Homemade Headache Help: A Heatable Rice Bag

Headaches get me down. I can’t be alone on this, who likes a headache?

Sometimes I headache is deserved, like when you drink a crate of champagne at your cousin’s wedding. Sometimes a headache is not deserved, like when you endure an extreme heat wave and then accidentally break all the links on your blog.

For example.

However a headache comes to you the first priority is to get rid of it. My first line of headache defence (after I’ve medicated myself) is either hot or cold. An ice pack on my forehead is the only way I can endure a migraine or heat headache. For tension or sinus headaches I need heat.

It’s not a great safety choice to use a electric heating pad on your face. Instead I use a homemade microwavable rice bag. Two minutes in the microwave gives it enough heat to soothe whatever muscles are bugging you. It’s great for earaches too and any variety of ache or pain.

homemade heatable rice bag

Tip: Don’t attempt to make this up when you actually have a headache. Sew it up when you are feeling great and save it for an achy day. Or enjoy it to soothe your sewing muscles.

I made two sizes – the large size, the one with the polka dots, is 16 inches x 8 inches. The small one, with the stripes, is 8 inches x 8 inches. Roughly. I’ve never claimed to be a perfect measurer. The kids always want a heated rice pack when I do and when I need one I am in no humour to share. So I made them their own.

Here are the steps:

What you need: Rice, plain white rice is best. Sturdy cotton, not quite denim but something thicker than quilting cotton. Thread.

Step 1: Cut Fabric

Decide what size you’d like to make and cut 2 pieces of sturdy cotton. For the large bag cut 2 pieces 16 in x 8 in. For the small bag cut 2 pieces 8 in x 8 in.  Lay fabric with right sides facing.

Step 2: Pin and Sew

Pin 3 edges. One the large bag pin one long edge and both short edges. For the small bag just pin 3 edges cause it’s square. Sew pinned edges, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, removing the pins before you sew.  Press. Clip corners, as below, to reduce bulk. Also clip about a 1/2 inch length of the seam at the top edge.

homemade heatable rice bag

Step 3: Press

Turn right sides out and press. Fold the top raw edge to the inside with a 1/4 inch overlap. Press. This is to give you a finished edge when you sew the rice in.

Step 4: Divide and Sew

If you are sewing the large bag divide the fabric by 4 to make 4 rice pouches. If you are making the small bag divide by 2. Mine worked out to 3.75 inches per section for the large bag and 3.5 inches per section for the small bag. Pin and sew from the top to the bottom.

Step 5: Fill with Rice

Fill each section with rice. I used 1 1/3 cup of rice per section. Pin each section closed.

homemade heatable rice bag

Beware of rice filling helpers, they are messy.

Step 6: Sew Top Seam

Very carefully sew along the open top seam, sewing in the rice. I did it twice because the first time I was concentrating on not getting rice everywhere. So I gave it some extra reinforcement.

homemade heatable rice bag

And that’s it, you’ve done it. Bring on a headache. Uhm, wait no, I don’t mean that, no headaches thank you.

homemade heatable rice bag




  1. Super cute and useful. I’ll have to make 4.

  2. They’re great for headaches and helping newborn babies sleep during photos shoots. :)

  3. Renee Leary says:

    I have to try these cause sometimes my headaches are unbearable even after taking medicine Thanks for sharing!

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