Instead of using electric heat pads, blankets or hot water bottles for your aches and pains, these microwaveable bags are just the ticket! They’re known by a few different terms such as: bed buddies, stress busters, magic bags, corn cozies, rice bags–but they’re basically all the same thing.
These bags serve a dual purpose as you can also keep them in the freezer to use has a cooling pad or freezer pack when needed. If you’d like to learn how to make them, you’ll find a tutorial below along with tips for different kinds of fillers to try and directions on how to use them.
Microwave Heating Pad Directions
No pattern is necessary, simply cut two pieces of cloth in the size/shape you wish your bag to be. Make sure to leave a seam allowance for yourself (about 1/2″).
Some prefer regular square shape bags, others prefer tubes or more rectangular shapes. Experiment, whip up a few different sizes and shapes to try. These are really easy to make as well as cheap!
You can also add the following to the above for a soothing fragrant heating pad: Spices, herbs, essential oils.
Ideas: lavender, rose petals, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint oil, crushed mint
If using: Mix herbs, spices and essential oil with choice heating pad filler (such as rice) and let sit in a sealed container for a few days (occasionally stirring). This will help set and distribute the fragrance a bit.
Cotton: (plain, prints, flannels, denims)
Alternate ideas: old socks (sew or knot end closed), washcloths, old towels
You can also choose to make cozy, removable & washable outer pouches. This is especially nice to do when giving as gifts.
Fabric Ideas: use old towels, fleece, velour knits, pretty fabric prints and flannels (don’t microwave anything other than cotton fabrics). The softer & fluffier & better!
Instructions for Making the Heating Pad
Cut and sew the fabric for the heating pads the size and shape you want (usually a large washcloth size works well).
Leave an inch or two open on one side so that you can fill bag with your choice of filler. Fill the bag about 1/2 to 3/4 full, more or less as you prefer. Don’t fill too full though, you want the bag to mold itself around your body when you apply it.
Once bag is filled, sew opening closed either by hand or machine (making sure filler is contained at the opposite side of bag).
If wanting a removable cover, just sew a “pillowcase” idea with your soft, plushy fabric by making it a little larger than your heating pad and leaving an open end (make sure to finish off ends by sewing a hem). Or you can add a strip of velcro to close it. Make sure to never microwave this cover unless it’s content is full cotton. Remove cover to wash as needed.
Filler Suggestion For Headache Soothers
Rice (or other grain listed above) and a mix of:
Directions For Use
Place in microwave and heat for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size of bag. Do not leave unattended “just in case” the filler smokes or starts on fire. As a precaution, you can set a cup of water inside the microwave while heating the bag to add moisture or spritzing bag lightly with water before heating. If you add spices and herbs, this is a good idea to do.
If You’re In a Pinch
If you need a heating pad “now” and don’t have time to sew one, try filling a ziploc freezer bag (make sure it’s the microwaveable kind) 3/4 full with uncooked rice, seal shut. Heat for a minute or two then wrap in a hand towel and use as needed.
You can also fill a clean tube sock, tie closed the open end, heat and use as needed.
These microwaveable heating pads are glorious to use for aches and pains, or just to pamper yourself after a long, hard day–but be careful when removing from microwave and applying to body. Shake bag first, feel around and make sure it’s not too hot and won’t burn, especially when using on a child.