Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rice-Filled Heating Pads...

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I've been wanting to make a rice-filled heating pad ever since I first started seeing them in blogland. Instead of using electric heating pads or hot water bottles for aches and pains, one can soothe her aching muscles with one of these heavenly creations.  

A rice-filled heating pad is a welcome gift for many people. Elderly people or people suffering from arthritis will enjoy these bags for the relief they get from pain. Athletes can use them on muscle strains and pulls. For the rest of us these bags will soothe the stress and strain of our hectic days. One merely pops these bags into the microwave for 2 minutes (depending on the size of your bag), and whaaalaaa you'll enjoy many minutes of warmth and pleasure. These bags also serve a dual purpose as you can store them in the freezer and use them as a cooling pad as well.

The heating pads can be made by sewing two identical pieces of fabric together much like you would make a pillow, or you can make the top of the pad a little more interesting by combining different complimentary fabrics. I chose different fabrics for mine -- canvas-type fabrics purchased at Hobby Lobby -- and I really like how it turned out.

I started with the following materials:
cotton fabric of your choice
about 5 cups of rice
lavender / aromatic filler (optional)

You will need the following sizes of fabric pieces for a pad top like the one I made:

These measurements will make an 8 inch x 14 inch heating pad using 1/2" seams. For the back of my heating pad I chose to use a Minky fabric. I wanted the back to be a soft, comforting fabric, however, unless you want to make two gifts for the price of one -- a heating pad AND a pyrotechnic device -- you shouldn't put the Minky fabric in the microwave. You see Minky fabric is 100% polyester and as such melts and burns easily. Only 100% cotton fabrics should be placed in the microwave. The heating pad that you see in these pictures is actually an outside "envelope" which holds a muslin insert filled with the rice and an aromatic. I simply made an opening in the back of the envelope that allows me to take the muslin insert in and out. That way I can take the insert out of the envelope, put it in the microwave to warm, and then put the insert back into the envelope. Another advantage of having a separate insert filled with the rice, is that the envelope then becomes washable.

I tried to buy some lavender to add to the rice to give the pad a soothing fragrance, but I couldn't find any. I finally ended up buying a small packed of vanilla scented petals and wood bits (Hobby Lobby) and added them to about 5 cups of rice to fill the muslin insert. When I heated the insert up in the microwave there was a delightful scent of vanilla!

These rice-filled heating pads are extremely inexpensive to make -- scraps of fabric work perfectly -- and with very little effort, a thoughtful and beautiful gift can be created. These make fabulous presents for just about anyone!

Linked to:
Fancy This Friday @ Truly Lovely
Free For All Friday @ Sassy Sites
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Get Your Craft on Thursday @ Life as Lori
Hookin' Up with HOH
Show Off Your Stuff Party @ Fireflies & Jellybeans