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DIY Heat Bag-Make and use for pain, or Great Gift Ideaa

Updated on June 23, 2010

Make your Own Heat Bag


We have all suffered from joint pain at some time in our lives. Whether it is from a sport injury, a car accident, or we are not as youthful as we would like to be anymore. To be honest, I fit into the last category. Although my husband and I have been using these for years for one reason or another.

Some uses for Heat Bags

Anyone can obtain some pain relief from the use of heat bags. Simply, heat in the microwave and put on the area causing your problems. Or simply use as a way to warm the bed up at night. It beats the hot water bottle as this won't leak. With these simple instructions, you will be relaxing with the warmth of your new heat bag.

I have also included instructions for making a cover for your heat bag. If you are anything like us, our dog brings our one out into the kitchen for me to heat in the microwave. He loves to help us, that is why I like a slip over cover so I can easily wash it out. Although, no matter how clean you are, they can still get a little grubby or stained, mainly from the various types of massage oil that you use.

Fold material in half

Instructions for making this

You will need:

1. Scissors

2. Sewing machine (or stitch by hand)

3. Pins

4. Use thick winter Material, to prevent burns

5. Buck Wheat or Rice.


The size of your bag is entirely up to you, for the demonstration I am using winter pajama material, cut out a piece 46 cm long by approx 15 cm wide.

Fold the material in half, with the right side inside. Stitch approximately 1 cm from the edges, around two sides, leaving one short end open. (Backstitching ends so it does not come undone) Turn inside out so that the right side is now on the outside.

Fill to about half to two thirds full, with rice or buck wheat. Now you can push the ends inside and either machine stitch it close to edge or hand stitch it sealed. That is it! You have made your first Heat Bag.

To Use

Place in microwave for approximately 2 minutes, depending on the size of your bag. Use caution, as it could get very hot.

Any Shape

You can make these as big or small or any shape that you prefer. Often small ones are better for hand or finger injuries. Larger ones for back pain. Choose pretty patterned materials of your choice.

Heat bag and cover

Make slip over cover

Cut out another piece of matching material. This time you will need it to be double the length of your finished bag, plus 5 cm for the envelope and an extra 3 or 4 cm to allow for a hem on the inside envelope piece. Otherwise, you will have raw edges. To cover the bag above, cut your piece of material 56 cm long by 18 cm wide.

Now hem both the narrow ends with a 1cm hem. With wrong side of fabric facing out, fold one end over, approx 23 cm, then fold the other piece over to look like a pillow.(see picture) Pin into position so it does not move, then stitch both sides backstitching on ends so it does not come undone.

Turn to the right side and put your new cover over you new heat bag. That was not too hard was it?

Tips and ideas

  • Now, you have made one, why not make some more in different colors for your friends? Better still, Christmas is not far away so why not make some for presents. You can even sell them on eBay or Garage sales.
  • Add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to make it smell beautiful and relaxing.
  • If you really cannot sew, grab one of your old socks, pour in some rice, and tie a knot in the top of it.
  • Be creative, especially for the kid's sake, and draw a little face on one side of it.


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    • aboutaustralia profile image

      aboutaustralia 6 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

      What a fantastic hub. I think your dog is so cute bringing the heat bag to you, to warm it up. Thanks so much for sharing, I'll be making a few of these very soon! Sharon

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Jenny, I believe that you can use any kind of material it just happened that I actually used pajama material to make some of mine. And it doesn't matter about the thread either as far as I know. Hope you have fun making them

    • profile image

      Jenny 6 years ago

      Do you need to use 100% cotton fabric? What about thread.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      2 patricias, thanks for that, yes they are so simple to make, and do make great Cgristmas or birthday gift ideas especially for the elderly or person with aches and pains.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Yesterday I bought a new one of these for my ma-in-law. It cost £5 so I sure wish I'd read this a couple of days ago (lol).

      Anyway, it's never too late, and I shall be running up a couple of these before Christmas.

      thanks for the useful Hub - I've rated it up.

    • profile image

      charlotte chiropractor kinesiology 8 years ago

      Nice article. A good idea for ice packs is a bag of frozen peas. Works great and is able to shape to any joint.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Abhinaya, thanks, I hope it helps, they do come in handy. And less messing about.

    • profile image

      Abhinaya 9 years ago

      Eileen,certainly a very useful hub.I will need one for my neck sprain that I often end up with after an uncomfortable sleep position.I use hot water bag but this is going to save me time heating water.Thumbs Up!

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 9 years ago

      Hi Eileen, this hub gives us good ideas.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Mark thanks for that, well you could always use an old sock like I suggested seeing as you cant sew. but just forget the face part. You may be a bit beyond that part. Not sure how old you are. cheers. thanks

    • Mark Bennett profile image

      Mark Bennett 9 years ago from Citizen of the Globe

      I have to admit the idea of sewing such a thing is quite beyond me, even though it would appear to be all straight lines!

      However, I appreciate the benefits of wheat bags, and I actually quite like the smell of malt when they have accidentally gotten wet and sprouted some time in the past.

      I think this is a great idea for people looking for something to sell at markets for a second income, though. An ageing population means in increasing demand ...

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Marissa, yes you can use them for a cold bag especially if bruised injury, they work great. Personally I like the rice, because my wheat bag smells funny. Maybe it needs replacing with one of my new ones.

      Cgull, Thanks Thanks for stopping by and reading

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Sweetie pie, yes I know what u mean. If it is really cold we have done one for him and he has his own bed and we cover him with a blanket at night. He sleeps on the floor in our walk in robe. But is usually up on our bed before the morning.

      Really spoilt, more than some kids. Thanks for stopping by

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      This is a top notch idea. I love the part about your dog bringing the heat bag to you and I wonder, would the dog enjoy having one to put under his own head? We used to crochet blankets for our dogs and even let them sit on the couch, which I think some people might find appauling :). However, I really loved my dogs when they were still alive and I live where I cannot have one now.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

      Great tip Eileen. Cheers.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 9 years ago from Sydney

      Eileen, I have a buckwheat bag and I used it recently when I tore a cartilage in my knee - except I used it as a COLD pack. Cold is better than heat for a recent injury.

      I didn't think it would work, but it did - just put it in the freezer for a few hours, wrapped in a plastic bag so it doesn't get soggy. Not as cold as a special freezer pack, but you can put it straight on your skin without worrying about getting a cold burn.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Mulder, sounds like we all suffer from old age and injuries. I know the feeling

    • mulder profile image

      mulder 9 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      great idea Eileen I use them heat bags for my bad back .

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Petmemorial world, I have used one of mine for 6 months and still going well. Although that one is made with normal wheat. It does smell if you heat it too much. So my new one is made with rice.

      I just wanted to compare the two. So will wait and see how it goes. Thanks for stopping by

    • PetMemorialWorld profile image

      Dean 9 years ago from New Zealand

      That sounds like a great idea being a backpain sufferer. How long does the rice/wheat last?

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Louie, They are really great. And like I said easy to make.

    • Louie Jerome profile image

      Louie Jerome 9 years ago from UK

      A useful idea. Might try this as I often have need of one of these for my back!