For years, I’ve been buying those microwaveable hot packs filled with wheat. The heat doesn’t last as long as a hot water bottle, but they’re quicker to heat up. Over the years, I’ve burnt a few, too. Leave it in the Microwave for a few seconds too long and it starts smelling of burnt cereal, and then every time you re-heat it the smell won’t go as the seeds are burnt. So, as I’m very likely to over-heat them again, I thought I’d try and make my own as it works out much cheaper. It was surprisingly easy.
I used rice for mine, but you can use wheat or a number of other cereals.
This is what you’ll need:
– A piece of fabric. I cut up some fabric out of an old pair of pyjama bottoms. You can make them in any size you want. I made some bigger ones like the ones you get in the shops and then little versions to carry in my pockets as hand-warmers.
– Essential oil to make it smell nice. I used lavender, but you can use any you like, or even leave it unscented, although I did try this and it smells of rice (obviously) every time you heat it up.
– Rice. I wouldn’t recommend using parboiled rice as it gets really wet when you heat it up (it does normally get a little bit moist anyway, but with normal rice it’ll be much dryer).
– A sewing machine will make things quicker, but you can do it by hand too.
Put the rice in a bowl and add a few drops of essential oil. Leave it for a few hours to let the rice soak it up. At this point, I thought it’d be better if it was a bit dry, so I put it in the oven for a little bit just to get rid of the moisture. Be careful and keep an eye on it though, you don’t want to burn it! I left the oven door open and put mine on for about 5-10 minutes. DISCLAIMER: I totally made up this step and it’s not in any of the online tutorials I saw, so if you burn it, don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉
Cut up a square/rectangle of fabric and sew it up on 3 of the sides on the reverse. I left one side completely open and stitched it up with an visible hem after putting the rice in, but you could just sew up the whole thing leaving just a little hole and put the rice in with a funnel instead.
Fill it with rice (about 2/3 to make sure the rice doesn’t come out), sew up the remaining side, and it’s ready to go!
The time it needs to heat up will depend on the size you made and the microwave power, but I’d say try with about a minute (or less if they’re small packs) and, if it’s not too hot, pop it in for a few more seconds.
You can also use it as an ice pack. Just stick it in the freezer for a few hours.