Make an easy to sew DIY weighted lap pad – an excellent calming tool for children. I sewed this one to make it virtually indestructible for M who takes everything apart… but you can scroll down for the link to the no-sew version that inspired this. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
When I saw these beautiful and fun calming weighted lap pads that Lemon Lime Adventures created a few months ago, I knew that M would love and really benefit from something like this. Hers is a no-sew version, and while that’s perfect for many people, I knew that for us, sewing it up would work better. M takes EVERYTHING apart, and I knew he’s open it in seconds and find a way to dismantle it. So I decided to create a sewn version.
If you prefer, the no-sew version, check out Lemon Lime Adventures’ tutorial.
The weighted lap pad is made from this amazingly cool pillow.
It’s got two colored sequins that flip around, creating a fun, relaxing experience if you’re anything like me. You can get it in all different color combinations, but I naturally chose blue because that’s M’s favorite color.
The sewn channels in this sensory tool allows you to create a multi-sensory tool, with crinkly cellophane in one channel, polypropylene pellets in some of the others, and poly fill in a couple more. There’s a lot to touch and feel there.
The one disadvantage is that you can’t flip all of the sequins, but that hasn’t deterred us – both M and I are obsessed with this weighted lap pad.
You can really customize this project to suit your needs. Add calming essential oils to give it an aromatherapy aspect. Glue or sew on some trim if you want to seal the edge a little better and have it look great in your home. You can even switch up the filler according to your needs…
It’s pretty hypnotizing to stroke the sequins back and forth..
Now on to the “how”:
What you need to sew a weighted lap pad:
- A mermaid pillow case (or you can even do this with a regular one, if you’re not into the sequin flipping bit)
- A seam ripper
- Polypropylene pellets or something similar to fill it with (these can be dumped into the wash…)
- Poly fill
- Cellophane – or upcycle cellophane packaging
- Straight pins
- A sewing machine
- A funnel or scoop
How to make a weighted lap pad:
1. Gently remove your zipper. Make sure you have the right thread and you’re not removing any rows of sequins. Put the zipper aside for another project (such as this one).
2. To insert your weights and fillers, you’re going to create channels. The top of the channel will be your open side that you just created. Place pins in the spots you want to sew down to create the channels. I’ve created the diagram below. Note: I really was not careful/precise. I just wanted a calming tool for my child, not something picture perfect. If you want you can measure, make sure it’s all even, etc etc.
I created a total of seven channels.
3. Sew your channels in place. I used a pretty long stitch so that I shouldn’t break too many needles. Ironically, I only broke one, and that was when I was sewing over a seam…
4. Start stuffing two of your channels with the poly fill.
You may need skewers or chop sticks to help you poke it till the end. Don’t over stuff it – you want it to be full but not stiff.
Leave about an inch at the top and secure it with a pin.
5. Next, fill a channel or two with cellophane. I started with the crinkly wrapper from the poly fill, and filled in with regular cellophane wrap.
Just scrunch it up and fill your channel. I did the middle one. Make sure it’s not too stiff, leave about an inch at the top, and pin in place.
6. Next, add your polypropylene pellets. I filled four channels (evenly distributed – the two end ones and the third from each side). There is a “science” to how heavy it should be, so you can weigh these in advance according to the guidelines in this post.
Use a funnel and/or scoop to get it in evenly and fill it until about an inch from the top – so that it’s full but not stiff. Pin it in place, and be careful to only hold your weighted lap pad upright from now until it’s sealed shut.
7. Finish off your DIY weighted lap pad by sewing across the top. I sewed twice to make it extra secure, and haven’t had any pellets floating around.
Now your weighted lap pad is ready to enjoy! It’s an amazing calming tool for children who can’t sit still, who are experiencing anxiety, and who like to fidget.
I’ll confess – I’ve been stealing it from M quite a lot… he keeps telling me “But Mommy, you made it for MEEEEE!”
Good point, kiddo.
Who will you be creating this DIY weighted lap pad for? Comment below!