Rice Heating Pad/Pillow

Rice Heating Pad/Pillow
Holy cow, its October!?!
First let me say I let Friday slip by without a granny square sampler post, so sorry! I have not had a lot of time to work on mine in the past couple of weeks, so there was really nothing to show. But there will be, I have picked it up again and am catching up all around, I won’t leave you hanging. More pressing matters came up over the past couple of weeks, like family visiting, School House Craft, and making rice pillows.


We had cold toes and needed new “warms”.


I made a tutorial for these rice pillows I’ve made for my family several years ago, but thought I would write up an new one. I’ve refined my method of making these over the years and think this new version makes much more sense. These are referred to affectionately by my family as “The Warm”, and we have been known to search frantically for them when its time to settle in at night. We use them quite a lot in the winter for cold toes, a tummy ache, or sore muscles. I can’t get comfy in bed without mine wrapped around my feet. I’ve given these as gifts for years, everybody can use one. I usually make several at once, they go so fast once the supplies are gathered. Start now and you’ll have a slew of them ready for holiday gift giving!
Here’s how I’ve been making ours.

Heatable Freezable Rice Pillow

Heatable/Freezable Rice Pillow


  • 1/2 yard of cotton muslin for the inner cover (you could also use a cotton pillowcase or sheet)
  • 1/2 yard of cotton flannel for the outer cover (I let the kids pick out their favorite prints at Joann’s)
  • Sew-in Velcro (approximately 5″ per pillow)
  • 4 cups of rice
  • scissors
  • iron
  • sewing machine
  • pins
  • marking pen, like a Frixion pen, which allows you to remove the marks made with an iron
  • ruler
  • Optional: Pinking shears for trimming raw edges.
  • Optional: Dried lavender or some sort of oil, like lavender or eucalyptus, would be nice to add in with the rice.

To Make:

1. Cut one rectangle from both the cotton muslin and the flannel measuring 10 1/2″ x 21″. Set the flannel rectangle aside for now.
Heatable Freezable Rice Pillow
2. Fold the muslin rectangle in half lengthwise, wrong sides together (if you can tell a difference), and press. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew one short side and the long side, leaving one short side open. (Tip: I reduce my stitch length down to a bit for this step. Both to help hold the rice in and create a stronger seam.) Back stitch at the beginning and end of the stitch lines.
3. Using marking pen and ruler, measure and mark four sections across the length of the pillow, 5″ apart.
Heatable Freezable Rice Pillow

4. Pour 1 cup of rice into the pillow. Then stitch across the first line you drew, through both layers, to hold that cup of rice in that section. Next add another cup of rice, stitch the next line, and so on. (It helps to use pins to hold the rice away from the stitch line when sewing). Sew the end closed using a 1/4″ seam (to reinforce, I stitch over this seam twice). It should look like the photo above. And the inside pillow is done!
Heatable Freezable Rice Pillow

5. (Note: Set your stitch length back to standard length for the rest of the stitching.) To make the removeable outer cover- On one of the short sides of your flannel rectangle, fold a scant 1/4″ and press, then fold another 1/4″ and press, all towards the wrong side. Pin in place and stitch across to hem the side, backstitch at each end.
Heatable Freezable Rice Pillow

6. Fold rectangle in half lengthwise, right sides together, and press. Open back up, then position one side of the velcro underneath the hem, on the wrong side, like the below. Sew the velcro on, securing it on all 4 sides.
Heatable Freezable Rice Pillow

7. Again fold the rectangle in half lengthwise (right sides together) and stitch the 2 long sides and short side opposite the velcro with a 1/4″ seam. Press, trim raw edges with pinking shears if desired, then turn right side out, easing out corners fully with a closed pair of scissors. Press.
Heatable Freezable Rice Pillow

8. Fit the inner, rice-filled pillow inside the cover, close the velcro, and its ready to be used.

To heat: Microwaves vary, but usually 2 minutes heats ours up nicely, but do what works for you.
To freeze: Place in freezer for several hours or overnight.
Remove the outer cover to wash it and put it back on the rice pillow when dry.

Rice Heating Pad/Pillow


  • Ann

    October 1, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Lovely project, thank you! Do you (or might any of your other readers) have any ideas about how to warm such a wonderful thing without a microwave? (We don’t have one in our little kitchen). Thank you!

  • Linda

    October 1, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Great idea Blair 🙂

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Hi Ann. I have no experience heating these rice pillows up any way other than a microwave, but this question comes up all the time. Maybe you could heat it up near a radiator, but not sure how else. Maybe readers will have a suggestion, I’d love to know myself!

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Thanks Linda!

  • regina

    October 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I need one of these! Thank for the instructions 🙂

  • Emily

    October 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make one of these! Thanks for making it so easy!!!!

  • Seanna Lea

    October 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    This looks awesome. I get cold all of the time, so this looks perfect.
    As for no microwave, if you have a double boiler you might be able to heat the rice pillow in the top half as long as you have either plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid to keep the moisture out of the rice pillow. Now, I haven’t tried this, but it should keep the heat gentle enough to use without burning yourself as long as it is about at what you would use to melt chocolate.

  • Molly

    October 2, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Blair, this is fantastic! We have a corn “pillow”, which we bought at a crafts fair years ago, that works along these same hot/cold lines. It’s frog-shaped, and very sweet, and we use it constantly, mostly for boo-boos. But we keep it in the freezer, and it’s becoming a bit burnt, and I’ve long thought I would like to replace it … but didn’t know how.
    Now, I’m thinking your rice pillow, made along Ugly Doll lines 🙂
    Happy fall to you!

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 3, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Thanks for the suggestion Seanna!

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 3, 2012 at 6:24 am

    a warm in an ugly doll shape= brilliance! Happy Fall to you Molly! xo

  • Cocuklacocuk

    October 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Thank You, i will make and get ready for colder days.

  • Gayle

    December 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Excellent tutorial! Just made Christmas and Winter a little merrier!! Thank you for sharing.

  • carla

    December 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks for the tute. Making these for Christmas gifts. We’ve had a ‘rice sock’ for years (a sock filled with rice) for just this purpose, but I like your idea of having a washable cover.
    Question – I just put the first ‘warm’ made by your directions in the micro and it came out feeling steamy, as in moist. Maybe our rice sock did the first few times, I wouldn’t remember it has been so long. Is this normal for a new ‘warm’ to be steamy? Thanks for your help.

  • blair/wisecraft

    December 21, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Glad you made some! I'm not quite sure why it would be steamy, perhaps shorten the heating time and see if that helps, and make sure there's nothing wet in your microwave. 

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