not boiling). Bring water to a boil, cover and boil the jars for 15 minutes, beginning when steam starts coming out of the pot. Turn off the heat, leaving the jars in the hot water for 10-15 min. Pull the jars out and let dry, inverted, on a towel. The goal is to fill them while they are still hot. While you wait for the jars to dry, throw the lids in the pot and boil for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Measure your bath salts into a bowl. Give them a little stir, then…
Step 3: Add your essential oils (20 drops MAX for every cup of bath salts). Don’t just let the drops collect in one spot. Let them fall all over the surface. This helps when you begin to stir. Which is what you do next!
Step 4: Stir it like you’re beating an egg. And by that I mean vigorously, without flinging salt everywhere. The idea is to get every grain of salt in contact with the essential oils so they’re blended.
Step 5: Pour/spoon salt blend into the jar, and screw on the lid.
Now LABEL your bath salts. Know what’s in there, and let others know what’s in there too.
NOTE: These make really great gifts (wink wink). For example, you can decorate your jar with fabric, twine, or ribbon. It truly is the kind of gift a person can soak up the goodness from.
OK, the two blends we’re making today are for stress and sleep. Enjoy!
Sleep Soundly Bath Salt Blend
1/2 Cup Epsom salts
1/2 Cup Himalayan Bath Salts
6 drops Bergamot oil
12 drops Lavender oil
2 drops Chamomile oil
Stress Melt Bath Salt Blend
1/2 cup Epsom salts
1/2 cup Himalayan Bath Salts
10 drops Margoram oil
5 drops Juniper oil
5 drops Clary Sage oil
Note: If any of these oils irritate you, here are other oils good for….
NOTE: Remember only 20 drops of essential oils per 1 cup of salts. More is not better!
You know, when you think about it, it seems that a good number of the oils that are helpful for relieving stress, also promote good sleep. Coincidence? Nope! Coincidences aren’t real.
Anywho, there are a number of possibilities for your bath. You can customize the oils you put into your bath salts for whatever ailments you want: overworked muscles, a cold or flu, a headache, depression, anxiety; to name a few. Nearly endless I tell you!
For more great bath salt blends we created for you click here.
OK, I hope you have enjoyed this DIY as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you.
Please leave a comment. And if you love it, share it! Thank you!
Taking care of yourself can be hard to remember to do, but serious self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. We’re taught and programmed to go, go, go all the time, and it takes effort to make yourself have me time. There’s nothing you need to do that’s more important than scheduling yourself a mini-vacation from your stress and worries.
I believe that relaxing is so important, that I’m giving you TWO weeks of Custom Salt blends to get us all through the holidays.
Stay tuned for more great blends next week.
- This week Betsy will share her favorites that are quick and easy, using only easy to get supplies.
- Next week Sara will share her favorites, as well as her final post, here on I Breathe I DIY.
These relaxing bath salts are the perfect answer to quickly unwinding and letting your brain have a break. A great soaking bath, can soothe the soul this time of year and any other. These make an amazing gift to give too.
Some of these blends have flowers in them and there’s no better way to keep flowers off your bum than using a re-usable cotton tea bag to hold the mixture in the tub! Find the DIY for the tea bag HERE.
For a moment, I want to talk to you about self-care. Yea I know, you try. I used to have to try too. It’s tricky to fit everything into a day. You tell yourself you should really do more things regularly like meditate, take a long bath, go to the gym more, whatever, just for yourself. For me, things came up and got in the way, as they always do, and I was being left ragged and tired every day. I made more time for myself happen.
I just moved wanting more time for self-care into my MUST do list, instead of letting it linger on my SHOULD do list. You can too. Make a short list of things in your life that need to be moved from, “Oh I should do that” to your, “I MUST do this ” list. Small steps really will take you where you want to go. Start by granting yourself time to soak in the bath!
The magnesium in the Epsom salt has many well documented health benefits including lowering anxiety, relieving migraines, helping calcium absorption, and it can be absorbed through the skin. Not to mention, Epsom salts’ ability to relieve aching muscles. Amazing stuff.
Make a batch of these, and your you time is always within reach.
- Mason jars or other airtight containers
- Epsom salts
- Essential oils (Listed below)
- Pink Himalayan Salt
- Dry flowers (Listed below)
- Reusable cotton tea bag (See the DIY I did here)
Take time to soak away your stress. Let yourself unwind with these easy recipes to relax today… or tonight.
These make 1 cup of bath soak, so increase your recipe depending on your needs.
Unwind and Calm Salt Soak
Note: This makes a great personal salt soak to keep on hand. This is a great blend for anti-anxiety and for recovery when people pleasing has been at an all-time-high.
Relaxing Floral Soak
- 1 Cup Epsom Salt
- 1/8 Cup Chamomile flowers
- 1/8 Cup Hibiscus flowers
- 1/8 Cup Lavender Flowers
- 14 drops Lavender oil
- 6 drops Frankincense oil
To use: 1 cup per tub is recommended. Place a scoop of the mixture into a reusable cotton tea bag to prevent it from clogging your drain…and making a mess of your tub, and your skin. It may take two bags to hold it all depending on yours. Turn the tea bag inside out over the garbage to clean it out. Wash & reuse again and again.
Note: Mix in a large mixing bowl. Store it in a large container, or place it into smaller containers to give as gifts. To decrease simply use half of the listed ingredients. I grew my flowers, bu.t you can easily buy these varieties.
Headache Relief Bath Salt Soak
- 1 Cup Epsom Salt
- 14 drops Peppermint oil
- 2 drops Lavender oil
- 3 drops Eucalyptus oil
- 2 drops Chamomile oil
Note: This blend has a significant cooling effect on the skin, so it’s perfect for helping you cool down, but not for warming you up.
Mix them all together and let it dry out before sealing it up in an airtight container.
RELAX your cares away. Let nothing disturb your bath. No. It’s your time now. You’re no good to anyone, if you’re ragged and fraying at the seams. Breathe in the steam and let yourself have this little victory of youness.
Please share this tutorial if you love it.
Keeping your life organized doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re having difficulty keeping track of your family’s schedule, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to keep track of all the important details that go along with remembering appointments. If you would rather physically write down what you need to do, instead of electronically, these free printable planner pages can help you keep track of your information, so you can stop trying to remember to try to remember.
I’ve created these elegant and sophisticated blank planner pages for you. You deserve to have your most organized year ever! You can print them out at home, and use whatever hole punch you need for your planner, to create your own personalized organizer for the coming year.
Note: There’s an opportunity to share your opinion on which page’s font or letters you prefer. See the bottom of this post for details.
If you would prefer to purchase the pre-dated 2019 set of planner pages, they will be available soon.
These planner pages are printer friendly, since there’s no bright colors. They’ve been carefully designed so you can punch holes in the side without losing any information. The pages have plenty of room for notes to yourself or important details you want to write down in your new elegant planner pages.
I’ve created both full-page sized planner pages, as well as half-page planner pages, so you can use the size that suits your needs best. Be sure you print both the monthly and weekly calendar pages so you can keep track of your stuff like a professional. Simply print the size you want from the included PDF files, punch holes, and start planning your life in a more meaningful way, that will help you feel less stressed about all the things you need to remember to do, bring, etc.
Simply download the PDFs and print them! These are completely free and my gift to you as a great organization tool. Printing these from home gives you the freedom to print on both sides, if you choose, (in your printer settings) and you can print as many pages as you need at a time. Because they aren’t dated, you can use them in any year or month by filling in the dates you want to use.
The trick to living a more organized life, is to start creating habits and little changes to start heading in the direction you want to go. It takes approximately twenty-one days to create new habits and for the mind to start incorporating the habits as routine.
Two sizes make it easy to incorporate these planner pages into your existing planner, or notebook. You can choose from full-page planners or half-page planners.
- Full Page – Calendars print on a full sheet of paper. Click on the link below to download the free pages of your choice! No email is required to get these.
- Half Page – Calendars print two images per sheet of paper. Click the link below to get yours now. No email needed to get these and start using them now.
Note: I personally prefer to use disk-bound notebooks for all my notebooks and my planner pages, which I just add easily into the back of my notebook. When I discovered Diskbound notebook like the TUL and Arc brand ones I use for my office and novels, my life was literally never the same again. They made it easy to rearrange my pages and using the diskbound hole punch, you can use any papers you want in it. Just like these sophisticated planner pages. I’ve given these diskbound notebooks to friends to try and they love them!
Other tools to get the most out of your planner pages
- Color code people/places in the calendar for quick viewing using different colored pens
- Use post-it notes or flags as tabs to quickly move to another month
- Make important notes – there’s plenty of room for details
- Attach post-it notes to the pages to add lists like groceries, or a note to get printer ink.
- Use the check offs in the notes to quickly see what needs attention
- Keep these pages on your computer or phone so you can print more as needed.
- Print out the monthly pages for an entire year and date them so you’re set.
- Add important things right away like when library books are due or what time the dog gets picked up when you leave town.
- The more you add to your planner, the less you have to remember
- Use the blank back sides for to-do lists and shopping lists and have everything where you need it
- Try checking off things you’ve accomplished for a great feeling of completion
These pages have two different fonts or letters, both are elegant and classy. I would love to know which one you like the best – The monthly or weekly pages.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes life gives you really big challenges that force you to act. Sometimes they are the kind of challenges that punch you in the gut, and leave you grasping to breathe, reeling in surprise. Now and again the challenges are easy. I Breathe I DIY’s challenge is to make it through massive change right now. Thank you to all our loyal readers and friends for showing your support during our times of change.
Resin painting is a lot of fun, and this project is a great way for you to jump into it, especially if you have little or no experience with resin. It didn’t take much convincing for me to come up with a small resin project perfect for this time of year, that lets you try colors, metallics, and the opportunity to create your own handcrafted gift for loved ones. Sure you could just mix it up, and pour it into a mold, but this will be so much more exciting and more like a mad scientist experiment.
Making gift coasters is such a simple way to make highly-customized art gifts. You can also play with different colors, since your canvas will be small, then create another one that matches or is completely different. The possibilities of what you can use to color your resin are limitless, but for this tutorial, we are going to focus on using store-bought pigments, glitter, and dyes.
We’re using clear resin so that our coasters are filled with depth and dimension. The brand you choose to use isn’t that important, just carefully read the instructions on mixing and curing times. Resin is either measured by volume or by weight, so read the instructions carefully. We will only be using a small amount of resin, so this is the perfect try-me resin project. If you are purchasing dye for this project, ensure you use translucent dyes.
I was lucky enough to have found some old coasters at a thrift store to reuse for this project today. They are paperboard with cork on the back.
Not having old coasters doesn’t mean you can’t make these for yourself. In the past, I have used cut pieces of masonite board that I coated in resin and then when they were cured, I glued a piece of felt to the back to protect the surface it will be used on. I’ve also recycled fence wood- just cut out a circle or square a little bigger than needed to fit a mug. Sand any rough edges. It’s my experience that fence wood is too thick, but if that’s what you have, go for it!
Full supply list:
- Clear resin
- Resin dyes and pigments
- Small paper cups
- Medium plastic cups
- Craft sticks to stir
- Disposable plastic spoons
- Plastic drop cloth
- Optional pearl pigments
- Optional metallic pigments
- Disposable gloves
- Paper towels
Always use resin in a heated space, it has to have around 74 degrees F to cure at a normal speed. Cooler spaces will slow it way down.
Step 1 Paint/Prime
Paint your chosen coasters white before beginning. Paint the top and sides. This step makes the colors richer, dimensional, and vibrant. Any white paint will do, since it’s going to be covered. Do two coats of this, so the pattern or wood doesn’t show through.
When it’s dry, use masking tape, or blue tape on bottom edges so you can peel off the resin drips.
Step 2 Protect Surfaces
Lay plastic down on your work surface and lay out all your supplies you’ll need. Resin is a very runny liquid and is very hard to clean off surfaces you don’t want it. If you need a scale, put a small paper towel on it. This stuff loves to drip and can end up on floors, cover it up. Pull your hair back, wear crappy clothes, and have a trash nearby.
Get out all your things to mix and stir and set them easily within reach. Throw away used stir sticks, gloves, etc, as you use them to minimize a resin mess.
Remember to wipe up any spills, drips, or oops as they happen.
Step 3 Measure Resin
Using gloves, follow the instructions for your resin. They’re all different, so carefully measure out the part A and then the part B, into separate containers. Pour the thickest one into a medium cup and the other into a smaller cup. If it’s measured by volume, use two medium cups so you can visually tell that their the same. Don’t mix it quite yet.
Don’t use anything that touches one, on the other. You can even label your lids with which one they go on. Keep the containers clean and wipe up drips with a clean paper towel.
Note: Usually part A or B will be a lot thicker than the other. If you can pour/measure the thick liquid into a large cup, you can add the harder/catalyst (other part) to it and stir in that cup. You don’t want to transfer the very thick one from a cup to another cup because you will struggle to get it out & it will be miss-measured. Especially resin measured by weight.
Step 4 Mix Resin and Dyes
Mix your 2 parts together in a cup big enough to hold both. Stir well, making sure you scrape the sides and bottom in the process. I prefer using wood craft sticks to stir (for less waste), but I use plastic disposable spoons too.
Pour smaller amounts (1/2 to 1 inch) of the mixed resin into small cups for different colors. Give each their own stir stick. Add colors to individual cups and stir. Make them all a little different. We’ll cover other things you can use to color resin, in another tutorial.
We’re going to be using:
- Resin liquid dyes
- Resin powdered metallic pigments
- mixing your own colors (red+blue)
- adding glitter to color
Note: Specialty pigments for resin can be found at artists/sculpting suppliers. If you’re in the Northern Colorado area, check out The Sculpture Depot in Loveland.
Step 5 Paint with Resin
Set your first coaster on a small upside-down cup to elevate it off the table in a spot it can drip and cure. You don’t want to move these again. Place a few of these so you are ready to go!
Pick a first color and use a spoon to pour or drip the color onto the coaster. You can pour directional lines, circles, spots, or whatever. Just a little though.
Use your next color and add a spoonful or resin on a different place, in whatever design your heart tells you to. Play with changing directions or adding a few big spots.
Continue on like this, adding layers of colors until the whole surface is mostly covered. It will be dripping off the edges and that’s fine. Use a spoon or stick to smooth resin over the edges too. Here’s several examples.
Step 6 Use a Torch
Use a torch on the surface and watch your colors dance and blend in unexpected ways. This is an optional step, if you don’t have a torch, but my favorite color combos come to life doing this. You don’t want to ignite anything, but lightly run the flame over the surface of the liquid resin on the coasters. I’ve seen people try butane lighters, but I haven’t. This is especially neat on metallics.
Step 7 Cure
Let everything cure undisturbed for usually 24 hours before attempting to touch it. Some resins cure faster, or slower. Give it time to finish and they will be amazing!
Step 7 Remove Tape
Peel the tape off the back, removing all the extra drips. This can be tricky and you may need to use a butter knife or fingernails to help lift the spots that have resin, it really wants to stick. If you didn’t bother taping yours, you will need to sand them now to remove the drips.
If there are any sharp spots, which there usually are, use fine sand paper right around the bottom edge to eliminate cuts or scratches on tables.
If you’ve used a cut board, you can now cut out and glue felt onto the bottom.
What great artistic coasters these are! The possibilities are endless. I hope you have fun trying out this project and we would love to see what you did. Email us pictures of your projects at Ibreatheidiy@gmail.com.
Did you ever wish you could change the color of your upholstered furniture? We have a great solution for giving old furniture a face-lift. You can use this chalk painting technique on chair cushions, sofas, wing chairs, and so much more! This can give your thrifty finds or a dining set a whole new look in just a weekend! Finish your project up with sealing wax. Watch our video tutorial to learn how you can do it too.
Weighted blankets provide a deep pressure that is very comforting and soothing to children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The pads provide deep pressure which is highly recognized as a helpful therapy for SPD.
There is a ton of info out there on the benefits of weighted blankets, animals, and pads for children. What many people don’t know is that nearly everyone can benefit from them. By simply laying the pad across the lap, it gently applies consistent light pressure (deep pressure) that feels like a big hug and soothes overstimulated little ones in a way that nothing else can provide.
I’ve made several weighted items for my own son over the years. They were especially useful when he was younger. I’ve made snakes for over his shoulders, but he played with it too much, so it couldn’t be used in school. I’ve spent years finding ways to help my SPD son feel comfortable & weighed pads and blankets are a tremendous help. These can be very costly to purchase, so we’re making it ourselves. I hope you find these steps easy to follow and make one yourself. The one that worked the best for us, was a lap pad similar to the ones we’re making here.
I’ll go through all of the steps, and show you how you can very easily make a lap pad for a young one. The ones we’re making will be a suitable size and weight for a preschooler. I hope you will be inspired to make one yourself. I’ll also show you important additional steps, in case you’re making a much larger one, so you can distribute the weight properly.
I’ve made these just like you would make a larger one – for demonstration. I’ve over-complicated the steps, so you can make one any size you need. If you are making a preschooler sized pad, you don’t need to do all the additional steps of separating the filling.
Step 1 Find the Correct Weight
The following weights are the recommendations from occupational therapists, physical therapists, and psychologists to help you design your own weighted goodies. The weight you make yours with should have the recipients weight in mind and no two will be the same. The larger person, the larger the pad/blanket will need to be. You start by figuring out 10% of the body weight of the person it’s for. Then you add one or two pounds. For example, ours are for preschoolers, roughly 30-50 lbs. I started with the low end – 30 lbs & 10% would be 3 lbs. Then I added 2 lbs, making them 5 lbs each. This weight will fall nicely into both ranges of the kids 30-50 lbs as you can see below.
The one I’m making today is for a preschooler. It’s size fits about 5 lbs of weight. It would need to be larger if it needed more weight.
Step 2 Choose a Weighted Filling
There’s quite a few materials that you can put inside for weighted blankets, but for this tutorial we’re going to be using Victory poly pellets, so that the lap pad can be washed, since it’s going to be used in a classroom setting. These pellets are round and will be soft under the fabric once they’re made. I found these online much cheaper than in a store. These are the only washable filling material.
If this for use in my house, I would use one of the materials below and save some money or use a more natural product.
Other weight/filling materials you can use:
- Rice (most commonly used)
- Millet (feed/grain store has in bulk-it’s used as birdseed)
- Small dried beans
- Dried corn
Step 3 Choose a Fabric and Size of Finished Product
Cut out your fabric to the size and shape you want. I’m making a 14 x 21 lap pad perfect for little learners. I will give it an extra 1/2 inch all around for seam allowances. I will cut 15×22 out of two fabrics to make the pad. If this were a large project, say adult size, I would give 3 extra inches.
I chose fleece because it’s super soft. I sprung for the no-pill fleece so it can stand up to repeated washings without wearing out.
NOTE: While fleece is very soft, there are a fare number of people that can’t stand fleece, cotton balls, etc. It’s actually painful and/or electrically uncomfortable for them. This fabric will not work for those individuals.
Step 4 Sew Edges
Place your right sides together so the wrong side (back side) of your fabric is up. Pin the two longest edges and sew them together from top to bottom. give this a second stitch as reinforcement to hold the stuffing in. If you are NOT adding fidgets on the end, you can stitch a third side, leaving one open side. Just be sure to reinforce your stitches. This is NOT how ours were made. Cut off all your strings as you go.
Step 5 Turn Right-side Out & Sew Edge
Turn the fabric right sides out. Pin one edge about an inch from the edge to be sew closed. This is the edge we will add fidgets to later. Sew the edge about an inch from the edge and reinforce by stitching again.
Step 6 Sew Channels
Larger Blankets: Sew channels or lines running the length of the pad, making sure to go the direction you have an open end on. This helps distribute the weight so it doesn’t end up all on one side. This is how ours were all made, so the fabric wasn’t stressed all on one corner.
Be sure to stop your channels an inch from the edge, so you can still fold it under and sew it closed later.
Step 7 Prepare and Attach Fidget Ribbons
If you have a sensory seeker, you will want to add something for little fingers to fidget with. To make the fidgets for the edge, I cut ribbons of various size, color, and texture. Some will become loops and some just ribbons. Be sure to use Frey Check on both ends of all the ribbons so they don’t unravel.
After ribbons have dried, pin the edge (the one sewn an inch from the edge) folding both sides under and pinning ribbon in between them. This was a little time consuming, just make sure your ribbons are pushed as far in as they will go because they WILL be pulled on. Sew it closed, remove all pins then sew as close to the edge as possible to reinforce it.
NOTE: The reason we sewed this same edge closed ahead of time, was to seal off the stuffing inside. If a fidget gets pulled out, you won’t have to worry about the stuff inside coming out. We’re planning ahead and preventing a messy/choke-hazard catastrophe in this whole step.
Step 8 Weigh Out Filling
Now we’re ready to fill it with weight. Weigh out the desired amount of filling with a scale. This is easy if you’re buying 2lb bags of rice that are pre-weighed, but you have to measure out your filling material before you can put it in. Divide it into however many channels you need to fill. For the tiny lap pad, that’s just one, so you don’t need to do this.
Step 9 Fill Channels
You can see in the photo I have 4 channels, so I’m dividing it into quarters, once it’s all weighted out. Then I further divided my channels into 4 parts each, which is what you need to do for a large blanket. If this was an any larger project, I’d have to use a larger container to store the increments, like a pail, or gallon baggies, dish tubs, anything really.
Use a funnel (or make one from paper) and slowly fill the bag. For a tiny one, just fill it with all the weight and pin it closed. Try to leave yourself room to fold under the edges for a clean edge. For any other size, fill one channel at a time, approx 1/4 of the way and pin closed. Sew the channel closed and fill again, following this until you have filled the whole channel and sewn each section. Reinforce seams.
Step 10 Sew Edge Closed
Take your time and sew the pinned edge closed, and then sew it again, to ensure it’s strong. Fold the edges under and sew closed for a clean edge. Fleece doesn’t have to have sewn edges, but it makes for a cleaner look. If you wanted, you could try to work in another row of fidget ribbons.
Note: Fidget ribbons are easiest to attach before filling the pad. That’s why this project has them on one side. It’s very hard to sew properly with that much weight.
There’s our finished pad! Yours won’t have the channels if it’s this size, but I hope you’ve learned how you can make a therapy weighted blanket for someone you love.