The small ones are great for pockets and the heating pads have multiple uses (for me anyway)- to warm my freezing hands, to soothe sore joints, to relieve neck pain, stomach aches, to defrost your windshield... and I've also used a little one to unfreeze the lock to my car door. I made a few of them in the past - but really rustic ones which didn't look nice enough to give as a gift to anyone.
So, I decided to upgrade them and make them with a removable fabric layer - so it can be washed easily and it'll last longer. They're very simple to make and I'll take you through the process here.
Step 1: Materials Needed for Rice Heating Pads & Hand Warmers
- Regular Cotton Fabric
- about 1/4 yard per heating pad (full measurements are in the next step)
- hand-warmers each require two pieces of material 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches
- about 1/4 yard for the heating pad's removable layer
- hand-warmer's removable layer require a piece of material 4 3/4 inches by 8 inches wide
- 3 1/2-4 cups of rice per heating pad
- 4 1/2 to 5 tablespoons of rice per hand-warmer
Step 2: Cutting & Preparing
For the full heating pad, I folded the plain cotton material in half so I could cut through two layers at once. You'll need to cut out two pieces of material per bag, 13 inches long by 7 inches wide. Please note that this is not super long and if you want to make a heating pad specifically to go around the neck and further onto the shoulders, you'll want to adjust this and make it longer than 13 inches. For me, it can go around my neck but it's not super long.
For the hand-warmers, you'll want to cut out two layers of plain cotton material 3 1/2 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches high.
Step 3: Sewing the Basic Packs
Once done, you can trim off any excess fabric and then turn the pads right-side out.
Step 4: Filling Them & Sewing the End
*Warning: When sewing these, please read the directions fully and be extra careful to not get any rice underneath the area you will be sewing for your final seam. I did this one time - broke a needle and the sharp tip went flying out towards me and hit me. You don't want to get that stuck in your eye or ruin your sewing machine! Please be more careful than I was!
Filling with Rice
- Large Heating Pads
- I filled the large heating pads up with 3 1/2 to 4 cups of rice. I then folded the end seams inward and pinned it down. I also pinned the filled up pads as far down as possible (see image please) to try to prevent rice from spilling towards the area I would be sewing for the final seam.
- I filled the hand-warmers up with about 4 1/2 to 5 tablespoons of rice - then pinned and sewed the seam in the same manner as the large heating pad.
Step 5: Cutting the Outer Lining & Pinning
For the outer layer of fabric for the full-size heating pad, cut out one piece of snuggle flannel material that is 28 inches long by 8 inches wide. This is one inch larger than the plain cotton material was when you cut that out.
For the hand-warmers, you'll need to cut out a piece snuggle flannel material that is 8 inches long by 4 3/4 inches wide.
Once you've cut these out, lay them out the long way (or as kids at school say - the hotdog way) and take the edges of the material on both ends and fold them in about 1/2 an inch and pin. See image.
Then, go to your sewing machine and sew a simple straight seam across, while removing the pins. Then trim the threads and we'll move onto the next step.
Step 6: Final Pinning & Sewing
The small hand-warmers should be pinned and sewn the same way.
Once you've completed the sewing, you can then trim off any excess material and turn the outer layer right-side out again. Then, take the rice packs and put them in the lining cases you just sewed and you are done! If giving these as a gift, you can tie a little ribbon around them with a nice bow.
See next step for more images of the final product & microwaving instructions!
Step 7: DIY Rice Pack Heating Pads & Hand Warmers - Photos & Microwaving
The large heating pads take about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in the microwave to get nice and hot. The first time you heat it - you may want to just put it in for a minute, then check it and flip it if needed. Then if not warm or hot enough, add another minute. My microwave takes 2 minutes to fully heat the full size heating pad - and it's pretty hot (so be careful).
The small hand-warmers take only 30 seconds to a minute in the microwave to heat up. Enjoy!