DIY Tutorial - Therapy Rice Pillow

A therapy rice pillow is a wonderful last minute handmade holiday gift. A therapy rice pillow can be used like a heating pad, hot water bottle or ice pack when heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer . I like to use mine as you would a hot water bottle to warm the end of the bed and keep my toes nice and comfy. You can reuse the pillows over and over again. They really last for years. All you need is fabric and rice. So it's pretty affordable too.

Make them in any size to suit your needs. Make a small one to warm your hands, a medium size to soothe a sore belly or a long skinny one for a stiff neck. A cotton flannel fabric is the coziest of all but any tightly woven cotton will do.  

2 pieces of fabric 13 x 7 inches
About 5 cups of uncooked rice (The cheapest rice available will do just fine. Although I've read the Minute Rice is not recommended.)
Sewing machine

Step 1:
Place fabric pieces right sides together and stitch around all sides leaving about a 3 inch opening on one side. Don't trim the corners. (Don't believe me? Go read this post from Tilly. It will change your life.) Turn fabric right side out and press.

Step 2:  
Pour rice into bag but don't fill it up all the way. You want the rice to be able to move around freely so that it feels comfortable against the body. Five cups was just about right for this medium sized bag. If you stand the bag up on one end, the rice should fill it up about halfway.

Step 3:
Stitch over the opening to close the bag. I used a straight stitch and a blanket stitch to make sure it's really sealed.

To heat your pillow, just put in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. You might remember that I made one of these bags a few months ago with a removable cover (see it here). The removable cover is optional. Just know that the bag itself can only be spot cleaned.

You can also make tiny little pillows to use as hand warmers (like here on the Swoon blog) and when you're not using them for warmth you can practice your juggling or have a little game of bean bag toss.


Follow along with me here:


  1. I love these! Flaxseed is also a nice filler, but rice is so much cheaper. I made and sold a ton of these rice bean bags in bean bag shapes at a craft fair recently. I also marketed them as "boo boo bags" that parents can keep in the freezer for when their kids have a "boo boo."


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