These are the days of Pinterest, right?
Last week I helped some friends put together a baby shower. Prior to the actual shower, we got together over lunch and we planned. By the end of the planning session I was armed with the list of things I needed to purchase, and tasked with making/bringing 3 of the 12 centerpieces. These are the days of Pinterest, I reasoned (don’t laugh too hard), so this shouldn’t be too terribly hard. The other 3 ladies already had a pretty good idea of what they were going to do, so that helped narrow my choices a bit.
I picked my project, made my shopping list using a DIY materials list, and headed off to WalMart. As it turned out, that was the easy part.
The day before the shower, I sat down to make these cute little sock & washcloth floral arrangements. 3 centerpieces. 6pr socks. 15 washclothes. Should be easy, right? Of course, right. (please, PLEASE don’t laugh. I sure wasn’t).
One and a half hours, a few curses, and possibly even a couple of tears later, I finally wrapped up something I thought looked mildly acceptable and headed off to help prepare for the actual party. Never again, I promised myself. This was NOT fun. This was not how I wanted to be spending my time. THIS is why #pinterestfail is a thing, haha. I had finished with something acceptable, fortunately, but by the end I was telling myself that I really just should have purchased something.
Ever been there?
DIY projects for weighted blankets are all over the interwebs. Before you jump in head first and come out on the other side wondering why you thought doing it yourself was going to be such a great idea, here are 8 questions you need to ask yourself:
8 questions you need to ask yourself before making a weighted blanket:
1. Do I have the tools?
- Sewing machine, in good working condition
- proper machine needles for the fabric I’m using
- seam ripper (trust me, chances are high, you’re gonna need it).
- a kitchen scale (semi-optional)
- something to keep the beads from rolling EVERYWHERE while you pour them into the blanket
- a way to cut straight edges in the fabric
- a ruler/measuring tape
- possibly a walking foot
- a large worktable
2. Do I have the experience/Do I know what I’m doing?
If you’ve never done anything like this before, I strongly recommend making a rice sock or a small lap pad first — it’s small enough that if you decide the challenge and frustration of it all is greater than you want to deal with, you haven’t wasted a ton of time and a bunch of money on the larger, more costly project.
3. Do I know what could go wrong?
- Broken needles?
- Miscalculated weight distribution?
- Sewing machine jams and creates hole in the fabric?
- Stitches are impossible to see in the minky when something went wrong and you still gotta remove ’em?
4. How long will it take me?
This is a really important question, and one I totally underestimated with my little baby shower project. Just in case you might be prone to underestimate, this might help you out:
A 28×35″ toddler blanket takes me about an hour from start to finish. And I’ve made hundreds of blankets. How long will it take you?
- I recommend planning for 3-4x as long as it would take an experienced professional, even if you already know how to sew a mean straight stitch.
- Then add in the amount of time you will spend shopping for materials you may or may not know exactly where to find — another 1-3hrs, including driving time. So now we’re up to 4-7hrs.
- Now add in the amount of time you will spend researching how to do the project, and what size is best to make, and how heavy to weight it for your person; 1-3hrs. Now we’re up to a range of 5-10hrs.
Don’t forget that most of us overestimate our aptitude for quickly learning new things and underestimate the amount of time it will take to do so.
5. What is my time worth?
The perfect follow-up for “how long will it take
” is to ask yourself how much your time is worth. You can even use this exercise from Clear Thinking
to help you figure it out. Once you know how long a job might take you, ask yourself what else you’d rather be doing
Do you want to be spread out on the kitchen table with a sewing machine you barely use dealing with a potentially frustrating project you might not finish? If the answer is yes, go for it. But if you would rather be reading or riding bikes or making memories with the people you love, then own it. Go do that.
Need a dollar amount? Go back to that 5-10hr time estimate for a toddler blanket.
- MULTIPLY your hourly wage (let’s assume $15) times the estimated number of hours (5-10) you’d spend on the project (that’s $75-150), then
- ADD in the cost of materials ($5/lb for poly pellets retail + $9/yd for fabric = $25 + $18 = $43),
- then the cost of this project is already up between $118 and 198.
Depending on where you make your purchase, this could actually be up to twice what it would cost to purchase the blanket in the first place. Larger blankets have a way of taking exponentially greater amounts of time. Twice the size of the blanket doesn’t necessary equal only twice the number of hours spent, especially for a first-timer.
Of course, that little exercise doesn’t count the lifestyle cost to you. What would you prefer to be doing with those 5-10hrs? Something tells me that sitting in front of the sewing machine isn’t on your list.
6. Are you ready to learn a new skill?
Most of the DIY tutorials out there are for child-size blankets, but if you’re reading this post, most likely you don’t need a small blanket: you need a queen or king size blanket for a full-size adult (YOU!). Out of all the makers out there who sell weighted blankets, only a small percentage of them make adult-size blankets, much less queen or king size. The larger the blanket, the more difficult it is to sew, which makes what I do not just a specialized skill, but a specialty within a specialty. (I may not have mad centerpiece making skilz, but I can crank out a professionally made weighted blanket with pizazz).
7. Will I actually finish the project?
Be realistic. How many of us have half-baked projects sitting in the corners of our garage or project room just waiting for us to finish? You know what I’m talking about. I used to try to make my own maternity shirts and skirts. Before we moved (and after my 3rd child was born) I finally threw out some that I’d started from way back when I was pregnant with my 2nd child.
You’ve gott’em too. That cool Pinterest idea that just isn’t turning out quite. Or that brilliant idea I had 4yrs ago that is going to be beautiful when I finish it? IF I ever finish it.
8. Is it fun?
No, really. Is it fun? It’s taken me some time and a lot of bum projects to figure this out. We’ve done our share of home-improvement projects over the last 8 years, and some of them have been quite impressive. My husband has some mad carpentry skilz, and we are constantly getting compliments on our kitchen cabinets.
The bottom line is this: If I’m not going to enjoy the project, and the professional is going to get it done in 1/3 the amount of time it will take me, or less, (without the mistakes, the redos, the inexperience, the frustrations, and the sub-par tools), then hiring them is money well spent!
We recently remodeled a home (well, between my business here, and having a baby, my husband did most of the physical labor) and for us, one of the primary jobs we hired out that we were actually *capable* of doing ourselves was the sheetrock work. It’s true. We hate mudding. And sanding. And mudding. And sanding. We did all that in the last house, and weren’t too keen on doing it again. So we hired a team that came in and, wonder of wonders, had the entire house mudded, sanded, spackled, primed, and painted in a week. Between our main jobs and our parenting-of-small-children gig, it would have taken him/us over a month.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a job well done… unless you hated doing it.
When is it time to hire a highly-skilled artisan to make your weighted blanket?
- When you really don’t have the energy to deal with the frustration of broken needles, spilled pellets, and redoing miscalculated weight distribution…. or just figuring it all out in the first place, even if everything were to go perfectly.
- When you don’t have time to hang out at the fabric store selecting fabrics, or figure out how much fabric you need.
- When you look at the retail price of poly pellets at WalMart and your eyes pop out of your head
- When you have better ways to spend your time.
- When you haven’t had your machine serviced in a while, and you’re not sure which needles to pair with which types of fabrics
- When you want a minky blanket and don’t have a walking foot
- When there’s not enough duct tape in the world to make a blanket large enough for you
- (OMG, please, PLEASE pinkey promise me you will NEVER ACTUALLY make a duct tape blanket, or use sandwich bags for anything more than a test run. Especially if you are making a weighted blanket for your child. Even in mental hospitals where ease of washing is usually key, they don’t use a waterproof material for safety reasons. NO DUCT TAPE!!!)
- When you don’t want this to be just ONE MORE THING on your to-do list, another partially-started project sitting in a corner because you don’t really have the energy, skills, or the time to learn the skills necessary to complete the project.
Why wait until “someday”?
Why wait until “someday” when, with the click of your mouse (and the time it takes me to sew it up), you could be snuggled under your new weighted blanket?
The people that purchase from me are ready to invest in their health.
They’ve counted the cost of continuing to go without a weighted blanket — the sleepless nights, the anxiety, the compounding stress of dealing with the overwhelm — and have decided that they have waited long enough.
The people that purchase from me are eager to invest in quality work.
This is not the equivalent of an oil change, that almost anyone can do with some simple instructions off the Internet — although there is definitely a range of prices you can pay for just that job because not all of us want to mess with it. This is not filling the washer fluids or checking the transmission fluid levels. THIS. This is much more complicated. You could probably learn, with the right tools, and enough time… but why? If you don’t want to, and don’t have to, why?
Does that sound like you?
Let ME deal with figuring out exactly what’s needed, and storing the extra materials. I’ve already hacked each of those potential frustrations, and streamlined my process. When you buy one of my weighted blankets, you get the benefit of of my accumulated experience and skill. And for you?
How’s that sound?!
Before you start shopping, pop your email address in the form below, and download my handy “How to Shop for a Weighted Blanket” guide!