How to Sew Microwavable Hand Warmers

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My hands are pretty much always cold in the winter, so it was high time to sew microwavable hand warmers for myself. These also make great gifts for people who need to be outside a lot when it’s cold, or who always have cold hands.

What are Microwavable Hand Warmers?

Hand warmers are little piece of fabric that are sewn together and filled with rice or another substance that will hold heat. When you microwave them, the rice gets warm and stays warm for a long time so when you hold the hand warmers in your hands, or tuck them into your fingerless gloves, the sleeves of your shirt, your pockets, etc., they help keep you warm.

You can buy disposable products for this purpose, but why not make something if you can? It only takes a few minutes and your hands will definitely thank you.

Supplies for Making Hand Warmers

First you’ll need some fabric, but these are so small you can use scraps from other projects. The first set I made is checked flannel and each piece is 2 inches/5cm square. The green one with the pinked edges is quilting cotton (a pair of shorts I made years ago for my daughter).

You could do this with an old T-shirt or part of a pillowcase, or really any fabric you have on hand that doesn’t have plastic content. Acrylic felt, for example, might melt in the microwave.

You’ll also need some rice to fill the bags, and a sewing machine and thread or a needle and thread if you want to sew them by hand. I think using a machine in this case is better because the seams will be firmer and more stable and less likely to have holes for the rice to fall through.

How to Make Microwavable Hand Warmers

Cut your fabric to the desired size. As I mentioned above I started with pieces that were 2 inches, so my hand warmers are a little smaller than that.

Place fabric right-sides together and sew a seam around three sides and half of the fourth side.

Trim the seams and corners.

Turn the fabric right side out. I used a crochet hook to make the corners a little pointier.

Sew close to the edges on the outside of the fabric the same three and a half sides.

Fill the bag with as much rice as you like. Mine aren’t super full. Bear in mind you still need to be able to sew the rest of the seam closed, so you need it to be not so full that you can’t sew it on the sewing machine. Use a clip to hold the seam closed.

Sew the last seam closed.

Alternative Method: Pinked Edges

If you want to make your microwavable hand warmers even faster, cut your fabric with pinking shears. Then you can just sew on the outside as described above.

If you’re making a bunch of these at once, you may want to use a funnel to help get the rice into the bags. You could also get really fancy and weigh or measure how much rice you’re using in each bag so they will be consistent in size and weight.

Using Your Hand Warmers

Once you’ve made your microwavable hand warmers, you’ll want to try them out! Put them flat in the microwave and heat for 20 to 30 seconds. Start with a shorter time to see how hot your microwave gets them.

Try adding a drop or two of essential oil to the warmer when you heat it up for a little aromatherapy boost, too.

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