This heating pad is sectioned so you can easily store and use it for a variety of aches and pains.

DIY Rice Heating Pad

Christa Hester
September 04, 2015

Rice isn’t just for eating. It’s also for drying out wet cellphones, separating salt, making jewelry and art, and – my favorite – soothing sore muscles. Instead of spending a ton of money on some fancy heating pad thingamajig, make a rice heating pad at home to use after a hard workout, a long day, or when you’re just feeling icky. 

I’m not a skilled seamstress – in fact I’m not a seamstress at all, but I was able to make an adorable paneled heating pad (pictured above) by following this tutorial from Abbie Sanderson, creator of The Green Wife blog, as best I could. And hey, if I can do it, so can you!

Here’s what you’ll need:

● Sewing machine
● Scissors
● Fabric marker
● ½ yard flannel fabric
● 4 ½ cups uncooked rice
● A teaspoon of essential oil(s) of your choice (I used tea tree oil and lavender)The only thing I had to go out and get was the fabric and fabric marker.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Wash and dry fabric.
2. Cut fabric into two 19”x8” pieces.Cut your flannel into two rectangles.

3. Pin pieces inside out.Pin your cloth together inside out.

4. Sew the pieces together, leaving one short side open (the top). Start sewing an inch into the top with a ¼” seam allowance. Continue around fabric until you return to the top edge. Stop when you’re about 1” into it again. Does that make sense? If not, I outlined what I’m talking about in red in the picture below.Sewing into the top an inch on each side will tell you where to fold the edges in when you finish.

5. Cut diagonally across all four corners without cutting into your seam.Cutting the corners will make the edges more defined once you turn it outside in.

6. Turn fabric right side out, make corners nice and square, iron fabric, and topstitch along edge. Top stitch around your piece.

7. Starting at the bottom seam line, mark fabric into six 3” sections using a chalk pencil or fabric marker. Somehow, I lost an inch (don’t ask me how), so I made five slightly larger panels.I only had a measuring cloth on hand and it made measuring a bit difficult.

8. Put rice in a large zip bag and add about a teaspoon of essential oil(s). Shake well.Mix in your essential oil(s).

9. Dump ¾ cup of rice/oil mix into heating pad.Pour in 3/4 cup rice mixture.

10. Use something heavy to dangle heating pad over the edge of a table. I used my full Hydro Flask. Pin the rice back about ½” away from your marked line. Stitch and repeat for all six sections.Use gravity to keep the rice at the bottom while you pin it back.

11. After filling the final section, fold in the ends and topstitch.The final product should be 18”x7”. It took me about two hours to complete this heating pad. (I'm a slow sewer.)

To use your heating pad, simply stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds – two minutes. Don’t leave it in too long or the rice will burn and give off a funny smell. You can also use your heating pad as a cold pack. Just stick it in the freezer for a few hours. The final product can be rolled up and tucked away for easy storage.

In a bind and need a heating pad, like, right now?

  1. 1. Get a clean sock.
  2. 2. Fill about halfway full of rice.
  3. 3. Tie the end in a knot.
  4. 4. Zap in the microwave for 30 seconds – two minutes.
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