Monday, December 15, 2008

Homemade gift idea--Rice Packs!

Today seemed like a great day to share this project as we woke up to nasty blowing snow, and -8 degrees, before the windchill was factored in. That sure makes for a brutal wait at the bus stop for my kids. Oh doesn't cancel often here.

In the midst of sewing new pajama pants for all my kids before Christmas Eve, I am also taking care of a really easy project--Hot/Cold Rice Packs! I have also heard them called bed buddies--which is so appropos as that is exactly what my kids like them for. Heat them up and then throw them in bed with you so you can fall asleep all roasty toasty!

Last year for the first time I made each of my kids their own rice pack, that actually matched one of their pairs of pjs, so that they could each get warmed up before falling asleep. And it helped to eliminate any arguing over who wanted which one, etc. They are ready for new ones this Christmas as the old ones are looking rather ratty and dirty. (Once they get the new ones the old ones are going in the trash.)

Here are the basic instructions:

1. Cut a piece of flannel or cotton fabric (nothing stretchy) so that you'll end up with a finished bag that will measure about 12" x 6". You can either cut a square 13 x 13, or a long strip to fold in half lengthwise, or even 2 pieces that are about 13 x 7. **The beauty of this is you can use scraps and make the rice bags whatever size you want or need.

2. Sew your fabric, right sides together, so that only 1 short end is open. Use 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance.

3. Turn bag right side out and fill with rice, not instant, filling the bag half-way full.3. Fold the open edge in toward the inside of the bag, about 1/2" and sew closed with a little topstitch seam.

4. To warm--put bag in microwave for 1-2 minutes depending on how warm or hot you prefer it.

Enjoy being toasty on a cold winter's night!

These are a couple that I've made this year for my kids.

Here's a little side story about these rice bags:

Last Fall I made about 10 of these for the ladies in my ECFE (early childhood & family education) class. We had been talking about things we do to help calm our kids when they can't quite do it on their own. One of the women said she had a rice pack that she had made out of old nylons and rice that she gave to her daughter when she couldn't get to sleep at night. She just tied a knot in the end of the cut off nylon. Not real pretty, but effective.

I went home and told Hubby about our discussion and he suggested that I make them all nice ones, since I did have so much scrap fabric. I hoped that woman wouldn't feel like I was trying to show her up; however, we all know that we don't always follow through with great projects ideas when we hear about them. So I went ahead and did it--They were a hit!! I heard complimentary things for the next couple of weeks as they were all using them. Everyone was so appreciative--and since, of course, none of them sewed, they all thought pretty fabric rice bags were great.

Just this Fall I ran into one of those ladies again and she made a point of letting me know how much she just loves that rice bag and uses it all the time, especially when her husband is out of town. That is how she can get to sleep easier when he is gone. I was so glad to hear that as I had truly wondered if this might have been a goofy gift--but apparently not.


  1. Maybe it would help toddlers fall asleep too??? Hmmm...

  2. Maybe my kids need these since bedtime is kind of a nightmare at our house. And all the kids sleep in the basement where it is quite a bit colder than upstairs. Good idea!

  3. Very pretty. I sew channels in mine so the rice stays evenly distributed.

    Merry Sewing

  4. p.s. is this your house? I didn't recognize it until today. We need more pics of the hardwood floors

  5. I've done this one before, but I don't always like the smell of the rice. I've thought of putting some scents in or even some seasonings. Do you think that would work, or just be more smelly?

  6. My dad made me a rice sock a long time ago. I still use it, but earlier this year at an enrichment a girl had made some bags a little similar to yours and she used a light tan colored material (I think just cotton) and then she made little covers for it so you can remove the covers and wash it or I guess change it if you want to. They are awfully nice when it's cold out, or if you have tense muscles/or crampy muscles. Thanks for all of your guys' ideas! I just want to make some of everything!

  7. If you google online I did see a few spots where they put lavender leaves in with the rice. I would assume you could put some drops of scented oils too. But I would check online more about that.

  8. very pretty, great idea! For the rice smell, you can just open up a couple bags of you favorite tea and slip them right in with the rice. Not too strong- I don't really like strong smells, esp when I feel ill, and this is just right for me. (I like sleepytime tea in mine!)

  9. I wanted to ask, why does it need to be fabric that isn't stretchy?
    Also, can you use dried beans as a filler?



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