i’m not a super mom. in fact, i’m pretty sure it’s an oxymoron or the opposite of a double negative, or something that cancels itself out. most days i’m just doing what has to be done, making sure my babes have what they need and praying that everything else falls into place.
but there is one other thing i take very seriously…. that my kids feel loved. everyday.
it would be easy for this task to become overwhelming, but luckily my kids have taught me that it’s the little things that matter. just one act of love goes a looooong way.
this winter my default has been just about anything warm and cozy. letting them eat breakfast by the fireplace, adding an extra blanket to their beds, a hot cup of cocoa after being outside, a warm towel to wrap up in after tubs, or….
… reheatable hand-warmers to pop in their pockets on the way to school. so cozy.
(continue reading for the DIY instructions)
- a fat quarter (or more) of this fabric or whatever fabric you have laying around the house (or a new design HERE)
- fabric scissors
- pinking shears (optional)
- sewing machine or needle
- long pins
1. using fabric scissors, cut the pattern from our spoonflower fabric OR cut 2-3/4 inch squares from your choice of fabric. you’ll need two per hand warmer.
2. place two squares of fabric wrong sides together and stitch a 1/4 inch seam around the outside, leaving a 1-1/2 inch opening and backstitching in the beginning and end. (if you don’t have pinking shears, place fabric write sided together, sew as instructed and then turn right side out.)
3. fill 3/4 of the way up with rice.
4. using a long pin, block the rice from falling out of the opening and sew closed.
5. using pinking shears, trim the edges…. it will keep them from fraying.
to use, warm up int he microwave for 20 seconds (or so), but make sure they aren’t too hot before handing over to little hands!
i also thought it would be fun to make some extras to give as love day gifts and made a little insert to include. you can download it (HERE).
so, i shared a couple of my little tricks, but would LOVE to hear about little things you do to show your kids you love them! let us know in the comments below.
xo . rae
P.S. – Just added a new oversized version of these hand warmers HERE and would love for you to check them out.
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These are awesome! Where did you get the fabric from? I love the fabric!
from our collection on spoonflower here: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/1692835
What kind fabric did you use to make these?
I used spilt peas and the warmth only last for 3 minutes about. I dont have rice is there anything else i could use? Would oatmeal work
You can also use deercorn
I’m pretty sure you can use flaxseeds.But I’m not hundred percent.
use cherry stones
cherry seeds are great for this
would quinoua work instead of rice?
hmmmm… i have no idea! sorry i don’t have a more helpful reply. XOXO, rae
Is there anything I can put inside so that it wont stink?
hmmm – not sure… maybe rosemary?
I used wheat berries for tactle play with my kiddos, I bet they would work. i made a bean bag one, turned out great, and yes I agree with the lavander. just crush the lavander buds and mix thoroughly before you pour it in the pocket.
Lavender is a very common addition to rice heating pads.
I’ve been using jasmine rice.bit pricey but sure smells good
I use field corn in mine but it may be too big for these little hand warmers. Some people use flax seed. They say it has a better smell. Any of the grains will have an oder. It dissipates with time.
I know that lavender works…
If it was me, I would put in a little Lavender.
I have some of those and they work well. Also make sure that all friends who walk dogs have them.
But one caution: use 100% cotton fabric only. Poly/cotton blends will catch fire in the microwave. This caution is in case you are using scraps from around the house.
… excellent point … don’t forget to use cotton thread as well …
When I have made these before I added dried lavender to them. I bet a little essential oil would work too! I make mine big for heating pads. Some are long and skinny to wrap around necks. Nice work on these little ones! So cute!
Wouldn’t the essential oils stain the fabric over time?
I don’t particularly care for the way the rice smells either, so that is a good idea putting
a scent of rosemary or special oil.
You can also use shucked corn, which can be found at co-op and around deer season to fill the hand warmers. Works the exact same way. Difference is smell. I prefer the corn over the rice but now living in the city its a might harder to find. Love love the idea.
Was just wondering, how long does the heat stay with these?
Is there any other grains/herbs that you can use in these? BTW, these are adorable!!
Hi Crystal! The only grain I’ve used is rice. That being said, I think people have shared other ideas in the comments if you have a second to browse? Pretty sure you can add lavender or essential oils to make them smell pretty too. XOXO, Rae
You should not use rice or any grain for warming. Once it’s heated,it’s cooked, and will grow bacteria. This is why the smell get worse. Also a fire risk. Also a rodent magnet. You won’t want to find mice in your kids pockets! Use small gel packs instead.
Sorry but that’s not true. My grandmother made these and I still have one and still use it. Once the corn or rice is heated the bacteria is killed. The grain is not “cooked” it drys the moisture out of it. The smell goes away after the first few heatings and as long as you use 100% cotton for the fabric its perfectly safe to heat. This type of “heating pad” has been used for generations. They used to lay them in an iron cooking pot close to the fire to heat them up and take to the fields on cold mornings.
You have to use long grain rice not instant. I find it doesn’t cook. Also I make a small muslin bag and fill that with the rice then make a removable cotton cover so you can take the cover off and wash it. I have also used barley or ground, dried corn cobs available in the pet department.
Wrong! If sealed they are safe and rodent free unless your house is swarming with them. Do not wash, use a few drops of essential oils on the rice before filling and they will hold the fragrance each time heated for quite awhile. These are so easy to make if they become dirty throw away and start again. I have a rice bag made with a tube sock tied in a knot for years! It’s still works well, I just slip it into a small pillowcase each time and wa-la clean and smells nice.
I have severe back pain, and my daughter filled a tube sock with rice, tied a knot and warmed it up in the microwave. It produces moist heat, and is the only thing that helps when my meds aren’t helping. I have used it for 3 years with no problems. Great for warmth AND pain relief!
“voila” not “wa-la”
I have used my rice bags (rice and an old clean sock)months at a time with no problems. The rice does not cook, it warms nicely and produces moist heat which is great for joint pain and aches. I pitch it and fill up another sock when it gets dirty. Stays warm a long time too.
I really enjoyed this idea :D
You’re quite creative.. Although I’m thinking of adapting the hands warmer to an adult. A friend of mine is moving to England and this would be a really good gift ^^
At home I only have felt and some fabrics my grandma gave me (she can make clothes) so I’m not sure if they’re 100% cotton $:
Should I compare with any pieces of clothes that I have and know they are 100% cotton or better not risking and buy it myself?
You can always take a small swatch of the fabric and test it with a candle, anything synthetic will melt. You dont want to use thise
This is a great idea for golf tournaments. Keeps your hands warm while you play golf.
Corn and Rice Bags have been around for years with no problems. It might depend on the climate you deal with. Make them and enjoy.
What type of fabric did you select from Spoonflower?
Flaxseeds are wonderful for this, too, with a bit of lavender.
I also use flax seeds. I like the way they feel in your hand and I think they maybe hold the heat longer too!
That’s what I said to.
Cinnamon is great too to cover up a smell you can also use cherry pits they’re a little bumpy though
I use cherry pits in my heating pads…they hold the heat longer than grains. You can get clean cherry pits here: http://www.cherrypitstore.com/
Is there a specific type of rice I should use?
Just not instant as far as I know. It cooks when heated in these.
How long do they stay hot?
It’s difficult to say how long they stay hot because when you’re using one, there isn’t really a point where they go from hot to cold. They stay sort of warm simply because you have them up against your body. I’ve used them for up to an hour before re-heating, though. It’s kind of hard to answer how long definitively. Sorry! ;)
Hi. I want to make these as Christmas gifts. I am considering purchasing the printed fabric from Spoonflower, but I wondered how many finished hand warmers you get from a “fat quarter” of fabric?
hi kelly! you get at least 12 or more depending on the type of fabric you order… i like to use the linen cotton canvas. xo
Thanks so much. :)
How many handwarmers can u make with yards?
Rae, Could you edit your pattern to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy <3 Day" and "Stay Cozy Friend" instead of "Stay Cozy Valentine"? I love the design still, but would like to use them as Christmas presents instead.
hey jess – i made a more wintery/christmas version and added to my spoonflower shop: http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/3761404
i also made the pattern a little bigger. xo . rae
Wow, this looks like a fantastic idea – and so simple. I’ll think about making these for Christmas presents!
Oh my, this tutorial is so incredibly cute!! I love it!!!! I think I’m gonna make some of these as Christmas present, they’re so adorable!
Indiellie | Bloglovin’
I have taken those socks that no longer match anything to make bigger heat packs. This way I am recycling into something useful. They work great for foot warmers when you crawl into bed at night, to wrap around your neck or on an arm or leg. My kids each have one now and mine don’t come up missing as often.
Please please help. I am wanting to purchase the material of yours for the hand warmers, but need two questions answered first. Which material did you use for the warmers in the photo? I see that you like the linen cotton can peas in a comment, but is that what you used?
Is the linen cotton canvas able to be microwaved? I see there were comments that it has to be 100% cotton or would catch fire. Can you tell me if yours were able to be microwaved? Thank You
100% cotton, silk, wool and linen are naturally fire retardent. So mixing any of these fabrics does not reduce this. I would not recommend silk for this project as it is delicate and will not withstand repeated heating.
Extra note – silk is 100% bug resistent (any bug) so if you are bothered by mosquitoes, midges or bed bugs when traveling, cover yourself in silk and use a sleeping bag liner.
Synthetic fabrics are made from various types of plastic and will melt and/or stick to the skin when heated. These types of burns are nasty as the plastics melt into the flesh. Temperatures vary depending on the type of plastic.
Mixing natural and synthetic fabrics reduces the fire retardency and increases the melting possibility.
I want to make these as favors for a baby shower. But I’m wondering, does the fabric include the printed valentine saying? Also, if I’m wanting 50 warmers, how much fabric would I order? I love the design! Thank you
My littles would love these! But we don’t have a microwave, is there any other way to safely heat them?
you can dampen the cover and warm it in the oven, but keep an eye on it.
If you have a fireplace, you can dampen it, put it on a rock, and place the rock about 8 inches from the fireplace. Don’t leave it for long though because they can get really hot!
I have made many of these, in larger form,for neck warmers, feet warmers, making sure there is a sewn divider so the rice does not always go to one end. LOVE these.
In the past I made scented trivets. Scented rice with an oil, generally cinnamon since they were Christmas presents, and filled them. BIG hit with the recipients. I’d guess that an oil like that would work for these too. Was wishing I had one for my frozen feet right NOW! LOL
Try using wheat. The lady I work with makes neck warmers. I have washed mine (in a pillowcase in case stitching come undone) dry for a short time in dryer and then hang over chair to finish drying. Puts a little moisture back into wheat so it heats up good again
what does “trim” the edges mean? could you post a follow up video of this or something please? (clearly, im crafting-deficient)
you are too sweet christina! not sure if i’ll get a video tutorial up anytime soon (sorry!) wish i could. trim just means cutting off the edges so they look clean – if you have (or know someone who does) pinking shears that’s even better because they will keep the fabric from fraying :)
hope that helps! xo . rae
While I love this idea and plan to make a few hand warmers, I wanted to comment on your kid-raising philosophy – I think that your kids probably feel very loved. everyday. your philosophy is beautiful and so spot on! Thanks for the reminder that a single act of love/kindness goes a long way – for your family, for your friends, for complete strangers.
Would flannel be a good idea to use? Is white rice acceptable? if I were to put a type of cinnamon oil in the packets, how much should I use and how should I put it in? these Warmers are a cute idea.
I disagree with Carole’ s statement. I have used these for years for pain therapy. RICE has been the main filler. No bacteria growth, etc. I would rather my family use these home crafted packets than those commercially made, containing unknown ingredients (toxins). In my opinion, reusable is a smarter choice.
I made one and followed the instructions to the tee but when I put it in the microwave it got hard and smelled……is it supposed to expand and get hard? Like did I do something wrong? To long in microwave I put it in for 40 seconds…..or wrong rice? When I cut it open and spilled it’s guys every where it looked like rice crispy treats cerial. Please someone tell me if this is normal and if it isn’t how do I fix it?
hey kristen… did you use instant rice? that’s the only explanation i can think of.
What a lovely idea! I have a large version that my mom made for me years ago. It is filled with whole wheat berries. Works great!! My husband and I take our warm bags to bed almost every night in the winter to warm our feet. Works better than a hot water bottle!
I have added lavender to mine in the past but it seems the lavender is more prone to scorching. Once scorched, it always stinks. I’ve added flax and/or soy (for fill, I guess) but I don’t think they enhance the heating. Be prepared to toss when they don’t smell good anymore. Bulk rice is CHEAP.
great! I could never do that mine I made out of a t-shirt and hot glued it closed, then put in microwave for as long as you want BUT WARNING, hot glue MIGHT melt
Would i be able to use felt?
I have made heating packs and sinus packs that have lasted years. If you do get mice, it’s true that they may get into your heating packs as they will get into any grains, they are just hungry. Adding herbs and eventually essential oils really adds to the soothing quality and pleasure of these packs, and it will help repel rodents and insects as well. I use flax as the filler and the herbs of my choice with a drop or two of essential oil. Yes, the essential oil needs to be replenished at times, and yes it will stain the packs, but I haven’t found it to be a big deal.
Is there anyway that I can order this fabric by each square as big as a pillow. I want pillows like this it´s soo perfect!!!!
I was wondering if I could put a cinnamon stick in the pads to make them smell better? Or is essential oil the only way to go?
I haven’t done these hand warmers but I’ve done larger heating packs. Flax seed is my favorite and you can add lavender or whatever you want. I would recommend using oils instead of fresh though cause it started to burn after a couple times in the microwave.
Someone mentioned that they put lavender inside of these to stop the smell of the rice but the lavender it started to smell bad? Does this happen, and if it does, what can I use to take away the smell of the rice inside?
Someone mentioned they put lavender in with the rice but it didn’t take the smell away. Does this happen? If it does, what else can I put in the warmers to take the smell of the rice away? I really want to make these, but I want them to smell nice!
Put your rice on a bag with any essential oil I like peppermint shake it up so it coats the rice let it soak it up for a day then put it in your Warner’s
Really cretive. I like it! :-) How many times can I use these?
Could I use flannel, or would this cause safety issues in the microwave?
i think flannel will work but maybe do a test version and try before making them all in flannel? :) xoxo
Are these microwaveable?
yes but they only need 10 seconds or so.
I wonder if river rock pebbles could be used.
This is seriously the cutest DIY that I have ever seen and is such a genuis idea as well. I actually just purchased hand warmers today at the store – to bad I didn’t find this DIY before my shopping trip because I could have just made these!
Rae | Love from Berlin
Is there a no-sew option? Wondering if those iron-on strips would work?
not sure an iron on would be strong enough to hold considering how much the warmers are handled… anyone else have a no-sew suggestions?
Rae, which fabric do you recommend? This idea is terrific!
Great work done. Thanks for sharing!
I love these type of warmers. I had someone make me one a few years ago for Christmas. I have used it for kid’s injuries but never thought about using it for hand warmers. What about using it as a seat warmer when I am out in the cold watching my son play baseball in February and March.
Victoria @ http://valfre.com
Thank you for this awesome idea and tutorial! I couldn’t wait to make a few of my own. They are sew much fun to make, I couldn’t stop at just a pair! Check out my blog post, Happy Handwarmers to see what I did! Thanks again!
I use coarse grainy salt .First put into a muslin bag and insert into your pretty cotton outer bag.Salt retains heat and nosuch fears as mentioned by some above.Yiu could add lavender to the saltand some essential oil as salt tends to hold aroma better.Just my experience.Hope it helps others.
For a better smell many peoples use flax seed and they say it’s work great. But I’m not sure if the fabric or cotton works best. What do you think about this?
Can you use sand
I use wheat but always put a cup of water in micorowave
I have made these many times !!!
I use TAPIOCA pearls! You can find them at the grocery
Store by the pudding mixes. Not all grocery stores carry
Them. But you can heat and reheat with no smell !! Just
Don’t hear too long…
I have so far made 2 of these I just used white rice and some rosemary and lavender flowers it smells so nice They are so much fun to make, good one Rae
Thank you Lisa… I need to try that next time! xo, Rae
We’ve featured this cool creation on our Facebook page – check it out!
Thank you so much for this lovely tutorial! Will be making my mom these for Christmas TO try and combat her bad circulation!
HI i was wonder if i could use flannel, and how i can test it with a candle.
how long does it last warm
I wonder how difficult it would be to make these waterproof?
Love these! Do you wash the fabric before cutting and sewing?
no because they don’t get washed after they are made :)
why make them if your going to use gel packs
I’m really new to the life of a DIY mum but I was just wondering what rice I should use? Is it basmati or what? Please reply soon, Mary.
THEY WORKED GREAT!
I used a lavendar essential oil and they smell amazing!
Amazing DIY project Idea.
They are super cute !!
what a cool idea to make with my little pieces of spoonflower design proofings :p Thanks to the author for this great idea
Wow… it’s awesome… I love the fabric
free test answer to your question. -KitGuru
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Awesome, Thanks for sharing.
hello,I love your site and articles so much,good job.
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What type of fabric did you use to make these?
these hand warmers are fun to do at home. After 7 days of Quarantine, I am now trying these hand warmers.
poiut dee stant
Very cozy and cute hand warmers <3
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I love your fabrics design and making method, I will try for making it with the help of your informative post. thanks for sharing this helpful article.
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So much creativity, thank you for sharing with us.
Gift Idea Geek
These are so cute! What a clever way to create reusable hand warmers!
Would cornmeal work also?