DIY Warming Bags
Though our afternoons are still a bit warm, there is definitely a chill in the air in the morning and evening hours these days! When we start to feel that cooler weather coming, our family gets out there warming bags to keep our hands and toes nice and toasty. Never heard of a warming bag? Chances are you’ve seen or used one before, but they are basically a small cloth “bag” filled with kernels of corn, rice, or another heat holding material that can be warmed in the microwave and used similar to a heating pad. Warming bags are great for a variety of uses such as caring for sore muscles or keeping your feet warm while you’re watching television in the evenings.
I’ve been making warming bags for years, and started using them with my children when they were infants. Warming bags are a huge help when you have a fussy or gassy baby. A warm rice or corn bag on their tummy for a few minutes calms them right down. These bags are also wonderful on especially cold nights when you want to warm up your bed before you jump in. I mean, seriously, who likes cold sheets, right?
Many warming bags can also be put in the freezer to be used as a cold pack. As with anything heated and used with a child, you have to be careful not to heat the bag too much. For a child, I usually heat ours about 30 seconds or a minute depending on the size of the bag. Recently I made a few child-sized warming bags with fun animal faces for the kids.
All you need are some scraps of fabric and felt, a sewing machine, matching thread, a funnel, and a bag of rice. I just sketched out a basic animal shape and added facial features to create my own pattern, but you can purchase a super cute owl pattern on Etsy here. First cut out the main shape and facial features out of your fabric and felt pieces.
I used a soft flannel for the back of mine. Next, I sewed on all the facial features to the front piece. I used a zigzag stitch, and sewed on buttons for the darks of the eyes. If you are worried that the buttons will get hot when you heat the bag, make sure you use plastic buttons (after several experiments I have found they don’t heat up hardly at all in the 30 seconds I heat these bags) or use a small black felt piece.
Then I sewed the front piece and the back together, right sides together, leaving a small opening to pour the rice in. Clip any curved edges and turn right side out. I used a funnel to pour the rice into the bags, and added some fragrant pieces from a sachet i had. This adds a touch of yummy scent to the bags that you can smell when they are heated. Very relaxing!
Once I had the rice and smelly stuff inside (don’t fill too full – you want it to be like a bean bag), I whip stitched the opening closed… and ta-dah!
My monkey pattern may need some work, but I thought my owl turned out pretty cute! These cute little warming bags fit perfectly in a child’s hands, and would be good for keeping their hands warm as they wait for the school bus on a chilly morning. Want something even easier? I’ve also seen these felt warming hearts floating around Etsy, and they are super simple.
Just cut out two heart shapes, sew about 1/8-1/4″ from the edge, fill with rice, and then sew the opening shut. These fit easily in a pocket!