Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Gift a Day Gift Twenty Five: Weighted Lap Pillow

This is another gift I made for my son this week.  Luckily it didn't take long as I was juggling sick kiddos, housework and Thanksgiving preparations.  With my son's autism, especially lately, he is really liking weight on his head specifically, but it also liking just general weight on him (he's been sleeping with a weighted blanket on for the first time ever the last couple of weeks), so I decided to make him a weighted lap pillow.

I used some plastic weight bead things that you use to weigh down the legs of stuffed animals and such as the weight in this.  It worked, kind of.  I didn't get it to weigh as much as I would have liked due to lack of beads, for one, and because I wanted to make sure I could move the beads out of the way to sew the sections down without fear of breaking a needle.  It weighs a couple of pounds, though, so hopefully that will be enough to make my son happy.

I just cut out a basic square shape that looked like a good size to fit over the top of the head (or in a lap) and then I left about a four inch section open on one side, turned it right side out and started filling it slowly with the beads (as if you are not careful they go EVERYWHERE!).  I eyeballed long sections as I was filling and would then stop and quilt down the section I'd filled and repeated it for about three lines of beads.  This way the beads won't just roll to the sides and not leave any weight for the top of the head and will also help the cloth to take the wear and tear of being weighted down better (vs all of the beads rolling onto just the side seams as time goes on and not doing as great).  I sewed the pillow inside seams with a zig-zag stitch to help the seam take punishment a bit better than just a traditional straight stitch as well.  Uses a bit more thread, but I think it will wear better that way.

By the way, I totally understand if you don't need to make one of these, but you can use the same concept and use rice in the place of plastic beads and make a nice weighted eye pillow for someone you love.  That way they can put the pillow in the freezer for a few moments to help cool their eyes (or their forehead) after a long day or you can put it in the microwave for a few seconds to make a warming pad for the back of the neck after a long day.

Total Cost to Make Gift:  Nothing as I had everything to make it.

Total Time to Make Gift:  About an hour as I was REALLY careful moving beads out of the way of my needle.


  1. I considered making a weighted blanket when my daughter was younger, but never did. Oddly, she never seemed to seek out pressure or weight like many children on the autism spectrum do. Since your son does like weighted things, I'm sure he will LOVE this gift.

    Another suggestion make a weighted stuffed animal. Get a stuffed animal (new, used or one you already have), open up a seam (or use one that has a ripped seam), take out some of the stuffing and fill the cavity with weighted material. We bought a wrist weights (the kind you strap on for exercise) and putting that into the body of the stuffy. You might be able to find a wrist or ankle weights at garage sales or thrift stores if you watch.

    1. I made the mistake of buying a hand made weighted blanket off of a lady that someone recommended years ago, thinking that they would be too hard to make. Turns out the weighted blanket I bought for 100.00+ is basically just a big version of the lap pillow I share here. Not only does that thing weigh five pounds and so it bows any shelf I store it on, but then on top of that once it gets dirty (which my son is famous for) washing it becomes problematic. I have to wash it in the bathtub to save my washing machine from getting beat on and then air dry it, which takes nearly a week because the plastic beads inside will melt in the dryer. Not my best purchase decision by any means.

      At least, though, he's finally using it, which makes me feel a bit better about it. In the, what, four years since I bought the thing he's used it none other than to get it dirty, so finally after all of these years he's justifying the purchase *laugh*.

      Good idea about the weighted stuffed animal. I might try that with like a car shaped pillow or something. I have a frog massage pillow that weighs a decent amount (and it vibrates, so for him that's a double bonus) and he'll use it once in a blue moon and then throw it into his toy box to sit for a few more years. I wonder if just weighing down a stuffed animal would work better since it wouldn't be so stiff. Hmmm...

    2. Erika, could you make a duvet cover for his weighted blanket, so it keeps the actual blanket cleaner. Then you just have to wash the cover on a regular basis. You can wash the weighted blanket maybe once or twice a year, when the weather is good and you can hang it outside to dry. You can use some flat sheets to make the duvet cover, which is cheaper, or look for one at the thrift store that fits is within your budget.

  2. I think I would like this myself. I enjoy the feel of heavy blankets. I am in awe of all the things you have made!

    1. I'm a kindred spirit there. I remember as a kid my mom had these quilts my great grandmother made that she'd constructed out of all the leftover suiting materials from a local suit maker. She had even backed the quilts in flannel and used old wool blankets as filler. They weighed a TON and I loved them. I'd have two of those things on my slight little form all winter. My mom was always baffled as everyone else thought they weighed too much and were too hot.

      Now that I have a protective fat layer after having kids (yup, I'm sticking to that wording ;) I still will sleep with a heavy pillow over my eyes and forehead at night. It helps me to sleep better. Why, I have no idea, but I go with it :).