How To Make A Changing Mat For A Disabled Child (In Under 30 Minutes)

I made this changing mat for William a few years ago, the day before we went on holiday, to use on the plane as we knew we’d have no option but to change him on the floor.  I wanted something lightweight and easy to take with us.

However, since then I’ve used it so many times because its so small and light to carry around and is also wipe clean!  I use it on the changing benches in the few changing places toilets that are in my local area but I’ve still never used it on a toilet floor. Because that would be grim.

I’ve used it so much, I wish I’d taken a bit more time on it as it’s a bit of a mess (as you’ll see!)

It is made from a shower curtain which came in it’s own matching bag which is ideal for carrying the completed mat in!  Because the material is so thin, even the completed changing mat folds small enough to fit into the bag and it is only slightly larger than a pack of baby wipes!  In fact, the wipes will even fit in the bag with the changing mat!

DIY changing mat for disabled child/ young person / adult

Let me start by saying that that I am by no means a professional seamstress.  In fact I struggle to sew in a straight line (as you’ll see).  But I’m hoping that will reassure you and help give you the confidence to try and make your own! If it is better than mine no gloating please!!

If you have a sewing machine, this project will take you less than 30 minutes!  If you don’t have a sewing machine then scroll down and tag a friend in the comments as a hint for them to make it for you!

What you need:

A standard sized shower curtain
Some random fabric
Wadding
Cotton
Sewing machine
Bias binding or a long strip of material

Read my tips for air travel with your disabled child

How to do it:

Cut your shower curtain to size.  Length wise you’ll want to make sure it is long enough for the user and has some growing room in it. Width wise I measured Williams wheelchair and made it roughly the same width.

The other fabric will be used to make a padded area for your child’s head.  Cut this to a rectangle the same width as your shower curtain and as tall as you wish (I had an off cut which was the right width)  If you have wadding to pad it a little then cut it to the same size as your fabric rectangle.

Lay your shower curtain down face up.  Add your wadding on top and then layer your other fabric on top (face up). Pin the layers together as shown in this (terrible) sketch.

The shower curtain is very slippery and will move about a lot so don’t be tight on the pins.  The more you use the easier you’ll find it to do the next step.

Next you are going to sew some wavy / wobbly lines to quilt the layers together.  Of course if you are a ‘proper’ sewer, or have even  smidgen more sewing experience than I do, you could create a really amazing quilted effect here.

I started in the middle and then alternated with one line above and below the central ‘line’ as I thought with such slippery material it might stop the fabrics from slipping too much.

Once you have finished this step you are almost finished!

You just need to tidy up the edges with your bias binding.  As I said before I am NOT an expert in sewing, as you can see below, I didn’t even try to finish off the corners properly as I was pushed for time.

make a changing mat from shower curtain for disabled child/ young person / adult

I figured it’s just a changing mat so does it really matter?  I’ve since been told by my husband that YES it does matter!  So here is a nice tutorial to show you how to do those tricky corners!

Once you have finished your edges your changing mat is complete!  So crack open the gin to celebrate, take a photo and post it on my Facebook page!

If you found this useful please let me know by leaving a comment below. And remember, if you can’t sew, tag a friend so they can make it for you!

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