How to Make Rice Bag Hand Warmer

    by C.K. Wren

    About the Author

    C.K. Wren graduated in 2001 from Utah State University with dual degrees in history and technical writing. She has written extensively for Demand Studios as well as several magazine publications.


    Pocket-sized hand warmers are perfect for keeping your fingers toasty on cold winter days. Sew up a pair using scented or unscented rice and a small amount of any fabric you like. Put them in the pockets of your little sledders or snow fort builders, and make some extra sets to give away as thoughtful homemade gifts. Rice bag hand warmers are reusable and heated by simply putting them in the microwave.

    Things You'll Need

    • Fabric
    • Scissors
    • Straight pins
    • Matching thread
    • Sewing machine
    • Rice
    • Scented potpourri oil or dried herbs and spices
    • Funnel
    • Sewing needle

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    How to Make Rice Bag Hand Warmer

    Cut two 4-inch by 4-inch squares of fabric. Place the two squares together with the right sides of the fabric facing each other. Pin the layers together along all four sides.

    Sew along three of the side edges using a short straight stitch on your sewing machine and leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Sew the fourth side edge but stop when you reach 2 inches from the end of the seam.

    For oil-scented rice, add approximately 1 teaspoon of oil to a pound of rice and mix together until the rice is coated.

    For herb-scented rice, mix one pound of rice with approximately 3 tablespoons of fragrant dried herbs. Lavender and rosemary are good choices.

    Pour scented or unscented rice through a small funnel into the bag through the gap you left in the fourth side seam. Use a small funnel to make the job easier. Stop when the bag is three-quarters full.

    Turn the remaining open edges to the inside of on the bag and sew the gap shut by hand using a needle and thread.

    Place the bag in the microwave to heat it up. The first time you heat your rice bag, try a medium high setting for about 30 seconds. Add another 10-20 seconds at a time until the rice bags get as hot as you desire. Put your new hand warmer into your pocket. It should stay hot for about 30 minutes.

    • Any kind of rice can be used for this project.
    • Flannel is an especially good fabric choice because it is soft, thick and warm.
    • Use a short stitch length to prevent rice from poking through the side seams.
    • Sew loops of ribbon into one corner of the rice bags so you can hook them over your fingers and warm your hands when you don't have pockets.
    • A larger version of a rice bag hand warmer is useful for soothing aches and pains.
    • Always check the temperature of the rice bags yourself before giving them to children.