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DIY Rice bag

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I made one of these for my mom for Mother’s Day, but since I didn’t take a picture, you get to look at my old, faded one. We’ll call it well-loved, because it is. I am prone to getting headaches, so this is one of the most practical things I have ever made. With Christmas coming, I’m trying to share things that would make great gifts!

This rice bag is great for anybody, really. But especially for people who get neckaches, headaches, or stomachaches. Or people who are always cold. It is similar to a hot water bottle, but you warm it in the microwave and can use it over and over. And you don’t have to dry it out afterwards. I love these because they mold to whatever needs heat. I used it all the time when my little ninja was kicking me in the ribs when I was pregnant. They are also nice and big and cover lots of surface area.

It is made of two parts: the inner bag with rice sewn into it and a pillowcase-like cover. For the inside bag, I used unbleached muslin, but you could use pretty much anything, including an old sheet. You’re not going to see it, unless you take the cover off to wash it. The outside cover was part of a fat quarter. This project doesn’t even use a whole one! Then you just need a plastic button and a little bit of ribbon. A plastic snap might also work, but it needs to be microwave safe.

  1. Cut the muslin or sheet or whatever you’re using for the inner bag into a 14″x 16″ rectangle. Fold in half, so it is about 8″ wide, sew the bottom and long side. Turn right side out.
  2. Fill with a bag of rice. I think I used a 2 lb bag of the cheap stuff. Fold the top under and sew to seal the rice in.
  3. For the case, cut a 17″x 16″ rectangle out of nice fabric. Along one of the 16″ sides, fold under 1″ and sew to make a nice edge. Then, fold the whole rectangle in half (right sides facing in) so it is about 8″ wide. Sew the bottom (the side that wasn’t folded to one inch) and the long side. Turn right side out. It should look like a pillowcase when you’re done. Here’s another pretty terrible diagram. The thick line is for the 1″ fold, and the dotted line is for folding it in half.
    rice-bag
  4. Cut a ribbon to 6″, fold in half, and sew both ends to one side of the inside of the outer case. Put the rice bag inside the case, spread it out, and fold the extra case over so the ribbon is on the top. Sew a button onto the case where the ribbon meets it. And there you are!

To heat, I put it in the microwave for 1 minute, squish it around, then heat it for another minute. I’ve heard you can also put essential oils in them, but I haven’t tried it. Some instructions I read said to put the rice in a ziplock bag, add a couple drops of lavender or peppermint, and shake it around to mix it. Sniff and adjust.

Enjoy!

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