DIY Microwavable Heating Pad ~ Easy Sew!

Heating pads are amazing for muscles and backs that are sore from working out, sleeping wrong, or tweaking something.  It’s always nice to have several around your house for unexpected needs!

DIY Microwavable Heating Pad | The Happy Housewife

Prepare your house with a supply of DIY Microwavable Heating Pads with this easy sew tutorial!  Most people will be able to create their own in less than an hour even if you aren’t an expert seamstress.  Plus, these make for fantastic homemade Christmas gifts!

I chose a scarf shape for these DIY Heating Pads as they can be used for all ages and sizes and will easily cover body parts while staying in position.

Supplies for Microwavable Heating Pads

  • 7-1/2″ x 40-1/2″ rectangle of cotton
  • 7-1/2″ x 40-1/2″ rectangle of flannel
  • thread
  • measuring tape
  • iron and ironing board
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • 9 cups of uncooked rice (4 pounds)
  • 6 drops essential oil – I used lavender.  You might also consider cinnamon bark or frankincense.

DIY Microwavable Heating Pads 1

Directions

  • Iron all the fabric.
  • Pin the cotton and flannel rectangles with their right sides together.

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  • Arrange the pinned fabric so that one of the 7-½” ends is in your right hand.  This is going to be the end where you’ll start sewing.  But don’t start sewing at the top. Arrange the fabric so that you start sewing 1-½” from the bottom corner.  (See image below.)
  • Back stitch and then begin sewing at this point ¼” from the edge.
  • Turn that corner and continue sewing all the way around the rectangle until you come back to that end.  STOP sewing 1-½” from what would have been the top corner from where you started.  Back stitch to lock that thread in place before finishing.  (See image below.)

DIY Microwavable Heating Pads 3

  • This will leave about a 4 inch opening in the middle of that end.

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  • Clip the corners of the fabric so that the “corner” fabric comes within ⅛” from the stitched thread on the corner.  This will reduce the amount of fabric in the corner so it will be a sharper finished corner at the end.

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  • Pull/roll up the fabric like a sock and then pull the right side out.  Push out the corners carefully with the end of the scissors.  Be sure not to poke the scissors through the fabric.

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  • Find the center of the top long edge and mark this with a pin as seen below.

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  • From the center pin, use the tape measure to find 6 2/3″ from that point in both directions and mark with a pin.  Then measure out 6 2/3″ again going left on the left pin and going right on the right pin and mark the new measurements with a pin.  There will be a total of 5 pins on the top.  Repeat this on the bottom of the rectangle with another 5 pins.

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  • Now to prepare the rice.  In a large measuring cup with a spout, place 1-½ cups of rice and one drop of essential oil.  Mix thoroughly and pour the rice into the rectangle.  The spout on the measuring cup with make it easier to get the rice into the opening.

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  • Hold up the rectangle with the opening at the top and the rice will fall into the bottom section.  This will not seem like a lot of rice compared to the compartment size that has been pinned.  But this amount will easily allow you to sew that compartment closed.  This amount of rice also makes it easier for the heating pad to conform the shape of your neck.
  • Fold up the rest of the rectangle and place it to the right of the bottom section of rice.  This will make it much easier to handle while sewing.

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  • Sew shut the first section with a straight stitch from the top pin to the bottom pin as shown below.

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  • Mix another 1-½ cups of rice with a drop of essential oil, add to rectangle, move rice to the bottom, and sew shut with a straight stitch from the top pin to the bottom pin of that section.  Repeat for all areas except the last one where the opening is to the rectangle.
  • Before adding rice to the last area, iron the opening so that the edges are folded in and ready to sew shut.

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  • Mix and add last 1-½ cups of rice.  Sew the end shut with a straight stitch from the top to the bottom making sure to back stitch at both ends.
  • Trim all threads and your heating pad is finished!

A bonus about this heating pad is that it has built-in sections to fold it when storing!

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How to Heat Up the Heating Pad

All microwaves are different.  You’ll need to experiment to see what settings you need to use to get the heating pad warm and cozy without overheating the rice.  The rice can burn upon overheating.  DO NOT add water or get the heating pad wet before microwaving.  This can lead to serious steam burns.

For this size heating pad, I start with 60 seconds on high, which is often warm enough.  If it’s not quite right, add 15 seconds on high until reaching the desired toastiness.

Since this makes for a great homemade gift, be sure to check out all of our Homemade Christmas Gift ideas here!

About Beth K

Beth K. loves watching baseball, singing karaoke, baking, and eating new foods. She is a homeschool mom of 6 kids ranging from toddler to teen.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Comments

  1. Are you using one side of cotton material or actual cotton?

  2. Very good instructions. I have been teaching how to make these and people can not believe how great these “ouchie” rice bags can really work to make the person feel better. Great pictures. The only thing I have found to be better is I like the option to laundry the bag. So I make rice bag the same way but in muslin, then pretty bag sleeve over rice bag with an overlap, like a pillow flap on the back.

  3. You can also use men’s athletic tube socks as the liner & then make the removable cover.

  4. I recently had a serious leg injury and needed a heat application during the healing process. I recently learned about Pinterest and found your wonderful “heating pad” pattern. It works just as the doctor ordered. Thanks.

  5. I have fibromyalgia and I have been using a heating pad when my muscles heat. I had heard about the ice bag but had no directions to make it. Nice gift ideas also.

  6. Why do you use flannel and cotton? Why not two sides flannel? Or two sides cotton? The bags I make now I use muslin for the bag and flannel for the envelope “pillowcase”. But they’re just rectangle, no divisions. I like yours, but you don’t state the reasoning behind part flannel, part cotton?

  7. I have been making these for years as gifts. The first year I used flannel inside and out. With ends turned over and inserted a rope type for handles or hanging. Now I use terry cloth or micro fiber hand towels or dish towels. No more cutting. I have made them in team colors and use ribbon as the ties/handles. They make fabulous gifts for family, friends, neighbors, teachers, co workers, etc. They had replaced the potholder/towels but now I am doing both. Lol.

  8. These are lifesavers for people with arthritis and fibromyalgia.
    Joy @ Books and Life

  9. I made some and my daughter had an accident in the just got requiring me to wash it, how do I get it properly dried out again? Don’t want a mushy pad, or is it ruined!? Thanks in advance!

    • As long as you use cold water it should not be a problem with the rice as we all rinse it before cooking!

  10. Thank you so much, been looking for this for ages as winter is starting in New Zealand and the aches and pains are on the way, hahaha! But what I will do is sew a long bit of tape on each end so my husband can tie it in front of his neck, that way it won’t fall down!

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