Homemade Hand Warmers Tutorial With Step By Step Pictures

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Are cold hands making you want to stay inside all winter long? Here is how to make your own reusable homemade Hand Warmers in just 5 minutes!

Are cold hands making you want to stay inside all winter long? Here is how to make your own reusable homemade Hand Warmers in just 5 minutes!

Homemade Hand Warmers

When we moved across the state, I was not prepared for the bitter cold. Of course, I was used to a certain amount of cold spells and snow, but they only lasted a few days, and then we had some fairly nice weather for a while. After we moved, we would have days on end below zero. It was not a fun time!

Tip: Are you ready for winter weather? Check out these Winter Weather Preparedness Tips and get a Free Printable Checklist

During the winter, I totally change our wardrobe. I’ve found that good fleece pants keep my legs warm during the day, and I can usually be found wearing about 3 shirts. Plus warm socks and slippers, of course! I’ve bought each member of our family some canvas bibs and coats.

Something else I did was make some of these Homemade hand Warmers. They are SO simple and can be made in just 5 minutes. If you do any kind of sewing, you probably already have what you need for them. These are perfect to stick in your pockets when you head outside on these cold winter days. Depending on the outside temperature, we’ve found that they stay warm for about 15 minutes on average. Perfect for a little warm-up when you are outside doing chores!

Tip: If you looking to keep your hands clean this winter, you might also want to check out my Homemade Hand Sanitizer Spray recipe.

These DIY rice hand warmers are not only great for keeping your hands toasty, but they are good for kids when they want to play outside in the snow, and they also make a great gift!

Flannel Fabric

What You Need to Make Pocket Warmers

  • 100% Cotton Flannel. If you don’t have fresh new flannel, you can use an old flannel shirt or something else made from flannel fabric. You just need to make sure that it’s 100% cotton and has nothing metallic running through it.
  • Thread/Needle/Sewing Machine. You can sew these by machine or by hand.
  • Scissors and Measuring Tape. You can make these mini heating pads in just about any size, but you’ll want to measure your fabric so that whatever size you choose is cohesive.
  • Uncooked Rice. This should be plain, white, uncooked rice. Brown rice will get an icky smell to it over time.

I made these several years ago. A little tip: I added a handful of ceramic pie weights to the bag. They will keep it warm longer. Just something that I thought I would share. 

Shannon, Little House Living reader

How to Make Hand Warmers: Step By Step Pictures

Homemade Hand Warmers

–New to sewing? Check out my 7 Sewing Must-Haves List before you get started!

Measure and cut your flannel. You will need two 4-inch by 4-inch squares. As I stated above, make sure you are only using 100% cotton flannel and that there are no metallic threads running through the flannel.

Homemade Hand Warmers

Here are my 2 squares.

Homemade Hand Warmers

Turn both squares so that the wrong side of the fabric faces outward, and sew a simple straight stitch around the edges. You can do a zigzag if you want to. These could easily be hand-sewn if you do not have a sewing machine.

Homemade Hand Warmers

Make sure to leave about an inch wide opening on the 4th side of the square instead of sewing it all the way shut. Anything smaller than an inch will make it difficult for the next step. Turn the pouch right side out and pop out the corners so it looks just like a little bean bag.

Homemade Hand Warmers

Fill the bag up about 3/4 of the way full with uncooked rice. This should just be plain white rice. It is about 1/8 cup of rice if you make the 4-inch square bags. You can use a small funnel to get the rice in the pouches if you are having trouble.

Homemade Hand Warmers

Fold the edges of the bag into the bag and sew it closed. Make sure to reinforce the ends so you don’t have any rice spilling out into your pockets!

New use for these. I put one in each of my jeasns pockets and in each side of my bra! Took the chill out of my core when I went out to shovel our two feet of snow. By the time they wore off I had warmed up from the activity. Thanks for the idea.

Aurelie, Little House Living reader
Homemade Hand Warmers

Using Your Homemade Hand Warmers

That’s it, so easy! To warm up the rice hand warmer before you head out into the cold, place it in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds and stick it into your pocket. These will stay warmer longer if they are next to your body.

If you do not have a microwave, place them on a warm stovetop or something similar to warm them through before taking them outside. Those that are warmed with this method may stay warm a little longer than those from the microwave.

This is a great, simple project, even if you haven’t done much sewing before. These little DIY Hand Warmers sure are nice to have around, though! To clean these, spot clean as needed.

I make oblong bags a little larger than you make, fill them with steamed field corn and place them in my bed at night. Microwaving them for 2 or 3 minutes will warm your toes for hours.

Tee, Little House Living reader
Sewing Dish Towel Apron Together

More Easy Sewing Projects

Make sure to check out all the other great DIY Projects on Little House Living.

Skillet Meals

Do you enjoy easy sewing projects? Do you know someone who could use these homemade hand warmers while they are doing chores?

Me and Kady

Merissa Alink

Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life on Little House Living since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

This Homemade Hand Warmers Tutorial was published on Little House Living in February 2014. It has been updated as of December 2023.

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  1. That is a great idea. It’s really cold in Indiana now too. At 9 am it just got up to zero. Brrr! My daughter made one of those to put in my grandbaby’s crib at night. They are also nice for achy muscles and joints. I hadn’t thought about hand warmers. Thanks!

  2. I made these several years ago. A little tip: I added a handful of ceramic pie weights to the bag. They will keep it warm longer. Just something that I thought I would share. I enjoy your page immensely!!!

  3. I love your website. Lots of great ideas. Just a suggestion for the handwarmers would be to use a funnel to fill them with the rice. It would take less time and no mess.

  4. New use for these. I put one in each of my jeasns pockets and in each side of my bra! Took the chill out of my core when I went out to shovel our two feet of snow. By the time they wore off I had warmed up from the activity. Thanks for the idea.

    1. love that idea! cant wait to try it out. The cold harsh Floridian winters haven’t hit hard yet but when we get enough snow i plan on lining my entire body with these

      1. Really, cold harsh winters in Florida? You need to experience real winter in places that have below zero temperatures and wind chills. People that grow up with winter conditions are a lot hardier than you Floridians. I have no sympathy for you people in Florida. Enjoy your constant mold and mildew smell there from so much moisture. Give me 4 seasons and yes, I love winter

    1. I can’t understand why you have to make a comment such as you did. If you you are in the dark ages and don’t use a microwave, then share your wonderful craft idea. No craft idea is perfect for everyone but at least Mellissa is trying to help others.

  5. Anything you can put in to keep them warm longer? If you have to microwave them every 15 minutes it’s not really worth it.

  6. Hadn’t thought to make them this small! I’ve made big ones and they’re amazing for achy shoulders or back, or any time you might want a heating pad. If you drip some essential oil on them, they smell wonderful when they’re microwaved. Kept in the freezer, they can be popped on sprains or bruises without messing with drippy ziplock baggies of ice. I’ve also made them with barley and wheat berries, and they give off a nice toasty smell.

  7. I make something similar , but I use unmatched socks fill three quarters with rice tie a knit in the open end and voila instant hot bag, 1-2 min I microwave stays hit for a long time and will conform to your body can also put in freezer for cold pack.

  8. I make oblong bags a little larger than you make, fill them with steamed field corn and place them in my bed at night. Microwaving them for 2 or 3 minutes will warm your toes for hours.

  9. I have had my rice bag for 20 years. I do not have a problem with mold. I keep it in a zip lock during the summer and use it in the winter to warm my bed or to warm me up under my blankets as I snuggle on the couch. Last year I made more for my family and for friends. As long as you don’t overheat it your rice bag will smell of cooked rice and keep you toasty warm. If you do overheat it your rice bag will have a burnt smell but still keep you warm.

  10. I am going to make these. Thank you for sharing, I love ur DIY ideas .
    I need 2 ask which type of rice would i use ? tia.

  11. these are also great to keep in the freezer for lil ones bumps and bruises also can use dry beans for the freezer

  12. If you make a “cover” or slip for them to slide into they will stay warm longer. Using corn instead also makes for a longer lasting warm but rice is more handy. Oh, no pun intended there.

  13. Merissa, Broken Heart, those that have angry, spiteful hearts will attack in order to feel somehow better than they do. I brings them joy. Sick yes. Please keep your focus and continue on. Those folks need help. A kind word and loving heart will dispel those that try to ruin what is good. Am sorry you are having to deal with this. Am glad you shared. May you wake each morning with a smile on your face, and fall asleep each night with a heart full of joy.

  14. I have several sizes of these. Made some just to slide in my grandkids boots to get them warm before they have to put them on…I hang mine by clothes pins on a clothes hanger above the wood heater…this way they are always warm and ready

  15. I just want to add my support, Melissa. You are here adding wonderful words and sweet, helpful tips too keep our footprints small and add appreciation of our world… You are accomplishing much for many… Please do not allow negative, or mean comments to sink in. People sometimes take their frustration out on others. I find even the comment about the microwave usage a negative. Why do people expect you to know ALL things? After adding to our lives with all your might is an amazing. You are filled with caring and magical ideas. Don’t let ignorant remarks slow you down. You are repected and loved for all you offer us. Hold to that as any ignorance may sow up on your remarks… You are terrific!

  16. Another idea to create these without sewing. Take an infant or toddler sock and fill with the rice and just knot the top. So easy.

    1. That is a very creative idea, especially for people like me whose children take their socks of at random times and places and you can only find one of them. I hate mismatched socks, but love creative ideas for using the ones leftover. 🙂

  17. Hey ! Sounds great, your pretty awesome♥ I have recently run across your page:)was interested in checking out what you are all about!! 🙂

  18. I’ve been following you for a while now and I must tell you that I love your ideas. Keep up the good work, you bring sunshine to so many of us.

  19. To make the warmers washable, make main packet out of muslin or scrap fabric. Then make a second cover with a fold over flap that can be removed and washed. I do them this way all the time.

  20. I recently made my first project with my sewing machine, and I didn’t break it or anything. Seems like it’s been colder this winter, so I’m definitely giving the hand warmers idea some serious thought! Thanks for posting this, Merissa. 🙂

  21. First of all, Marissa, I just came across your site recently and I love it. It’s obvious you put a lot of work and a lot of yourself into this site. Thank you!

    In our house, we fill clean white tube socks with rice and heat them in the microwave. My husband bought me a pair of slippers with rice built into them (they are really hard to walk in!), and they came with instructions to heat in the microwave with a small bowl of water. We started doing that with our rice socks, too. They stay warm form for 20-30 minutes, I’d say. We put them in between our sheets before we go to bed. That is NICE in this cold weather.
    (I got the sock idea from the midwife who lead my childbirth class. Credit where it’s due!)

  22. I love your page…and would like to pass on something that was instilled in me as a child…..if you can’t say something nice…don’t say anything at all….please keep up the wonderful tips

  23. Wow, these are so cute and would make such great gifts for winter. Thanks for sharing! Popping over from the Crafty Frenzy link party 🙂

  24. What a great tip! Hello, my name is Misty, from The LadyPrefers2Save, and I’m one of the new co-hosts for the Merry Monday Linky Party! I wanted to write and thank you for linking up to this weeks Merry Monday party, as well as to let you know that your post will be linked to the Merry Monday Pinterest board, as well my social media accounts. I would love to have you also stop by my blog as well! Thanks for linking up at the Merry Monday’s Linky Party this week, and I hope to see you linking up next week as well. Have an awesome week!

  25. I’ve seen these before and people use different things inside. So long as it keeps my hands and toes warm…I’m a happy camper. Thanks for sharing this on Merry Monday. Have a super week.

  26. You should say to use cotton thread on the flannel hand warmers. Regular thread or polyester could catch fire in the microwave.

    Like the idea

  27. what a wonderful bit of craftiness. Love these! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop xo

  28. Definitely going to make some of these; I’m always freezing! I wonder if these would warm up my cold toes at night…hmmm…ideas! Thank you for sharing at Inspire Me Wednesday. Featuring you in this week’s issue.

    1. I make larger ones by doubling up old socks, then put inside a winter wool sock and wear it to bed at night. Sometimes if sitting down for awhile I’ll do the same thing to keep my feet nice and warm.

  29. I just priced hand-warmers on a few websites. Needless to say, they are PRICEY! I’m more than happy to sew several of these simple, economical little hand-warming bags to help me get through the cold mornings, and share with the rest of my family. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea! 🙂

  30. Just came across your blog for hand warmers. I make a lot of these in all sorts of sizes and sell them.
    One alteration I make is to make make with something like calico or any scrap fabric you have on hand. Then I make a removable cover using Velcro or snaps to close the end…Here in News Zealand we use wheat.This method enables you to wash the outer cover.

  31. I followed all of the instruction but when I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds my smaller hand warmer got a big hole burnt in the middle of it but my big one was fine.

  32. Merissa, thank you for this cute little DIY project. I live in SW Arkansas. We don’t have the cold weather that you do, but my hands still get cold when I’m outside for very long.

  33. What a brilliant page. So full. Well done. I am from Brighton UK. I am very impressed. Can I subscribe please.

    1. Do you have a wood stove or something similar? I’ve heard of people that have made these and they simply set them on top of their stove to warm them up 🙂

  34. Sorry to wake and old post, I am just now discovering this wonders of sewing. I wanted something to have in common with my sister that I only get to see roughly every 15 years because she lives in Germany. But might I make a small suggestion, sort of a “trick” I have learned. Instead of only using your flannel layer, add an all cotton layer to both front and back when assembling. This helps them stay warmer longer, plus, doing so provides for another bonus. The warmers will be more gentle on “delicate” skin. Wife approved! Just saying. 🙂

  35. Thank you so much for this and everything else you have added to my life. I love all your tips. Forget the grumpy people, you will never please people like that. Keep being the beautiful person you are.