Rice Bags

Seems like such a weird idea… “hey, you’re special to me… have some rice in a bag.”

My sister made me one years ago, though, and I use it ALL the time! You can keep them in the freezer to use for cold therapy when needed, and pop them in the microwave for heat therapy. It’s very soothing to tight muscles.

You see those kiosks in the mall everywhere, selling pretty much the same thing, but for a lot more $$ than it would take you to make them. Sure, they might be filled with other things like flaxseed, but that’s nothing you couldn’t also create.

It’s very easy, and super cheap, which makes it a great gift for people that you can’t budget much money for. Also, it’s a great way to use up those smaller pieces of fabric you have laying around, or those patterns that are just a little too bold for most of your projects.

I made these awhile ago and didn’t take pictures of each step, but will try to summarize in words instead.

What you need is: fabric (regular ol’ cotton, something that can be heated), rice (I just get the generic supermarket white rice), and some tea bags. You can pick out the scents of tea that you like the best. I like going with Celestial Seasonings’ Sleepytime Tea, as it’s a blend of things like chamomile that are very relaxing. Peppermint would be great if you want more of a pick-me-up.

Sew up the fabric in a rectangle, leaving one of the short ends open for filling. It’s your judgment as to the size, just remember that if you make it really big, it’ll be a pain to microwave because it may not heat consistently. I would recommend double-stitching the bag, so if a seam pops open, you’re not suddenly covered in rice…

In a bowl, pour in the rice. Then, take some scissors and snip open the tea bags. Again, it’s your discretion of how many to use. The bags will be stronger for the first few uses and then taper off. When you heat them up, the scent of the tea gets released, so try not to go overboard either. Put in a few at a time and sniff-test to see how strong it is. (Try not to sneeze in the bowl – hehe!)

Mix the rice and tea, then pour into the fabric bag so it’s about halfway full. This will make it more “shapeable” so that you can wrap it a bit around whatever muscle you are trying to soothe.

Fold over the unfinished edge and sew shut. You can hand-sew or machine sew this part. It’s a little bit of a pain to machine sew and keep the rice from falling out at the same time, though. Again, double-stitch this part, to make it more durable.

Here’s an example of a few bags I made for my son’s daycare teachers. I made them a little smaller so they could double as handwarmers when walking outside, so they’re about 5×8 inches.

You can faintly see a stitched outline of my son’s hand on the top bag, which I did before sewing the bag together.

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