DIY: Multi-Sensory Weighted Lap Pad Tutorial

Since discovering that Lola has sensory processing disorder we have been reading tons of books, adjusting our parenting style and adding lots of new, fun items to Lola’s daily routine. One item, Lola’s current favorite, is the weighted lap pad. The lap pad is used primarily when she is sitting but she has enjoyed lugging it around the house as well. A lap pad is intended to provide calming proprioceptive input. I initially intended to make one lap pad, for Lola, but when you have lots of kiddos everyone ends up wanting one.

I’m really glad I gave in and made one for each of them. I’ve observed the kids using the lap pads according to their personal needs and it’s truly therapeutic. Elliott likes to drape his across his shoulders or toss it in the air repeatedly, while Charlotte prefers to cuddle with hers and lay on it while sleeping.

Today I’m going to share (through terrible iphone pictures taken with my free hand) how to create a multi-sensory weighted lap pad. Multi-sensory? It just means I added a few embellishments that can be rubbed or pulled on for addition sensory stimulation. I hope this helps another momma out there! Happy Monday!

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1. Gather your materials: Fabric (enough for two 12×18 rectangles), Embellishments, sewing machine, poly pellets, scissors or rotary cutter, self healing cutting board, ruler, funnel and a measuring cup

IMG_5053IMG_50502. Lay out pre-washed fabric, iron if you desire and cut out two 12×18 in rectangles. I saved time by folding the material in half and cutting once using the rotary cutter.

3. Lay the fabric with right sides together and sew up 3 sides leaving one long side (18 in side) completely open.

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4. Turn the fabric right side out. I sewed an embellishment, an additional piece of green minky dot fabric on top of the main fabric at this time. You will now have what looks like a big fabric pocket.

IMG_5057 IMG_50595. Measure the width of your fabric pocket and divide it into four sections. Mark the sections by drawing a line with chalk and sew up the lines from top to bottom. Continue to leave the top open. (little hands may start joining in at this point)

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6. Fill each section (you have four sections at this point) with poly fill beads. Do yourself a favor and use a funnel to do this. I did not have a scale so I divided my 2 pound bag into 8 equal parts using a measuring cup. It’s important to make sure the sections have equal weight.

A weighted lap pad should equal 5% of the person’s body weight, so take that into account when purchasing supplies.

IMG_5065 IMG_50667. Once the four sections are filled find the halfway point, or the 6 inch mark from the bottom and draw a line across the entire pad. This will be your sewing line to divide the four sections into 8. Carefully shake the poly beads to the bottom and sew straight across your line.

IMG_50638. Repeat step 6 for the top four pockets. My suggestion, to avoid spilling poly beads everywhere is to fill a section and then immediately sew that section. It would be faster to fill all four sections and sew straight across, but I’ve done that and it resulted in spills and me saying a bad word. So yeah. Take your time on this part.

IMG_50679. Once everything is safely sewn together you can add more embellishments for soothing touch. I added a silky blanket binding and a rough, textured ribbon.

IMG_5074 IMG_5073IMG_5078And that’s it! I’ve made 3 of these babies now and it gets easier to contain the poly pellet beads every time. I found the poly pellets, by the way, at JoAnne’s fabric. I used a 40% off coupon and it came out to $4ish per 2 pound bag.

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About the author

Erica

Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.

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