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A Rice Bag to Keep You Toasty Warm

Free Rice Bag Pattern from Shiny Happy World

Stitch up this easy rice bag and pop it in the microwave whenever you need a little warmth. Heat it for one minute (or a little more) in the microwave. Use it as a foot warmer when you go to bed at night. Or lay it on your chest when you have a cold. Drape it around your neck if you’ve spent too long at the sewing machine. 🙂

Don’t save this project for next winter! In the summertime my daughter likes to keep hers in the freezer to pull out whenever she needs a quick cool-off. Drape the cold bag around your neck on a hot day for instant bliss.

Make one for yourself – and lots more for gifts.

Update! I posted instructions to turn this into a Vicks VapoRub scented rice bag here. Use that version to help soothe a cough and clear a stuffy nose. And be sure to download the free monster rice bag cover pattern too! The link is in the same post. 🙂

What you’ll need

  • 2 squares of fabric – each 10 1/2″ x 10 1/2″
  • 2 1/2 cups rice or other filler
  • scented mix-ins – optional
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • basic sewing tools
  • an hour or less


Super easy! Just a few straight lines and all machine work! Plus the pattern has links to videos teaching you all the skills you’ll need.

Step 1

Iron your fabric so it’s nice and smooth.

Lay your fabric squares right sides together. Using 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew around three sides. If you’re a new sewist, watch this video showing you how to sew straight lines and turn corners.

Step 2

Clip the corners close to -­ but not into -­ the stitching.

It should look like the photo.

Step 3

Turn the bag right side out. Turn the raw edge under 1/2 inch and press.

The entire top edge (all the way around) should be folded under so you have a clean edge.

Step 4

Using a piece of chalk or other erasable marking tool, mark lines every two inches along the length of your rice bag.

This will make channels that help keep the rice spread evenly throughout the bag so it doesn’t all shift into one corner.

Step 5

Stitch along the marked lines -­ right up to the open edge of the bag. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching!

It should look like this.

Using a funnel, fill each channel with about 1/2 cup of rice. There should still be room to spare. Careful! If you fill your bag too full, it will be stiff and won’t mold to your body.

If you want your bag to be scented, now is the time to mix in some additions. I added a few cloves and some broken cinnamon stick pieces to each channel. You can add a few drops of essential oil to the rice before filling the bag. Lavender or rosemary is also a nice addition. Use your imagination!

There’s a tutorial here showing how to make your rice bag into a Vicks Vapo-­rub scented rice bag – perfect for soothing a cough and stuffy head without the icky sticky feeling of the Vicks.

Step 7

Sew the opening closed. Sew as close to the folded edge as possible.

Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end.


Finished rice bag made with flame fabric and the free Rice Bag pattern from Shiny Happy World

Want to get extra fancy? You can sew up a fun monster cover for your rice bag.

There’s a link to a free tutorial here.

Green monster rice bag cover

Happy stitching!


  1. Roxy3555 SAYS...

    Yay, gonna try this tonight!

  2. Jusa SAYS...

    I like this idea, especially the addition of spices. I have actually made a simple one of these for myself, but what bothers me is washing it. I feel compelled to wash it from time to time, especially if it has been used for someone under the weather. I also don’t want to snuggle up with one that’s been used to warm my feet (and they do get sooooo cold in the winter). I haven’t thought of an easy way to empty the rice so it can be washed, and would there be residual rice dust that would then get gummy when washed? I guess the answer is an outer cover, and not to bother emptying the rice out of the bag. Or maybe cylindrical fine mesh bags for the rice that might slide in and out. Anybody have any thoughts on this?

  3. Laura SAYS...

    Hi! I was wondering, does the fabric need to be 100% cotton? I am hoping to make some of these for Christmas gifts!! Thanks so much!

  4. Janeen SAYS...

    What type of fabric would be best? I’m also planning on making the monster cover. This is going to be a great Christmas gift for my kids!! 🙂

    • I usually use regular woven cotton for the rice bag itself, and fur for the outer cover.

  5. I did’t see where you put the vicksvaporrub. In the rive or how much. I want to make this for my family.

  6. Frances SAYS...

    Hi Wendy
    Just an extra note; for microwave anything use 100% cotton fabric and 100% cotton thread. Place a container of water in microwave as well and microwave for only 1 minute at a time to prevent build up of heat leading to spontaneous combustion which has been a problem with some other “microwavable” products. Stay safe!

  7. Judy SAYS...

    So Excited to do this project!

  8. Pingback: How to Embed Rickrack in a Seam – video - Shiny Happy World