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DIY Christmas Gifts – Rice Hand/Body Warmers

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Picture of Rice Heating Pad & Hand Warmers Gift

Easy DIY Christmas Gifts – Rice Hand and Body Warmers

Ladies, we are about to begin the coutdown to Christmas. If you are a DIY gift kind of person you should already be planning your projects for this season. One of my most favorite DIY gifts that I have received is my rice heating pad. If you get tension headaches, cramps, achy feet… you name it – this heating pad helps. So I was psyched to see a tutorial on Instructables showing how to make these fab little gifts. I have a ton of cute fabric tucked away so this will be a great project to use it up. Another great thing about this tutorial – my 10 year old daughter has been wanting to learn how to use a sewing machine. So this easy project with all straight seams will be a perfect first sewing machine lesson.

Step 1: Materials Needed for Rice Heating Pads & Hand Warmers

Picture of Materials Needed for Rice Heating Pads & Hand Warmers

Materials Needed:

  • Regular Cotton Fabric
    • about 1/4 yard per heating pad (full measurements are in the next step)
    • hand-warmers each require two pieces of material 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches
  • Snuggle Flannel Fabric – about 1/3 yard per heating pad (full measurements are in the next step)
    • about 1/4 yard for the heating pad’s removable layer
    • hand-warmer’s removable layer require a piece of material 4 3/4 inches by 8 inches wide
  • White Rice – not instant
    • 3 1/2-4 cups of rice per heating pad
    • 4 1/2 to 5 tablespoons of rice per hand-warmer
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins

Step 2: Cutting & Preparing

Picture of Cutting & Preparing

The first thing we’ll need to do is cut out the material. I am using some basic pink and blue plain cotton material for the rice packs. For the outer layer, we’ll use the nice snuggle flannel fabric – and we’ll get to that step later.

For the full heating pad, I folded the plain cotton material in half so I could cut through two layers at once. You’ll need to cut out two pieces of material per bag, 13 inches long by 7 inches wide. Please note that this is not super long and if you want to make a heating pad specifically to go around the neck and further onto the shoulders, you’ll want to adjust this and make it longer than 13 inches. For me, it can go around my neck but it’s not super long.

For the hand-warmers, you’ll want to cut out two layers of plain cotton material 3 1/2 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches high.

Step 3: Sewing the Basic Packs

Picture of Sewing the Basic Packs

Now you’ll need to take the two pieces of material and pin them together if needed and head on over to the sewing machine (or serger). Sew the material together along three edges of the fabric – leaving one side open. See image for clarification. Reinforce the stitches (especially on the large heating pad) to make sure it’s extra strong and won’t come apart! I used both my serger and sewing machine to sew the edges – either one would work just fine.

Once done, you can trim off any excess fabric and then turn the pads right-side out.

Step 4: Filling Them & Sewing the End

Picture of Filling Them & Sewing the End

Now it’s time to fill them up with rice! In my photos, you’ll see that I’m using brown rice in some of the heating pads. Please disregard that – and use white rice! I wanted to get rid of some rice we had and used a bag of the brown rice before getting to the white rice. When heated up, it has a bit of an unpleasant scent to it (although my son thinks it’s fine). 🙂

*Warning: When sewing these, please read the directions fully and be extra careful to not get any rice underneath the area you will be sewing for your final seam. I did this one time – broke a needle and the sharp tip went flying out towards me and hit me. You don’t want to get that stuck in your eye or ruin your sewing machine! Please be more careful than I was!

Filling with Rice

  • Large Heating Pads
    • I filled the large heating pads up with 3 1/2 to 4 cups of rice. I then folded the end seams inward and pinned it down. I also pinned the filled up pads as far down as possible (see image please) to try to prevent rice from spilling towards the area I would be sewing for the final seam.
  • Hand-Warmers
    • I filled the hand-warmers up with about 4 1/2 to 5 tablespoons of rice – then pinned and sewed the seam in the same manner as the large heating pad.

Head over to HollyMann’s post on Instructables for directions on making these DIY Christmas Gifts.