DIY Heating Pack

Learn how to make this simple DIY heating pack that’s ideal for aches and pains. This rice sock can also serve as a cooling pack for headaches and inflammation.

Do you suffer from muscle tension, aches or pains? And do you have sneaky sock gremlins stealing your socks, separating pairs of your socks forever? I know the struggle. Here’s how to feed two birds with one scone.

Don’t throw away the leftover lonely sock in your sock pairs: Give mismatched socks and old socks a second life by turning them into a DIY heating pack.

Heat Therapy Benefits: When the rice sock is warmed, it stimulates blood flow and works wonders to relieve muscle tension, stomachaches, and menstrual cramps. This DIY heating pack is also a great gift for new moms: it encourages milk let-down when pumping milk.

Cold Therapy Benefits: When the rice sock is applied cold, it helps reduce pain by decreasing inflammation and swelling. It can be useful in treating headaches and comforting during a fever, for instance.

How to make a DIY Heating Pack

Basic Materials for your DIY Heating Pack:

  • An old cotton sock – no synthetic fabric in microwave!!
  • 0.5 cups of white rice (ideally purchased package-free)
  • A pair of scissors
  • Thread
  • Big-eye needle (or iron-on Velcro instead)
  • Optional: dried aromatic herbs

Additional (if you’re feeling artsy):

  • Pencil
  • Cotton embroidery threads (we used black, pink and light grey)
  • Liquid Stitch (permanent adhesive fabric)
  • White eco-felt sheet 9″ x 12″

Use your imagination to customize your rice sock in creative ways! You can go thrifting for knickknacks to sow on as decorations. We love finding secondhand fabrics and trinkets for this kind of project at The Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC.

Instructions to make your DIY Heating Pack:

→ Want to skip the artsy part? For immediate pain relief, skip to step 6.


  1. Draw the face of a ferret or other animal on the felt sheet with a pencil.
  2. Embroider the ferret’s eyes and nose with the black thread.
  3. Cut out the ferret’s face.
  4. Glue the ferret’s face to the toe of the sock. Let it dry for 30 minutes. Set something heavy on top of it, like a book, to press the fabric onto the sock.
  5. Sew markings along the ferret’s “back”, spacing them out every ¼” – ½” or so. Don’t forget to lock the thread. We used light gray and pink threads.



  1. Fill your old cotton sock with uncooked rice about ¾ of the way up. Leave some space for the grains to shift around, so that it lays snuggly on the areas of your body that you want to soothe.
  2. To close the sock either sew it shut or use iron-on Velcro. With the Velcro option, you can later switch out the herbs or the rice for other types of grain (or cherry pits!).

Instructions for use of your rice sock:

To use your DIY heating pack, microwave the rice sock in 30-second intervals (do not exceed 2 minutes total). To use the rice socks as cold packs, place the sock in the freezer for about 45 minutes.

Enjoy your DIY heating pack, and congrats on giving your sock a new life!

Want more ideas for relieving menstrual pain? Check out our 5 Remedies for Period Cramps Relief.

Will you give this DIY heating pack a try? Would you enjoy receiving one as a gift? Share your thoughts below!



P.S. You could also turn your socks in a sponge, instead! Learn how to make you own eco-friendly dish sponge, the tawashi scrubber. Or check out our other crafts.

Want to learn more about Zero Waste menstruation?

Zero Waste Menstruation
You’re in luck! Sign up now for our ONLINE VIDEO COURSE that walks you through all your Earth-friendly menstruation options, from cloths pads, to cups, period underwear and more. It also explores herbal remedies and practices for managing period cramps.

What Permaculture principles are we covering?

Produce no waste – Give your old socks a second life instead of sending them to the dump!

Use Small and Slow Solutions – Take the time to get crafty with your loved ones by reusing scrap materials in your home. We promise it’s more fun than buying overpriced heating or cooling packs from the store.

Use Edges & Value the Marginal – Find the value in crummy old socks that you never would have imagined turning into a comforting DIY heating pack.

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We dream of living off the grid and meeting all of our energy needs. Until then, we work on bettering ourselves every day to make conscious changes to live a more sustainable life, and to “love harder”.



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  1. Megan Toben

    This is such a fun and useful project! I loved my rice-socks throughout my pregnancy and early motherhood, as they felt so good on my sore body… and then, I used them to keep my newborn from rolling off the bed! Now, my kids love the rice-socks on their tummies when they get a belly ache. Thanks, Christelle & Cristina, for inspiring ideas of how to create adorable new ones! (Somehow we have accumulated quite a few orphaned socks… maybe we’ll give these as holiday gifts!)

    • Cristina

      Aw, yes they are so fun to make! I’m sure Ezra and Thai would love to make some with you 😊

  2. Caitlin Kelley

    What a cool craft! I’m going to host this craft for all ages at the library I work at, but am wondering what kind of felt you used? Will any old type of felt be okay in the microwave?




  1. *Easy* Homemade Gifts for the Not-So-Crafty! | HealthyGreenSavvy - […] bit of sewing, but nothing requiring advanced skills. (Like even I could do it!) Or try this cute DIY…

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