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How to Make your Own Eco-Friendly Hand Warmers

As great as gloves are, some chilly days require an extra bit of warmth to keep fingers from getting too frosty. A popular option for cold days and outdoor activities are hand warmers. While there are plenty of store-bought hand warmers available, unfortunately, they are often designed for one-time use, and typically can’t be recycled. 

Not only is making your own hand warmers a great eco-friendly way to repurpose scrap fabric, they can be reused again and again. Plus, this relatively simple DIY project only requires a few materials, which you likely have at home already. 

You will need:

- Scrap fabric (we used an old pair of pyjamas)

- A pair of scissors 

- A needle and thread (or a sewing machine if you have one) 

- Plain, uncooked rice

- A funnel

- Optional: You can customize your microwavable hand warmer by mixing in dried herbs such as lavender with the rice. This will give off a soothing aroma and help balance out the mild rice scent. 

How To: 

To start, cut a piece of fabric into a long rectangle. The size of the fabric will depend on how large you want your hand warmer to be. Be sure to account for about a half inch of fabric on all sides for sewing. 

steps to make hand warmers

Next, fold the fabric in half. Consider which side of the fabric you would like on the exterior of your hand warmer– this side should be facing inward when you fold the fabric, as you will be turning it inside-out after sewing. 

Now, sew the sides closed. You can use a sewing machine or do it by hand. As you can see here, it doesn’t have to be perfect! Be sure to leave a small (roughly 1 inch) opening so you can turn the hand warmer right-side out. and add the rice. Once you've sewn the sides closed, turn the hand warmer right side out, and use your finger or a chopstick to push out the corners.

steps to make handmade hand warmers

Pop your funnel in the small opening and hold firmly in place with one hand. With the other hand, slowly pour the uncooked rice into the funnel. Tip the hand warmer as you pour, to distribute the rice. Fill the hand warmer about 90% of the way, and then remove the funnel. Sew the opening closed and your microwavable hand warmer is ready to use!

visual steps to make handmade hand warmers

 To heat your hand warmers, microwave for 20-30 seconds (no more than 60 seconds) and shake to evenly distribute the heat. Reusable rice hand warmers typically stay warm for 15-20 minutes. Pop your hand warmers in your coat pockets or your favourite pair of mittens to keep your hands extra warm when you venture out and about.

model inserting a homemade hand warmer in her outerwear pocket

These hand warmers are also great to use as slipper warmers– pop a pair in your slippers for extra toasty toes! 

Making your own reusable hand warmers is a great, eco-friendly way to stay warm during the winter months, and it's a simple and easy DIY project that can be done with a few materials you may already have at home. Not only will it keep your hands warm, but it's also a great way to repurpose scrap fabric. So next time you're feeling chilly, try making your own microwavable hand warmers and enjoy warm hands all winter long!



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