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Homemade Heat Packs

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These Homemade Heat Packs are easy to make, with just a few supplies, are inexpensive and make great gifts too!

Homemade Heat Packs

While these Reusable Heat Packs are easy to make and use, there are some questions that need to be answered –

What should I use the rice heat pack for?

  • The homemade heat packs can be used for sore muscles, when someone is not feeling well or even to warm up on a cold night.
  • You can add Essential Oils like lavender or peppermint to the rice before filling the heat pack, which not only makes them smell good, but also helps to calm (lavender) and helps with colds and breathing when you are sick (peppermint).

Who should use the heat packs?

  • Making your own heat packs with rice makes them very user friendly for any age. The concern with an electric heating pad is they are not recommended for everyone.
  • The heat packs are great for athletes, people who workout, gardeners – really anyone can use the reusable heat packs.

How should you use the homemade heat packs?

  • These DIY Heat Packs are made for the microwave. Heat for 1-2 minutes, shake gently and apply to area that is needed.
  • You can also place the pack in the freezer and use as a cold compress.

Reusable Heat Packs

What should I use to fill the homemade heat packs?

  • Long-grain rice is the preferred filler, be sure it’s NOT instant rice.
  • However, you can also use other grains like beans, corn, wheat, barley, or millet.
  • Dried Cherry Pits have also been used as filler.

What should I use to make the homemade heat pack?

  • Cotton fabric is best to use. It can be found at any fabric or craft store, and some discount stores like Walmart.
  • You can also make the heat packs using white muslin and then make a sleeve that the heat pack slides into – making the heat pack easier to clean.

What size should the heat packs be?

  • Any size will work. The ones I made are 5 inches x 8 inches after they are filled.
  • Rectangle size works great for wrapping around your neck or knee.

Homemade Heat Packs Supplies

Homemade Heat Packs Supplies

  • Fabric – cotton works best – the fabric I used were fat quarters that I purchased at Walmart. Any fabric or craft store should have or any fabric by the yard works fine too. I found that it was super easy to cut the fat quarters since they were already the length I wanted. I got 3 heat packs from 1 fat quarter.
  • Long Grain Rice – be sure it’s not instant. You can also use other grains for the filling like beans, corn, wheat, barley, millet. Cherry Pits are also another alternative for filling.
  • Essential Oils – this is optional, but I like them. Using lavender essential oil gives a calming feeling and using peppermint is good for when you have a cold.
  • Sewing Machine
  • Cutting Mat (optional)
  • Rotary Cutter (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Funnel (not pictured)

How to Make a Heat Pack

How to Make a Heat Pack

How to Make a Heat Pack

  1. Cut fabric. Any size will work. Determine your finished size, then double the LENGTH and add 1/2 – 1  inch for seam allowance. These are cut – 6 inches by 18 inches – making the finished heat pack 5 x 8 after sewn and filled. A cutting mat and rotary cutter works great, but you can also use a ruler and scissors.
  2. Fold fabric in half with right sides together
  3. Using a sewing machine, sew around all the sides. BE SURE to leave about 2 inch opening for filling
  4. Turn heat pack right side out and iron seams
  5. Use a funnel to fill with rice. Fill about 3/4 full. For this size of heat pack, I used 1 (3) pound bag of long grain rice for 3 heat packs.
  6. Pin the opening closed
  7. Using a needle and thread, stitch the opening closed
  8. I found it easiest to sew several heat packs at once, repeating the steps for each heat pack at once. So – cut all the fabric, then sew, turn, iron, fill, stitch closed.

DIY Heat Pack

Giving the Homemade Heat Packs in gifts is a great idea! You can add lotions, games, movies, snacks and more to a gift basket along with the heat packs. Having a few reusable heat packs ready, you can easily put them together with some chicken soup, crackers and other items for a friend or family member when they are not feeling well.

Homemade Heat Packs

When you make these Homemade Heat Packs or any of my other recipes or projects – I’d love to hear what you thought, leave a comment below in the comment section or tag me on Instagram with #simpleeasycreative so I can see them!


  1. Julie Hill says:

    Do you wash and dry the rice first to get rid of the rice smell?

    1. Hi Julie, I didn’t wash the rice, but you certainly can.

  2. Tyler Elgelbrack says:

    How much lavender oil do you use, and when do you add it, straight to the rice and mix it up or something?

    1. Hi Tyler, just 2-3 drops of the lavender oil is good. I would add it to the rice and mix it together before adding the rice to the heat pack.

  3. Hello is this for one heat pack? Great idea for Christmas gifts! Thanks

    1. Hi Christel, you can make as many heat packs as you like. The measurements are for one heat pack, but you can make them any size you like. The size of the fabric will determine the amount of rice that you add.

    2. This note comes from personal experience unless you are going to keep the rice packs sealed in a plastic container when not in use please chose an alternate filler as the rice will attract little black bugs .

      1. Thanks for mentioning that CeeCee, I have not had that issue. It’s a good thing to know.

      2. I had bugs and weevils pop up in rice, oats and flour. A tip I learned on cooking show online – to kill weevils and bugs, before storing in my pantry, I freeze rice, flour, oats, any grain for 48 hours. Once removing from freezer, let grain get to room temp and air out before storing so you aren’t storing sweating grains. Apparently freezing for 48 hour duration kills any natural larvae in the grains. Haven’t seen a weevil or bug since using this method.

  4. Janeen Lemke says:

    I love these. I make them a size that will fit within mittens, and I have used both long grain rice and whole corn. We live on a ranch and do chores at some very cold (think below zero) temperatures. Dressed in multiple layers, about the only part of us that gets cold is our hands, which we must take in and out of our mittens to open gate latches, place halters on horses, etc. Being able to then plunge our hands back into the heated mittens is a luxury. 🙂

    1. What a great idea Janeen! I love that! I remember having some hot hands for cold baseball games, and loved them!
      Thanks for sharing!

    2. Maria Fehr says:

      What fill have you found effective?

      1. Hi Maria, I’m sorry I’m not totally sure what you are asking.
        The Heat Packs in this post are made with rice, I have found that to be the best.

  5. Stephanie Lash says:

    Did you put directions on the tag if giving them for a gift?

    1. Hi Stephanie, yes I think that is a great idea!

  6. Donna Martin says:

    about how much rice did you put inside and and many drops of essential oil?

    1. Hi Donna, the amount of rice will depend on how large the bag is. These bags are about 6 x 9 inches and we added enough rice to fill them 2/3 full.
      The easiest way to tell if you need more or less rice is to fill them and then lay them out, if they seem too full remove some rice or if they are too flat then add rice.
      I added the essential oil to the rice before filling. 3-4 drops is plenty.

  7. I know I’m probably being dense, but what are fat quarters? Also I’ve had these before, but never made them. Mine were made using soft flannel. I really like the idea of using muslin on the inside and then making a slightly larger cover that can be washed. Thanks for the great directions and ideas.

    1. Hi DeeAnne, FatQuarters are a fold of material. They are basically pre-packaged fabric that is cut and wrapped, ready for you to purchase, you don’t need to ask for fabric to be cut.
      I bought mine at Walmart, but you can also find them at Hobby Lobby and any fabric store.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Kristyn Merkley says:

    These are so helpful and make the perfect gifts!

    1. Thanks Kristyn! I love giving the heat packs for gifts! Everyone always appreciates them!

      1. Hi I am a big fan of these heat packs, very costly when you buy them. How long do you heat for 3 minutes?

        1. Hi Carol, I heated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, then shook the pack. Reheat if it’s not hot enough for you.

    1. Thanks Erin! Our heat packs get used a lot!

  9. Good idea! I love all the different fabrics!

    1. Thanks Jaide! I had fun picking out the fabric and making the heat packs!

  10. Tara Kuczykowki says:

    These are so amazing for sore muscles and achy joints!

    1. I agree Tara! They come in so handy!

      1. And for headaches… which I get pretty often. From my neck all the way through my eyes. They are my savior with the pain.

  11. Liz, seriously?! This is the coolest thing of all time! I have big time lower back problems and I am always alternating ice packs with a heating blanket but it is such a hassle because there is no plug close to my bed. What an awesome idea, totally going to ask a family member to make some of these for me!

    1. Thrilled you like them Billy! They are fabulous for back problems! I visited the Chiropractor twice a month, so my heat packs definitely get used a lot.

  12. Aimee Shugarman says:

    Easy enough for even me! These would make a great stocking stuffer 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s a great idea! Stocking stuffers can get so expensive!

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