Microwavable hand warmers to chase away the winter chill. These DIY hand warmers are reusable and inexpensive to make!
Although the Polar Vortex is said to have moved on its merry way, we still have several months of frigid, wintry days ahead of us here Up North. The only way to survive winter on the 45th Parallel without going completely stir-crazy is to bundle up, get out there, and embrace the snowy weather. After all, we can expect to see snow flurries at least six months out of the year here. Sometimes seven.
I wish I were exaggerating.
As a seasoned veteran of Embracing Winter, I can attest that no combination of long underwear, polar fleece, or Thinsulate lined gear will keep the extremities from losing all feeling after a few hours of playing in the snow. Heck, my fingers go numb after a good 20 minutes outdoors in the winter!
Due to the prolonged cold weather, most stores up here display chemical hand warmers at every end cap and cash register. The store bought hand warmers work well enough for me, but I get a little squeamish at the idea of popping a disposable paper pouch full of chemicals into the Sons’ gloves. I mean, those things come with warnings about all the awful ways they’ll burn you if used improperly–and my four young men don’t tend to use things at all properly. Ever.
Pretty sure that it’s a Boy Thing.
I just can see bundling their sweet little hands with something that could be potentially dangerous.
I think it’s a Mom Thing.
So instead of warming their hands with chemical-filled-paper-pouches, I decided to make reusable, chemical free hand warmers. I must say that sewing up a few pairs of hand warmers couldn’t have been easier! And I say that as a woman whom only sews under extreme duress.
So before my boys go outside, our homemade microwavable hand warmers are heated for 30 seconds or so.
Then, we slide them into the pockets of their gloves. The hand warmers will give off heat for between 20 to 30 minutes, which is enough time to make some serious headway on a snow fort, or to get in a good hike while taking Daisy the Hound out for a wintry romp in the snow. Perhaps the best part is that these microwavable hand warmers are chemical free and with proper care, can be reused over and over again.
Microwavable hand warmers are easy to make, too! All you need is:
- a needle & 100% COTTON thread (or sewing machine)
- some scrap muslin and another soft 100% COTTON fabric
- uncooked white rice
IMPORTANT Words to the Wise: Since the hand warmers will be briefly heated in the microwave before using, sparkly or shimmery fabrics or thread should not be used. Microwaves have a nasty habit of sparking or other nefarious things when metals are being heated inside them. Be sure that your chosen fabric and thread are made from 100% COTTON, and are in no way metallic in nature. Synthetic fibers can catch fire with repeated heating in the microwave.
I like to use a layer of muslin under a thin layer of soft, cotton flannel for my hand warmers. The flannel feels nice next to the skin, and the muslin keeps the rice from poking through the fabric. The muslin can be skipped if a thicker cotton material is used.
Since these hand warmers are intended to fit in glove pockets, I want the finished size to be 1 1/4-inch by 3-inches. Therefore, I cut two 2 1/2-inch by 6-inch rectangles from each fabric. Pin the layers, wrong sides together, and then run a 1/8-inch stitch around the edges.
After sewing the rectangles, I stitched a small heart on one edge of the right sides. I figured that way, my boys can carry just a little bit of love from their mama when they’re outside.
OK, not really. I stitched the hearts on because it gave me the opportunity to infuse a little pink into my life. You would too if you lived in the testosterone-filled realm that I do. Truth be told, if I didn’t know that it would spark like the Fourth of July fireworks in the microwave, I would have encrusted those hearts with a liberal coating of sparkly pink glitter…but I digress.
Fold the right side of each rectangle in half, right sides together, pin them together, and run a 1/4-inch stitch on the two longer sides, leaving the shortest side open, to form a pouch.
Turn the pouch right side out and fill it with a couple of tablespoons of uncooked, dry white rice.
Fold the upper edges inward and then whip stitch it closed to make a little rice pillow.
To use the hand warmers, simply heat the little pillows in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. My microwave is 950 watts, so I heat our hand warmers for 30 seconds on full power.
Once heated, the hand warmers are ready to pop into waterproof gloves or pockets to keep your hands nice and toasty warm for between 20 to 25 minutes. Then go forth! Go out and embrace winter with warm hands!
Common Sense Disclaimer: Please use your best judgement when heating the microwavable hand warmers.
Start with a small amount of time first, increasing as you feel comfortable. Whatever you do, do not exceed 30 seconds. Also, if the hand warmers are made with organic material, do your best to keep them dry. 😉