Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Make a Hot/ Cold Pack

It would appear that disaster follows me wherever I go. Allow me to expound on that. I am accident prone in the extreme. During my visit to see my mother in Nebraska, I had all sorts of plans to stay fit and not gain any weight from the many hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches I planned on consuming. I had recently gotten up to running two miles several times per week and set out on a run to maintain my fitness levels when my luck once again caught up with me. Sprinting at my top speed, I managed to find one of the many uneven bits of sidewalk that cunningly lies in wait looking to snag unwary passers-by. I struck the sidewalk so fast that for a moment I was convinced that I had somehow been hit by one of the four cars that drives through the small town per day. Lucky me, I hadn't and limped home with two badly skinned knees (one to the bone) a skinned palm, and I later found out, four bruised ribs.

Ouch. To the rescue flew my excellent mother and as per the doctor's suggestions I was constantly anointed (drowned) in Lavender oil (great for fighting swelling and infection) and packed in ice. My mother used a wonderful home remedy that I'm rather fond of. This "ice pack" is a soft cotton bag filled with wheat grains and holds cold very well while contouring comfortably to whatever anatomy is ailing.

After 3 minutes in the microwave it is also the most fool-proof remedy for cramps I have ever tried. Having found it so useful throughout my life, I thought I would pass along how to make one.

You will need:
2 squares of cotton fabric (mine measured 9" x 15", you can make it any size you desire).
2 1/2 lbs of wheat grains/ berries.
This is the perfect size to cover one's stomach, rest atop one's head, and warm one's feat respectively.

I have chosen to make mine with 3 channels as you see above. You can also make them without the channels but they do help the bag contour to the body.

Place your two cotton squares right sides together and pin. Your fabric must be pure cotton. Any poly blends may melt or catch fire in your microwave.

 Leave one end open for turning and filling. If you choose to make the channeled version, leave one entire end open. If you choose to make simple bag, leave only a 2" gap.

A 2" gap for filling an un-channeled bag.

Stitch, back-stitching at your open end to secure your threads. Clip your corners.

Turn the bag right side out and press. To make sure my corners turn crisply, I use the blunted tip of my sewing scissors to push them out.

 Now measure two channels and mark them on the outside. These are each 2 1/2" from the outside edge and stop 1" from the narrow ends.

Sew along your marked channels, stitching in place to secure them at each end.

Now you're ready to fill your bag! Mine took about 2 1/2 lbs of wheat and I didn't fill it completely full. For best results, fill the bag about 4/5 full and then slip stitch to close your opening.


Now you have a nifty home remedy that makes a great ice pack or hot pad! I'll be using mine a lot this winter to warm my side of the bed before I get in!

Note: Test your bag carefully if you choose to microwave it. Microwaves vary. My mother has a very strong one and 3 minutes on high was more than enough to get it piping hot. My crappy overseas military issue energy efficient microwave takes much longer.


  1. Oh poor you, you do get hurt quite a bit :( I'm glad it's nothing too serious and you will be able to recover soon. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I usually use a bag of frozen peas, but if used for an icepack long enough, I recommend tossing it instead of using it for cooking :)

  2. Ouch! Your description made my toes curl :(

  3. Oh no! Poor girl, your scrapes look really painful. :( I started running myself but so far am injury free.

    I think I'm going to have to make one of these packs right quick before something happens to me. :)

  4. Owie!! :(
    Hope you are feeling better--looks painful!
    I've made a similar heat pad using rice, and it is my best friend during winter, warming my toes in bed. Thank you for the tutorial--I'll have to try the wheat berry filling. I don't know if rice holds cold too... ;)

  5. Poor you! I wish you better soon!
    I find these bags are also great for when I get a stiff neck.

  6. Oh my goodness!!! Ick! That looks painful!

    Funny you should post this, I just made a rice filled bag, just like TheGarmentFarmer mentioned above, for my aching sewing-shoulder. Works like a charm!

    Feel better soon.

  7. Ouch, that knee-wound does look really mean. I hope that lavender oil really helped a lot - never knew it was that useful (have to remember that). And I also didn't know you could cool down your grain cussions. Even though I work as a physical therapist... Well, you learn something new every day^^

  8. Oh dear, your injuries look pretty gruesome! How horrible for you, but I hope that with your mum's help, you made a speedy recovery ;o)

  9. See? Running is bad for your health; that's why I avoid it lol ^__^

    I actually have a Magic Bag that I use both hot and cold; just like this!! It's shaped to circle your shoulders and neck. Except mine cost me almost $40! Why not make one yourself right? ^__^ Good idea!!

  10. AAHHH! That makes me hurt just looking at it. OW OW OW