Make your own rice bag
for winter comfort

UPdate Fall 2007

Nothing is nicer than the gentle heat of a rice bag to coax away winter chills and aches. Curl your toes around a heated rice bag when you go to bed. Settle one on your toes when you come in from a walk in the snow. The soothing heat of a rice bag on your neck, wrist, stomach or back can relieve cramps and aching muscles. Rice bags are great for anyone who has trouble keeping fingers and toes warm.

A rice bag is a leak-free alternative to a hot water bottle. It is heated up in a microwave. It can be made from all-natural materials that don’t release toxic fumes. The only smell will be the smell of cooked rice.

Making a rice bag is inexpensive and easy. They can be made from leftover bits of fabric. While you are at it, why not make two, and give one to a friend.

Materials for a rice bag 10” x 12” finished size:
12” x 21” of tightly woven fabric, 100% cotton or hemp for the inside bag.
1.5 lbs of rice (any type will do)
12” x 24” piece of washable cotton or hemp for exterior. Flannel makes a soft, cozy cover.
Prewash fabric.
Cotton and hemp are recommended because they will not release chemicals when heated as synthetic fabrics do.

To make interior bag
Fold interior fabric in half, right sides together, so that you have a 10.5” x 12” rectangle. Sew around the three open edges, leaving a 3” space open at one end. Turn bag right side out, pushing fabric through the open space, so raw edges and wrong side are inside the bag.
Topstitch 1ž4 inch from edges, to give seams extra strength, leaving space open. Fill bag with rice through the open space. A funnel is helpful to avoid spills. Turn raw edges of open space inside, then machine stitch closed. Double stitch for extra strength.

To make washable cover
At one end, fold short edge over 1ž4 inch towards the wrong side, then fold over 1ž4” again to make hem. Sew hem. Repeat at other end.
Fold fabric in half, right sides together.
Sew side seams together. Leave end with hemmed edges open.
Turn right side out, and you will have a rectangular pocket, with one end open.
Place rice bag inside.
Rice bags can be made in any size or shape. Long, skinny bags are nice to drape around the neck and shoulders. Generally, the bag should allow the rice to shift around to adjust to the body contours. For a bag where the rice doesn’t move around, just add more rice.

To heat rice bag
Heat for 2 1ž2 - 3 minutes on high in most microwaves. Different microwaves may require more or less time.
Overheating may cause rice or fabric to scorch, so don’t overdo it.