Fill a tube sock with 4-5 cups or rice or until the sock is 3/4 filled.
At the end of the sock tie a knot and pull tightly so the knot can't come undone easily.
Optional: Add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice. Add a few sprigs of dried lavender or rosemary.
Place the rice filled sock in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. You can also place these in the freezer to make a cool pack.
These are great to put around a sore neck or on the small of a sore back. Also great during pregnancy. Make a few of them and put them on all your sore spots. These are much cheaper than the therapy bags sold in stores and work the same.
Note: Don't let the pack get wet.
By Stella Bella from Manchester, WA
To make a nice heated rice bag, use fleece and make it as big or small as you like. Just put the white rice into the rectangular fleece bag and stitch it up. I'm sure you could also use a tube sock and just stitch up the end. Then you can put it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes to heat it up and put it on sore muscles or arthritis areas. (Also, our Chihuahua loves it to warm up in the winter). The rice keeps the heat for quite awhile and it is also moist heat. We have one rice bag from 15 years/ago that my mom made and it still works great!
I need a pattern for a hot/cold neck pack. Thank you.
By cotygirl from Canada
The quickest way to make a hot-cold pack is by taking a pillow case (made of cotton or 50/50 cotton-poly) then pour in one or 2 boxes or bags of any type of rice. (Minute rice OR regular). Then tie a knot on the end of this pillow case so the rice stays in.
To heat: Simply microwave it to heat the rice up. Usually for 2 or 3 minutes. You can also freeze it. But I prefer to instead use this rice-bag for only heating, then use a bag of frozen peas or corn for cooling. Buy 2 bags of peas & switch them out when the first starts to melt. When you no longer need the frozen peas (or corn) you can eat the veggies. (as long as they stayed frozen!)
I like the way you can take the warm rice-bag with you in the car, unlike a heating pad, this bag is portable!
If you know how to sew, you can turn the empty pillow case inside-out, then sew 2 seams up the middle of the pillow case 1 inch apart, then with scissors cut between the seams so you'll have 2 thin tubes, then fill with rice & knot the ends. If you use a pillow case you will have lots of room to move the rice around for your best fit & comfort. Buy your pillow cases at Second Hand at any Thrift Store or Garage Sale for 50 cents.
---> If they get dirty, simply un-knot the pillow case then dump the rice into a container & wash & dry the fabric then refill with the rice again. Easy, Fast & Cheap... Plus, if you are poor, you can buy the rice & frozen peas with Food Stamps & eat them when you no longer need the hot-cold packs!
* If you want a nice scent, add several tablespoons of Dried Lavender, Whole Cloves or slightly crushed Cinnamon Sticks to the Rice.
I've made heat pads before and had no problem with them, but I do not remember what kind of rice to use. I'm concerned about fire.
I bought Carolina Jasmine enriched Thai fragrant long grain rice (Thai Hom Mali Rice) and Lundberg California white Basmati aromatic long grain rice. Does anyone know how safe these are?
By Marjae from NY
I don't know about the rice, but I do know that deer corn works great. The corn has a moist heat and holds up very well, no worry about fire.
Can I use silica gel beads as filling for a microwavable heat pack? Or, I've heard of glycerin beads, but can't locate them. Any ideas?
By vcates from South Jordan, UT
Hi there! We use men's tube socks or women's knee high socks for heat packs (one of a pair that remains with no holes or tears) and fill with dried white or brown rice or dried barley. Works like a charm and if the sock happens to rip, we save as much rice or barley as possible, boil it up and add it to our dogs' food before starting all over with another stray sock. Can't get much thriftier than that! :) Good luck!
I am looking for instructions for how to make cow corn microwave heating pads.
By Barbara from Haverhill, MA
I found that if you place a small cup of water in the microwave as you heat your rice bag the rice will get that burnt smell and it helps with the moist heat. Also, I made a fleece sleeve cover for my rice bags, it helps hold the moist heat in longer .
Beans, and cheery pits work best, as they are a larger grain and hold their heat longer. Does anyone have any ideas for non-stop use . I injured my back and I am non-stop using my rice heating pads and the microwave heating is slower when you are trying to heat up more then one heating pad.
I thought of setting up a steaming pot on the stove top to set more then one heating pad in so I would have instant heated pads on hand as one or more cooled down. But I'm not sure if that would actually cook the rice or not?
I made a heat pad with rice, but when I first got it out of the micro wave it was sweating. Why?
By Cindy W.
Rice has a moisture content that comes out when microwaved. Lots of people dampen the rice bag before heating so you get a moist heat which is soothing for chest colds and sore muscles.
I saw the cutest pattern for a cold pack for kids that was made like a chicken (it reminded me of the owl patterns you see everywhere). It was so cute. I wanted to make some for my great niece and great nephews who are always getting boo boos. Now I can't find the pattern. Please help me find a pattern and help the kids with their boo boos.
Don't know about a chicken, but I use a Boo Boo Bunny. Instructions are here: http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/boo-boo-bunny-660989/
I stitch the face instead of use the glue on eyes and such so it is okay for the littlest child to use. Use it dry, wet, cold or warm to help whatever the boo boo might be. It holds an icecube very easily and absorbs the water as it melts. Good luck
Tips and ideas for making your own heat pack. Post your ideas.
By Judi in Orlando
Microwave for about 5 minutes--times vary remove.
Then wrap inside a towel or pillow case (05/23/2005)
By Lucie Mclaud
I've made my own. If you can sew a straight stitch on the sewing machine, you can too. Measure the area where you will want to apply the pack. If for example the area is 12 inches by 13 inches, you will need a piece of material 25 inches by 27 inches. You will have about a 1 inch seam. take your material over to your ironing board. With the wrong/inside of the material facing you, fold the 'top' edge of the material down about an inch & iron it flat. Do the same with the 'bottom' edge of the material. Now with the 'right'/outside of the material together, fold the maaterial in half. Pin the short side together, so you will have an envelope effect. Straight stitch the pinned ends. Turn the 'envelope' inside-out. Press the envelope flat. (All this ironing makes the sewing easier as it makes your project lie flat & easier to sew.) Fold the envelope in half & iron it,then fold the half in half again & iron that. Take some pins and put them where the ironed folds are. Go to your machine & sew from the top down to the first corner on your right. When you get to the corner, lift up your pressure foot, leaving the needle in the material, turn the material so you will be sewing along the bottom edge. Sew slowly so that when you get to the place where the pins are in the ironed fold, aso you can swivel the material & after having removed the pins you can sew from the bottom to the opened top. When you get to the top, you now have sewn in a U shape. Swivel the material so that you can go back down on the line you have just sewn to the bottom. When you get to the bottom swivel the material so that you are sewing along the bottom edge until the next set of pins in the middle fold. Sew up & down again & make another U.Now you have 2 'pockets' completed. Do this twice more and when you come to the top on the left side you will have 4 'pockets'.
Now you can fill them with rice. I use Jasmine rice as it doesn't have an old musty smell after a few uses (my rice packs have been in the microwave about 500 times. I've tried adding lavender to them but haven't been able to get the right preportions.) I use the top I've cut off a plastic coke bottle for the funnel. Fill the 'pockets' about half-way full. Carefully lay the pack down so that you won't spill all the rice out. Push the rice down to the bottom of the pack & pin along the top edge of the rice NOT the top of the pack. Use as many pins as necessary so the the rice does not escape & get in the way of you're sewing the final seam across the top. I always make one row of stitching across the top & then make another row of stitching just to make sure. I have wrapped them in a towel on occasion to keep them from getting dirty. But I finally make 'covers' for them. Now stick them in the Microwave & ENJOY. (06/05/2005)
I also use about a half-bag of that scented ground potpourri (for sachets) you can buy at WalMart in the crafts section, per heat-pack. (It comes in lavender and other scents like Gardenia and Cinnamon.) Mix up about 2 cups of the oatmeal with 1-2 cups of the flax, and the sachet-potpourri, and fill about 3/4 full in a long sewn-together tube of fabric (about 30" x 6 or 7" folded in half), then sew ends together.
Microwave for one minute on high at first -- then just 30 seconds to warm it up each time after it starts cooling down within that same hour. I wouldn't live without these in the winter -- and I LOVE how they smell so great too! (11/08/2005)
By Ruth V
BUT, a zillion years ago, an old Italian Grandma helped me out by heating "kosher" salt in a pot and filling a white cotton sock with it. She sewed the top and that was it. Of course now you can heat the sock with the salt in it in the microwave. I never used any scents, just plain old "kosher" salt. (12/31/2005)
We have all seen those microwave heating pads selling in the stores for big bucks, and I always thought "Boy I wish I knew how to make one" They look so easy to make. So my new friend Wendy gave me the "directions" and it is easy enough to do and so helpful to those of us who get cold easily or have sore muscles.
It's pretty easy to make a wheat bag heating pad. All you need is some strong material like cotton, canvas, or tartan, as long as there's no give in it, so it doesn't stretch. Keep in mind, it needs to be pretty thick so when the wheat is heated (and it gets pretty hot) that you don't burn yourself.
Once you pick your material, cut a square about 18" each side and fold it in half so it's inside out. It will be oblong shape. Stitch down one short side and the long side. A sewing machine works best as you need short stitches close together, so the wheat doesn't come out. If you stitch by hand go over it again to make sure the stitches are tight. Next, turn it the right way in so the seam is on the inside. You will need to buy some Flax seed or Wheat. They need to be the whole kernel. Fill the bag about 1/2 way, then stitch the one side that is left, sealing it tight.
If you are handy with sewing, and don't mind a little extra work, you might want to divide the bag into sections, maybe in 4. Put in 1/4 of your seeds then stitch the bag 1/4 of the way up, drop in another 1/4 of the seeds and stitch those in, repeating for the rest, so you will have 4 compartments full of seeds, instead of one big one. Then you will have seeds fairly distributed throughout your hand made heating pad. This isn't necessary, but a great tip.
At this point, if you desire, you can use essential oils to sprinkle on the material for aromatherapy.
You will need to microwave it for about 2 minutes.
* Please note all microwaves are different, so please "test" it a few times for more or less time to see what works for you. Please use caution when first using it, as it might come out of the microwave very hot. It stays warm for a couple of hours. You can also put these in the fridge/freezer if the cold is better for you.
If you want, you can make these any shape you like. For example, a horseshoe for your neck or a heart for a child to hold when going to sleep, etc. You can make these as big or as small as you desire. Just remember that you are going to need as many seeds as it takes to fill 1/2 the bag. Usually about 1lb is enough for the 18" bags.
These heating pads make great gifts for yourself or for others. They can be reused time and time again.
Good luck making yours.
About The Author: Christine Miserandino is a writer, motivational speaker, and patient advocate from NY. Her writing has been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines, medical newsletters and television media. Check out http://www.ButYouDontLookSick.com to read more of her articles, and to receive her monthly newsletter.
Mary Lynn (07/10/2005)
Harlean from AR (03/28/2007)
From Manny in Australia (09/17/2008)
Need instructions to sew hot/cold packs made from dried beans or rice and aromatic herbs for neck or muscle aches. Have some time during surgery recovery to make these as thank you gifts.
Rosemarie from Tampa Bay, FL
I like making small items of this sort out of bandannas. They are easy to work with and there are no raw edges to worry about. You can put rice with a little lavender for relaxation. Fold the bandanna in half and stitch all the way around the open edges. Then fold again and stitch to make your tube then put the rice and lavender inside and close by machine stitching. These can be decorated with ribbon or lace.
You can also use the soft pajama fleece. You can get this in really nice prints and florals. Have someone check the remnant table at the fabric store. Bandannas are about a dollar twenty nine. Some of the dollar stores have several colors of bandannas. Dollar General has a really nice grade of red and blue bandannas.
I have always used these hot. I don't know how the rice will react to being placed in the freezer. Maybe someone else can help with that. (09/03/2007)
I'm going to try corn this year as the rice can really start to smell like, hmmm, well it's just a microwaved dry rice smell. Good luck though, they are awesome gifts. (09/04/2007)
You can make your own freezer pack with regular rubbing alcohol and water (mixed approximately in equal parts) in a heavy duty freezer bag. The alcohol won't freeze, the water will. Play around with the ratio to get the consistency you like. (09/05/2007)
As for an ice pack, take a sponge and saturate it with a 50/50 solution of water and rubbing alcohol. Place this in a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag and place in freezer. The alcohol will keep it from freezing solid and keep it pliable enough to wrap around a skinned knee or whatever. These can be refrozen and reused countless times. They make sponges and Ziploc bags in such cute designs now that you can make really cute ones. (09/05/2007)
Warm them and toss them under the sheet while you are getting ready for bed and you will be snug as a bug when you hit the sheets. My kids keep several sizes in zipper bags in the freezer for ice packs, as they are flexible and hold the cold for a good long while. (09/07/2007)
I use a sock over a sock so I can wash the outer sock without bothering the beans. For bulging disc people only moist heat helps my neck, dry heat will make it worse. If I'm in much pain I use cold first then put the heat on after about 10 minutes of cold. It stays warm for a long time, too. Works great for me. (01/27/2008)
By Sandy B
What can I use to fill a homemade heat pack?
Lori from Ponca, NE
This is definitely unique, and effective. It's available at http://www.saleyaremedy.com (09/03/2007)
If these measurements are followed exactly there should be just enough rice and no extra. Lastly, I folded the raw edges in just enough to catch them in my seam as I sewed the last edge shut. Each heating pad should be about three quarters; full of rice. Three bath towels may be needed for some, as I had no scrap left over. Get the measurements of the towels you want and be sure to do the math before you buy them. Also make sure you get 100% cloth, whether you use a towel or not.
The tea I used was peppermint and chamomile, but any fragrant tea may be used, or none at all if you prefer, it's just to make it smell good. My only other note in making these heating pads is to be sure to have a funnel handy, it is a necessity. This project cost me approximately $24 for 13 beautiful and useful gifts ($1.84 per gift), and I know for a fact it can be done cheaper. (12/18/2007)
I have been using rice with whole clove or cinnamon stick for scent enhancement to make my hot packs. I usually just buy the scrap fabrics that are reduced in price at the fabric shop for mine, so I have a variety of shapes and sizes for all different uses. I'd like to know if anyone has ever tried using the small river stones to retain heat longer?
Often you can find a napkin that's slightly bigger than the others and I use that to make a cover, simply fold in half and sew two sides shut and slip over the sack. These are wonderful gifts. I am a massage therapist and use them all the time on myself or clients. (01/01/2009)
I am going to make some therapeutic bags for heating and cooling muscles and injuries. I plan to use flax seed for filler. What is the best kind of fabric (heat resistant, yet breathes) for me to use as the outer shell?
By Trixee from Phoenix, AZ
Can you use polyester fabric for making the microwave heating bags?