Homemade Hand Warmers

Homemade Hand Warmers

I’ve been walking outside this winter for the first time, well, ever.  Along the way I’ve been experimenting with clothing combinations and ways to keep warm.  Last year I made everyone a homemade rice wrap (anti-stress microwaveable neck pillow) for Christmas.

rice wrap

These are simple and inexpensive to make with some scrap fabric and white rice and a drop or two of your favorite essential oil (you can find quality essential oils through the Young Living link on this page and use my distributor number 1589167 if you don’t know a distributor).  I had been given a store bought rice wrap and managed to burn it up in the microwave because I accidentally put 30 minutes in stead of 30 seconds on the timer (who knew that zero was so pressure sensitive).  The instructions say you are supposed to discard the product after 6 months anyway and get a new one.  They cost between $13 and $42 depending on where you buy them and the type of filling.  Some are filled with flax seed.

Anyway, I’ve used store bought chemical hand warmers and they work great.  So great, that the heat lasts for hours.  Much longer than I’ll be walking in the cold.  If I’m walking most days that could add up, too.  I thought I’d try to make some small hand warmers that would be reusable.

You will need scissors, fabric scraps (fleece or flannel preferred), sewing machine or needle and thread, white rice.

hand warmer material

1. Cut two rectangles to make two hand warmers.  My fabric scrap was a long skinny piece so I made a long rectangle to fold in half. The folded edge takes the place of sewing that one side.  You could just as easily cut 4 rectangles and sew all sides.  I didn’t measure these to start but I’d guess they were about 9″x 3″ each.

hand warmer squares

2. Fold each piece in half, right sides together, and sew up the two long side edges.  I think I could have sewed these by hand in the time it took to set up and put away the sewing machine so don’t be afraid to sew them by hand. Then turn the pockets inside out.

hand warmer inside out

3. Fill with rice.  You don’t want them stuffed or full enough to bulge.  Think of a bean bag and how there is room for the beans to move around inside the bag. Use a funnel to pour the rice into the pocket, trust me.

hand warmer filling

4. Turn the unfinished edges in and sew the end closed.  Really, you could just sew them shut without turning in because no one will see them inside your mittens.  Done.  The finished hand warmers are about 2” x 4”.

hand warmer finished


I microwaved these for 15 seconds and a time two times.  I put my gloves on then put the hand warmer in the palm of my hand, then put the mitten over that.  I tested these out yesterday and the heat lasted about 20 minutes.  I think I will try adding about 5 seconds to the microwave time.  You could make theses bigger and put them in your pockets.  I don’t think a bigger one would work in my gloves with the size of my hands.  Do be careful of how long you microwave them.  Microwave in small increments of time.  Microwaves vary in their power and these can get hot enough to burn!

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