Holiday Hand-warmers

7 Dec

I’ve been on the lookout for some easy gifts for the holiday and ran across these handwarmers on pinterest. If you don’t sew and are looking to buy some handmade items I think they’d be a great little stocking stuffer to buy on Etsy.  il_570xN.361035171

Fortunately, I do sew and I thought I’d try my hand at making them myself.  I love that they are reusable  hand warmers without chemicals found in the store-bought version.  I also love that at work this week some volunteers and residents happened to make fleece tie blankets.  The corner pieces that were cut out were perfect for this project at 4″ by 4″ and were otherwise destined for the trash.

To begin, I cut my fabric down a bit to 3 1/4″ to 2 1/2″ rectangles.  I wanted to start with a simple rectangle for ease of sewing.  This first set will obviously be going to a Vikings fan!


I set my sewing machine to a very short stitch to make sure that no rice filling could escape. I began my stitch a bit more than halfway down one side.  Be sure to back-stitch so the seam is held.  I sewed carefully around the entirety to the corner, again back-stitching to hold the seam.  This left a small space for my funnel.


From there I poured in some plain white long grain rice.


Fleece is a perfect fabric for this type of project.  It has a bit of stretch so even as the rice grains are filling up the body it is able to accommodate them.  To speed up the process of the rice going in I carefully used a metal skewer to work the rice in a bit faster.  If you don’t have one of these a toothpick would also likely work.


Here you can see the hand-warmer is nearly full.  Again, use the stretch in the fleece to your advantage by moving the grains into the corners of the hand warmer.


Now comes the tricky portion.  I did pin the opening, but found that working with the pins and the handwarmer itself became too much. IMG_1095

I pushed as much of the rice away from the sewing opening as possible to allow the foot of the machine as much room as possible to finish the last portion of the seam.  I found it easier to sew from the middle of the side to the corner.  In other words- in the example of the photo above I would sew directionally from the red pin towards the pink pin making sure to reverse stitch on both ends to lock your seams, although  I found you could remove the pins and for the most part the rice would stay put while you sewed your last seam.


You now have two hand warmers fit for a Vikings fan!  Simply microwave for approximately 25 seconds and you are set for an afternoon of ice skating, ice fishing, cross-country or downhill skiing.

I think I’ll try my hand at the heart shape above on the next set.  It would also be fun to decorate these hand warmers with initials before stitching them together. There are so many possibilities.  My guess would be this project took me less than half an hour to complete and the cost was nearly nothing with left over fleece and rice from the cupboard.  If you don’t have fleece left-over be sure to check the remnants bin at your local Jo-Ann fabrics store.  Remnants are 50% off and on weeks like this one when fleece is already 50% off that means you could get remnants for 75% off!


Perfectly palm-sized!


2 Responses to “Holiday Hand-warmers”

  1. Petunia Bottom January 4, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    Okay, seriously, these will keep warm for several hours? Out in the cold?

    • thecrafterymn January 7, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      I’ve found they last about an hour or so. Larger versions of these can last several hours.

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