Easy Rice Bag Tutorial & Link-ups

DIY Rice Therapy Bags (for heat or cold therapy)

During the past few weeks of new motherhood, I've used one of these handy bags to warm up baby's crib before putting her to sleep, warm my own toes on a cold night, relax my achy neck & wrists, apply heat to get my breastmilk a'flowin', and apply both heat & cold therapy to relieve a case of mastitis. These are extremely functional and easy to make. See my tutorial below. These can be made in any size, with different amounts of rice, & in any fabric (so long as there are no metallic threads in it). I'll also link-up to some other sites that give more proper sizing & sewing directions and different versions of these bags. 


How it works: This sewn rice bag can be placed in a microwave for approximately 1-2 minutes and will hold heat for up to 30 minutes. The bag can also be placed in a freezer for a few hours to provide cold therapy. (Note: When not in use, store in a cool, dry place)

  • Apply a hot or cold rice bag to relieve aches & pains.
  • Apply a cold rice bag to soothe bruises, bumps, black eyes or other boo-boos.
  • Place in a crib to warm up baby's sleeping spot (they like to feel warmth. Note: If you heat the bag & wrap it in a t-shirt you've worn earlier, baby will appreciate the warmth AND the smell of you in their crib. Might make them sleep better!)
  • Place on a car seat or other seat as a DIY tooshie-warmer.
  • Place under your sheets at the foot of your bed to warm your little piggies on a cold night.
  • For Nursing Mommies: Apply the warm pressure of the bags to your breasts about 15 minutes prior to pumping or nursing to aide in let-down. It can also soothe sore nipples, relieve mastitis or loosen up clogged milk ducts.
What you need: 
  • Fabric or fabric scraps in whatever size you want. I used a piece of fabric that was about 11 x 12. It was cut incorrectly so it was crooked but worked anyway! You can truly make these any size. 
  • Pins, Matching thread
  • Rice 2-3 cups (not instant rice!)
Directions (In a nutshell):
Fold your fabric in half, right sides together. 
Press & Pin if that's your thing. 
Sew using about a 1/4" seam allowance around 3 sides leaving just 1 (shorter) side open. You can always sew a double seam if you'd like to prevent rice from coming out in case of a tear.
Trim the seam allowance. 
Turn it right side out.
Add rice to the bag. I think I used about 2.5 cups. Just don't fill the bag too much because you want it to form around whatever body part you are applying it to.

Stitch bag closed. You can either leave it at that, or you can top stitch around the bag. To do this, I shook all the rice to one side as I sewed around the other sides. I used pins to act as a barrier so the rice didn't come up to the edge. It also occured to me later that I could have top-stitched the 3 sides before I filled the bag with rice. Then just stitched the bag closed. (Classic example of learning as I go!)
I customized a version of these printable tags from Sew Mama Sew's blog and added some ribbon to finish the job. I changed the font & wording, and based on the size of this bag, noted on the tag that it only needed to be microwaved 1-2 minutes instead of 2-3 minutes. {I'd err on the side of caution and always heat it up 30 seconds or 1 minute at a time until you reach the desired temperature. If it's too hot, you can get burned!}

There are so many variations to these in different shapes, sizes, colors. Some use essential oils, some have cutesy poems attached. Just google 'rice bag tutorial' and/or just let your imagination run wild! The last time I made one, I simply used an old pair of pants, and cut the pant leg off. Then I filled it with rice and only had to sew one side. Here are some other versions I found online.

Happy Crafting!
Hattie xoxo

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