Sew Your Own Heating Pads

Cyndee Kromminga
Sew Heating Pads

If you are recovering from surgery, have bumps and bruises or occasional aches and pains, a heating pad helps to soothe those pains away. Make your own simple heating pads filled with rice that can be heated in a microwave. If you have a budding seamstress in the family, a rice bag is a wonderful project for teaching sewing basics. Try making pads with pretty fabric, or create a quick version with a sock.

Fabric Heating Pads

These instructions are for both a neck heating pad and a back heating pad (pictured above). Make one or both to have on hand when needed. If different sizes are desired, adjust the measurements of the cut pieces.

Things You Will Need:

  • Cotton fabric: for the neck pad 1/4 yard, for the back pad 3/8 yard
  • Measuring tape/ruler
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cup
  • Rice (not instant): 6 cups for the neck pad, 4 cups for the back pad

What to Do:

  1. Cut two 9" x 25" pieces from cotton fabric for the neck pad. Cut two 13" squares from cotton fabric for the back pad. These will form the cases of the pads.
  2. Place paired pieces together with right sides facing and pin the edges. Sew the pinned edges using a 1/2" seam allowance and a small stitch length. Leave a 4" opening on one short edge of the neck pad case and any one edge of the back pad case. Turn both cases right side out through the openings and press.
    Sew the cases.
    Sew the cases.
  3. Fold the neck case in half, matching the short edges. Press to crease. Fold in half again in the same direction. Press to crease. Fold the back case in the same way, matching the edge with the 4" opening with the edge opposite it. Unfold the cases. You will have four identical sections creased in each case. The edges with the openings are the top edge.
  4. Insert a funnel into the top edge (opening) of the neck case. Pour 1 1/2 cups rice into the funnel and shake it down to the bottom of the case. Pin both sides of the case together at the first crease above the rice. Sew across the case on the crease line using a small stitch length. Add another 1 1/2 cups of rice and stitch across the case at the next crease line. Continue for the final two sections. Sew across the entire top edge to close the opening and finish the edge. Repeat the process with the back case using one cup of rice for each section.
    Fill and sew the sections.
    Fill and sew the sections.

Your heating pads are now ready to use!

Sock Heating Pad

Dig through your unmatched sock box or purchase a pair of novelty socks to make a sock heating pad. This project is quick, easy and requires minimal sewing.

Sock Heating Pad

Things You Will Need:

  • Knee-high sock (adult-size)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • String
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cup
  • Rice (not instant), 2 cups
  • 1/4" wide ribbon (optional), 2/3 yard

What to Do:

  1. Cut off the foot of a knee high sock just above the heel. You now have a tube.
    Cut the sock.
    Cut the sock.
  2. With right sides facing out, measure in one inch from one end of the tube. Sew across the sock at this measurement. (It's a good idea to sew over this seam twice just to be sure that it's secure.) If you want the ends gathered, tie off the end with string.
  3. Insert a funnel into the open end of the tube. Pour two cups of rice into the funnel and shake it into the tube.
  4. Repeat Step Two on the open end of the tube.
    Fill and close the other end of the tube.
    Fill and close the other end of the tube.
  5. If you would like to add a little embellishment to your sock heating pad, cut two 12" pieces of 1/4" wide ribbon. Tie the ribbons over the seams on the ends and tie into bows.

How to Use the Finished Pads

Follow these heating and cooling instructions for both types of heating pads.

  • Heating - Place a heating pad on a microwave-safe plate. Heat at full power in 30-second intervals until the pad reaches the desired warmth. When warm, squish the rice around a little to get rid of "hot pockets" inside.
  • Cooling - These pads can also be used as cold packs. Simply store them in the freezer and they will be ready at a moment's notice.

Care Package Gifts

Make sets of rice bags for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts or add them to care packages for neighbors and dorm-bound students. Sometimes the simplest gifts are the most thoughtful and you will be remembered every time they are used.

Sew Your Own Heating Pads