How to Make Your Own Heating Packs

Lead Image
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Fabric scissors
Measuring tape
Filler (rice or corn)
Essential oils (optional)

Start your rice bag or corn bag DIY by gathering all of your supplies. You will need flannel fabric, not fleece. You can use any type of flannel that you’d like. You can make the heating pack any size you’d like but in general, you will need less than a quarter yard of fabric. You will also need a filler. For fillings, you can use regular white rice or whole feed corn. You will also need thread and fabric scissors as well as a sewing machine. You can technically make these bags by hand, but the process will take significantly longer.

brother sewing machine with fabric

Pro tip: If you’re DIYing on a budget, a great way to buy inexpensive material is to look at Walmart, JoAnn, or Hobby Lobby for fabric cuts called fat quarters. These quarter yard cuts of fabric are usually discounted to just a few dollars. You can also use regular craft scissors instead of sewing scissors if you’re trying to save a little money. Just make sure to pull your fabric nice and taught as you cut.

Rice vs Corn

When you’re picking your filling, you can pick between rice and whole feed corn. Rice is less expensive and easy to buy at a local grocery store. Rice has a subtle scent and if you would like to add essential oils to your bag, rice will take on the scent very nicely. Whole feed corn can be purchased at farm and country stores.

Often you have to buy it in bulk. It should run you about fifteen dollars for forty or fifty pounds. This makes corn a great choice if you want to make several bags. Corn tends to hold heat a little longer and disperse it a little more evenly. Corn does have a stronger scent though, and while subtle, it is not a smell everyone likes.

How to Make a DIY Heating Pack

Step 1 - Iro

Start by ironing your fabric. With any sewing project, ironing your fabric will help you sew straighter and drastically improve the look of the fabric overall. After you iron, decide on the shape you want your final product to be. Think of how you will be using it. Small rectangles and squares are popular shapes for these flannel heating packs. Long skinny rectangles are great for using the heating packs for headaches and long, thicker rectangles are good for lower back pain or cramping. Your shape should be determined by use.

colorful heating pad fabric with scissors

Step 2 - Cut

Once you’ve decided on the shape, fold the fabric in half and cut the shape you’d like the final product to be. Use a measuring tape to make sure everything is nice and even. When cutting your fabric, make sure it’s folded so that there are only three sides you need to sew down.

hand opening homemade fabric heating pad with colorful design folded open

Step 3 - Fold

After you’ve cut your fabric, fold it in half with the pattern inside. Place the folded fabric in your sewing machine and use a simple straight stitch to sew down two and a half sides. Make sure to backstitch. On the side you don’t sew all the way, make sure the opening you leave is large enough so that you can flip the bag and fill it with corn or rice.

Step 4 - Invert

Flip the bag so that the pattern is on the outside.

hand opening a homemade fabric heating pack

Step 5 - Fill

Fill the bag with rice or corn. Don’t fill the back until it’s bursting though, you want to leave a little room. There’s no hard and fast rule for how much filling to add. Just make sure that the bag lays somewhat flat when all of the product is dispersed.

homemade fabric heating pad getting filled with rice

Step 6 - Stitch

Once you’ve filled your bag, you need to finish it off. Take the open area of the bag and fold the excess fabric into the bag until it lines up with the seam you already have. Take this area and topstitch over it to close the hole. Make sure to backstitch. Once the hole is closed, trim your thread and you’re done.

brother sewing machine with fabric

Looking for more beginner sewing tutorials? Check out this simple pillow sewing guide or this fun car seat cover sewing guide.