Mini Rice Bags

These little bags make great reusable hand warmers to tuck in winter coat pockets.  A few seconds in the microwave and they’ll toast right up.  Any type of little fabric bag will work but I couldn’t find a good tutorial explaining how to make them look nicer.  I’ve done all thinking for you, just follow the steps.


  • A cute fabric of your choice, I used 100% cotton (Avoid synthetics that may melt or ignite in the microwave!)
  • Regular rice (not quick cooking) or preferred filling
  • Thread that matches
  • Scissors
  • A small funnel
  • A ruler
  • Marking crayon/pencil OR a cutting mat and rotary cutter

Step 1: Cut squares of desired size. For bags about 3" x 5" cut your squares 7" x 5". You will need 1 square for each bag. Ideally, iron your fabric first and cut it on a mat with a rotary cutter. I didn't iron, and I used a ruler, marking chalk, and scissors to cut. They still turned out fine - you can even up the edges when you sew.

Step 2: Fold the fabric in half, wrong side out, to form a rectangle about 3.5" x 5". Stitch the edges where the come together on the long side using a 3/8" seam allowance. Remember to reverse and go over your stitches at each end to secure the seam.

Step 3: Refold the rectangle moving the seam you just created to the middle of the rectangle. Seam one of the short sides closed using a 3/8" seam allowance.

Step 4: Sew the other short side only about halfway across - reverse for a few stitches and run over the last few stitches again, then raise your needle and remove your work. In this picture the left side is completely closed and the right side only halfway. (Note: pay no attention to where the needle is lined up here - I just sat it there for the lighting.)

Step 5: Turn your little bag right side out by gently working it through the opening you left. Use for finger or a pencil to straighten out the corners. Be careful not to rip your seams as you go. Top stitch over the completely closed end using a 1/4" seam allowance. Do not topstich the partially closed end yet.

Step 6: Insert the funnel in to the opening. Hold the funnel and the bag with one hand, as shown. In this way you can use the funnel to scoop up some rice out of the bag or a bowl. Then, use your other hand to tap the funnel against until the rice goes in. I didn't measure, just fill your bags about 2/3-3/4 of the way full.

Step 7: Fold the opening shut to match up with the part that is already sewn closed. Use your fingers to seal off that end of the bag while you position it under the needle. Topstitch along the entire end using a 1/4" seam allowance. Trims your threads.

There you have it – mini rice bag in 7 easy steps.  If you have any questions or catch any mistakes please let me know.  These make great little gifts.  I used the paw print fabric for the girls I work with at the vet clinic.  You could use a cute snowflake or holiday print.  The darker the color the better if most pockets have bits of who-knows-what in them like mine.

Did you give any homemade gifts this year?


3 thoughts on “Mini Rice Bags

  1. April

    I always give gifts of food to friends and (some) family: biscotti and peanut brittle.

    We made variations on your handwarmers a few seasons ago: we filled cloth bags with dried field corn. The bags were washcloths folded in half the long way and then sewn, filled, and sewn shut. Our corn bags are great for warming up the bed at night.

  2. Emily Behm

    Hey we have a larger one my gma made for Layla. It is great for when the baby is fussy or gets gas. We warmed it up and put it on her belly. She liked it and usually fell asleep!


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