DIY Heating Pad | Aromatherapy, Corn, and Rice Heating Pads

Over the years we’ve had a couple of different articles on how to make a DIY Heating Pad. Today we’ll share multiple versions with you so you can make both a DIY rice heating pad or a bag made out of corn. They both work equally well for keeping you warm and holding in heat in the winter, when you have aches or pains, or when you aren’t feeling your best.

Homemade Heating Pads

DIY Rice Heating Pad

Hello friends! Stephanie from Stephie B’s Designs here today to show you another quick and easy project… how to make an aromatherapy DIY rice heating pad or heating bag. If you’ve read any of my other tutorials, you know that I love the quick and easy ones, especially when they make my aches and pains feel better!

What’s also great about this project?! You can throw these heat pads in the freezer for a mock-ice pack!

If you’d prefer not to add scents to your heating pad, by all means, omit the essential oils/dried herbs and flowers… your heating pad will work just as well and be just as wonderful at keeping the heat in.

I’m going to be making two heating pads today, each a different size so I can show you a couple options, using both rice and flax seed. One is for our shoulders and neck, so will be long and thin, and will be sewn down the middle for better distribution of the filling, flax seed.

The other will be an everyday type heating pad that can be used really anywhere, and it will be filled with rice.

Lets dive right in!

Materials for a Rice Heating Pad

  • 100% cotton fabric (because you’ll be microwaving these, the fabric must be 100% cotton)
    • For my large heating pad, I used a 14″ x 22″ piece
    • For the smaller one, I used an 8″ x 10″ piece
  • Rice and/or flax seed (I used roughly 3 cups of rice for the small bag and 6 cups of flax seed for the large)
  • Essential oil(s) (e.g. lavender or stress relief mixtures; you can also use dried flowers or herbs if you prefer)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Funnel
  • Scissors/rotary cutter
  • Self-healing mat (if using a rotary cutter)
  • Ruler/acrylic ruler
  • Sewing machine and 100% cotton thread
aromatherapy heating pad materials

Steps to Make Your Microwave Heating Pads

Step 1. Mix in your essential oils.

1. Add 15-20 drops of your chosen scent to the rice or flax seed filling and stir to combine. (Ooohhh! It smells so good!!!)

I recommend letting the aromatic rice or flax seed sit still for at least an hour if not more, so the oil dries a bit. It makes for clumpy rice and flax seed if you do it too soon, and it may make filling the heating pads harder.

Of course, this step is for an aromatherapy heating pad. Many times people don’t want the extra “aroma” and just make their heating pads with rice and omit the essential oil. That’s fine!

Step 2. Measure and cut your fabric.

For the bag, I folded my fabric in half, so cut out a 7″ x 22″ piece and a 4″ x 10″ piece.

I tend to cut out a piece slightly larger than my intended size…

…and then come back with my rotary cutter and acrylic ruler to finish out the job.

If you’re making two like me, repeat with the second piece.

Step 3. Pin and sew.

1. Fold each piece in half longways like a hot dog with right sides together (RST) and pin along the three raw edges.

I’ve marked with a pink pin where I will begin sewing – about 2-3″ from the folded edge, enough to leave an opening to turn the sewn piece right-side out.

This opening will also serve as the hole for your funnel, so before you sew, make sure the funnel will also fit into it.

2. Sew the three raw edges together, starting (or stopping) at your opening. I’m using 1/4″-ish seam allowance (SA) but you can go smaller or larger depending on you personal preference.

Always remember to backstitch when you start and stop, especially since the stitches near the opening will be taking a beating as you turn this piece right-side out and use your funnel to fill the heating pad.

Tip: When making these or any filled item, I tend to use a shorter stitch length than normal (taking it down from 2.5 to 2.0) to ensure a tight hold.

Repeat if you’re making two. 🙂

Did you remember to leave an opening?! Good! So did I! 🙂

3. Trim the corners…

4. …and then turn right-side out.

5. Use the DULL tip of a pair of scissors, a chop stick, or a special turning tool to push out of the corners.


I highly recommend pressing the opening flat. This will make it much easier to stitch it closed in a few steps.

One last thing before we fill. We’re almost there!

If you’re making a long or wide heating pad, I recommend splitting it into two or more “pockets” so the filling can be distributed more evenly, and not rush to one side or the other depending on how you use it.

In my case, I know we’ll be using the large one across our shoulders, so I’m going to sew a seam down the middle, longways, so the filling doesn’t all droop along the bottom.

In order to do this, I marked the center on both short sides…

…and then sewed from the short edge WITHOUT the opening, towards the short edge WITH the opening.

Leave a gap between your center seam and the end seam with the opening, because you have to position your funnel over both pockets to fill. If you sew the center seam all the way to the edge, you won’t be able to fill the side without the opening.

As you can (hopefully!) see in the image below, I left about a 2″ space between the center seam and the edge with the opening.

Step 4. Fill with Rice.

1. Place your funnel into the opening, get the rice or flax seed, and fill!

How much rice should you use? Well, that is entirely up to you.

I didn’t want mine filled too full or they won’t bend/fold/lay around whatever part of the body they’re being used for.

I suggest stopping at around 3/4 of the way full…

…and then – gently! – laying it flat and over your arm to test it.

Think it needs more rice? Add more! Think it has too much, take some out (as I had to do).

I ended up filling the small one just over 2/3 full of rice.

Filling the large one was a bit trickier and more time-consuming – but trust me, it’s well worth it.

Maneuver the funnel over the far pocket to fill that side. I did two funnel fulls on one side then two funnel fulls on the other so they’d fill up evenly.

I stopped at 2/3 of the way full of rice to test how it would lay.

It was perfect! I wanted this one filled less than typical heating pads, because it has to fold/curve around our shoulders and neck easily.

Side note: Did filling this one it take a while? Yes. Did I watch an entire episode of The Resident on Hulu while I was doing it? Yes! Did I make a mess of rice all over the dining room? Also yes!

Step 6. Close the opening.

You can either topstitch the opening shut using a sewing machine, or use your hand stitch of choice – it’s up to you!

I chose to topstitch both of these two new heating pads closed since I was already going to be at my machine working on the big one.

I decided to close the center seam of our new shoulder heating pad, but you don’t have to. Just like many other things with this project, it’s up to you. 🙂

It was a bit weird sewing that seam while holding the heating pad in my lap, but it worked!

All done!!! Time to toss it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (or the freezer for a couple of hours) and enjoy.

Full disclosure, I threw mine in the microwave within seconds of finishing the seam (I left my sewing machine on I was in such a hurry!)

I’m VERY happy to reprt… it’s amazing. 🙂

diy heating pad

DIY Corn Heating Pad or “Bed Buddy” Heat Packs

Alright – now it’s Amy with the Bed Buddy. These DIY heating pads can also be made out of corn – we call them the “Bed Buddy” around our house! Here’s a super simple tutorial to help heat you up in the winter when you make these microwave heating pads out of corn.

Warning- if you make these corn heating pads you may become completely addicted and carry it around like a baby. My mom wants to get a baby sling for hers:) Seriously all jokes aside- let me introduce you to:

DIY Corn Heating Bags | Free Tutorial

This super warm bag of corn (yup doesn’t sound eloquent, but that’s what it is) will pre-heat your bed, soothe sore muscles and pain, and even let you stick your ice-cold feed on it in the middle of the night!

DIY Corn Heating Pad Materials

Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 cups Feed corn (NOT pop corn. You can find it at farm type stores)
  • 1/3 yard fabric or 2 washcloths
  • Sewing Machine

DIY Corn Heating Pad Instructions

Corn Heating Pad Step 1: Measure out your corn and put it in something with an easy pour spout. Cut your fabric into a nice long rectangle- mine measured 10×24″, but you can play around with the size (If you’re using washcloths skip ahead)

Corn Heating Pad Step 2: If you want to add a little extra something to your bed buddy applique on an initial or something fun.

Corn Heating Pad Step 3: With your fabric right sides together sew around the edges leaving a 3″ish gap, so you can pour the corn in. I went around once with a straight stitch and then around again in zig-zag to reinforce it.

Corn Heating Pad Step 4: Flip right side out, fill with corn and then topstitch the opening shut. Enjoy!

*Heating Instructions: In my tiny old microwave it takes about 3 minutes, but in a nice microwave only about a minute, so start low and work your way up. It will burn if you’re not careful!!

*Breaking it in: the first few times you use it, it will smell and sweat. Ewww, but I promise after a couple times it will be broken in and ready to go. I’ve had the same one for over 10 years and it still works great! If you’re giving it as a gift you should probably break it in first:)

If you enjoyed this tutorial you might also enjoy our other Sewing Tutorials.

Also, be sure to join our sewing community in the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Facebook Group.

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