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How to Make a Rice Heating Pad with Lavender [Tutorial]

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Most DIY rice and lavender heating pads come as big squares of fabric, which is great if you have upper back pain. However, they don’t address isolated areas of the body, such as shoulders, hands and feet. I’m sharing a tutorial on how to make a rice heating pad with lavender that is microwavable and works on ANY part of the body. (It looks adorable, too!)

These aromatherapy rice bags will make you want to treat yourself to some rest and relaxation or sew up a gift for someone special.

How to sew lavender rice heat bags

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. For more information, please see my disclosures.

You may already have a rice heating pad or two lying around, so let’s talk about why a lavender heat wrap makes a difference.

Why does lavender help you sleep better?

Studies show that lavender aromatherapy can improve the quality of your sleep and help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Where do I sign up, right?!

According to WebMD, lavender can have the following additional benefits:

  • Alleviates menstrual symptoms
  • Reduces pain after surgery
  • Alleviates canker sores
  • Improves hair growth

That’s why it’s important to kick your feet up and relieve those sore muscles with a powerful combo of heat and lavender. Can I get an amen?

How to Make a Rice Heating Pad with Lavender

Ingredients to make a lavender heating pad for neck, shoulders, feet and any aches and pains

Ingredients

My Recommended Dried Lavender:

Dried culinary lavender

  1. What kind of rice works best for a homemade heating pad? There’s no need to buy a special type of rice for your DIY lavender heat pack. Any plain white rice will work.
  2. Is there a no-sew heating pad option? Yes, you have the option to hand-sew this project or use stitch witchery for a no-sew heating pad option. The important part is making sure you can securely close the pouch and keep the rice and lavender inside.
  3. Will any type of fabric work? I used a variety of cotton calico prints, but you can experiment with canvas, felt or minky fabric. Double-layering fabric may help retain the heat. Do not choose a fabric with any metallic filaments if you plan to microwave your lavender heating pad. Let’s not set the house on fire! 😬
  4. What other projects can I make with lavender? When you buy these culinary dried lavender buds, you can make my lavender lemonade recipe or DIY lavender sugar scrub with any leftover supplies!

Grab your fabric, and prepare to be relaxed by the delicious lavender scent!

Step 1. Cut fabric in the desired pattern

I designed a heart-shaped lavender rice heating pad, which can serve as a great gift for women of all ages and be used as a sachet or air freshener.

You can download my same pattern in Adobe PDF format here.

Preparing fabric to cut pattern for lavender microwavable rice heating pad

You will need to cut a front piece and back piece for each heating pad you make. For my heart-shaped design, I folded the pattern and fabric in half to make it easier to cut. I love using this pen with water soluble ink to trace my patterns.

Step 2. Attach any embellishments (optional)

Close up of fabric used in lavender heating pad tutorial

I decided to attach these tiny ribbon roses and some heart-patterned ribbon on my heating pads. You may choose to add other accessories, like buttons, lace or contrasting fabric.

Step 3. Sew the heating pad

Trimming edge of fabric on lavender rice heat bags

Place the front and back of your heating pad together so the right sides are facing each other. Using a standard 5/8-inch seam allowance, sew around the edges.

Don’t forget to leave a 1.5-inch opening so you can turn your fabric right-side-out and fill the bag with rice and lavender later. Be sure to also trim the tip of the heart (if using the pattern) to prevent bulk.

Step 4. Fill heat packs with rice, lavender and essential oils (optional)

Filling bags with rice and lavender to make lavender microwavable rice heating pad

Using a funnel, fill the heating pads with about 1/4 cup of rice at a time, alternating with dried lavender buds. You will only need 1/8 to 1/4 cup of lavender buds total, unless you want a stronger scent.

You can definitely cut back on the dried buds if you supplement with drops of lavender essential oil.

Step 5. Finish sewing the heating pad

To finish the lavender heating pad, close the opening along the sewn edge with an invisible stitch. See this video tutorial on how to sew an invisible stitch for details.

Recommended fabrics (scroll and click images to shop):

Microwave and Oven Instructions for Heating Rice Packs

Finished heart shaped lavender rice heat bags
Lavender scented microwavable heating pad

Microwave Heating Instructions

The warming time may vary based on your microwave model. I find it best to heat the lavender rice bags in 30-second intervals but no more than 1 to 1.5 minutes.

You may choose to add essential oils to the heating pad after microwaving if the lavender scent fades over time. I suggest using a fine mist spray bottle or cotton ball to add a small amount of oil.

Lavender essential oil

Oven Heating Instructions

If you don’t have a microwave, you can heat your lavender rice pad in an oven-safe dish at a low heat (200 degrees or less) for 10-15 minutes.

Where to place heating pad

Place the heating pads on your neck, shoulders or, my personal favorite…on your feet! Wouldn’t these feel so yummy on your feet after a day on the ski slopes? You can use these cuties anywhere you need pain relief.

Gift Ideas

I intend to use my rice heating pads as gifts for friends and family this Valentine’s Day, but here are other great spins to put on this DIY project:

  • College logo heating pads for students
  • Lavender sachets for drawers
  • Mother’s Day gift or birthday gift
  • Aromatherapy gift basket
  • Teacher gifts
  • Bridal shower or wedding shower favors

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make a microwavable lavender and rice heating pad! Please drop me a line to tell me what you think! I read each and every comment. 🙂

Don’t forget to pin it for later!

Heart shaped rice heating pad with lavender

Finished DIY lavender rice heating pads

How to Make a Rice Heating Pad with Lavender

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner/Easy
Estimated Cost: $15

Learn how to make a lavender heating pad with rice that smells good, feels good and looks good, too! This lavender-scented microwavable heating pad is easy enough as a beginning sewing project, and you can choose a no-sew version as well.

Materials

  • Plain white uncooked rice (1 to 1.5 cups)
  • Dried lavender flowers (1/8 to 1/4 cup)
  • Fabric of your choice (1/8 yard)
  • Optional: lavender essential oil

Tools

  • Sewing machine (or no-sew heat-resistant fabric glue)
  • Scissors
  • Funnel

Instructions

  1. Cut fabric in the desired pattern. (Download free heart-shaped pattern in post.)
  2. Sew pattern with 5/8-inch seam allowance, or glue edges together with fabric glue, leaving a 1.5-inch opening.
  3. Using a funnel, fill the heating pads with about 1/4 cup of rice at a time, alternating with dried lavender buds. You will only need 1/8 to 1/4 cup of lavender buds total, unless you want a stronger scent. You may also mix lavender and rice beforehand.
  4. Sew an invisible stitch, or use fabric glue, to close the opening in the heating pads.
  5. Microwave the heating pads for about 30 seconds at a time, for no more than a total of 1 to 1.5 minutes. Alternatively, heat the pads in an oven-safe dish in the oven at low heat (200 degrees F or less) for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Place the heat packs on neck, shoulders, feet or other pain points, making sure to use caution to prevent skin irritation. Re-heat the lavender heat pad as needed.

Notes

Always use caution with hot pads to avoid burning or skin irritation. These packs may not be appropriate for young children.

You can also use these heating pads in the freezer as a soothing cold pack.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram and tag @firstdayofhome!

More Lavender Projects


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34 Comments

  1. I made a long microwaveable neck pillow some years ago. I cut 2 long pieces of fabric and made pockets for the rice and it fit perfect around my shoulders and back.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Becky! It’s great when you can sew any type of design. I have a longer neck pillow as well, and I do use that for back pain occasionally. I much prefer my heart-shaped ones for my shoulder issues now. For some reason, my longer one slips and slides off my shoulders due to the weight of the rice. Everyone has a different preference, though. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hey Crissy, new to your site. I love ♥️ these little heating pads. I just happen to have extra fabric from a project I was working on, six different Valentine’s cotton prints. Was wondering what to do with it. These little hearts are perfect for all my BFF’s for Valentine’s day. And of course a few for myself.

    1. Hi Barbara! You made my day! I’m so glad you like the heating pads. These are PERFECT as a scrap fabric project. I’ve made some for my mom, nieces and other relatives. I find that they really help me relax and sleep better, too. I hope you have fun making them! Hugs, Crissy

    1. Hi Eddy! Thanks for the great question. I have never used instant rice. I’ve read that it may burn and also is more prone to mold. (Instant rice is pre-cooked and dehydrated versus uncooked regular rice.) Another alternative is flaxseed, which I hear adds some nice moisture. I hope you enjoy making some heating pads!

  3. Hi,
    I’m going to make a few different sizes of these for my sister who is battling Stage IV cancer. I think these are wonderful, but I never thought of making them myself. I’m wondering about the essential oil that is optional. If I do decide to use it, where and how do I add it? I don’t know much about them so not sure if I’d spray the rice, soak the rice or spray the fabric. Any ideas?

    1. Hi, Laura. I’m terribly sorry to hear about your sister. That is a difficult journey, and you’re a good sister to provide her comfort during her battle.

      I think you’ll find that the heating pads are quite fragrant in the beginning, so I would create a spray with the essential oil and then spritz the finished heating pads as needed. Here’s a good simple recipe for making a linen spray: 20 drops essential oil, 2 tablespoons isopropyl alcohol, 1 cup distilled water. (The oil won’t mix well with water alone.) This spray could also be used for the room or pillows.
      Alternatively, you can simply add a drop or two of oil to your fingers and then rub it onto the fabric.

      Let me know if you have any trouble. I’ll pray for your sister.

  4. I love these hearts! I am thinking they can also be frozen for ice packs. Would that work? I plan to make several. Thank you.

    1. Well, thank you Shirley! That makes my day! You could definitely use these as frozen packs as well. They might not smell as strong, but they would work perfectly as ice packs. I’d love to see how yours turn out! Feel free to send a photo! Thanks, Crissy

  5. What a precious idea for personal heating pads, Crissy! At the end of a long day on my feet, I find heat is totally relaxing when applied to the ankles & feet. So excited to start sewing some of these creations to gift to friends for Valentine’s Day! Thanks for the inspiration!

      1. Also if you put velrco cloth covered straps, except right at the end of strap leave a small part uncovered when making any rice bag, i find it will stay on your feet using the velcro strap. I drew a foot pattern for my feet and used a 5/8 inch seam, then inserting the straps…. it works great on my feet and stays put . The heart one does great on neck and shoulder and also on any elbow or ankle injury…. Had the pleasure of all the above…and shoulder sprains…. using the Heart shape… thanks for sharing that idea. The essential oils are great with the dried lavender ….

        1. Hi Cheryl! Thanks for sharing your technique! I originally thought of adding straps for my feet, and then I decided I liked using the hearts on my shoulders instead. I’ll have to try your velcro approach next time I make these! I so appreciate you stopping by and leaving a sweet comment. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! -Crissy

    1. Thanks, T’onna! I’m excited to make another sewing friend. I enjoyed visiting your site to check out your adorable crochet and sewing projects. 🙂

  6. These are so adorable and useful! Great tutorial also. 🙂 I found you through the Link Party over at Michelle’s Thistle Key Lane! My second link party ever! I am going to pin this too!

    1. Hooray! Thanks, Michelle! I’m so excited to be featured. Thanks for all of your support. I hope you enjoy making some of these heating pads. 🙂

  7. Hi this is Kristina from Project Inspired. I love rice packs! Aren’t they the best? It’s been so cold and rainy that I’ve been using my rice pack every day for the past week. And my favorite spot to put the pack has been my feet, so I totally get you! I also love lavender, but unfortunately when my pack was made lavender wasn’t added to it. I noticed you can add some to it after microwaving. Could I just put a few drops of my essential oil anywhere on the pack after heating it up? How much would you recommend? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kristina! Thanks for swinging by! I’m glad you asked about the lavender essential oil because I should add more detail on the post. I’d actually suggest putting the lavender in a small fine mist spray bottle because a little goes along way. Another option is just dabbing a bit onto a cotton ball and then rubbing it on your rice pack. It’s amazing how soothing the scent is. I put these on my feet last night after I got cramps from running!

    1. Hi there,

      I’m new to your website and have a question about the lavender. How long does the scent last? Months, years? Do you have an indication?

      I really love the idea! But it would come in handy if I could tell the one i’m giving it to how long you can enjoy the smell of the dried lavender inside, without using extra oils?

      Thanks in advance!

      1. Hi Eva,
        I would say the scent lasts several months before it fades. I still use mine years later because the rice inside still functions as a heating pad and has a soothing scent. I hope this helps! Thanks, Crissy

    1. Thanks! That’s a great question, Julie! I guess you run the risk of having a popcorn bag if you try heating these in the microwave? Ha! I have always liked the way rice stays moist when heated, and the texture is really lovely.