This DIY sun protection blanket is something I designed and created 13 years ago and have been making ever since.
What started out as a baby stroller blanket continues to withstand the test of time, because we still use the first one I ever made today for most outdoor events.
I named the blanket the Sol Protector™. After all, I have always been a sucker for a fun play on words.
But I quickly learned that I loved creating new things more than being a small batch manufacturer, so I stopped selling the blankets online and just made them for family and friends.
So when I started thinking about how to honor Earth Day 2021, I couldn’t think of a better way than to talk about how to stay safe in the sun and share my sun protection blanket design and pattern.
What’s The Difference Between SPF And UPF?
But first, a little primer on sun protection especially since now that’s April that means the sun has returned from its hiatus.
Sun protection comes in many forms like various types of sunscreens, clothing, and accessories. It is therefore important to understand the SPF and UPF ratings when choosing the best protection for you and your family.
Most people are familiar with SPF (aka sun protection factor), because sunscreens have used this rating system for eons and, since the scale (and therefore the protection) has increased over the years, most people pay close attention to those numbers.
According to the American Cancer Society,
“The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. A higher SPF number means more UVB protection (although it says nothing about UVA protection).
For example, when applying an SPF 30 sunscreen correctly, you get the equivalent of 1 minute of UVB rays for each 30 minutes you spend in the sun.
So, 1 hour in the sun wearing SPF 30 sunscreen is the same as spending 2 minutes totally unprotected. People often do not apply enough sunscreen, so they get less actual protection.“
The TL;DR version? If you cannot find a shady spot to use when the UV index is high, make sure to wear a high number sunscreen when you’re outside.
There are also additional ideas on how to stay safe in the sun from the American Cancer Society here.
So if SPF is related to sunscreens, what does a UPF rating tell us?
UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor and a UPF rating lets us know how much the ultraviolet rays will penetrate clothing. Sun protection clothing will be rated anywhere from UPF 15 – UPF 50+. If you’re looking for a place to start, I have always been a big fan of the options offered by Sunday Afternoon (*affiliate link), especially their hats.
For even more detailed information, read this post about UPF ratings. It also includes an easy-to-understand comparison between UPF and SPF and a UV index graphic that explains when you’re most at risk.
Why Make A Sun Protection Baby Blanket?
The American Cancer Society recommends that, “Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected from the sun using hats and protective clothing.”
Frankly, I’m surprised that age range isn’t higher as a blanket statement (no pun intended).
When you think about, kids are still in strollers and a good part of their bodies are often in the direct sunlight mostly AFTER 6 months old.
Many strollers include a sun shade, but that typically only covers the child’s head and maybe part of the torso. And depending on the angle of the sun, it may not provide any coverage.
So, attaching this blanket to the top of the stroller and draping it over the stroller’s shade creates a little curtain that covers the child completely.
The measurements of the design are that of a typical stroller blanket, so you can also just put it over a baby or child’s body and legs.
Some parents drape the baby carrier covers that are so popular over the handle of the baby car seats, but those are typically made with cotton (natural and breathable) and minky fabric (synthetic and doesn’t breathe). So the child could easily over heat during hot days.
And a small cotton blanket does provide some protection, but depending on its weave, it still isn’t the best option when there are sun protective fabric alternatives.
The straps on this versatile design allow parents to attach the blanket to almost anything.
So along with the stroller, someone may use the blanket as privacy cover for a breastfeeding mother, or as a window cover in the car (when someone isn’t driving) to keep the car cooler.
Now without further ado, let’s get sewing!
DIY Sun Protection Blanket For Babies & Beyond
This DIY sun protection blanket stroller blanket only requires four materials. There are also some key tools that will help make the blanket construction easier.
– Sun protection fabric
Sun protection fabric has been treated to provide protection from UV rays. Just as with sunscreen, the higher the UPF rating, the better the protection.
The fabric that I use has a UPF rating of 50+ which provides excellent protection, and allows for less than 2% UV transmission.
– Double gauze fabric
The double gauze fabric is a loosely woven fabric that is soft and has a nice hand once it’s washed.
You can use a different cotton fabric if you’d like. Something like a quilting cotton, however, while “breathable” has a much tighter weave and changes the weight and feel of the blanket considerably.
– 1″ webbing
You need webbing to create the small straps placed in each corner of the blanket. The owner of the blanket will use the straps, along with the hook and loop tape, to attach the blanket to the top of the stroller or to the handles in the car.
– 1″ hook and loop tape
You will sew the hook and loop tape onto the webbing to create to blanket’s straps.
If you don’t have any hook and loop tape on hand and have plastic snaps, you could use those instead. I prefer to use hook and loop tape because it’s more reliable for this kind of application over time.
– Sewing clips
Sewing clips have been one of my favorite sewing aides for years now.
You can use these clips for almost anything, really. I use them for all kinds of crafts, not just sewing. If you don’t have a set, click on the link below and buy two. You won’t regret it.
– Rotary cutter and mat
A rotary cutter and mat are tools, like the sewing clips, that I cannot live without. I know some people like scissors instead of a rotary cutter, but I am not one of them. I use the rotary cutter to cut things, literally, every day. It’s worth the investment!
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small commission if you buy a product using the links below.
Step-by-Step Blanket Tutorial
The step-by-step tutorial below is also print-friendly.
- Sun protective fabric
- Double gauze fabric
- 1" hook and loop tape
- 1" webbing
- Rotary cutter & mat
- Sewing clips
- Sewing machine
- Handheld lighter
- 1 yard of sun protective fabric
- 1.5 yards of double gauze fabric
- 20 inches of 1" webbing
- 10" of 1" hook and loop sew on tape
- Wash and dry the double gauze fabric.
- Cut a 31" x 37" piece of sun protective
- Cut a 32" x 38" piece of double gauze to leave room for shifting
- Cut four pieces of webbing that are 5" long. Singe all the edges of the webbing with a lighter to keep it from fraying.
- Cut four pieces of hook and loop tape that measure 2.5" each.
CONSTRUCT THE BLANKET
- Place fabrics right sides together.
- Line up the short edge of the double gauze with the short edge of the sun protective fabric and clip. If you were able to get a straight long edge easily, clip that edge with a handful of clips as well.
- Leave the other two edges without clips and don't worry if it's not square with the sun protective fabric.
- Lay the blanket flat so that the clipped short edge is on top.
- Remove a couple of clips from the top left corner then take a piece of webbing and insert it 1" away from the long edge. The webbing should now be sandwiched in between the two pieces of fabric.
- Clip it all together so that it doesn't shift while sewing.
- Take another piece of webbing and insert it the the top right corner 1" away from the long edge.
- Sew the short edge using a 1/2" seam allowance.
- Lay the blanket out flat again and, if necessary, trim the gauze so that one of the long edges is square.
- Clip that long edge of the fabric to prepare for sewing.
- Sew the clipped long edge using 1/2" seam allowance.
- Lay the blanket out flat (yep, again!) and trim the gauze on the second short edge so that it is square with the sun protective fabric.
- Clip the short edge to prepare for sewing.
- Remove a couple of clips from the top left corner then take a piece of webbing and insert it 1" away from the long edge. Just as before, the webbing should now be sandwiched in between the two pieces of fabric.
- Remove a couple of clips from the top right corner and sandwich the last piece of webbing 1" away from the outside long edge.
- Clip to secure for sewing.
- In the middle of that final edge, remove some clips to mark a 3" turning hole so that you have space to turn the blanket right sides out.
- Sew the final edge using 1/2" seam allowance. Do not sew the space for the turning hole.
- Turn the blanket right sides out.
- Poke out all four corners of the blanket.
ADD FINISHING TOUCHES
- Finger press the seam all around the perimeter of the blanket then clip so that the fabrics stay in place.
- Top stitch around the whole blanket with a 1/8" seam allowance.
- For the purpose of this tutorial, the gauze is considered the "inside" of the blanket. So, clip one side of the hook and loop tape to the inside of the webbing.
- Then, eyeball the placement for the other side of the tape and clip it to the gauze fabric. You will have to fold the fabric in a little bit to make the clip work but it won't cause a problem because it's there just to hold in place before lowering the presser foot.
- Repeat this process with the other three sets of sew on tape.
- Use a zigzag stitch to sew a rectangle around the hook and loop tape on the webbing and the blanket.
- Repeat this process for the remaining three pieces.
- The blanket is finished and ready to use!
Mother’s Day Giveaway 2021
Now on to the giveaway!
We are so excited to be giving away $430 in gift cards for Mother’s Day to two lucky readers. The giveaway will run from April 22 – May 7.
The prizes are:
- 1 – $215 gift card
- 1 – $215 gift card
Each winner will choose the gift card they want. Please choose a gift card that comes from an online store and can be paid in US dollars. EX: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Kohls, etc. You may ask for more than one gift card but must add up to your prize amount.
Now it’s time to meet our co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.
Tammy – My Life Abundant | Habiba – Craftify My Love | Heather – Super Mom Life | Carrie – Curly Crafty Mom | Dana – Create to Donate | Karen – Mamma Bear Says | Megan – The Stephen 3 | Kristin – White Arrows Home | Debi – Life Currents | Linda – A Labour of Life | Kathleen – Our Hopeful Home | Meredith – The Mom of the Year | Gladys – Mom To Grandma | Lisa – Blogghetti | Lauren – Shooting Stars Mag | Sinea – Ducks ‘n a Row | Danielle – My Slightly Chaotic Life | Ahna – Hammers n Hugs | Lois – Walking on Sunshine Recipes | Melissa – Deliciously Savvy | Shana – Our Sutton Place | Donna – Blog By Donna | Zan – At Home with Zan | Lindsay – Paperclips and Confetti | Denise – This is My Everybody | Books and DIY Home Ideas
Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful co-hosts and their blogs.
The giveaway will end at midnight on Friday, May 7th, a few days before Mother’s Day. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming their prize. If we don’t hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner. The giveaway is open to anyone over 18 years of age and able to receive e-gift cards from the U.S.a Rafflecopter giveaway