No-Sew Hand and Neck Warmers
If it's cold outside and you want to keep your hands warm, or if you have some aches in your shoulders or neck this project is for you! This instructable describes how to make some rice filled hand and neck warmers that are warmed up in the microwave -- and no sewing is needed to make them!
Many in my household need to apply heat to their neck and there never seems to be enough neck warmers available. I also felt it would be nice to have some hand warmers to ward off the biting New England winter. So I decided to make some utilitarian warmers that did not require any sewing and could be constructed inexpensively and very quickly.
These warmers are constructed from tube socks and are filled with rice. They are nothing fancy, but they sure do the job well.
If you want to make them more fashionable, you are certainly welcome to upgrade and use a colored sock or use fabric markers, appliqué or other technique to snazzy them up a bit.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
This is a short list -- Yeah!
Three (3) 24-inch tube socks. I picked mine up on Amazon. Beware that there are socks that are described as "tube socks" but that actually have a heel and toe knit into them. In my mind a tube sock is a fabric tube with that has sides running parallel its entire length with no 'excursions' for heel or toes.
6 nylon cable zip ties (cable ties). These need to be robust as they will prevent rice from spilling all over your home. Of course you don't want ones with such a big ratchet/'head' that it gets in the way or you feel it when using the warmer. 8” (203 mm) length with 3/16" (5 mm) 'head' work well.
Rice. About 4-1/2 pounds ( 2 kg). More or less to 'taste'.
A pair of scissors. (Why do they call them a pair? -- Probably named by the same folks as those naming pants)
A pair of diagonal cutters (Same comment as above :-)
Widemouth Funnel. (Not Shown. Optional - If your aim pouring rice from a bag into a sock is good!)
Step 2: Neck Warmer - Fill With Rice
The neck warmer is simple.
Just fill a tube sock with as much rice as you like. The sock will stretch some over time so I would recommend filling closer to full.
Step 3: Close With Zip Ties (Cable Ties)
Take the open end of the sock and gather it together. Start a zip tie and then slip it over the end of the gathered sock so it is located about a 1/2 inch (~12mm) from the opening. Cinch the zip tie down firmly. Add a second zip tie next to the first with the ratchet/'heads' offset from each other.
Cut the zip tie close to the 'head'. You may want to trim with a knife if the little bit sticking out pokes you.
That was easy. Now on to the hand warmers.
Step 4: Size Your Hand Warmers
You get to pick the size of your hand warmers. Working from the toe end you decide how much sock to use. Short for ball-like warmers or longer for mini 'sausages'.
If you are not sure how much sock to use you can partially fill the sock with rice and see how it feels. If you made the neck warmer first you can pinch the sock at varying lengths from the toe to get an idea of what the different lengths of hand warmers would feel.
Select your size, leave a bit of length to add zip ties and cut the sock at that location. I'm assuming you want two hand warmers so repeat with a second sock.
Some may say that I'm wasting most of a tube sock, but you can make a mini neck or bed warmer out of the remaining portion of the tube. Just use zip ties at both ends.
Step 5: Hand Warmer - Fill With Rice
Fill the cut off toe portion of the tube sock with as much rice as you like. The sock will stretch some over time so I would recommend filling closer to full.
Step 6: Close With Zip Ties (Cable Ties)
Take the open end of the sock and gather it together. Start a zip tie and then slip it over the end of the gathered sock so it is located about a 1/2 inch (~12mm) from the opening. Cinch the zip tie down firmly. Add a second zip tie next to the first with the ratchets/'heads' offset from each other. Trim the zip ties.
Step 7: Heat Them Up!
Use your microwave oven to heat up your warmers. The moisture content of the rice and the wattage of the microwave oven will vary your results so you will need to experiment a bit to see how much time is needed to get the warmers to the temperature you want. Start with short amounts of time and work up until you know how long to heat them for optimum temperature.
There you go! Now stay warm!
P.S. The neck warmers also double as bed warmers. Nothing like climbing into a toasty bed. The left over sock portions from the hand warmers can be made into mini bed warmers too!
Runner Up in the
Warm and Fuzzy Contest