Monday, February 11, 2013

DIY Heat Pack

I have been wanting to make this project for a while now after seeing similar things on Pinterest (check out this cute one).  I have migraines that make my neck and shoulders really tense and having a nice hot pack to drape around my neck would be fantastic.  Unfortunately, the only time I would think about making it was when I actually had a migraine, and that just isn't happening.  But, finally, this weekend, I pulled out the materials and set to work.  Here is what you need:

  • 1 standard size pillow case (makes six packs)
  • Long grain rice and/or deer corn (each pack holds approx. 4 cups)
  • Essential oil (I used a sinus blend containing eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender) 
  • thread

  • scissors (or rotary cutter and mat)
  • sewing machine
  • measuring cup with pour spout

I started by washing, drying, and ironing the pillow case, then cut it into the three strips.  I sewed up the open sides, but not the top (just turn inside out and sew a straight seam), giving me three long pouches.  I had originally planned to make just three packs this size, but realized they were excessively long.  So I cut them in half and sewed up open bottom seams.

I filled three of the bags with rice.  It is a bit tricky getting the rice into the opening, but using a measuring cup with a spout and going slowly helps.  After pouring in about half of the rice, I added 2-3 drops of the essential oil and shook it a bit to disperse.  Be careful not to over-fill the pouch: otherwise it won't drape nicely.

For the other three bags I used shelled corn (also called deer corn).  In theory, the corn holds the heat longer than the rice, but I think both work just fine.  I found the corn at Tractor Supply Company.  I added essential oil to these as well.

Once the pouches were full, I turned the open edges inward about half an inch (almost like make a reverse cuff).  I ironed a crease in, and then sewed a straight line across.  I know I could have made a prettier finish on these, but it was quick and functional.

I ended up with six of these, and we tried out a rice pack and a corn pack, putting them in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds with half a cup of water for safety.  They felt fantastic and smelled amazing.  While I am not looking forward to my next migraine, at least now I will have something soothing to put on my neck.  I think these would also work great for lower back, knees, or anything really.  And, they would make a great gift!

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