These rice packs are very nice when you need some soothing warmth! They are easy to make, and make great gifts! I've made many of them, for myself, my family, and my friends, and everybody loves them!
Step 1: What You Need
For this project, all you need are
- some medium-weight fabric
- about a pound of white rice
- scissors, or rotary tool and cutting mat
- a sewing machine (unless you want to sew it all by hand, but I don't, lol)
- an iron and ironing board or other suitable surface (I use a folded towel on the counter)
Step 2: Cut Your Fabric
Cut out a rectangle that is about an inch wider/longer than you want the rice pack to be in one direction, and twice as wide/long (plus 1 inch) in the other direction. In other words, if you fold it in half it should be a little bigger than you want the finished pack to be. I like to have the fold on a longer side, if possible.
The sizes I usually make are 20" x 6" and 10" x 10". So the fabric rectangles would be 21" X 13", and 11" x 21".
Step 3: Seam the Edges - Simple Seam
For a simple seam, fold the fabric in half, right (printed) sides together. Sew the two edges that are perpendicular to the fold, with a 1/2" seam allowance. Fold the other edge in 1/2" and iron it flat.
Step 4: Seam the Edges - More Visually Consistent Seam
To make seams that look the same on all sides, start by folding all the edges in 1/2" and ironing them down. To reduce bulk at the corners, you may want to trim the corners at a 45 degree angle, as shown in the second photo. Then fold the rectangle in half, wrong (non-printed) sides together. Sew the folded edge and the two edges perpendicular to it at a 3/8" seam allowance, and then sew them again right by the edge, at about 1/8" or 1/16".
Step 5: Sew the Dividing Seams
Fold the rectangle in segments, about 1 1/2" to 2" wide, with the folds going from the open edge to the folded edge. Mark the folds; you could use pins, but I just ironed it to set the creases. Then sew a line at each mark.
Step 6: Fill It With Rice and Sew It Shut
You may need someone to help hold the fabric "pocket" up while you add the rice. You could use a funnel, or, as I did, cut a small opening in the corner of the rice package. If you do it over a large paper or something, it makes the cleanup much easier (spilling some rice is inevitable... that or I'm just clumsy, lol). Fill each little pocket about 2/3 full, and pin the opening closed. Then, being careful to keep the rice away from the sewing needle, sew the opening closed at a 3/8 seam allowance or smaller. If you did the "visually consistent" seam method, use the same seam allowance as you did for the other edges, and sew another line near the edge, to match the others.
Step 7: Enjoy the Soothing Warmth!
To warm the rice pack, microwave it for about one minute. This time can be adjusted to suit your individual preferences, but be careful not to make it excessively hot, especially if it's being used by children. Shake it around to distribute any hot spots, and enjoy the warmth!