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I love fall. The weather is perfect, and there are so many fun activities for my family to do. From apple picking, to the pumpkin patch, to high school and college football games, and so much more. My family loves to do these activities and we also love to bring a picnic lunch along but the one thing we don’t love is when our bums get wet from the damp ground. I know they make waterproof picnic blankets but they are all so small. I wanted to make something that would be nice and big for my family, but that would also be able to be self contained. Today I am excited to share this DIY Waterproof Picnic Blanket with a self-containing pocket.
The thing I love about this blanket is it is really big. Like 54 inches by 90 inches. It is super easy for my entire family to fit on it, and we have room for more. We can go to the park or the orchards and enjoy a picnic with friends and all have somewhere to sit. It was pretty simple to make as well as long as you have some basic sewing skills.
For this project you will need:
- A twin size or twin XL comforter (I found one on clearance at my local Walmart for $5)
- A package of vinyl (or a vinyl shower curtain or vinyl by the yard). I found a nice thick vinyl at my Walmart in the fabric section for only $7.50 (ish). If you purchase your vinyl by the yard be sure to get at least 2.5 yards.
- Oil cloth that compliments your comforter. I suggest 1.5 yards but I got away with a half yard (more on that later)
- Sewing machine and thread
To start, I suggest washing your comforter and also ironing your vinyl if it was folded. (Be sure to place your iron on the lowest heat and also place a piece of cloth over it as you iron.
Once that is done, you need to lay down your comforter, bottom side up, and then spread the vinyl over it. This is going to let you make sure your vinyl and blanket are the same size.
Now, normally I would take a picture of every single instruction, and I do have some, but this project is so big, it was hard to take a picture, so I did up a little diagram for you. Now, be sure you do this by spreading the vinyl over the blanket in case your dimensions are different.
You will need to cut off the extra vinyl (though I suggest having a little overhang on the sides) and the extra blanket. Then you will need to sew back up the blanket on the side you cut.
Once you have done that, you will need to pin the vinyl to the back of the blanket. Use safety pins but use them sparingly as the pins do put small holes in the vinyl.
Now you will need to sew the vinyl to the blanket. To help the vinyl move through the machine easier I suggest placing some scotch tape on your footer or using a roller footer. The blanket and vinyl will be heavy so be sure to have a table large enough to rest the blanket on so it isn’t pulling down while you sew. (Or bring a table next to your sewing machine.) Sew as close to the edge as possible, but make sure not to go off the edge of either the blanket or vinyl.
Once you have finished, you can cut off any excess vinyl that is hanging over the edge.
Remove all of your pins. You now have a waterproof picnic blanket. YAY! If you are not comfortable making a pocket for the blanket, you can stop here and it will still work, though it will be much harder to tote around.
To Make A Self-Containing Pocket
Now measure the bottom of your blanket and divide it by 3. My blanket was 54″ wide at this point so 1/3 of that is 18″. You will need this measurement to make your pocket. If you had enough vinyl left over you could always make your pocket out of it, but I did not. (I did width wise but it wasn’t tall enough). So I used oil cloth (like tablecloths are made out of).
I only purchased a half yard of oil cloth, but I wish I would have purchased 1.5 yards so I could sew two pieces together, so that the plastic like side can be out on both sides. (You will see why in a moment.)
Take your oil cloth and cut it the 1/3 width of the blanket PLUS 12 inches, so mine was 18″ (1/3 the width) plus 12″ for a total of 30″. Cut a second piece the same way. Sew those two pieces together, with the white, cottony sides together.
Now each side of your oil cloth needs to have a pleat in it. (that is why the extra 12 inches). So use 6 inches on each side to create a a pleat and pin it. You can see how we did this in the picture below. (You create a pleat by folding it in the 6 inches, and then folding that piece back out 3 inches.)
Now center the oil cloth along the bottom of the blanket. Sew it along the bottom making sure to sew all layers of the pleats.
Now you are ready to sew the sides. When you do this, you will NOT sew the pleat. The pleat allows the pocket to expand to pull the blanket inside it.
Once you sew down each side you are done! Your picnic blanket is now ready to use. (Keep reading for instructions on how to fold your picnic blanket)
We decided to take our picnic blanket for a test run this weekend because it was so gorgeous outside. So while we were at Walmart, we picked up a few things to take with us like grapes, apples, and Welch’s Graham Slam! Grape PB&Js. You can find these in the frozen section next to other PB&J items. They are great for outtings or a quick bite to eat as they have 7 grams of protein as well as 12 grams of whole grain, and no high fructose corn syrup.
My kids love all things PB&J so these are great. We love that they taste great frozen or thawed. I can throw them in my bag, still frozen, head out for an outting and they are thawed and ready to eat at lunch. Even thawed, the graham crackers are surprisingly crispy (and delicious!) This weekend we took the grape flavor of Welch’s Graham Slam! with us to a local state park. The Goof was so excited to eat his favorite snack on our new picnic blanket.
I loved that our picnic blanket was large enough for us to really spread out on and I could sit far enough away from the twins that I could let them enjoy their Welch’s Graham Slam! without having to worry about them getting their peanut butter and grape jelly covered hands all over me. Mike was even able to lay across it and we still had room for the Goof and I on the other end.
When we laid out the picnic blanket the ground was a little wet so this was the perfect time to check if our blanket would hold up. We enjoyed our lunch and the Goof gobbled up 2 Welch’s Graham Slam! PB&Js while Baby P ate one and a half. My goodness- how are my kids so tiny with how much they eat?
Even with sitting on the blanket for about an hour, the blanket never got wet. Our bums stayed perfectly dry. Victory! After playing some frisbee and letting the twins run around, it was time to fold up our picnic blanket to go home.
How to fold up your picnic blanket into the pocket
Brush any loose grass or leaves off of your blanket. Then start by folding your blanket in thirds (as pictured below).
Now, my pocket is on the bottom side of the picture, on the underneath side of the blanket. (Just to help clarify how the pictures work.)
Take the top end of the blanket and fold it in half.
Now fold it in half one more time from the top to the bottom (keeping the pocket against the ground).
Now, here is where I turned my blanket over and realized I should have gotten more oil cloth and sewn two pieces together like I said to do in the instructions. The cloth side of our oil cloth pocket had been against the wet ground and now had a few stains on it. OOPS. But back to the instructions.
Now you are going to reach inside the pocket, grab the ends of the blanket and pull the blanket through the pocket, turning the pocket right side out. This is hard to explain so my husband was awesome enough to let me take a video of him doing it.
I suggest taking your picnic blanket back out when you get home if the ground was wet to make sure the vinyl is dry. You can spot clean the blanket or even possibly wash on gentle if you have a washer that does not have an agitator, but you will need to either line dry or put in dryer to tumble with no heat.
Once you have made your blanket, be sure to pick up some Welch’s Graham Slam! PB&Js, in either grape or strawberry flavor, at your local Walmart for your first picnic, or for any other outting. You can even get a $1 off coupon for 1 box of Welch’s Graham Slam! by CLICKING HERE. This coupon is available until 12/31/16 but it will expire 2 weeks after you print it. I know I am going to be picking up some more. I am excited to take these on our next Disney vacation for a quick bite in the theme parks.
What fall adventures will you take your Welch’s Graham Slam! and DIY picnic blanket on? Let me know in the comments below.