BRRRRRRR!! Texas winters are a joke, but I surely do hate being even a little bit cold. I have a couple of rice heating pads I made last year that I use all the time. I keep one in a ziplock bag in the freezer to use as a cold compress for sore knees after a hard run/bike ride and for puffy eyes. I leave my second one out to warm up as a heating pad on a cold night (or for cramps - *wink wink). The flannel material is super soft and comfortable against your skin. It's fairly easy to make one yourself - they also make really great gifts during the holidays!
What you'll need:
- a sewing machine
- flannel fabric - I chose a different pattern for the front/back, or you can use the same pattern throughout (I bought mine at Amazon.com)
- your favorite scented oil
Start by cutting your fabric flannel to the size you want. When factoring in size, add in approximately one inch to your width/height to account for sewing seams. Mine was roughly 7"x13" for a 6"x12" size heating pad.
Lay the two fabric pieces inside out on top of each other in order to sew the two pieces together. Sew three of the edges and leave the top open.
Next, flip the fabric back inside out (it should look like a big pocket now). Sew the same three edges from the outside to reinforce the sides.
After the edges are done, you'll want to sew your heating pad "sections". Measure out the width size of the pockets you want (mine were roughly 4" wide) and sew the middle seams.
Now that you have the shell of the heating pad done, you'll need to prepare your filling. I used rice, but you can also use other fillings (flax, lentils, etc.). I needed roughly one cup of rice per section of my heating pad - this will vary depending on the size of your sections and how stuffed you like the heating pad. Throw the rice into a ziplock bag and add some of your scented oil (the scent fades as you use your heating pad, so be generous). Shake it up and then it's ready to go! Fill'er up each section - you may want to use a funnel so minimize spilling.
Next up, it's time to seal the deal - tuck your edges in and pin them to keep it in place. I keep the pins in and as I'm sewing, take them out one by one before it hits the foot of the sewing machine. One way of keeping the rice at bay while you sew is by pinning the material just above where the rice stops as well.
Aaaaaaannd voila!!! You have a heavenly smelling, beautiful heating pad that you can snuggle up with all winter. =)
You can also find additional instructions at thegreenwife, which is where I initially got details on how to make the heating pad.