DIY Heating Pad

DIY Heating Pad @themerrythoughtCaitlin & I have been using these heating pads for years. These little heat packs are perfect for helping to soothe headaches, cramps, muscle aches, back aches, sore necks or just for keeping warm on cold days. I think Caitlin carries hers around permanently during winter. There’s been quite a few times when I’ve opened my microwave to discover she left her heating pack in there – ha!
In the past, my sister, Marla, had always made mine; I’m not sure how that came about, but every now & then, she’d sew me up a new heating pad, and I was good to go! However, now she has three little ones and not as much time on her hands, and I was needing a new heat pad, so it was time to put on my big girl pants and make my own. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try making some using essential oils to help ease my cramps, which is the main reason I use mine. TMI, I know, sorry.
We’ve actually started calling these Lady Packs because Caitlin’s friend, Mike, referred to it as that one time when she was traveling with him and took her heating pad along…he wanted to be sure she didn’t leave her Lady Pack in his car – 😂! DIY Heating Pad @themerrythought
I’m in no way an expert seamstress, which you can definitely tell by looking at any of my sewing projects – ha! But these heating pads just use super basic sewing skills, so don’t be scared off by that! You can use pretty much any fabric you have on hand – tee shirts, socks or leg warmers, old towels or pillow cases. These packs here are all made from scraps from previous blog projects – the striped fabric is from our wooden camp chair, the white linen is from our gift wrap, and the grey linen is from our daybed couch in the living room. Waste not, want not! 😉
DIY Heating Pad @themerrythoughtYou can make these without using any oils, but I love the great smell they add, as well as helping to soothe & relax. You can use any essential oils that you enjoy the smell of or bring you relief. A few favorites that are great for these heating pads are: Lavender – it’s calming and relaxing, Eucalyptus – it’s a warming & soothing aroma and eases sore muscles, and Peppermint – good for aches and pains.

If you’re looking for some oils that might help ease menstrual cramps, here’s a few good ones to try:
– Dragon Time
– Lavender
– Peppermint
– Clary Sage
– Stress Away
– Geranium
You could also apply an oil to your abdomen and then put the heat pack on for added benefits.
DIY Heating Pad @themerrythoughtSupplies:
– fabric
– scissors
– sewing machine
– white rice
– essential oils (see above for some good ones to try)
– needle & thread


Add about 3 cups of rice to a bowl – your rice amount will vary, depending on size of heat pack, my packs used about 3 cups of rice. You can make them as full as you want, I think about 3/4 full is good. (If you’re not sure how much to use, you can wait and fill your sewn bag with desired amount of rice, then pour that into a bowl, add your essential oils, and refill your bag). Add 10 drops (total) of desired essential oils. Mix together and set aside.

Cut out two rectangles from the piece of fabric. (All of my heating pads vary slightly in size, but are approximately 10″x5″). Put the pieces together with the outside facing in. Sew 1/4″ along the edge leaving a 3″ opening along one of the sides. Flip right-side out. Add rice. Fold the top edges of the fabric in and hand stitch hole closed.

To use, heat in the microwave for 1-4 minutes, this will vary depending on the size of your heat pad and your microwave. Just keep checking until it’s the desired temp. For my bags, it takes about 3 minutes to heat to my desired temp.DIY Heating Pad @themerrythoughtIf you’re curious about essentials oils, you can learn more here. And here’s a few other essential oil DIYs we’ve tried that you might like: Homemade Body Butter | Homemade Facial Toner | Homemade Makeup Remover Pads | DIY Perfume.


  • AlanaTuesday, April 5, 2016 - 9:32 pm

    Love this project and really really love your photography!! Have you got any tips for a newbie photographer??ReplyCancel

    • MandaFriday, April 8, 2016 - 1:59 pm

      Thanks! You can find out what cameras/lenses we like on our FAQ page. Our go to is always lots of natural light. We’re hoping to put out a post in the near feature with more tips! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • IvoryWednesday, April 6, 2016 - 9:53 am

    Lovin it! Thanks for the great idea.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah @ The HomesteadyWednesday, April 6, 2016 - 12:58 pm

    So smart!! I love it. (Also, talking about your cramps is not TMI! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • MandaFriday, April 8, 2016 - 2:01 pm

      Thanks Hannah! And good to know I’m not overwhelming readers with too much personal info! 😉ReplyCancel

  • AnnaSaturday, April 9, 2016 - 4:09 pm

    How long does the pack hold heat? I’m thinking these would be great for during the winter!ReplyCancel

    • MandaTuesday, April 12, 2016 - 11:45 am

      They are perfect for winter – that’s our favorite time to use them! And sadly it’s still been cold enough around here for us to still be using them! It’s hard to say for sure how long it holds heat for, it will depend on the size you make it and how hot you heated it, but I’d say they stay warm-ish for about an hour. Some people say they stay warmer for longer than that, but I would say mine are usually warm for more like 45-60 minutes.ReplyCancel

      • AnnaTuesday, April 12, 2016 - 3:21 pm

        That’s perfect! Now I’ve gotta go get some fabric!ReplyCancel

  • MalusitaWednesday, May 18, 2016 - 2:23 am

    Great tutorial. And I loooved the colours/patterns you used. Nice, simple & minimal (:
    Just a quick question – Can they be washed from time to time? If so, what would be the best way to do it? (Im just afraid the rice might suck up all the moisture and start moulding from the inside lol)ReplyCancel

    • MandaThursday, May 19, 2016 - 1:07 pm

      Thanks, glad you like them! Yes, you could wash these. You’d have to undo the stitching in a small spot (best spot would probably be the hole that you hand-sew as the last step when making it), pour out the rice and then wash. I’d wash it on gentle and probably air dry. (It’d be a good idea to wash the fabric before you did any sewing at all, that will help with it not shrinking when you do wash it, and pick a fabric that’s wash-friendly too!) Then once it’s dry, just add new rice and re-sew the hole! Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

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