Aromatherapy Heat Pack Tutorial

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I have been thinking about making aromatherapy heat packs for a while and when I needed a gift for my friend Kelly’s birthday last week I thought I would give it a try. Turns out these are super simple!
I made them in two sizes – large (23″ x 6″) and small (12″ x 6″). The large one is big enough to fit around your neck and the small one is nice and compact to hit a little spot.
Basically you make an inner pouch to hold the rice and then you make a pillowcase for it. All seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless specified.
First, the inner pouch…
For this part I used unbleached muslin but you can really use any cotton fabric….but don’t splurge on a print because you won’t see it!
  • For the LARGE – 1 piece of muslin 6.5″ x 40″
    • or if you don’t have a piece that big, use 2 pieces that are 6.5″ x 20.5″ and sew them together at one of the narrow ends to get one big 40″ piece)
  • For the SMALL – 1 piece of muslin 6.5″ x 20″
Note: all the examples will be for the larger size but the smaller one is made the exact same way.
First, fold the narrow sides together.

Then sew up the LONG sides. DON’T stitch up the 4th side!

I use a serger first and then stitch up the seams with my sewing machine. I think this reinforces the edges a little better. If you don’t have a serger, you can add a zig zag around the edges if you like. A little extra stitching to prevent a rice catastrophe never hurt anyone. :)

Look…you still have an open side!
Measure out the rice in a large bowl.
  • For the LARGE pack you need 3.5 lbs of white rice (not instant!).
  • For the SMALL pack you only need 1.5 lbs.
  • Add the essential oil of your choice. I used Eucalyptus. For the large pack I used about 25 drops and for the small one I used 12. But use your own judgement depending on how strong of a scent you want and which oil you are using. I bought my oil at Hobby Lobby in the candle/soap making section, but anywhere that has candle/soap stuff would probably carry a few scents at least.
Drop the oil on the rice and mix with either a spoon or gloves. You are not supposed to get this on your skin! And it burns when you even get traces of it in your eyes…ask me how I know.
Then add the rice to the open end of the muslin bag. If you have a funnel, save yourself the headache of little rice grains everywhere and use it. Otherwise you can make one out of cardstock…I did.
Then sew up your pouch!
Now, for the outer case…
If you already know how to make a pillowcase using the “tube method” then you know the next few steps. If not, I will walk you through it.
  • For the LARGE – one 14″ x 21″ piece of fabric for the main part and one 8″ x 14″ piece for the edge
  • For the SMALL – one 14″ x 11″ piece of fabric for the main part and one 6″ x 14″ piece for the edge

FYI – I am using the paisley fabric for the main part and the orange fabric for the edge.

What the fabric looks like if you are making the LARGE size
What the fabric looks like if you are making the SMALL size

First, place the edge piece right side up and match up the 14″ sides of the fabric, right sides together.

Then from the bottom (C), roll up the main piece (B) about halfway up towards the top (A).
Now, take the bottom of the edge piece (C) and fold it up to meet the top (A). Make sure B is in the middle of the roll, otherwise you might sew through it.
Now sew up the A,C side. DO NOT SEW THROUGH THE B SIDE or it won’t work!!!

Once the A,C seam is sewn, turn it inside out.

And you will get this…

Notice now how you have no seams for the edge of the case and it is nice on both sides of the main fabric! If you have made pillowcases and haven’t done it like this you have been missing out!

Iron out the edge piece on both sides and put a 1/4″ seam thorough it (on the edge side, not the main side). This just helps hold it in place.

Now lay your case right side up with your edge to the left. Fold the bottom side to the top.
Pin and sew.
 Turn the case inside out and iron.
Insert the rice pouch.


Here are the two different sizes:

And that’s all there is to it. Like I said, these are really simple to whip up and would be great gifts! I read somewhere that you can also freeze them and use them as cold packs, but I haven’t tried it yet. Let me know if any of you have.

Until later, happy sewing!


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One Response to “Aromatherapy Heat Pack Tutorial”

  1. Tanya says:

    Those look great and very do-able. I have tried this before but I was doing it a very hard way. Thanks.

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