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DIY Quilted Waterproof Picnic Blanket

I live at the beach. That’s a fact that inevitably leads to two problems, the first is spending too much time baking in the hot sun. The second is more easily solved: sand. Sand gets everywhere. It drives me mad, the way tiny granules of sand worm their way inside beach blankets. You might say sand is one of my great foes. Nearly impossible to extract from the blanket, it inevitably finds itself dispersed on your clean floors, until your whole home is covered in a light dusting of eroded rock. Similarly, it’s annoying when you drop down your blanket on a patch of grass and later discover its caked in mud. It sucks when you find the sand is damp and your blanket starts soaking through.


I thought long and hard about this problem and I finally came to the conclusion that I needed a waterproof picnic / beach blanket. I started searching on Amazon and asking around at local stores. I was really shocked to discover there wasn’t a readily available product with a waterproof backing out there. It’s just luck I’m handy with a sewing machine I guess. I love this blanket to death. I get compliments whenever I whip it out. It’s incredibly durable and four years later still looks like new despite near constant use. If it passed the test of four beach seasons and is still going strong then it’s something I have to share.


What You Need:

  • 1 8’x10′ tarp (or smaller if you can find) cut to 6 ft. + 1/2 in. seam allowance
  • Tightly woven upper material (I used medium weight denim) cut to 6 ft. + 1/2 in. seam allowance
  • Quilting batting or an old mattress cover cut to 6 ft. + 1/2 in. seam allowance
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread and needle
  • White chalk
  • Yard stick


  1. Lay the upper blanket fabric, right side down, on a large flat surface.
  2. Position the quilting batting or mattress cover on top, lining up the edges.
  3. Pin the two pieces together and, with a needle and thread, create a running basting stitch around the perimeter of the blanket. Remove the pins.
  4. Flip the two pieces of material over so the right side of the upper fabric is facing up. Position the tarp over the material, so the right side of your fabric is covered, lining up the edges and pin together.
  5. At this point I like to take a piece of masking tape and mark two places (about 2-3 ft. apart) along one side of the fabric – where I am going to start and stop sewing. This prevents me from getting carried away and accidentally sewing the entire perimeter of the project. You need to leave a gap to reverse the blanket.
  6. Using the sewing machine, position the needle a 1/2″ from the edge and stitch around the blanket, making sure to leave the 2-3 ft. section not sewn.
  7. If you have a serger you can use it to finish the edge. If you don’t, sew a zig zag stitch between the straight stitch you just made and the outer edge of the fabric to prevent fraying and reinforce the seam.
  8. Find the gap you left in the seam and reach inside. Grab the furthest point of the blanket you can and pull it through. Continue pulling, gently, until you have reversed the entire blanket and the right side of the fabric is facing out and the batting is inside.
  9. Shake out the blanket. Find the gab in the seam and fold both edges inward and pin.
  10. Sew an edge stitch along the top of the blanket, as close to the edge as you can, to close the gap. You can stop once you’ve sewn the length of the gap. However, you can continue to top stitch the entire perimeter of the blanket to create a clean looking compressed edge.
  11. Lay out your blanket on a flat surface, fabric side up. Using a yard stick draw 5 vertical lines, 1 ft. apart, with the chalk. Pin along the lines.
  12. Following the chalk lines and removing the pins as you go, sew a top stitch over the blanket to quilt the batting into place. If you want a classic quilted look, repeat drawing lines in the opposite direction and stitching.
  13. Brush off the remaining chalk.


Now… go enjoy a picnic lunch!



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1 Comment

  • Reply Anne

    I love this idea. i have made one similar but i used a waterproof mattress cover i had lying around, it was a bit easier to fold but did the same general thing. i am going to make it your way and see how it goes. thanks.

    March 28, 2016 at 1:09 pm
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