Heart Hand Warmers or Bean Bags

Hand warmer Tutorial

Happy New Year!  I hope your Holidays were filled with hope and the people you care about.

Perhaps I’m the only one, but post holidays can be a rough transition for me.  The magic, anticipation, and extra time with our family ends and the frigid cold weather sets in.  And I really don’t like being cold.

So here’s a quick little project to bring a little color and warmth.  And give you a jump start on Valentine’s Day.  Heart Hand Warmers! (aka bean bags.) These sew up fast, use just scraps of fabric, and are great to have around for warming hands and easing ear ache pain.  We heat them up in the microwave a little and place them in our pockets, gloves, or over our ears.

So grab some fabric around 5″ by 10″ total (left over holiday fabric?) and let’s get going.  You can use just about any fabric as long as it isn’t delicate.  So Tulle is a probably a no-go, but quilting cottons, flannel, fleece, and even knits work great.  I’d also stick to natural fibers if you plan to heat them in the microwave.

First make a paper heart for your pattern.  Start with a 5″ square of freezer paper, fold it in half, and then draw a curve with a shallow point at top and steeper point at the bottom.  Your paper doesn’t have to be freezer paper, so don’t give up if you don’t have that hanging around.  Freezer paper just makes it easy to cut out your heart.

With the paper still folded in half cut out the curve.  Open up the paper to see your heart shape.  Adjust the curve as needed to end up with a heart shape you like.

If your heart is made out of freezer paper, iron the heart shiny side down onto your fabric.  It now sticks to the fabric!  Cool, huh?

Cut out two copies of the heart.  You can either cut out two at once by having two layers of fabric under the freezer paper heart or you can cut out one heart, then peel off the freezer paper and iron it onto fabric a second time. You can reuse this pattern several times before ironing won’t make it stick to the fabric anymore.

Peel off the freezer paper heart and place the fabric hearts on top of each other right sides together.  Pin the edges in a couple places.  *Tip* on one of the straighter sides of the heart, put two pins right next to each other.  About an inch or so farther down the straight side place one pin.  This will help you remember when to stop sewing.

Start at the edge of the heart by the single pin and sew into the heart 3/8 inch.  Then put the needle in the down position and pivot the fabric so you can sew around the edge of the heart.  Sew all around the heart with 3/8 inch seam allowance pivoting at the points of the heart.  Stop when you get to the double pins.  Put the needle in the down position and pivot the fabric to sew off the edge of the heart.

Cut off the seam allowance at the bottom of the heart to reduce bulk and get a sharper point.  Clip all around the heart where you have sewn.  Make sure you cut down to the stitching (but not through) at the point at the top of the heart.  You can even cut off some of the fabric there if you wish.  *When I clipped I realized I wanted to sew around the curve of the heart further so my hole was smaller and positioned more completely on the straight side.*

Turn the heart right side out.  Gently poke the point out and iron the curves smooth.  The closer together you clip, the smoother you will be able to get there curves of the heart.

Fill the heart about 2/3 to 3/4 full of rice.  I like to use a kitchen funnel to get the rice in without a big mess.

Hand stitch the opening closed.

Don’t like to hand stitch?  You can also use your sewing machine to sew it closed.  Or taking a step further and sew around the outside of the entire heart to close the opening and topstitch at the same time. This will make the seams extra secure but can be tricky because you have to go slow and stop frequently to push rice inside the heart out of the way.  If you choose to top stitch all the way around, I suggest putting less rice in the bags to make it easier.

That’s it!  You’re ready for some cold weather!  Heat them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds at a time until they are as warm as you like.  Or leave them cold and play with them as you would any other bean bag.

3 Responses

  1. I love the hearts!! These may be in my future!! I made hand warmers before with rice but when I heated them up they smelled funky. I even tried adding essential oils to the rice but that didn’t help. I still use one of them anyways as an eye cover or abdomen heat pad but the smell…any suggestions??

    1. Glad you like the hearts! They are so cute! My daughter used them the night after I made them when her ears were aching a little. Hmm, I’ve had them smell like warm rice/grain but never super strong or worrisome. Did it always smell weird or did it smell okay the first couple times and then start smelling funny? I’m thinking maybe the rice smells funny after it gets old. However, I’ve had one I made at least 10 years ago and I don’t think it smells when I heat it up. But we don’t use it all that frequently either. I’d probably try opening one up and replacing the rice to see if new rice helped get rid of the smell. Good luck!

      1. Thanks I may try to replace the rice because they’ve always smelled and even without heating there’s a distinct odor. I use it a lot since I’ve been working nights so I use it as an eye cover. Seeing as it’s near my nose I’m probably smelling it more than I would if I made the hearts and just used them as hand warmers. Look forward to gifting these!

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