DIY Heat Pack

September 27, 2012 | DIY

I had a belly ache the other day and decided a heat pack would be the only rememdy… except we didn’t own one. Cue sad face.

So I went hunting for a DIY. There are stacks out there, but this one on The Johnston’s blog was what I referenced before I started. You can make so many versions of this once you know how – like not creating segments, adding different oils, or even adding herbs and tea. I decided to give the segmented pack a go, and added lemongrass oil because I had it here with me.

Here’s what you’ll need:

- Cotton Fabric
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
- Scissors
- Uncooked rice (I used 2.5 – 3 cups)
- Essential Oil (optional)

Step 1.
Cut your fabric into two strips about 16″ x 7″ (40 x 18cm). With right sides together, pin and sew 1.5 cm (5/8″) in from the edges, leaving a small gap of around 5 cm (2″) on one edge.

Step 2.
Trim corners, turn your bag right-side out and use a pencil to push out the corners from the inside. Iron.

Step 3. (optional)
Measure and mark out your bag into 4 equal sections along the length. You want to sew these dividing lines, but not right to the edge – leave around 2 – 2.5 cm (~1″) free on each end. Sew each line. I also then ran a top-stitch around the edge (quite close to the edge), but still leaving the gap open.

Step 4.
Pour your rice into a bowl and add a few drops of essential oil. Mix.

Step 5.
Using a funnel (if you don’t have one, make one from paper), gradually fill your bag with rice. If you decided to go for the sectioned bag, it will take a bit of work to feed the rice equally into each section.

Step 6.
Once your bag is as full as you’d like it, fold in the open edge of your hole and top stitch it closed.

Step 7.
Once you’re ready to use it, put the bag in the microwave for up to 2 minutes and enjoy! OR you can keep it in the freezer for a cold pack :)

*Note: Some blogs I read recommend putting a glass of water in the microwave with the heat pack to stop the rice burning. Also never leave the heat pack in the microwave unattended, and be very careful removing it from the microwave as it could be quite hot.

 

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46 Comments

  1. love this diy as i’m about to have a baby and there’s a million pain associated with that! i only wish i had a microwave, because after a quick search it’s apparently a fire hazard to heat something like this up in the oven :(

  2. ffadmin

    Oh that’s a shame! I can imagine that when you’re pregnant you need to make life as comfortable as possible! But yeah, I wouldn’t recommend putting the pack into the oven unfortunately :(

  3. We used a rice sock during labor. I wish I had made this pretty thing instead!

  4. Beautiful DIY!

  5. Another great tutorial, thanks! In my youth, we had heat packs made of cherry pits. And we would put them in a little cavity (called cavette!) especially built for them in the tile heater.

  6. This is lovely! Normally heat packs are so boring, and what you really need is something pretty (and functional) to help take your mind away from the pain.

  7. I love this. I too love my heat/cold rice pack. Your DIY has inspired me to make another. The only thing I might change is to use a towel. The one I have now as made this way by a friend and the towel just makes it so cozy! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Nooooo! Do not put a cup of water in with it! I make these for a living and rice cannot have water in with it! It becomes too moist and the rice starts cooking then moulding! If your worried about burning them stop it half way and wriggle the rice around and resume. No water! You usually do this with wheat bags but rice moulds too easy! I also instruct mine to be heated on a plate to keep it clean and away from moisture residue from food on the microwave bottom!
    Also, I do one side cotton one side corduroy so when it’s first out if the microwave you can use the corduroy side and as it cools use the cotton side to keep up the warmth!

    • ffadmin

      Ohh, thanks so much Lila! That’s great advice, I’ll be sure to mention it above too. I also love that you do one side corduroy, what a great idea!! :)

  9. Kerri

    Love this. I have a store bought version. The only thing I would add that I love about the store bought one is handles. Long ones so it’s easy to apply heat to your back or shoulder or tie together for a knee.

  10. PattyQ

    I have one made out of a sock monkey sock… I love it.. it wraps around your neck and feels so cozy…. my granddaughter wants to sleep with it every time she spends the night with us. Its also got lavender buds in it and smells heavenly!

  11. Judy G

    I have made these and love them. I also put handles on them to make it easy to get out of the microwave. For Christmas one year I gave them to my grandchildren with their names on them. They love them, use them most every night.

  12. [...] there’s a definite chill in the air these days! Craft your own home-made heat pack to keep you [...]

  13. These will make great home-made Christmas presents!

  14. Sarah D

    Love this! It would make a great Christmas, Mother’s Day or other holiday gift :)

  15. Love this! Great idea for Christmas presents. Can’t wait to try. Have one daughter pregnant and one runs alot….perfect!

  16. Kristin

    For Rachel, I read on another tutorial that you can boil a pot of water, cover it with the lid and then place the pack on the lid to get warm. You would just need to make sure to keep it out of the line of the steam release valve if there is one on the lid. You could also go the double boiler method and put a bowl over the boiling water and put the pack in that to absorb the heat. These obviously take longer to get it warmed up, but will work if you don’t have a microwave. Good luck!

  17. What is the best way to care for these? How long do they last? Can you keep putting them in the microwave every day no problem? Thanks for the tutorial!

    • ffadmin

      Hi Jessie,
      From what I’ve read, there are a few things you can do to care for these bags. Firstly – put them on a plate in the microwave when you heat them. Also many suggestions around the web are to put a glass of water in the microwave with the heat pack when heating (however a reader below has suggested not to do that). As far as I know it should last for a few years, and there shouldn’t be any problems heating it everyday (however, keep an eye on it while it’s in the microwave – never leave it unattended). Hope that helps!

  18. Thanks! I made them! You can see mine here: http://imake2.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/heat-packs.html

  19. LMC

    Finally after years of use, my rice became too hot last night and began to burn (horrible smell). I just wanted to add that I heat mine (i have many) just as i am leaving the house on cold mornings to place in my lap in the car until the car heater becomes warm – - alternating my hands from the steering wheel to the hot pack! Also I go to bed with one each night in the winter….. you don’t wake up hot like you would if you fell asleep with an electric blanket left on too high.

  20. Joanne

    I have made many of these over the years, but use corn instead (“cow” corn from the grain store). They can last quite a long time.

  21. [...] going to keep warm with a homemade rice pack made from recycled flannel PJs. This tutorial does a good job in showing how to divide up the bag [...]

  22. Wanda

    I recently made these as a fundraiser and used corn. they are amazing for pain. I used corn from the feed store in mine and it works well. We raised a lot of money in the hours we had our table set out. (all for a cancer charity). I wish we would have put handles on them. That is a great idea! WE sectioned ours after it was put together, but only because we were in a hurry and forgot. Still it was easy to do with pins.
    I agree do not put water in the microwave with rice. You do not want moisture in the air with the rice. I do add a cup of water in the microwave of I am heating leftover bread. (but that’s another story.

  23. Gina

    Thanks for the tutorial, I did a quick search online and found a few results, but picked yours to follow as it and your whole website all looks soo lovely, and is now a favourite site :) just finished mine and about to heat it up for the first time!

  24. You can you flaxseed too. I made one filled with it, and it’s great.

  25. [...] these things…worth having a microwave just for these… DIY Heating Pack – via pinterest These would make really nice gifts!  19 DIY Spa gifts – [...]

  26. [...] pattern I used for the DIY heat pack is from a great Australian craft blog called Fellow Fellow. It’s very easy to follow and has lots of lovely pictures like the one to the left. (On a side [...]

  27. Jerica Hansen

    Can the essential oil be substituted for just regular dried lavender??

  28. Arlene

    Remember, very important, to use long cooking rice, never quick. It will burn and stink to high heavens. I,ve made these for everyone I know over the years and find the best fabric in the scrap bins at fabric stores, pay next to nothing and get the best bits. Soft Disney prints fot kid etc. Enjoy, easy, little pillow of comfort.

  29. Thank you for this tutorial! I am going to make one for my daughter – and have linked to you on my site – http://alittlebirdmademe.com/2013/10/04/friday-finds-a-list-of-diy-gift-ideas-for-a-9-year-old-girl-with-links-to-tutorials/

    • ffadmin

      Thanks Theresa! Have fun making one for your daughter! :)

  30. Tamara

    I have made lots of these using flax seed. I had also heard about rice, but corn is new to me. Thanks for all the advice and suggestions in the comments.

  31. Mary Burry-Ndwiga

    I’m just wondering if I can use green coffee beans…. now, before everyone starts telling me how expensive it would be, I live in Kenya and we grow coffee so I spare a few kg. I have heard of people using cherry pits as well.

    • ffadmin

      Hi Mary! Wow, how cool that you’re from Kenya! We were only just there on holidays a month or so ago :) I honestly don’t know whether green coffee beans would work… Perhaps try microwaving a few on a plate to see what they do first? I’m sorry I can’t be of much help!

  32. Alex

    Thanks so much! I’ve made one and it’s a life saver during that time of month, and for muscle aches after sport! Lovely :D

  33. […] Heat Pack […]

  34. […] Full DIY Tutorial at fellowfellow.com  […]

  35. […] I followed the tutorial here: http://fellowfellow.com/diy-heat-pack/ […]

  36. Juanita

    Awesome thank you for the inspiration! I it a cold and snowy day today, just got back from picking up all the tuned and waxed ski’s and snowboards and felt like I had a need for a heat bag. Have been saving a couple of old pairs of jeans to make them and voila! Cut the legs off sewed them and headed out to our bin and got some corn to fill them. A farmers wife must be frugal! Gonna put everyone’s name on them so there is no squabbling! Thanks again!

  37. Pam S

    Great site! When you sew the sections, you say stop about 1″ from the edge. Do these just stay open? Does the rice go from one section to the other? Not a big deal, just didn’t quite understand that step. I see you do a top stitch all around. So that step should be done, also?

    • ffadmin

      Hi Pam, yeah the sections just stay open to each other, so the rice goes between them. You could also close them off if you wanted. I top stitched, but it’s up to you if you want to or not… it was easier to close the hole that way ;) Good luck!

  38. […] are a number of various tutorials out there for heat packs. I used the one I found on fellow fellow as a starting […]

  39. katja

    Love it. Great tips in the comments! I had the problem with rice that only needeed 10min to cook, and they are done, in one minute microwave… i must find other rice and hope it stays dry. Love it for my muscles (i have a muscle desease, SMA).
    I m going to make a few as gifts!

  40. Pam S

    Thanks so much for the instructions…I’ve made 2 already, and we just love them. Better than paying $20-$30 at a craft show!

    Going to send one to my daughter in Australia minus the rice! too expensive! She can just get rice, fill it and sew the small opening. She will love it. This is what she missed from home (USA).

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