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.
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*
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.
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.