How to Make Rice Bags: Get Hot or Cold Relief!

I never knew how much I needed rice bags! These are often one of those things you have heard of, but probably haven’t given much thought to having. If you did, more than likely you found one in a store and purchased it. But having a frugal nature, I just knew these were something I could create myself.

Why do you need a rice bag? Think about all the bruises, sore muscles, and the swelling of a twisted ankle. Before rice bags, you would have to suffer with a bag of frozen peas to reduce swelling, or hope and pray the heating pad still worked to help relieve the soreness.

But now, all you have to do is reach in the cabinet and grab a rice bag! If put in the freezer, they can be used to help reduce swelling. If placed in the microwave, they can ease sore muscles.

They can be made in any size, and if you really want to get fancy, try embroidering a small design on the top piece before attaching it to the bottom. Try your hand at this simple sewing project!

How to Make Rice Bags

With just a few basic sewing skills, you can make a rice bag in an hour or less. These can also be decorated with embroidery, and given as gifts!


  • Medium to Heavy Weight Fabric (for front)
  • Flannel (for back)
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Rice
  • Lavender Buds (optional)
  • Embroidery Pattern & Thread (optional)

Cut a piece of medium to heavy-weight fabric 1” larger than the desired finished project. Cut an additional piece the same size out of flannel.
Place pieces right side together.

Beginning in the middle of one long edge, sew pieces together, leaving approximately a ¾” – 1 inch opening in the center of the opposite long edge.

Clip corners. Turn right side out. Fill bags with rice through the opening.

Fold fabric into the opening until even with the seams. Slip stitch opening together.

Add a Touch of Lagniappe

One of the great things you can do with your rice bags is to personalize them through embroidery. Choose a pattern and do the stitching before assembling your rice bags.

This can be a simple flower, a chicken, heart, or anything else that would work for the person you are making them for. Be sure to use cotton embroidery thread, as the metallic threads aren’t safe for the microwave. 

I also like to add dried Lavender to the rice.  Lavender is a soothing aromatherapy, and will add a touch to the benefits of these bags!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.


  1. What is the average length of a rice bag for an adult to wear around their neck?

    1. Author

      The average link for an adult would be approximately 24″. If you prefer something that just rests along the back of the neck, you can shorten it to approximately 18″,
      or if you want it longer, just measure around the neck and calculate the preferred length. You may not want to fill one that goes around the neck as full, to allow
      the rice to shift for comfort.

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