Friday, February 2, 2018

Tutorial for Rice Bag with Removable Cover

This post is picture heavy but the project actually takes under 20 minutes to complete.

Several years ago I did a simple tutorial for a Rice Bag with a removable cover. It was linked to another blog that has since closed.  My original was on my last computer that died an untimely death.  Last month I got an email from a lovely person who had seen on pintrest  a reference for my rice bag tutorial and in turn couldn't find it. So Donna this tutorial is for you.

For anyone who doesn't know about rice bags here is quick overview.  A Rice bag is a small 100 % cotton pillow filled with real rice.  These bags can me microwaved for under a minute and be used as a hot pad for minor aches and pains or frozen and used for whatever you use an ice pack for.

The top picture shows what you need to make one. VERY IMPORTANT all of the sewing parts, the inside bag, the outside cover and the thread must be 100% cotton  anything not 100% cotton has the potential to melt and cause serious mess or a potential burn.

The big green bowl is solely for containing the rice while you are pouring it from the store bag or box to the sewn bag. Rice has the ability to travel great distances when it spills and you will be finding the little buggers for weeks once spilt.

I generally make 2 at a time because somebody always wants one and its quicker for me to cut 2 at once. Measurements will be for only one bag at a time.

Inner bag is cut 5 inches wide by 20 - 21 inches.  I use a good quality plain cotton.

Outer fabric is cut 6 inches by 21 - 22 inches. I love using 100% cotton flannel for the outside. 

Start with the inside fabric, fold in half long way and sew up both sides using a half inch seam allowance and then again with a quarter inch seam allowance. Back stitch both ends of the stitching.

Flip inside out. Draw a line on the fabric at about the 9 inch mark.

Now for the rice.  Instant rice is not recommended.  I use about 1 1/2 cups for this size bag. This is an opinion, personal choice. Any less and the rice tends to fall to either end and therefore doesn't heat an entire area.  Much more than 1 1/2 cups and it has no flexibility and I think it feels kind of hard.

Remember to do your pouring over a big bowl or pot just in case.

Now you want to either double fold over the top at the 9 inch line or tuck in at the 9 inch mark and do a double row of stitching.

Your rice bag is now done and can be used as is.  I like a cover because it can be removed and washed extending the life of the bag.

DO NOT cut the selvage off the fabric.  

The non selvage end needs to have a hem.  Double fold and stitch the edge.

Now lay the cover piece out right side up and place the bag on it

Fold up the hemmed edge so it ends up above the middle.

bring the selvage end up and cover the hemmed edge

Note where the fabric folds over the bag,  and then remove the bag. Take the bag out and refold.  Sew the side seams the same way as the bag once with a half inch seam and once with a quarter inch seam.  Double stitch the area over the overlap.

Flip inside out

put the bag into the cover 

put the entire thing into the micro wave on high for 45 seconds. 

Depending on your micro wave this may be a great temp I go up to 1 minute max. The heated rice has a wonderfully soothing aroma.  

Making the bag should have taken somewhere in the range of 20 -25 minutes.
The more you make the faster they go together.

The first year I made these I made one for every member of my family. All of my nieces and nephews were into sports and they loved them, they also stole them from each other and their parents on a regular basis. They are now older and on their own and have asked for replacement bags over the years.

I have made them bigger and with sections, We didn't find them to be worth the additional effort. I  also made them small for hand warmers and they were a great success.

I hope you have fun with this project. 


  1. I've made the frogs with rice for heating pads, but this would be much easier! Thank you for the tutorial.

  2. I cannot wait to make these! I have granddaughters who love to warm the rice bags and take them to bed. Thank you!

  3. These are a great idea and so useful. Much better than a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel. LOL. You did a great tutorial too.

  4. Great tutorial. I need to make a few.

  5. Wonderful tutorial for these useful bags...thanks! I love having them around when my back gets achy.

  6. Very good tutorial!! Thank you Selina quilts!!!

  7. Just a thought- if you have a dishwasher which came with a funnel for adding the salt, that funnel would really work for putting in your rice. No, don't dishwash the rice bag! It would never be the same again...

  8. Oh, small hand warmers... AWESOME idea!!! I now know what to make for my boys next Christmas. I made a flax seed neck warmer for DH last year. He thought sections would have made it better. Thanks for voicing your family's opinion on that matter!

  9. Great idea. Lovely tutorial. Thanks for sharing ... :) Pat

  10. I need to make some of these for sure...thanks for the tutorial

  11. wow !!! it really beautiful so much.i like your good idea Thanks for the inspiration!



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