Monday, December 19, 2011

V and Co: how to: homemade hand warmers

the other day my son came in with a pink nose and yelled "MOM! I'M FREEEEEZING! do you still have that rice bag thing you made? can you heat it up?"
yeah i still have my rice bag feet warmer i use it all the time, because i'm like always cold.
so i said "yeah, i have it, hold on." i heated it up, gave it to him. as that son was warming up with oohs and ahhs coming out of his mouth, another one of my sons walked in from outside with pink nose in tow, and complained "hey i want that!"
they proceeded to fight over it...
and well at that moment the light bulb went off.

"stop it. i'm going to make you each rice hand warmers."
i started and then couldn't stop making them.

trust me you wont be able to make just one set either, you'll be making a mountain of them because of how cute they are, but also because you'll need to make extras for extra little(or big) hands that will seek shelter and warmth from being in the cold.
it's already been known to happen over here. true story.

*these are also great last minute neighbor and teacher gifts. :) 

ready to make your own?
materials needed for one set of hand warmers:
*grab some rice (i used white long grain, because that's what we eat)
*scrap of fabric (it just needs to be enough to fold over to cut out 1 strip (double fold) at 3 1/2" x 6"
*those strips of fabric cut again in half at 3 1/2" x 3"

to assemble hand warmers:


1. place right sides together for both sets of squares.

 2. using a 1/4" seam allowance sew along one side of your squares.
 **instead of doing each hand warmer separately, *chain* your squares.
to chain your squares sew your first seam and then instead of cutting the threads, place your next square to be sewn. you will end up with a couple of stitches that will not sew onto any fabric, hence making a chain.

this will be helpful is you are doing a lot of hand warmers.
 3. after you have sewn one side on all your squares, you can cut your *chain* like the picture above.
 *here is a picture of all the squares having one side sewn and then had the chain cut.
4. sew three sides of your squares (using the chain method for each side)
5. the fourth side sew your seam and leave a 1 1/2"  opening in the middle of your seam. (back stitch at the opening so it does not rip open for the following steps.


 6. once all four sides are sewn, cut at an angle your corners making sure you do not cut through the "X" your seams make.
7. turn inside out, and using a pin pull out your corners as much as you can.

 8. for filling we are using rice, so you will want to get your rice and if you have a funnel use it to get the rice inside the opening. (i made my own out of paper shaped into a funnel)
 8. fill up your hand warmer at least 3/4 full.

 9. and hand stitch closed.

WARMING INSTRUCTIONS:
*warm in the microwave for 15 seconds.
*hold in your hands and warm up your digits.
*can also be used as eye packs (freeze them for cool packs, or warm them for warm packs)
*i do not recommend heating them up for longer amounts than 15 seconds as it may cause burns on skin.


so far these have been a huge hit at our house, and at the neighbor's house, and with my kid's friends that have come over.


 i am including this Warning with these little guys:

**WARNING**
i can not be held responsible for boys using these as hacky saks and or pelting mechanisms. because trust me...mine have and yours probably will too. 
ALSO:
in cases where some of the hand warmers go missing...please go look in your daughter's playhouse...because they make really cute barbie pillows.
consider yourselves warned.
i hope your house enjoys them as much as our house has.
we'll talk soon

65 comments:

Attempting Aloha said...

Ha! I made about 18 of these (almost identical size) as juggling bags for my girls for Christmas. I'm sure they will also be used as hand warmers, hacky sacks, and Barbie pillows. ;)

Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka,
Charlie

tute-bot said...

These are a great idea. I wish I had thought of it years ago. It could have helped on those cold winter days when I was waiting for the bus in Chicago.

I'm definitely giving it a try.

Gene Black said...

I have made these for sore muscles. They are great. However, if you really want to make them practical. make the rice filled bag with muslin (or "ugly" fabric) and then make a cover for them that can be washed.

You gave me an idea too....I am making a rice foot warmer for my bed! My feet are always cold at bedtime.

DiddleDaddleDesigns said...

What a great idea. I'm definitely going to make a few.
Teresa

Kelly said...

I love these! And I laughed when you mentioned they make great Barbie pillows, that sounds like something my girls would do! LOL

Shanna said...

This is awesome!! Thanks so much for the tute :o) So far, NC weather hasn't been very winter-y, but hopefully soon!

Brielle said...

At our house we call them boo-boo bags and they cure any ailment. My 3 year old son uses these every day. We keep them in the freezer and ours have band-aids on the fabric

Kelly J. R. said...

Great tutorial! These are also nice to throw into the bed to warm it up before you climb in. Of course, most people don't keep their thermostat set at 60 degrees...

bdaiss said...

After having to cut short a holiday outdoors event due to the 5 year old breaking down in tears he was so cold...I'm SO (sew?) making these.

Also - my favorite part of this post is your warnings. SO TRUE!

Beth J said...

I SOoooo need to make these. Thanks for the idea!

Melissa said...

I just made 20 sets with fleece to send to the USO to put into Christmas boxes for troops overseas. Those tough guys get cold, pink noses, too.
Thanks for the tutorial, though. It's great to have quick and easy ideas for the last-minute "oops" gifts I inevitably end up with. :)

bethanndodd said...

You crack me up...thanks for the giggles and the tutorial. I think these will go on my 'after' Christmas list as I am buried in my current list ;) Smiles~Beth

Sarah A. said...

Thank you! I needed an easy, last-minute hand made gift idea and this is it!

Michelle said...

I have 2 bags (slightly smaller than your foot warmer bag) and 2 kids. They both love to have me heat them up before they go to bed...gets their sheets warm and they can hug them until they fall asleep. When it's my turn, I put one over my feet and hug the other one :)

Elaine Z, said...

What kind of rice? How long do they stay warm? I was at an outdoor event last night and even though I had (what I thought were good) gloves on, my hands were freezing. It'd be rough to take them to an event without knowing they'd go cold a half hour later.

Kari said...

Brilliant!!!!!!! I am definitely making some of these.

Leslie McNeil of MarveLes Art Studios said...

Love it. Great take on the rice bag, which I ADORE! But love the small size. Nice project!

SLO Rober said...

home run! love it!

Cliodana said...

love the idea! my sons will enjoy it i'm sure. thank's

ilymore said...

I love the idea, thank you! I have 3 boys and 1 girl and can totally relate with your warnings. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for taking the time to share with us!

Kelly said...

Fab tutorial! I have just made some of these tonight for a last minute pressie :)
Thanks and Happy Christmas

Paisley Cinnamon said...

So simple! So cute! We all have our own rice bags but I never thought to make the small hand warmer versions. I will so be making a set for my drummer son. His hands get so cold when he plays in the pep band for football games. Thanks for sharing!

girlsmama said...

We totally made these for gifts this year! Except we use feed corn instead of rice!

Kathy said...

this is probably a lame question but here it goes... How do they keep your hands warm? Do you have to microwave them or something?

Pip said...

Why..WHY must you do this 4 days before Christmas!? We leave in 2 days. I don't have time! Sigh..lol
Thank you :D

Pip said...

@Kathy..Yup! Just like a wheat bag..in fact..you could use wheat..or barley!

BeckyWise. said...

This is such a great project, I love hand warmers! I think I may have to make these soon!
Becky from the yellow buttercup!

mianmom said...

I just made 11 pairs in about 6 1/2 hours. Not bad!! Thanks so much for the tutorial, love it!

Emily said...

Thanks for the warning about other uses. :) haha. These are darling!!

Pedey @ Do You Smell That!!? said...

I made about 100 pair of these for a craft fair last month! I had about 40 pair leftover but one of my son's teachers bought a bunch of them to pair up with a pair of gloves to give to her teacher friends for when they're out on playground duty this winter. Thought that was a great idea.... so for any of you looking for easy teacher gifts these would be perfect!

Heather at Happy Chippy Junk said...

So fun for you and you littles!!

http://servingpinklemonade.blogspot.com/2011/12/homemade-gift-matching-game-stick.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ServingPinkLemonade+%28Serving+Pink+Lemonade%29

Glenda said...

These are great. I make the bigger ones as body warmers. They are so much safer than heating pads. Love your small version and will be making some. TFS

Looona said...

Your blog and your ideas inspires me! Thank You.

Today you got a new reader -> me ^-^

♥Looona Lou.

Lorina Daiana said...

This is brilliant! I've been thinking how to make one for a long time.. I didn't know it was that simple!

Rogers said...

My 12 year old daughter informed me she wanted to do gifts for her siblings. We've never done this with our kids before, but since she's been having a hard time getting along, and it was her idea to do something nice for them, I jumped at the chance!! I remembered seeing this and thougth it would be perfect for her to do. She's doing now, as I type this. Thank you sharing your wonderfully easy tutorial! Merry Chrismtas!!!

Mystica said...

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas.

Kristilu said...

How long do they stay warm after microwaving them?

Ruth said...

What a neat Idea. I have made some heating pillows out of oats, since oats hold the heat really well. I didn't know rice was a possibility.

Lisa Langford said...

oh man, I wish I would have seen this post before Christmas. What a fun and easy present to give to neighbors. Thanks for the great idea.

By the way, your photography class at the Sewing Summit was great. I admire your ability to create amazing photos.

Ulla's Quilt World said...

Hi! Greetings from Finland! Your quilts are so fantastic! It's so nice to find other quilters all around the world! www.quiltworld2.blogspot.com
Yours, Ulla

Jessie @ Messy Jesse said...

ooh these are brilliant! wow never even thought of making my own? normally a Christmas present from a relative :) are they re-usable then?

Jax and company said...

I am thinking of scheduling this as a wintry day sewing project with my 7 year old daughter. Do you think it would be alright to keep them for an hour or two in a small crockpot set to warm? Then they would all ready when the kids come in from the cold! Now if it would just *snow* already!

Lori in Missouri said...

My kids love these! I have gone so far as to use the lonely sock... you know the one who ends up with no mate! It's perfect. I just fill it with rice and tie a knot in the end. Of course, if I was a great mommy, I'd sew closed the end!!! :) Smiles, and thanks for a great tutorial!

Sara Bell said...

What a great idea!

louise reinier said...

I have made these for years, but as neck warmers,first I scent the rice in pactic pans with either potporri liquid, jst keep stirring it around until all absorbed/dried. I make a 5-6 in wide tube approx 18-22 inches long out of fleece on the surger and put about a 1/2-3/4 cup of rice in then sew a seam across about 4-6 inches up....keep adding rice til the end, usually get 5 sections...microwave for 45-60 seconds and they stay warm on your neck or wherever placed fro 30-45 minutes....

Anonymous said...

These make great "boo-boo" bags. I keep them in the freezer for when my kids get bumps on the head or the like.

Viki said...

Jax and company, I have used the crockpot to warm/keep warm rice bags works great.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how long the heat lasts when in a pocket or gloves? I realize they will cool off quicker if it is colder but maybe some personal experience with lasting power? I've had the store chemical packs last 24 hours because they keep generating heat but clearly these will have constant heat loss with no renewal so will cool quicker.

Kim A said...

Absolutely love the idea. I wish I had known about these a couple of years back when I was on dialysis. When on dialysis your body, especially hands and feet, get sooo cold. I used store bought hand warms. I am no longer on dialysis, but love the people there. I am going to start making many of them today! Thanks so much for sharing.
Kim

Dina said...

We do not have a microwave, can we heat these in the oven? If not, this will make two things I miss...the other being microwave popcorn!

Regina said...

I love the pink cabled mittens in the first photo. They show up in a couple of your posts. Did yo knit them yourself? Do you have the pattern? I would love to make them myself. Also I love your site!!! Your style! The photos are great, and the projects are amazing.

Anonymous said...

My only concern with using rice for a filling would be if the rice got wet so often that it would go bad.
I'm wondering whether something else would hold heat without going bad.
Just a thought.

Lisa said...

Great idea! Although I have a larger bag for major aches. I used feed corn though. I love, love, love the smell when it's warmed up. So sweet...and oh it feels so good too!

WiJoyMom said...

wouldn't you want to add something to the rice (or dried corn) to keep these lasting a long time, by keeping bugs away?

DE or Diatomaceous Earth (I use food grade) just a little would be all that is needed in this rice packs.

I bought my DE at
http://www.morethanalive.com/?a_aid=837c265b also bought various other things through this source, including our Berkey and essential oils.

I'm considering making some from old socks that are mismatched.

Abi Makes said...

great tutorial :) i made some this weekend http://abimakes.blogspot.com/2012/02/hand-warmers.html

mrs t said...

Such a simple idea but I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a fab idea and am going to make them for my friends for christmas this year but was wondering can u sew felt on to the outside of the hand warmer and can silk be used as the fabric?

Jemma Radick said...

Great tutorial - I'm so making this for our neighbor gifts this Christmas! Thanks!

R.Kublick said...

Somebody stop me!! I am addicted to making these! Everyone I know is getting a pair...or two! I am making some about 7 inches long and adding lavender oil to the rice to use as eye packs for headaches and the like.

Anonymous said...

I make something similar to these except I make the sacks out of muslin with a flannel cover that can be removed for laundering. Very popular with my customers!

Heather - Chickabug said...

Hi Vanessa! I shared your AWESOME hand warmers on my blog today! Here's a link:

http://www.chickabug.com/blog/2012/12/homemade-inexpensive-secret-santa-gift-ideas.html

I'll be making several of these this year, too. : ) Thanks for the great idea!

Heather

Kerry Wiles said...

Which keeps warmer for longer? Wheat or rice, I have made these before but only with wheat.

Jazmynn Padhal said...

Do they stay warm all day or just for a little bit?

Sheila said...

Nobody has mentioned an important caution: You MUST use cotton fabric AND cotton thread! Polyester anything can burn in the microwave....

Anonymous said...

100% cotton socks work too. I just fill 1/2 way and tie a knot. Great for replacing a heating pad.

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