Homemade Heating Pad – Beginner Sewing Projects

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Sore muscles and joints are a part of life – even the simple life. Today on Beginner Sewing Projects, we are going to show you How To Make A Homemade Heating Pad! A homemade heating pad is perfect for relieving minor aches and pains, and it’s easy to make. The secret to our DIY heating pad is rice. Uncooked rice can be heated and reheated easily in a microwave. It holds a mild heat that can be placed on the skin for relaxing relief over an extended period of time. The heating pad was designed to hold a 32 oz bag of rice. This size can typically be found for $1.00 or less. Use 100% cotton fabric for this project since it will go into the microwave. Quilting cotton is typically 100% cotton and available in a wide variety of colors and prints. We should note that you’ll want to refrain from adding any metal closures or hook and loop to the heating pad. These would not be good to put in your microwave. For safety reasons, it should only be made of 100% cotton fabric and rice. This sewing project is super easy to make and will quickly become one of your most-used sewing projects for relaxing after a long day.

heating pad top photo

This easy sewing project can be made in about 20 minutes. I made some for myself and some for the kids. Once they started playing sports, these homemade heating pads have seen regular use in recovery. You only need a few basic sewing supplies for this project. Gather what you need from the list below and lets get started!

How To Make A Homemade Heating Pad

Supplies

Floral fabric, sewing clips, magenta spool of thread, hand sewing needles, rotary cutter, cutting mat, bowl of rice

For this simple sewing tutorial, you’ll only need some 100% cotton fabric as it is safe in the microwave and won’t melt. You’ll need some rice for the inside of your heating pad to hold in the heat. You’ll also need some basics like sewing clips, scissors or a rotary cutter and mat, a turning tool or pencil, and I added a funnel to this list because it makes it easier to fill your heating pad with rice.

Rice hand warmers use the same concept and many of the same steps to make them. A matching set of hand warmers and a homemade heating pad would be thing to include in care packages.

How To Make A Homemade Heating Pad

Step 1 – Cut Fabric to Size

Teal floral fabric laying on cutting mat with rotary cutter and ruler

The first step in this homemade heating pad sewing tutorial is to wash, dry, and iron your fabric. This will act as a preshrink and will help keep your stitches from pulling out of you need to wash the heating pad later on. Then, cut the fabric to 7″ x 20″ with a rotary cutter and cutting mat or scissors, if you prefer. If your fabric has a print, keep in mind that the rectangle will be folded in half. In other words, the center of each half will make up the center of each side of the heating pad. A burst of flowers is shown in the center of the example. Just be sure to position your fabric so that the pattern will look how you want. If you aren’t using a patterned fabric, it doesn’t matter.

Step 2 – Fold Fabric in Half

Teal floral fabric folded in half with sewing clips holding open end

Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, with the short ends meeting. Clip or pin to hold it together.

Step 3 – Sew Together

Sewing machine stitching teal floral fabric

Now on this how to make a homemade heating pad sewing tutorial, it’s time to break out the sewing machine. To sew this, you will make two lines of stitches. Beginning one inch from the corner of the short sides where the ends meet, sew to the corner with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Once you have done that, lift your presser foot, and continue sewing down the side and off the fabric at the bottom.

Inside out rectangle of teal floral fabric sewn with 3" opening at one end

Now, simply repeat these steps on the opposite side of the fabric rectangle. Essentially, you are making a rectangle that is closed all the way around except for 3″ at one end. This is so you can turn the fabric in the next step.

Step 4 – Turn Right Side Out

Right side out rectangle of teal floral fabric sewn with 3" opening at one end

Next on this how to make a homemade heating pad sewing tutorial, we just need to turn the fabric right side out. A turning tool can be helpful to press out the corners. You can use a specific turning tool or just use the end of a pencil. Just take care not to punch through the fabric when pushing out the corners.

Step 5 – Fill with Rice

Funnel inserted in homemade heating pad being filled with rice

With the main part of our heating pad sewing tutorial done, we need to add the rice. We used a funnel that that filling the pouch with rice would be quick and easy. Now prepare a needle and thread for hand stitching.

Step 6 – Hand Stitch to Close

Hand sewing a ladder stitch to close seam on bag of rice

Use a ladder stitch, sometimes called an invisible stitch to close the opening. If you need guidance for this part, check out our guide on How to Sew Common Stitches by Hand.

Seam of heating pad sewn closed with hidden stitches

Continue stitching until the rice is fully enclosed. You can also use a sewing machine to do this if you prefer not to sew by hand. It is up to you.

Teal floral fabric rectangle pouch filled with rice laying across wrist

And that’s it! Now you know how to make a homemade heating pad! This is a fun and simple sewing project that will come in handy in all kinds of scenarios. I use it on my wrists, knees, and back and it helps a lot! To use the heating pad, heat it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Microwave ovens can vary, so take care to test the warmth before placing it directly on the skin. If the heating pad is too hot, you can either wait for it to cool down, or place a towel between the heating pad and your skin. Lay the heating pad across the affected area – shoulders, knees, ankles, and wrists are most common. Allow the heat to relieve aches and pains. Re-heat as desired.

Care

It is best to spot clean the heating pad by hand when it it gets dirty. Heavy soils can warrant a spin in the washing machine. However, the rice takes quite some time to fully dry. Time in the warm sunshine is helpful.

Homemade Heating Pad Easy Sewing Project

If you liked this how to make a homemade heating pad sewing tutorial, make sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board or share it with friends on social media. If you decide to make this simple project on your own, make certain that you take a picture afterward and tag us on social media as we love seeing the fabrics and color choices that people use!

Don’t forget to pin this project for later, and check out some more easy sewing projects for beginners listed below.

Yield: 1 Heating Pad

Homemade Heating Pad with Rice

Homemade heating pad made with floral fabric laying on wrist

How to make a heating pad filled with rice. This is an easy sewing project for beginners and makes a great gift.

Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $5.00

Instructions

  1. Cut fabric 7" x 20"
  2. Fold fabric in half, right sides together, where short ends meet
  3. Sew 1" from corner of short side and down one open side
  4. Repeat on opposite side
  5. There should be a 3" opening between stitches
  6. Turn right side out
  7. Fill with rice
  8. Prepare needle and thread for hand stitching
  9. Close opening with a ladder stitch

Notes

To use, heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes.

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