If we’ve ever been in the same room together in the winter, you’ve heard me complain about being cold. I’m always cold in the winter and I. don’t. like. it. I really, really don’t like going to bed at night in the winter and sliding my feet down to the bottom of the freezing cold bed. All winter long, I find myself going to sleep with my legs crisscrossed and my feet tucked under my legs at the knees. How crazy is that?! Then I remembered reading about bed warmers in the “olden days.” A bed warmer was a pan on a stick. You’d put hot coals in the pan and slide it between the sheets to warm them up before you got into bed. Brilliant! I decided it was time to make some new fangled bed warmer DIY rice heat packs. And you know me, I had to turn it into an upcycled project.
Last year I found these slacks with fun, cheerful fabric at a thrift store. I used part of one leg to make an upcycled wine gift bag. I’ve been looking at these slacks for a year, wondering what would be the perfect project for them. So when my crazy brilliant idea to make rice heat packs came up, I knew that I wanted to use these red aloha fabric slacks. I read that you should use cotton fabric and thread in making heat packs since you heat them in the microwave. Fortunately, these slacks are 100% cotton.
Confession time. I’m not a seamstress and I am a bit of an impatient crafter. You should probably plan and measure the size of your heat packs before you cut the fabric. Bu-uut I didn’t. I simply laid the bag of rice next to the pants leg and eyeballed my measurements. I wanted the heat packs smaller than the full bag of rice. I also eyeball allowed that I’d have to cut the angled part of the leg to square up my heat packs. So, if you want to craft like they did in the wild wild West, do what I did. But otherwise, plan and measure before you cut your fabric.
Once the bag was turned right-side out, I sewed a seam on the right side about 1/4 inch in from the edge, but still left the opening. I sewed the second seam to reinforce the edges and to keep any wayward grains of rice from working their way out of the heat pack. Then I filled the heat packs with rice. I started with the funnel, but found it got clogged up too easily so I used an index card as a homemade funnel. I simply filled the heat pack comfortably full. I needed enough wiggle room to be able to sew the opening closed, but other than that, it’s a personal preference how full you fill the pack.
I was able to get 7 heat packs from this 1 pair of pants. But remember, I’d already used part of one pant leg for my wine gift bag. I think you could get 9-10 from an entire pair of pants.
I had so much fun making these floral DIY rice heat packs that I ran to my stash of clothes to repurpose (don’t tell me I’m the only one with a pile of clothes just waiting for a repurposed project!) and grabbed these cotton flannel pajama pants. The fabric is soft and I thought the pattern would work better for a guy.
I can’t wait to give these as gifts, but first I chose one for each bed in our house. No one will have to sleep with their legs all twisted up under them this winter in my house, thanks to these DIY rice heat packs I lo-ove them!
More recycled gift ideas: