Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rice + Fabric = WARMTH

Several years back, my mother had surgery done at the base of her skull, where her spine meets her head. It was for a rare condition called Arnold Chiari Malformation. With the surgery comes a long, highly uncomfortable, sometimes down right painful recovery.

It was during this time that I went to a craft show with my Grandma, and stumbled upon homemade heating pads. The note said it could be used cold or hot, and had instructions on how to use it. It was inexpensive, so I picked one up, and sent it home with my Grandma, so she could give it to my mom.

Fast forward a year or two, and I found out exactly what that homemade heating pad was. It was simply rice and fabric, nothing more, nothing less.

Since then, I've made these myself as gifts, and for myself. They are really handy to have around.

Homemade Heating Pad

What You'll Need:
Flannel fabric
Uncooked, Non-instant rice (very important! Instant will NOT work!)
Sewing Machine or Needle
Aroma Therapy Bath Quality Oil*

  1. Take the flannel, and make a square, rectangle, or oval shape about the size of a text book, give or take a bit. You will want 2 pieces the same size.
  2. Once you have cut your shape, put them together, face to face if there is a pattern. Sew it together with a zig zag stitch on 3 sides, leaving the 4th side open, then turn it right side out.
  3. Fill the fabric bag half way with the rice, then fold the unstitched edge together, and sew it shut with a zig zag stitch.
I usually add a handle to one side using grosgrain ribbon (the fabric ribbon with a ridged texture to it). To do this, insert one end in between the fabric at one corner, then insert the other edge into the opposite corner, so that the ribbon is sandwiched between the fabric before it is sewn. You want the handle to be on one end on the outside once it's been turned right side out.

To add aroma therapy oils, put the rice into a rubbermaid bowl with a lid. Drop just a few drops of oil onto the rice, then seal the bowl, and shake, shake, shake! If the scent isn't too strong, you can add just a few more drops, but be careful not to overly saturate any of the rice. If it's soggy, it will cook when warmed up!

How To Use It:

  • As A Heating Pad: Microwave 1-3 minutes, depending on the size. It will create a moist heat that is portable.
  • As An Ice Pack: Store it in the freezer, and use when needed. Warm at room temperature before using it as a heating pad.
The rice is usually pretty cheap. The flannel can be found at JoAnn's in the remanent section for 50-75% off the retail price. This allows for a large selection of patterns & colors.

I made these one year for Christmas, and just about every year since, I get requests for more, because they are so handy to have around. One aunt tells me her pad seems to walk off on it's own after people use it!

If you are in need of a heating pad for yourself, and want one right away, without the sewing, you can fill a clean tube sock about half way, and simply knot the end. These can come in handy for when you need something right away.

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