You can ease your aches and pains with this simple method to make your own heating pads and ice packs.  A ziploc bag filled with rice comes to the rescue when you need heat, and a ziploc bag popped in the freezer filled with a water and alcohol mixture saves the day when you need an ice pack.

I received a rice filled flannel heating pad as a gift several years ago.  It works great!  But to make one of those you need a sewing machine and basic sewing skills.  I wondered if I could come up with a way to duplicate that by using a piece of flannel and fabric glue to create a sleeve to hold a filled ziploc bag.  Here’s what I came up with and it works perfect!

First, let’s look at the fillers.

Heating Pad
Quart size Ziploc Freezer Bag
3 to 4 cups of regular rice (not instant)

The Ziploc brand bag I used is microwavable.  If using a different brand, make sure it is microwavable. Fill the ziploc bag with the rice.  You want the bag to be about half to three quarters full.  Place the bag on a microwave safe plate and put in the microwave.  Leave the bag open a bit to vent.  Heat for 1 to 2 minutes.  Be careful when removing from microwave – it will be hot.  Zip the bag up completely. You can wrap this in a towel to use, or you can try making the fabric sleeve in the instructions below.

Ice Pack
Quart size Ziploc Freezer Bag.
1-1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup Rubbing Alcohol

Put the rubbing alcohol and the water in the ziploc bag and seal.  Put in the freezer.  Within a few hours you should have a nice slushy mixture.  (This is a 1 part alcohol to 3 parts water mixture.)  Wrap in a towel or use a fabric sleeve as in the instructions below.

Fabric Sleeve
11″ x 20″ Piece of flannel or other soft material
Fabric Glue – I used a brand called Unique Stitch

1. Lay the piece of material right side up on your work surface.  Run a line of the fabric glue along each of the long edges of the material stopping at the midway point.  Use your finger to spread the glue out to the edges.

ice pack glue

2.  Fold your piece of material in half (right sides will be together) and press down along the glued areas to seal.  Let set for about an hour until the glue is dry.

ice pack fold

3.  Turn right side out. This is your “sleeve”.

ice pack turn

4.  Run a line of the fabric glue around the top unfinished edge and fold over to hem.

ice pack hem

5.  I also glued some velcro circles to the top edge so there is a way to keep the sleeve shut.

ice pack velcro

6.  For a heating pad, insert your ziploc bag filled with rice that has been heated in the microwave.  For an ice pack insert your ziploc bag that has been frozen with the alcohol and water mixture.

ice pack filled

Now if after all that you are still not feeling crafty, you can always resort to a tube sock!  Check out the link below for a super quick way to make a heating pad.

Turn a Tube Sock into a Heating Pad

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