Make your own Rice Heat Pack

Heat Pack

We don’t live in the coldest of climates, but I’m one of those people who is always cold, so a heat pack comes in handy. This heat pack is based on the one in The Crafty Minx, a lovely book I have full of simple, crafty and recycling ideas. It’s great for headaches or a stiff neck and is even nice cooled and put over your eyes on a stressful day.

Heat packs are quick and easy to make and you can add some extra ingredients to your pack to give it an aromatherapy vibe if you like. Use your favourite loose leaf tea, herbal infusion or dried flowers. I’m sure you could also add a few drops of essential oil to the rice too.

The heat pack can be warmed in the microwave or the oven and even put in the freezer to give you a cold pack. See bottom of post for heating instructions.

If you’re worried about it getting grubby, make a pillowcase for it. Cut a square 32 x 32 cm (13″ x 13″), fold it in half and sew one short side and the long side closed. Turn out and hem the opening.

Heat Pack

You’ll need:
30 x 30 cm (12″ x 12″) square of cotton – I used calico
A few cups of rice (regular, not quick cook)
Any aromatherapy goodies you want to add*
Sewing supplies

Fold the fabric in half right sides together. Sew all the way around the edge with a 1cm (3/8″) seam, leaving an opening about 5cm (2″) on one short end for turning and filling. If you’re concerned about the seams breaking and rice covering your house, sew a second line next to your seam within the seam allowance, or overlock the edges. These photos below are from making my bean bag toys.

Bean BagsBean Bags

Clip corners and turn right way out. Using a funnel or a cone of paper (or a teapot – thanks Mon!) fill the bag about half full with rice. Play around with the amount until you’re happy with how heavy and full it feels.

Move all the rice to the other end of the bag. Tuck the seam allowances in and very slowly stitch about 2mm (1/16″) away from the edge. When I get to the end, I turn around and come back, so that the seam is reinforced. Make sure the rice is well away from the seam. You don’t want to break a needle trying to sew through it! (Yes, I did this)

To heat the pack:
Oven – Put the pack in a 120°C (250°F) oven for 5 – 10 mins. Remove with oven mitts and let it cool a little before using.
Microwave – Microwave on high for 1 – 2 mins. Heat further in 30 second increments if it is not warm enough.
Chill – Put in the freezer or fridge for a few hours.

*For my chai bag, I added the contents of a few chai tea bags. For my bergamot-lavender bag, I added the contents of a few earl grey tea bags and some dried lavender.

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  1. says

    Interesting idea to use rice… I’ve always used wheat for my heat bags. My favourite one is made using corduroy from an old pair of pants. It’s so nice and soft!

    After misplacing our funnel I discovered that the teapot from the kids’ toy set is perfect for pouring the wheat in.

  2. says

    I find the smell of hot wheat a bit weird. Apparently you can buy corn from the feed store that’s great for them…stay hot longer than anything else, but I was too impatient to go look for it. I love the teapot idea – I’m going to add it to the post :)

  3. says

    I used to hate the hot wheat smell but I think I’ve grown used to it now, and find it weirdly comforting. It’s the smell of winter… along with an open fire and hot milo. :)

    • says

      Hi Ros, I use the Versacraft cube ink pads. I bought them on ebay from the UK. They’re only 1 inch wide, so you can get a few posted pretty cheap. I highly recommend them! I’ve had mine for a year and don’t use them a lot, but they haven’t dried out. It’s lots of fun stamping on fabric! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with :)

    • Anonymous says

      If you store your ink pads upside down they will last even longer :) This looks like a great tutorial – I need a new one!

  4. says

    I like the teapot idea for a funnel!

    I also like the idea of using Chai. I recently found out that’s the only tea I will drink. It’s so comforting. Thanks for the idea.

  5. Anonymous says

    Never used tea before but now I am for all of my co-workers. Nice and cheap idea for personal gifts for a poor college student.

  6. Anonymous says

    can you use any tea bags for this or should it be a specific kind ? (not flavour wise but like leaves vs other type)

    • says

      you can use any sort of tea, loose leaves or the contents of a tea bag. Just make sure it’s not too powdery that it comes through the fabric or if it’s herbal that it doesn’t have sharp sticks in it.

  7. Anonymous says

    I make a cotton pillow case for mine, since you can not wash your rice bag. Use it then slip the case off and wash it and reuse it again. These can become stinky if you use them a lot.

  8. says

    Thank you!! Im in the UK and Ive just made one with some “Home grown” lavender I dried myself!!! and then done another and added “Jasmine” essential oils to rice!!! (I was a bit worried that the “oil” would come through the material when heated… but No it doesn’t!!! Im Impressed Thank you xx (running off now to make more as stocking fillers for a few friends xx)

  9. Anonymous says

    As I am living in Europe, the traditional way to fill those bags is with cherry pits. The smell is wonderful and because it is woody, it keeps it warm longer. It was told by a friend
    Love whose family is a cherry orchard farmer, the eat cherries by thousands!

  10. Cheryl says

    The comment about the cherry pits got me thinking. Could I use wood chips, cherry or apple, for the fragrance maybe mixed in with the grain? Might help hold in the heat a bit more, too.

  11. Writer Eva says

    We made several heating pads and filled them with flax seeds. The seeds hold the heat a long time and release a little moisture as well. Some were just floppy bags that easily drape over shoulders or on aching hips. Others were made small and had straps attached that closed with Velcro for wrapping around wrists or ankles. These were made for friends who have Rheumatoid Arthritis and helped a lot to ease their pain – especially during cold weather. Extra small “pillows” made with camouflage-printed flannel were appreciated as hand warmers by our grandsons on cold morning walks to school.

  12. Carol says

    Just be careful when travelling overseas customs will take them off you As I have Arthritis I take mine everywhere I argued with the customs fellow when he said I had prohibited goods in my bag I never even gave it a thought It was my favourite one he took as I had made it long enough to go along my shoulders Now I take my hot water bottle
    These are easy to make Great project

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