Introduction: $1 Gifts- Soothing RICE BAG

Picture of $1 Gifts- Soothing RICE BAG

Have you ever been on a budget and not known what to give someone for Christmas? Look no further. A truely amazing gift is a rice bag which can be warmed up and cooled. They look amazing and are easy to make! So let's get on to making a lovely rice bag!

Cost + Materials
Felt: 15 cents
Cloth: 10 cents (free if you use old clothes/scraps)
Thread + Needle: Free (if you don't have them, borrow them)
Button: 25 Cents
Rice: 35 Cents
Tape: 10 Cents
TOTAL: 85 Cents

Hey! Welcome to my first tutorial! I hope you enjoy it! Please critique it as much as you like! (I'd rather know what to change for my next tutorials then to make more sucky ones.)

Step 1: Sewing the Outer Bag:

Picture of Sewing the Outer Bag:

1.) Take your piece of felt and cut it so it's 7 inches by 8 inches.

2.) Fold the felt in half. The Hamburger way.

3. ) Take some sturdy thread of your choice and sew two of the felts side. Pretty self explanatory, I'm not going to go into detail about how to sew it xD.

Step 2: Making the Inner Bag:

Picture of Making the Inner Bag:

1.) Take some fabric which is thinner than the felt (old clothes/tee shirts) and cut a 7 inch by 4 1/2 inch rectangle out.

2.)Fold it in half the hamburger and tape two of the edges.

3.) Fill it 3/4 full with dried rice or beans and tape the last edge.

OPTIONAL: Add a couple drops of essential oils into the rice. Try peppermint or something relaxing like lavender.

Step 3: Adding the Button:

Picture of Adding the Button:

1.) At the top of the felt bag draw a line for your button hold, and then use scissors to cut the line out. Make it slightly smaller than your button.

2.) Flip the bag inside out.

3.) Sew your button on the inside of the felt bag, so if the bag was flat the button would peek from your cut line, push the button through the hole a couple times, to stretch out the felt a little.

Step 4: Finishing the Rice Bag:

Picture of Finishing the Rice Bag:

1.) Stuff your cloth bag with rice in your felt bag! Button it up and you're finished!

2.) Microwave the bag, or stuff it in the freezer! You can replace the rice any time, and easily!

3.) Give the bag away for a gift, or keep it for yourself!

4.) ENJOY!

I hope you like this tutorial! Feel free to ask any questions! :D


Rob K (author)2008-11-27

I have one of these, I didn't know you could put them in the freezer.

hairsylesfor (author)Rob K2017-08-30

greenmia (author)Rob K2008-11-27

YUP! Just put them in the freezer for an hour and it's like an icepack. :D Multiple purposes are awesome.

hishealer (author)greenmia2009-12-16

Yeah, an ice pack that has almost no risk of that freezer burn tingle.  Just nice pleasant pain relief...

Mike73 (author)2013-11-28

That's cool. Seems I found a gift for my better half. How does the rice stand up over time? Is there something I need to be careful about, like humidity and rice doesn't seem to go together well?

laurelangel (author)2012-06-07

I dont think the tape is such a good idea, I would sew all ends shut except for one and use either velcro, or electrical tape might hold, but I don't know if it would melt in the microwave.

grimfig (author)2008-11-29

Would tape really be strong enough to last? Couldn't you just sew the sides and tape the top? Anyways Great idea.

grimfig (author)grimfig2008-11-29

Also how long do you put it in the microwave.

laurelangel (author)grimfig2012-06-07

About 1-2 minutes, it gets pretty hot if you do any longer, and dosent get very warm if any shorter.

greenmia (author)grimfig2008-11-29

I would probably use stronger tape (the off yellow color one) if I did it again but as for sewing, unless you used a sewing machine, or spent hours sewing, rice could easily slip out of the gaps. TIME FOR MICROWAVING: Try microwaving about 45 seconds, and then do it again for about 20 seconds, and keep ding 20 seconds until it is nicely warm.

dehlome (author)2008-11-30

umm... how long do i microwave it?

laurelangel (author)dehlome2012-06-07

I do it for 1-2 minutes and it works great!

greenmia (author)dehlome2008-11-30

Try microwaving about 45 seconds, and then do it again for about 20 seconds, and keep ding 20 seconds until it is nicely warm.

Kre8ive (author)2012-03-11

Great tutorial!!! & I realise its old, but I just wanted to make a note against using buttons (or cable ties or duct tape as someone suggested)...Not all plastic is microwave-safe...while they may not melt & cause any visible damage, some plastics can give off toxic fumes when beware...

I have been meaning to make one, so your instructions are really helpful, & I think based on one of the first comments making simple fabric ties/string would be the safest way to go...

P.S: I have seen Velcro used in the commercial versions, so am assuming they are somewhat safe, (although we cant be sure all Velcro is of the same material)

marian1936 (author)2010-02-11

I use cable ties to close the tube sock after filling it with rice.

artifactwire (author)2008-11-30

I had one of these heat up pillows and I used it a lot, but one day I found out it had mold growing in it. Will these grow mold?

They shouldn't unless they've been exposed to moisture, and even then, alot of moisture. Rice is one of those few things, when it's dry, can last many years in it's dry form. If you add water of any type of moisture to the mix, it will create an environment where little microbes can form and create homes for mold.

The mold risk increases when you add anything else to the mix such as lavender, flax seed, or any herbal concoction. The idea here is that ANY of these can create mold if they ARE NOT properly dried before they are added. So that may have been it's problem or it could have already carrying mold when it was put into the bag.

Also, maybe you didn't use it too much? If you only used it a few times, perhaps the environment within the bag was in a stable condition to support mold growth? If you used it alot, the constant hot and cold extremes of the pack would have been more unfriendly to your growing colonies in the bag. 

Sorry for the long hypothesis. I guess I am just a science person at heart. To make the long story short:

plant material + moisture+ stagnant environmental conditions= mold

eewwewww yuck oh how gross for you!  I wonder why it happened.  It would turn me off too.

greenmia (author)artifactwire2008-11-30

EWW! I'm not sure if mold will grow but to make sure it doesn't, I would replace the rice every once in a while. (It's easy to replace since only tape is stopping you.)

porcupinemamma (author)2009-12-17

I found this excellent site.  It explains everything and the final product is allowed as an assistive device at the hospital where the author works

jlloyd509 (author)2009-12-16

silly question but what kind of tape? surely not scotch tape?!

hishealer (author)2009-12-16

Rice is cheaper than flax seeds, which also work very well.  I have a flax hot/cold pack that has worked well for me for 3 years now.

Thursday Next (author)2009-09-24

I just pour rice in a sock and rubberband it closed. Microwave 2 to 4 minutes depending on the size of the sock I scrounged up. I change the rice when it breaks up enough to leak out of the weave of the sock. I think I will do something fancier for gifts though. Maybe a small towel.

llucii (author)2009-06-01

These are awesome. I had one that wrapped around the neck and the rice keeps the heat for quite a while. You can stick in the fridge for a cool pack too. Unfortunately, I had a very disturbing encounter with rice bags. For some reason, maggots decided that this was going to be a comfy place to start a family, and I came back one day after a holiday to find maggots coming out of my rice bag. I was so traumatised that I never had a rice bag again. :(

pieridine (author)2009-03-19

I made something similar--but much less pretty--by using a dollar-store hand towel and some fabric glue (maybe Liquid Stitch?). I simply folded the towel in half and glued it shut all the way around except about a two-inch opening, let it dry, turned it inside out (so the seams are on the inside), filled with rice, and glued the remaining seams in. This isn't easily able to have the rice changed out, but I have a bad back so it works well for me as far as covering a larger area. Your idea for the inner and outer pouches makes for a much nicer presentation, though!

santosxpc (author)2009-01-05

Hi, always I did read to use COTTON cloth, but what about FLEECE fabric?? It's safe to use FLEECE (polyester syntethic material) at the microwave? BTW great INS.

greenmia (author)santosxpc2009-02-08

I don't think it says cotton (I used felt), but fleece should work well too.

skarah (author)2009-01-09

I've been meaning to make a bunch of these for years. I have a couple of tube socks that are filled with tiny beans and tied shut, and they work well, but are stinky. I think the beans hold heat better than rice-about 45 minutes-but you have to be prepared for the fart smell. I'm pretty sure that both beans and rice don't have much of a chance to mold, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. I like it that yours has the inner bag and the decorative outer.

finfan7 (author)2008-12-08

"Oh, man, I have a headache." "How about a nice soothing rice bag?"

dehlome (author)2008-11-29

can you use elbow maceronii?

greenmia (author)dehlome2008-11-30

I'm not sure. Rice is probably better because its less bulky and retains heat very nicely, macaroni could probably work too, it just probably wouldn't have the same consistant feel as rice.

dehlome (author)greenmia2008-11-30

but wont it set on fire?

greenmia (author)dehlome2008-11-30

... I hope not.

pocketmeagan (author)2008-11-30

I like this...I made my own last year as christmas gifts in different sizes (long and skinny for neck/shoulders and a shorter wide one for backs/belly/feet. I like the way you did this one though, for mine I just bought muslin (cheap, about $1 a yard) and filled it with long grain rice and whole kernal corn (a couple cents a pound at a feed store) and I sewed the outside slip out of fabric from the remnant bin (cheap as well). I like adding herbs or essentials oils to mine (makes it smell nice). Yours came out really cute though, I love the button closure, mine just hang open, wish i would've thought of that! How does the felt do when you wash it though?

greenmia (author)pocketmeagan2008-11-30

I'm actually not sure how it washes. I'm pretty sure that it can easily live through some cold water hand washing, and air drying.

Here's a little guide to washing:

Argon27 (author)2008-11-29

I've used one of these for years but it was made out of a pillow-case and had cinnamon and cloves in it.

rguillen (author)2008-11-29

You could use VELCRO to seal the inner bag, but it means a little more money but I think the convenience is worth it.

miaspamm (author)rguillen2008-11-29

Yup! I would of but I didn't have any velcro and it would be more money. I also think duck tape would work well. Maybe 3 of the sides could be duck tape, and one of them velcro, that makes it super easy to replace the rice, and also cheap!

rerat (author)2008-11-29

These are magical! although they do get mighty stinky after a LOT of heating/cooling

greenmia (author)rerat2008-11-29

Yup, but the cool thing is they are really easy to replace! Since only tape is stopping you.

CameronSS (author)2008-11-28

I was just using one of these today! My sister has a long one that you can wrap around your neck to be warm, or around sore joints. I plan to find a long sock-I can just dump some rice in and sew the end shut, nice and easy.

Honus (author)CameronSS2008-11-29

The neck ones are the best! I work as a jeweler so I'm always hunched over my bench (especially this time of year) and my neck can get really strained. These really help a lot.

GorillazMiko (author)CameronSS2008-11-28


Dungeonbrownies (author)2008-11-28

ive never thought of using rice for that... I was expecting a foot bag, but hey, thats nice and heartfelt way to combine rice and felt, two of the most soothing things available [rice goes to rizotto and felt to those baby blankies]

errr, that wasnt meant to link.. but yea. good job.

Lithium Rain (author)2008-11-28

I love ricebags. They're awesome.

ChrysN (author)2008-11-27

Under a dollar, what a deal! Nice instructable.

greenmia (author)ChrysN2008-11-27

Thanks! I'm glad it wasn't a total failure!

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