Sew a rice-based heating (or cooling!) pad

Learn how to sew a rice heating pad indicating hot or cold therapy. The unique heart shape helps the cushion stay where you need it.

Every once in a while, someone in my family experiences a small injury and needs hot or cold therapy. We have cold packs that we use here and there, but I needed something more flexible in shape and temperature. I decided to sew a rice heating pad that works for both heating and cooling.

I chose a heart shape so it could fit a face with a space for the nose. It also rests on an elbow, knee or ankle because the inside point can go around and hold it in place. You can use any shape, but if you want to use a heart, I used my free heart pillow sewing pattern!

What is a rice heating pad?

A rice heating pad is a reusable bag or pad filled with uncooked rice. This can help with muscle pain, stiffness or swelling. The rice stays hot or cold for about 30 minutes. Reheat it in the microwave or chill it in the freezer.

You can also add essential oils if you want them to smell differently or add different benefits.

sew a rice heating pad

Can a rice heating pad be used for cooling?

Yes, you can use a rice heating pad to cool down. Put it in a ziploc bag and put it in the freezer for 2 hours. Cooling will take approximately 30 minutes.

sew a rice heating pad

Why do you put rice in a heating pad?

Rice is excellent for insulating against heat or cold, so it is ideal as a heating pad. The rice releases the temperature slowly so that it lasts long enough for relief.

Rice is also great because each grain is so small that it can conform to the shape of whatever it's sitting on. It will contour the curves of your limbs so you get full exposure.

Why should I use cotton fabric and cotton thread?

Since you are going to heat the rice heating pad in the microwave, you need to use cotton fabric and cotton thread. If you use anything else, it may melt in the microwave.

sew a rice heating pad

How to use a rice heating pad


  1. Heat the cushion in the microwave for 60 seconds.
  2. Turn the stamp over.
  3. Heat for another 30 seconds.
  4. If it's not hot enough, heat for 15 seconds until you reach the desired temperature.
  5. Test the pad temperature before use. It shouldn't burn your skin when you touch it.
  6. Do not overheat or burn the rice!
  7. Enjoy for 30 minutes.


  1. Put the tampon in a ziploc bag and seal.
  2. Put the pad in the freezer for 2 hours.
  3. Use the cooling pad for 30 minutes.
sew a rice heating pad

How to sew a rice heating pad


rice heating pad supplies

Cut out two pieces of quilting cotton using the heart pattern or any shape of your choice.

cut two pieces of fabric into the desired shape

Pin the two pieces of fabric right sides together.

pin right sides together

Sew about 3/8 inch from the edge. Leave a 4-inch hole for turning and backstitching when you start and when you stop.

*Tip: It is easier to make the hole on a straight edge. Do not place the hole on a curve or corner.

sew around the shape and leave a 4 inch hole

Cut any points or curves inward.

clip the interior points

Cut corners to reduce clutter.

cut the outer stitches

Notch the curves outward or use pinking shears to cut.

notch outward curves

Turn the shape right side out through the hole. Use a stitch turner to bring out the stitches and curves.

turn right and bring out the corners

Insert the small opening of a funnel into the hole. Slowly put the rice into the funnel so that it falls into the pad.

use a funnel to fill the cushion with rice

Fill the buffer about 3/4 full. You decide. Having a really full pad can make the heat or cold last longer, but it gets stiffer as it fills up. Having a barely full cushion allows heat and cold to dissipate more quickly.

do not fill 100%

Carefully pinch the edges of the holes together. Stitch a border over the hole to close it. Be careful not to spill the rice!

If your paddy field is too full, you can hand sew the hole closed with a ladder stitch.

pinch the edges of the holes together and close the border stitch

You have finished!

sew a rice heating pad

You can see how the heart-shaped rice pad fits my hand when I pick it up. I wanted my rice heating pad to be really malleable.

sew a rice heating pad

If you make anything using this sewing project, I'd love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and identify me!

sew a rice heating pad

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