Aches and pains happen in life. When they do, having a reusable heat pack in the house is a great homemade solution.
These homemade heating pads are simply squares of fabric filled with rice. A soft yet sturdy fabric like flannel or fleece works the best, and filling them with rice makes them a little squishy and flexible. To heat them up, you just zap them in the microwave for a couple minutes and they’ll hold their heat for almost an hour.
We’ve used this type of heating pad for years – and we love them!
You can make these heating pads in any size or shape you want, but I’ve put together some instructions to get you started that are a size that has worked well for us. This pattern uses a rectangular piece of fabric that can either be folded up the short way to make a square pad, or folded the long way to make a long tube shaped pad (good for around your neck!).
Here’s how to do it:
HOMEMADE FLEECE AND RICE HEATING PADS
You Will Need:
Piece of flannel or fleece large enough to cut a 9″x18″ rectangle
Scissors and Straight Pins
4 cups of Rice (the long grain variety – NOT Minute Rice)
1. Cut a 9″ x 18″ rectangle from your fabric.
(Note: I cut a 9″x18″ piece of newspaper to make myself a pattern, however you can use the cutting method you prefer).
To make the tube shaped heating pad . . .
2. Fold your rectangle in half the long way, with the right sides of the fabric together. Pin together one of the short sides and the long side.
3. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew the short side stopping 1/2″ before the end, pivot, and continue sewing down the long side. This will leave you with one short side still open.
4. Snip off the extra seam allowance material in the corner to reduce the bulk which will make the finished corner look nicer once the piece is turned right side out.
5. Turn the tube right side out.
6. Fill the tube with the 4 cups of rice. (A funnel can be helpful for this step.)
7. The last seam will show on the outside which is why it’s best to use a thread color that blends in with your fabric. Fold the raw edges in and pin shut. Sew the opening shut stitching very closing to the edge.
And that’s it!
To make a square shaped heating pad, you’ll use this same method with just a few adjustments.
– You will fold your 9″x18″ fabric rectangle in half the short way instead.
– After sewing the first two sides, I found it helpful to press under the raw edges of the opening with an iron before filling it with rice. For the tube shaped pad, it’s a small opening and more manageable to deal with. For the square pad it’s a much bigger opening and pressing the edges under first really helped.
– I also pinned half of the opening closed on the square pad before I filled it with rice.
– You’ll probably also find that once the pads are filled with the rice, they’re more awkward to deal with when sewing the last seam. I propped mine up on an upside down bowl so it wouldn’t flop around as much.
To use the heating pads, heat in the microwave for one to two minutes. (Three minutes is usually too much and too hot to have on your skin.)
Need an ice pack treatment instead? Check out these 5 ways to make a DIY Ice Pack
Don’t sew? Check out these instructions for a No-Sew Cover for a reusable heat pack or ice pack.