Got 30 minutes, some rice, and a little fabric? Then you’ve got a great homemade gift for just about anyone on your list.
These rice pads can be made in many different shapes and sizes. They can be microwaved to ease aching muscles, or frozen to combat swelling and boo-boos. They work as hand warmers, foot warmers, and – as my family’s recently learned – crib warmers so baby doesn’t have deal with cold sheets!
Start with a length of fabric. You can use just about any size, but for this tutorial, I’m using a piece that measures 4 inches in width and 25 inches in length. This gives you a 2 foot long heating pad, which is about the right length for wrapping around the shoulders, knees, or elbows.
Iron your fabric, then fold it in half length-wise with right sides together. Pin it along the bottom and side. Leave the top open. That’s how you’ll get the rice in!
Next, sew along the bottom and side. This should create a sort of sack. You’ll then turn your sack inside out so the right side of the fabric shows. Push out the corners with your fingers or sewing scissors, then check your seams to make sure there are no holes (otherwise you could have a lovely surprise when you try to fill the sack).
You’ll need about 3/4 cup rice for each section. If you want to scent your rice, now’s the time. You mix a few drops of essential oils into the rice before you fill the pad. This way, the pad will release the scent each time it’s heated. Try chamomile or lavender for stress relief, or citrus or peppermint to energize. Cinnamon and vanilla are also great Christmas-y scents!
Using a funnel to fill your pad makes less of a mess, but I couldn’t find mine, so I used a measuring cup.
Once you’ve got your 3/4 cup rice in, use your hand to push the rice all the way to the side. Pin the rice into place. You don’t want any of it getting under your sewing machine’s needle.
Then, sew a line straight across the fabric on the outside of the pins.
Repeat this for each section. For a 5 section pad, you’ll make each section about 5 inches long. I usually eyeball the sections, but you could be super fancy and actually measure…
On the last section, you’ll need to close your bag. Roll the top down and inwards about 1/2 inch. Pin together, and sew across the top. You can even serge the top closed after that, just to make sure it holds.
Cut all the loose threads, and you’re done. Time to wrap it up and give it to a friend!