DIY Reusable Hand Warmers

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During the cold winter months, it’s important to make sure our hands are nice and warm. These DIY reusable hand warmers are a quick project for any sewing level and will keep your hands cozy all winter long.

A gloved hand placing a hand warmer into a coat pocket

One of the first parts of our bodies to get cold is usually our hands, especially with little ones. Hand warmers are a convenient way to help us stay warm while playing outside in the snow.

These homemade hand warmers get heated up in the house while you’re getting bundled up to go out. Then, just slip one into each pocket for when your hands need a little warmth. reheat as needed, depending on how long you’ll be outside.

You don’t even need a microwave to heat them up! An oven or wood stove will do, directions are later in this post.

Store-bought hand warmers are convenient but also expensive and wasteful. They are definitely handy for some circumstances, such as being out in below-zero temperatures for a long time.

But for just going outside to have some winter fun, reusable hand warmers are less expensive and not wasteful. For just a couple of dollars (or none at all if you have the materials already, and you probably do!) and less than half an hour of time, you can have hand warmers to use over and over all winter long.

This is a really fun sewing project for any level of experience. It’s also great for kids learning how to sew. Let them choose a cute fabric and they can practice their sewing skills with these basic instructions.

Hands wearing gloves holding a handmade hand warmer

Materials You Will Need

  • Four pieces of 100% cotton flannel cut into 5-inch squares-You can use regular cotton fabric if you want but flannel is much softer and holds the heat a little longer. 100% cotton fabric is important if you plan to microwave your hand warmers.
  • Coordinating 100% cotton thread-Again, if you plan to microwave ( I don’t, I just warm ours on the wood stove) then you must use 100% cotton thread.
  • Six tablespoons of uncooked rice-This can be white or brown but only regular rice, not the instant kind.

Tools You Will Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Small funnel

Reusable Hand Warmers DIY

  • Cut flannel into four 5-inch squares using a rotary cutter and fabric ruler. Alternatively, cut out a 5-inch square of parchment or freezer paper, pin it to the fabric, and cut out using fabric scissors.
  • Take two of the squares and line them up right sides together, pinning around the edges as necessary. Repeat with the remaining two squares of flannel.
Sewing machine sewing flannel together
  • Sew squares together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance almost all the way around, leaving a 2 inch opening on one of the sides.
  • Repeat with the other set of squares. Trim extra threads.
Hands holding fabric sewn together with opening left for turning
  • Turn the square right side out, carefully pushing out each of the corners by sticking your finger through the opening. Repeat with the second square.
Hands pushing corners of turned fabric out
  • Using a small funnel (or a piece of paper rolled up into a funnel), pour 3 tablespoons of uncooked rice into each hand warmer.
Measuring spoon full of dry rice being poured into sewn bag
  • Fold the opening inward and topstitch it to close. Use a 1/8 inch seam allowance to top stitch all the way around for a more finished look. Take care to push any rice out of the way as you sew each side so you don’t sew over the rice!
Hands pushing fabric through sewing machine
  • Repeat with the secondhand warmer and now you have a set! Your hand warmers are ready to be heated up and used.

How to Use Reusable Hand Warmers

There are a few ways you can heat up your hand warmers to get them ready to use before heading out into the cold.

  • Wood stove-I like to heat ours right on the wood stove. It’s already nice and hot since it’s warming our home so it doesn’t require any extra energy to heat up our hand warmers. I just place them in a metal baking dish and set them on top for a few minutes while everyone’s getting bundled up. When we’re ready, we grab them and put them right into our pockets. Just be careful to remove the baking dish using an oven mitt as it will be hot.
Homemade hand warmers in a metal pan on top of a wood stove
  • Oven-You can also heat these up right in your oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the hand warmers in an oven-safe dish and put it in the oven. Turn the oven off and wait about five to ten minutes, then your hand warmers should be ready to go. Carefully remove the dish using an oven mitt and tuck your hand warmers into your pockets.
  • Microwave-This is the fastest method if you’re in a hurry. Just place the hand warmers into the microwave and heat for one minute. Carefully remove them and they should be nice and warm and ready to go. Again, you can only microwave 100% cotton fabric and thread. If your little ones need their hand warmers reheated while they’re outside playing, this is the fastest way to warm them up for them.
A gloved hand putting a diy reusable hand warmer into a coat pocket

Sew a set of hand warmers for everyone in your family! Use a different fabric pattern to tell them all apart. Little ones like choosing their own fabric with a fun pattern on it to match their other winter gear.

Store them with the rest of your winter gear so they’re easily accessible when everyone goes out to play. Just be sure to leave enough time to warm them up before you head outside.

This is a great project for the beginning sewer and also for kids learning how to sew. They also make a unique, homemade gift for family and friends. With the endless selection of flannel fabric to choose from, you can make a set for everyone on your list to fit their tastes.

Outdoor winter activities are much more enjoyable when everyone is properly dressed and warm. These diy reusable hand warmers will help keep you cozy and content all winter long.

Pinterest image for diy reusable hand warmers

DIY Reusable Hand Warmers

DIY reusable hand warmers are simple to make, even for beginning sewers and kids, too! With just a few basic materials and a little bit of time, your hands will be cozy and warm this winter. These instructions are for a set of two hand warmers.
Prep Time10 mins
Active Time15 mins
Yield: 2 hand warmers
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Small funnel

Materials

  • 4 5" squares 100% cotton flannel fabric
  • 100% cotton thread
  • 6 tbsp uncooked rice

Instructions

  • Cut flannel into four 5 inch squares.
  • Take two squares and line them up right sides together, pinning as needed.
  • Sew a 1/4 inch seam all the way around, leaving a 2 inch opening on one side.
  • Repeat with remaining two pieces of flannel.
  • Trim threads. Turn right side out, being sure to gently push out the corners.
  • Using a small funnel (or a piece of paper rolled up into a funnel) pour 3 tablespoons of uncooked rice into each hand warmer.
  • Turn opening in and topstitch all the way around the square, taking care to move any rice out of your way so you don't sew over it.
  • Repeat with second hand warmer. Trim threads and you're done!
  • To heat: Microwave for 1 minute or until hot. Or, preheat over to 350 degrees, place hand warmers in an oven-safe dish inside oven, and turn oven off. Heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until nice and warm. Or, place in a metal baking dish on top of burning wood stove and heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until warm.
  • Place inside cast pockets and they will stay warm for about 20 minutes!

Notes

This project is perfect for fabric scraps! Or, purchase 1/8 of a yard of flannel at your local fabric shop to make multiple sets. This is a great sewing project for beginners and even kids. 

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