Soothing Rice Bag DIY

Recently in a post on natural medicine, I talked about these wonderfully soothing rice bags that can be microwaved or frozen to reduce body aches, whether it's a sore wrist, headache, period cramps, etc. Making one yourself is relatively simple and is a great gift (or a treat for yourself). The standard size is about 11" by 5", but these bags can be customized into nearly any shape or size. I've made small square versions to function as hand warmers and long rectangular versions to wrap around body parts. We have a number of these in our household and use them daily. 


Cotton Fabric - amount needed varies based on what the desired size is, but it is essential the fabric is cotton, which allows the bag to stand up to both microwaving and freezing (the fabric I used is sold out, but here's the gray version)

Rice - the cheapest kind you can find that's not parboiled (Five pounds of rice filled about five bags for me)

Needle and thread or sewing machine

Scissors - the sharper the better; I adore these

Essential Oils - optional, but can transform these little pouches into a source of aromatherapy goodness


If you decide to use essential oils, begin by combining the rice filling with a few drops of essential oils. Note that the scent of essential oils are VERY strong, so don't over it. You can also add more later if needed. I used a blend of essential oils called Pure Bliss because it's what I had on hand (it has a red tint, which made the rice turn pink). Here's a list of what different essential oils are useful for. This list of essential oils for emotional well being is also worth a look. Allow the rice and oils to meld while taking care of the sewing component of the project.

The bag shown in the instructional photos below is a long rectangle intended for neck and shoulders. I've reduced the number of seams from four to three by trimming one long, wide strip of fabric folded over instead of cutting two identically sized smaller pieces.

The folded edge is along the edge of the table (dark triangle).

If you want the long seam to be down the center of the bag instead of the side, you'll need to sew down the length of the fabric and then shift that seam to the center of where the bottom seam is.

This photo is from a smaller, completed bag, so ignore the print orientation. 

Fold in just enough to make it an easy edge to sew, approximately a quarter of an inch.

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