DIY Microwave Heating Pad

Friday, December 4, 2020

Welcome to my stop on the Holiday Gifts to You blog hop! The Partners in Design group (the same designers that hosted the QAL By the Sea!) are sharing complimentary patterns and tutorials this week for quick and easy projects you can sew for yourself or for a gift! I'm sharing a tutorial for how I make rice heating pads!

Sewing a microwavable rice heating pad

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking the links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you're new here, hello! I'm Laura! I design quilt patterns, and I'm a self-proclaimed deal hunter! Be sure to join the popular Quilting & Sewing Deals Facebook group where I post sales, deals, and coupon codes from all around the web!

How to sew a microwaveable rice heating pad

We've been using rice heating pads in our house as long as I can remember! They're so quick to make, and everyone begs to use them! (I have one around my shoulders right now while I type this!)

This tutorial is for a large heating pad that fits great on your lap, around your neck, or against your back. You can really make them any size or shape you want!


    - 1 fat quarter or 1/4 yard of cotton fabric
    - coordinating cotton thread
    - 1 2lb bag of rice* (see note below)
    - Optional: lavender buds or essential oil

*Any type of rice will work including Jasmine rice, but I would not use instant rice. You could also use flax seeds instead of rice.

Supplies for making a microwavable rice heating pad

For my tutorial, I'm using Floral Vines fabric from the English Garden collection from Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton + Steel and 50wt Aurifil thread #2783. I bought the cheapest bag of rice from my local grocery store, which was a whopping 75 cents. That makes the total cost of this project under $5 for a fat quarter, a bit of thread, and the rice!


In addition to a sewing machine (I use this one), rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat, it will be helpful to have:

    - Hera marker, air erasable pen, or other marking pen
    - Chopstick, Hera marker, That Purple Thang, or other tool for turning out corners
    - Sewing clips
    - Optional: funnel
    - Optional: postal scale or food scale


Cut (2) 6" x 20" rectangles

Floral Vines fabric by Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton + Steel


Reduce your stitch length to 1.5. (This ensures the rice won't slip through the stitches!) Place the two rectangles right sides together. Using the diagram below as a guide, begin sewing on one short end about an inch away from the corner. Sew in about 1/4" from the short side. With your needle down, pivot and continue sewing with 1/4" seam all the way around, leaving an opening on the end, and sewing off the edge as shown. 

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Clip the corners at a 45 degree angle, but be careful not to clip the stitches! I like to leave about 1/8" away from the corner stitch.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Turn the rectangles right sides out. Use a chopstick or hera maker to carefully poke out the corners.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Once turned right sides out, flatten the rectangle with your hands. Fold the rectangle into thirds. It took me a few tries to get the folds even, so take your time and reposition until you're satisfied.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Use a hera marker or air erasable pen to mark the two fold lines.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Now for the rice!

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Clip one corner off the bag of rice and pour some in. I use my postal scale to get about the same amount in each section. (I'd guess it's about 1 1/4 cups, but I didn't measure that way when making mine.) You can use a funnel if you'd like. Since a 2lb bag of rice is 32oz, I aim for 10-11oz in each section.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

After putting 10-11oz of rice in, lay the rectangle on your sewing machine bed. Use your fingers to straighten the line you drew, making sure the rice stays to the left of the line. Sew on the line from edge to edge, backstitching when you start and end. **Note: sew slowly and use your fingers to make sure no rice is near the line.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Add another 10-11oz of rice. If using a food or postal scale, this will be 22oz or 1lb 6oz. Repeat the step above to sew along the second line. Add the rest of the rice to the final section. Fold under the raw edges and use sewing clips to hold closed. Top stitch the opening closed. I like to sew from corner to corner as close to the edge as I can. Remember to backstitch where you start and stop.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

And that's it! It seriously took me way longer to write this tutorial than to make it!

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Start to finish, this definitely took less than 30 minutes.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

To use, simply place in the microwave and heat for about 1 minute. Each microwave is different, so start with a minute to see if the heat is appropriate. We like to heat ours for 1.5 minutes. **DO NOT MICROWAVE FOR MORE THAN TWO MINUTES.** I like to place mine on my shoulders/neck or behind my back while I sit. My husband likes to put his on his knee to relieve some pain there. My kids like to put them in their bed under the covers while they brush their teeth so their bed is warm and snuggly when they crawl in.

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

Alternately, you can also use them as an ice pack! Just place it in a zipper storage baggie and put it in the freezer for at least a couple hours.

These make fantastic gifts! You can use fun fabrics too! 

How to sew a microwavable rice heating pad

There are more stops on the Holiday Gifts to You blog hop too! Be sure to check out these other bloggers for tutorials for their projects!

Holiday gifts to you - quick and easy tutorials to sew

December 5 - Abbie at Sparkle On

If you make something from the hop, we'd love to see it! Use the hashtag #holidaygiftstoyou on Instagram and tag the designer (like @sliceofpiquilts is me!)

Be sure to save this tutorial to Pinterest!

How to sew a microwaveable rice heating pad


  1. Rice pads are really wonderful. I like how you sectioned yours so it will lay nicely on your shoulders.

  2. How long does it stay warm? Thanks for the instructions!

  3. Great idea. I have one around my neck right now. ☺

  4. Thank You so Much for this tutorial! I made some for friends years ago and I think it's a good time to make a new one. I love this size you are demonstrating so this will be the one! Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. One year I made 2 dozen pair of hand warmers for the kids to microwave and put in their pockets on the way out the door to play or walk to the bus. I know the grandkids liked them. I used flannel thinking it would feel great. Like the idea of putting the warmers under the covers.

  6. What a great project! I do love that fabric you used. Lots of awesome tips - not a surprise!

  7. This looks great! I like the large size. Do you know if brown rice would work? I seem to have an abundance of brown rice at the moment.

  8. This looks fantastic in that Rifle Paper Co fabric!

  9. I’ve been wanting to make a microwaveable heating pad for awhile and when I found your instructions, I knew this was the one! With three separate sections, it wraps nicely around my neck. I made mine with a plain muslin fabric and plan on making a flannel cover so I can take it off and throw it in the wash. Thank you for a great tutorial!


Thank you for visiting and for your comments! I try to reply to comments via email, so if you're expecting a response and don't hear from me, check if you're a no-reply blogger. Happy sewing!