How to Make a Rice Heat Bag

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 163 Posts
February 2, 2011

Warming Rice BagsThis simple little bag can help relieve anything from minor pain to major pain. Simple and easy to make and use and with the harshness of cold weather it can alleviate pain associated with arthritis. Consider making one for someone who needs pain relief. Makes a wonderful Christmas or birthday gift for young or old.


Approximate Time: 20 minutes



  1. Cut a piece of material 15 inches long by 6 inches wide.
  2. Turn it to the wrong side and start stitching from one corner almost all the way around.
  3. Leave one small side open for stuffing. (I normally sew this twice to ensure the rice doesn't come out.)
  4. Turn the bag inside out and run a stitch through the middle. Leave about 3 inches so you can pour the rice in each tube like area.
  5. Start filling with dry rice and fill until about 3 inches are left at the top. Turn the ends of the top over and stitch it together.

Heating instructions:

With everything safety comes first. Only use a microwave to heat the bag. Do not put the microwave on longer than 3 minutes.

If hot to touch allow to cool or wrap in a towel. Apply to areas that hurt for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Doctors usually recommend 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.


If you smell the rice you probably have the temperature too high. Take it out immediately.

These make wonderful gifts for older adults who suffer aches and pains regularly. They are much safer than a heating pad.

Rice bags can be made in any size or shape. Smaller ones are used for headaches and earaches. Larger ones are great for back, arm and leg pains. Some Ladies like them during their cycle to help relieve the cramps.

Enjoy making a small gift that can last a lifetime if taken care of.

Do NOT put in water. If it needs to be cleaned use a vacuum cleaner to clean it. If you are really obsessed with cleanliness put it in a pillowcase or make a cover just slightly bigger than bag and cover your bag.

You may want to make one in several sizes to keep on hand for yourself or family. Enjoy the comfort of warmth in painful areas.

By gem from VA

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 7


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 249 Feedbacks
February 2, 20110 found this helpful
Top Comment

This is one of the projects I use old denim fabric from the legs of worm out blue jeans for. I make them in all sizes, even very small ones that fit inside gloves or mittens. They are wonderful under the covers at the foot of your bed before you get into bed. They will do the job of pre-warming your bed for you, and I love climbing into a nice snuggy-warm bed on these very cold winter nights.


If you make a large one, put it on the floor under your feet (take off your shoes) and work at your desk. A 20 pound bag of rice can be purchase for $3.99 sometimes, and 20 pounds of rice will make a lot of rice bags. I also keep a medium sized rice bag in a Ziploc plastic freezer bag in the freezer for hurts and bruises that require a cold compress. Just be sure to push all the air out of the freezer bag to reduce the chance of moisture in your rice bag.

If you take care of them, they'll last years. I do make little pillow cases for them which can be washed. Flannel is nice for this.

Great project for sharing. Many people will thank you. Thumbs up.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Comments

5 More Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

July 30, 2020

Do you ever get done with a long day of work and have an achy neck and shoulders? If so, then this is perfect for you!


This heatable rice sack is quick and simple to make and it's also fun and relaxing to make.

Heatable Rice Sack For Your Neck - finished rice sack

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 4, 2008

How do you make herbal heat and cold packs with rice or feed corn? Does anyone know of easy patterns for these?

Beverly from Fall River Mills, CA


By kddid (Guest Post)
April 4, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Every year I make home made Christmas gifts. I try to see how little I can spend. I bought 25 lbs of rice from a Chinese store. At Wal-mart, I bought little finger tip towels. Folded the towel length wise.


Sewed the long edge and one end, put about 3 cups of rice in, sewed the end up. I had less than a dollar in each gift... Every one said this was the best gift yet. And they last for years.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 4, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I just use cheap white rice in a new tube sock. I close the end with a rubber band- tightly. We have some we've used for three or four years. I guess you could add essential oil in a favorite scent- I will try that. We make pretty big ones so it can take two or more minutes to heat up nicely in the microwave.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Lori (Guest Post)
April 5, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use a tube sock filled with rice and tied in a knot. I have one that is stuffed pretty firm for my neck and one that is looser for my forehead. I have frequent migraines and have found these heat packs invaluable.


I keep them loose enough to be flexible so I can position exactly where I want.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 5, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I made these with my Brownie Pack and the girls loved them. We then sold them and they were a hit. Remember to use long grain rice and not minute rice or any fast cooking rice. You can also add a drop of essential oil to the rice to give it a very pleasing aroma. When the scent disappears, just add another drop of essential oil right to the bag.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 5, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I make these all the time for myself and as gifts! I use flannel fabric, purchased when it is on sale. You can make them any size you want; square, rectangle, u-shaped (to fit around your neck), even 18"-12" and quilted in three or four sections to hold the rice in place.

Use newspaper cut in various shapes to find your desired pattern. Once you decide on how big and what size, cut out the flannel. With flannel pieces right side to right side, sew a 1/4 " seam around all four sides, leaving a 2 inch space or so on one side open. Turn inside out and fill with the cheapest plain rice you can find (Sam's Club sells it in 50 lb bags.) I also add some dried lavender, so that it doesn't smell like baby cereal when cooked. (I use a funnel to get the rice and lavender in)

I fill them about 2/3 full, so that they have some give and can adapt to whatever body part you're using them on. After filling, just sew closed the hole. I store them in plastic zip-lock bags, to keep out the dust/freezer smells and keep in the fragrance.

Microwave heating time depends upon the size -- anywhere from 3-4 minutes to 10 minutes. Each night I heat about 3 -4 large bags and use them to warm up the bed so I don't have to put my cold feet on my husband! (He is very grateful!)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By herb (Guest Post)
November 28, 20081 found this helpful
Best Answer

In order to hold the heat for longer periods of time You will need to include flax seeds - I use 2lbs for 40 lbs of rice, other ingredients should include 1lb each of lemon grass, spearmint, ground cinnamon, peppermint, lavender if you like the smell betetr than the mint smell. The mints are the ingredients that give the herb bag the "bengay" feel and help with the healing process. A spritz of water before the micro creates a deep moist heat. My bags are top of the line, and last for years.
If you need to order herbs try Attar Herbs.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
Answer this Question

January 4, 2005

I wanted to make a heated Rice bag. Does it matter what kind of Rice I use? And can I add dried herbs in with the rice? I heard about using kitty litter instead of rice, just the regular clay litter? Thanks!



By Ginger. (Guest Post)
January 4, 20051 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use the cheapest River Rice - Aldi's has a big bag very cheap.

I've made them from plushy hand towels....from tapestry place matts (fold in half for a big square one).....from washcloths - to use at work when my fingers ache.
You can even use a big old athletic sock and tie a knot in it once you fill it with rice...its great to drape around you neck or to wrap around an elbow or knee...

Reply Was this helpful? 1
January 6, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

try flax seeds- the oil content makes it stay warm longer :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Lynn (Guest Post)
January 7, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use bird seed for filler instead of rice. Costs less and is much smoother. It also stays warm much longer.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Sara (Guest Post)
January 7, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

To combat the price factor, try buying your rice in bulk. Regular long or short grain rice sells in bulk here for about 26 cents per pound.

2 Kitchen towels sewn together is my rice bag and I often scent it with essential oils. Lavendar is the most soothing and is also okay to use in contact with skin. Some are not, so be careful. I also have one I used while in labor with my last child that was scented with dried herbs.

Rice bags are the ONLY thing that combat my chronic migraines. They can be heated or frozen.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Diane (Guest Post)
November 23, 20071 found this helpful
Best Answer

Long grain white is better than brown rice, which has lots of powdery residue. I put a thin knee high sock as my first bag then put that into a second sleeve. This really helps keep small pieces from coming out as the bag ages. Also if your bag is long you may want to stitch dividers to keep the rice from all pooling to one area. I'm an RN and made my first rice bag about 15 years ago after attending an Infant Massage Class, during which the rice bag was talked about. We were also told to heat the rice 30 to 45 min in the oven at 250 degrees or so to keep it from absorbing moisture. Do add scent because the rice does not smell great without it. The bags are great for pain relief.

Reply Was this helpful? 1

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
January 15, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I find the cheaper the better!... Why pay for top quality number one rice when you can buy the "seconds", that's rice with broken off ends... That's the "generic" rice that comes in larger bags, sold in grocery stores, usually on the bottom shelf. It tastes just the same as high grade, name brand rice, but if you look closely, you'll see the bits of the grain are broken off & each rice kernel isn't whole.

* I've found that the cheapest place to buy any type of rice is in a "Ethnic" Store... If you have a local Chinese/Japanese store or an East Indian store, they usually sell rice in very large bags. In fact, in Seattle, we have a Japanese/Chinese grocery store where the rice is one-third to one half the price you'd pay in the grocery store down the block from it!

* Many other whole grains work equally well... You can use wheat & many other grains other than rice! In fact, when my partner is suffering & needs a bit of warm, moist heat, I simply fill a clean pillow case with whatever whole grain we have around the house. Then tie a piece of yarn around the end to seal it up. I then warm it in the microwave it for him to use, then later when he's finished with it, I'll put the grain back in the jar or box it came out of & use it to cook with... It taste's as good as new!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

February 13, 2012

I was making a rice bag and was wondering if I could use the Success white rice, also called "boil in bag"? It says it's precooked, but it's dry, so I wasn't sure if I could use it. (To cook it to eat, it says to boil the bag for 10 minutes.) Can I use it for my rice bag?

By Danielle

Answer this Question


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 4, 2008

Uncooked rice retains heat and cold well. It can be useful for applying cold or heat to injuries.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
In This Page
Crafts FabricApril 24, 2019
Pest Control
Mother's Day Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2023-04-14 23:09:46 in 6 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2023 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.