Homemade Lavender Heating Pad

My friend, Cindy, gave me a rice filled heating pad for my birthday one year that she made herself. At least once a week I toss it in the microwave for a few minutes to heat up the rice and lavender (and I think she also put in orange peels!) I use it around my neck and shoulders after a long day in front of the computer. It is more perfect than anything I could find in a store. They are great tucked under your sore back or to slip into your cold bed to warm it up before you hit the hay. I figured I could make some myself and would keep a look-out for the same type of fabric she used, a stretchy corduroy that is so soft but won’t slip and slide when I put it on.

Turns out the Liz Claiborne store in our local outlet mall was closing shop and every item was $3 each. I found a whole rack of colorful stretch corduroy pants. Not exactly my style, but I snagged the best colors in the largest sizes I could find. I knew they would be perfect for making the heating pads- two to a pair! There are plenty of ways to make these pads and lots of things to fill them with. Here’s my version.

I cut at the leg seams and created large flat sections of fabric for the front and back of the pad. One pair of pants had sewn-on back pockets that were screaming to be used. I cut out a pocket and trimmed out the innards.

Laying two different colored pieces of fabric together I cut out the biggest rectangle I could. Once pinned together I folded back an end section and pinned on the pocket. I sewed around the pocket with a zig-zag/applique stitch. (Darling pin cushion from Jane’s Designs!)

Then I sewed around the rectangle reinforcing the edge with a zig-zag stitch leaving a section open to turn the piece right side out and to fill with the rice that I had mixed several drops of Lavender oil in.

It took about 8 cups of rice total for mine. Once filled, (I may have over-filled mine a bit,) I hand-stitched the opening and flattened out the pad on the table to determine the sections I would sew. Sectioning the pad helps keep all the rice from falling into one area. I created grooves to sew as I went and made a total of 4 sections. If you aren’t adding a pocket, I would suggest doing like my friend did and sew one long seam down the middle and creating three seams on the short side for a total 8 sections.

Once finished, you can heat for 2-minute increments until you have it just right but not too hot.
Give as a gift with some fun things tucked in the pocket such as a book, reading glasses, an eye mask made from the remainder of pants fabric, or a favorite tea and a lovely note. When gifting, don’t forget to make a cute tag with heating instructions.

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31 Responses to Homemade Lavender Heating Pad

  1. #1 - Ransacked Goods says:

    Nice! I just love it that you used new pants on sale.

  2. #2 - Flight Fancy says:

    thanks for sharing this! I keep forgetting I want to make one of these. Such an easy and useful project.

  3. #3 - missy says:

    this would be perfect for my mother-in-law! she only has a space heater and a fire place for heat in the winter, so i’m sure she’d love to curl up in bed with one of these. thanks for the cute idea!

  4. #4 - PeggMackoDesigns says:

    Oh, I think I’ll make these for my kids for valentine’s day. We keep our heat very low and this would be a great bedwarmer for them. Thanks for the directions! You did a really good job with all the details, too.

  5. #6 - Sue from MI says:

    Can you give out the recipe for the rice filling. Like how much essential oil and how do you infuse it into the rice or what do you do to make the filling.

  6. #7 - Cathe Holden says:

    Hi Sue, thanks for asking about the rice recipe. It’s not much of a recipe, I used Lavender essential oil and shook about 12 good drops into around 8 cups of rice. I would’ve used actual lavender if I had some. Here’s a good discussion on the Etsy forums that might interest you:


  7. #8 - fookaDESIGNS says:

    I like it. Great idea!

  8. #9 - Rachel@oneprettything.com says:

    This is fantastic! I bet it smells wonderful. Thanks so much for the tute, I’ll be linking.

  9. #10 - marysworkshop says:

    I love the idea of sewing the sections into the rice pack. I’ve been using mine for several years, and just love it, but now I can make a new, improved version. Thanks, Cathe.

  10. #11 - Pamela says:

    this is such a great idea for Mom’s with aches and pains. everything’s all together for taking a relaxing break. pamela

  11. #12 - Suzy says:

    Love the idea, and love lavender… Great use of a pair of pants…

  12. #13 - KatCollects says:

    I just found your blog, I love it! I will be back to read more.

  13. #14 - Felicia says:

    Brilliant. A couple of years ago I made a bag out of an old pair of pants. I love recycling clothing 🙂


  14. #15 - Christie Cottage says:

    Another great blog post!

    I love these. I have made many for gifts.

    I made large rectangle ones and sewed tunnels before filling. The tunnels were great for keeping the rice from all falling into one area.

    An **important tip** with these microwavable heating pads: Every now and then, set a coffee cup with water in the microwave as you heat it. It will keep the rice from drying out and catching on fire.

  15. #16 - Amy @ Living Locurto says:

    This is so cool! I don’t know how you find the time to do all this cute crafty stuff. You’re my idol:-)

  16. #17 - Hilary says:

    Awesome, Cathe.

    I’ve been intending to make one of these. Very clear instructions, I appreciate you sharing them!

  17. #18 - lisa says:

    I have made a few rice pads and love them, but they don't smell that great. Not bad, but not great. I have thought about adding lavender, but wasn't sure how. Oil is a perfect idea!

  18. #19 - ShaReeisme says:

    these are so fun and fun to make-thank you for the pattern. Do you have a cute tag with heating instructions to go with them?

  19. #20 - Katy @ Pie Bird says:

    Hooray! I have several pairs of pants that are now screaming "make me into those." Thanks for the tutorial — I love to re-purpose!

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  22. #21 - Karin says:

    I love your idea of using pant legs and the pocket for a book is perfect!
    I make a smaller kid version of “bed buddies” for my 5 children using their outgrown flannel pajamas and brown rice. I’ve made mine using a pillow case type cover over the inside rice bag so at least the outside is washable, a bit more sanitary for kids.
    One word of caution, material density matters, as the rice is repeatedly heated it begins to break up and thinner fabrics allow a kind of sandy grit to escape. This won’t happen with a denser fabric.
    For a very quick heating bag fill a tube sock with rice, corn or wheat and knot the end very tightly, this is what the hospital used for comfort after my c-sections. Worked GREAT!
    Thanks for a Terrific idea, I know what all my relatives are getting for Christmas next year, I just love the pocket idea!!
    Thanks so much!! Karin in NH

  23. #22 - Jeni Ann says:

    Thanks! I love the pants leg idea – it is “rugged” enough for the hubby w/ the bad shoulder too ;o)

  24. #23 - Jason says:

    I suffer from a bad back – and find putting one of these heated lavender packs on before bed for at least 10 minutes helps immensely.. Also helps me sleep – lavender is just great..


    Websmaster bulging disc in neck.com

  25. #24 - Sharon says:

    Hi Cathe,

    Is there a temperature your pack should not go above.. Understand you need the heat to release the essence, but is there a point where it will damage the actual fragrance and possibly be harmful?

    Webmaster of sliding closet doors.com

  26. #25 - Mike Wynne Show says:

    I love how creative you are. This is such a great idea and definitely a motivation for me to try to make one myself. Thank you for sharing your tips and suggestions.

  27. #26 - Frankie says:

    Love this Thank you for the tutorial!!

  28. #27 - Sassygirl34 says:

    thank you so much

  29. #28 - Jackie says:

    That looks so handy and doable! And it fits a lot of people!

  30. #29 - Tina Peterson says:

    Very cute! I was trying to figure out what the pocket was for – awesome idea!

    How many drops of oil do you think you used? I bot one of the medium bags of rice from Walmart ($2.99) but have held off putting in the oil as I’m not sure how much. I did a couple other bags together & mixed lavender bath salts in that I had made. Hoping that wasn’t a mistake! I think the Epson will be as therapeutic as the lavender.