Introduction: Industrial Strength Foot Warmers for Toasty Toes
There are a number of good Instructables around the web showing how to warm your cold feet using microwaved bags of rice placed under the soles of your feet. Unfortunately, I suffer from extremely cold feet and the rice bags do not provide adequate relief. Even an electric heating pad can not keep my feet warm. The heat, coming totally from the bottom, escapes out the tops of my feet turning my feet, ankles and calves into ice. I even bought manufactured “booties” which were re-heatable in the microwave, but they only had rice (or similar material) in the soles of the booties. The upper portion of the boot was just thin fabric which allowed the heat to escape.
This was my solution. I stole the microwaved rice idea that others have used but I can now wrap my entire foot, top and bottom AND, if need be, wrap my ankles and calves as well. Basically these foot warmers are constructed like old fashioned “tuck and roll” hot rod upholstery. Two pieces of fabric are sewn together to form tubes (or a tuck and roll) and then the tubes are filled with rice. The tubes keep the rice exactly where you want, both vertically and horizontally, for optimal warming .
Materials and tools:
13 lbs of rice
1 yard of heavy duty outer fabric
1 yard of soft and comfy inner fabric
50" of sticky back velcro tape 3/4" wide or wider
A funnel with a ½" I.D. neck
A sewing machine
Large stapler or push pins
Step 1: Cutting the Fabric
The warmers are made of two separate sections, the FOOT and the LEG. And each section is made of an inner and an outer fabric. The outer fabric should be fairly heavy duty to withstand some abuse (like walking around) and the inner fabric should be a soft, fluffy wool or cotton type fabric for comfort and warmth. A yard of each should be plenty. Mark and cut the outer (blue) fabric for the LEG sections using the dimensions shown in Photo 1. Mark and cut the outer (blue) fabric for the FOOT sections using the dimensions shown in Photo 2. These dimensions are for a size 9 men’s foot and both the foot and leg sections turned out to be plenty large. So you can adjust accordingly. Next cut all of the inner (white) fabric pieces using the blue pieces as your patterns (Photo 3).
Step 2: Tucking and Rolling (making the Tubes)
Draw lines across the outer fabric pieces 1 ½" apart (Photo 1). Lay the inner fabric directly under the outer fabric and then pin or staple them together to hold while sewing (Photo 2). Sew sides marked 1, 2 and 3 as show in Photo 3 about 1/4" to 3/8" in from the edge of the fabric. Do NOT sew the remaining two sides which are noted with the red arrows. These must be left open for filling with rice. Sew up each of the marked lines between the “tuck and roll” tubes. Remove the pins or staples. Photo 4 shows the inner fabric side with the tube stitching in place.
Step 3: Fill the Tubes With Rice
Use a funnel like the one shown in Photo 1 to fill each tube with rice. Insert the funnel into the open end of each tube and then with a shaking motion work the rice down each tube between the inner and outer layers of fabric. The rice needs to be fairly tightly packed so that it can not move around too much once the warmers are completed. Work the rice down by tapping on the outside of the fabric and using your fingers to push it along. This is a bit time consuming so be prepared. After filling each tube, staple or pin the top of that particular tube shut and then move on to the next tube. Once all of the tubes are full, sew the top edges closed as shown in Photo 2 and remove all the pins/staples.
Step 4: Velcro Fasteners for FOOT Sections
Cut two lengths of velcro tape 14" long (each length should include a “hook” side and a “mesh” side of velcro tape). Pull the protective backing off the “hook” sides of the two lengths of tape and press the two lengths of tape onto the outer fabric as shown in Photo 1, one tape near the toe end of the boot and one near the ankle end. Leave the protective backing on the “mesh” sides of the two lengths of tape. Turn the mesh side down (this will be in opposite direction of the hook side) and press it onto the hook side overlapping the two by about 1". Sew both the hook and mesh sides to the hem of the fabric as shown in Photo 2. Repeat this step for the second boot.
Step 5: Velcro Fasteners for LEG Sections
Cut a length of velcro tape 11" long. Remove the protective backing from the hook side of the tape and press the sticky back to the outer (blue) fabric, lining it up with the edge of the fabric (Photo 1). Sew it in place. Remove the protective backing from the mesh side of the tape and press the sticky back to the inner (white) fabric lining opposite the “hook” end of the fabric. Sew in place. You should now be able to roll the leg section into a tube with the velcro holding it in place as shown in Photo 2. Repeat this step for the second boot.
Step 6: Fitting and Using the Warmers
Lay the foot section open on the floor with the inner (white) fabric facing up and the “V” of the fabric facing your heel. Place your foot on the fabric and wrap it fairly tightly around your foot. Wrap the mesh velcro “tails”around the boot and fasten them to the “hook” side of the tape (Photo 1 and 2). The boots can be used with just the foot sections if your want. For added warmth, wrap the leg section around your calf with the “V” of the fabric pointed down toward your heal. The leg section can be slid downward to meet and overlap with the foot section to make a relatively tight fit (Photo 3).
If using only the foot sections of the boots, place both boots in the microwave and heat on high for about 2 ½ minutes. If using the foot and leg sections together, microwave ONE pair (a foot and a leg section) at a time for about 2 ½ minutes each. These warmers may not set any fashion trends, but they will keep your toes quite toasty.