Fold in half vertically, mark center line with fabric marker or pins.
Folded in half horizontally, AFTER center vertical seam is sewn, mark line.
Folded into quarters horizontally, mark line.
Eighths, each pocket is this size.
* pillow case – I used standard size, you can use king size to get a better size for bigger kids.
* rice – I used about 5 kilo bags, about 10 lbs worth but you can gauge what weight you want. (Ours is heavy!) Use whatever rice is the least expensive, you just need this for weight.
* sewing machine – Unless you are very patient and want to hand sew this. Don’t worry, you’re just making five straight lines.
Fold the pillow case in half vertically and mark it with pins (or be lazy like me and I used a kids’ marker to put a tiny dot.) You could also just iron it in half so you can see the seam. Stitch down the length of the pillow so you have two long, narrow pockets, and lay it out flat.
Fold the pillow case in half horizontally, then again into quarters and mark these seams just like with above, then unfold it. (Or simpler, fold the pillow into eights like in the photo and then iron it to mark all the seams at once. I should have done it that way…)
Fill each of those two sides of the pillow case with whatever amount of rice you want to fill each of those bottom two pockets (I did about 3/4 of a kilo package per pocket, and you’re making 8 pockets.) Then, the tricky part – sew across that bottom horizontal seam, creating your first two pockets, without the rice getting in the way of the sewing foot. Repeat with the next three rows, filling two pockets at a time and then stitching them closed. The rice may spill a bit so if you’re more organized than me you can pin the seam closed before stitching it.
At the top and final pockets fill one side with rice, pin it shut then stitch across it and then continue across 3/4 of the second half of the top of the pillow case (the final pocket top seam.) Use that 1/4 opening remaining to pour in your final rice stash, then stitch it closed.
Make sure you are reverse stitching at the start and stop of each seam to avoid rice spillage.
And you’re done!
If you want to fill just 3 rows (six pockets total) and fold over the top part and leave it empty then this should fit into a standard couch throw pillow case to include the mermaid sequin pillows that are also fantastic for sensory kids.
Curious the point of weighted blankets? Here’s some info about them here and you can buy them there if you’re not feeling ambitious enough to make your own. (But it really is simple!)
You can add a few drops of essential oils like lavender to your rice before putting it into your pillow case, but make sure it’s a scent you/your child don’t mind smelling for a very long time!
Update: We tried again, this time I ironed the pillowcase into four vertical tubes and then stitched them up. This way I could fill each column (we did 1.5 cups of rice per column) and stitch across the row, then fill again, etc. It gave us the 12 blocks instead of 9 and we did less rice for a medium weight blanket instead of the red heavy one. (It also meant much neater seams, and it went faster since I was following the ironed line vs. eyeballing it.)