DIY Reusable Hand Warmers from Baby Socks

Katie Wells Avatar

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DIY Resuable Hand Warmers from Mismatched Socks
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This tutorial was created by my (super creative) 6-year-old daughter as a smaller version of my original reusable heat packs.

Hand Warmer Heat Packs

She loved having the heat pack on her feet or hands on cold days, but the kids were often fighting over them. She loves the hand warmers you can buy and use in your pockets in the winter and decided to create a rice-pack version she could use for this as well.

With five kids, we have a constant supply of un-matched socks that have lost their mates to the monster in the dryer or gotten a hole from being worn outside without shoes.

She was helping me sort socks one day and asked what we used the extra socks for if we never find the match…

I told her that they usually just stay in the basket in my closet, which is getting increasingly full.

Ever the creative one, she asked if she could have some of the colorful ones. That bunch became bracelets, puppets and these hand warmers. Note to self: give mismatched socks and other items to the kids more often! 🙂

The best part of this DIY is that no sewing is required. You could absolutely sew the ends if you wanted to, but she figured out that she could do this by just tying the ends of a longer baby or toddler sock.

While making these, she asked if I had any lavender flowers and she added these to the heat packs with the rice so they smell wonderful when heated.

How to Heat

The most convenient way to heat these is in a microwave. We don’t use a microwave for food, but I feel safe using it for this. In our old house, we had a microwave in our outside shed for this purpose. In our current house, we haven’t removed the microwave yet, so it is there but only gets used for heating up heating pads and other non-food uses.

A friend of mine uses these types of heating pads all the time but doesn’t have a microwave, so I asked her how she heats them up. She said that as long as she uses all cotton fabric or socks, she is able to heat them up in a glass pan in her oven at 300 for 15 minutes. I haven’t tried it, but she does it all the time. Just watch it carefully!


  • 2-4 mismatched baby or kids socks (or more)
  • Rice (preferably organic white or jasmine rice)
  • Optional: Lavender Flowers


  1. Fill each sock 1/3 to 1/2 full with rice, depending on how full you want to finished hand warmer.
  2. Add 1 tsp of lavender flowers if using.
  3. Tightly tie the end of the sock to seal.
  4. Cut off excess sock, leaving about 1/2 inch so it doesn’t come untied.
  5. Alternately, you can fill only a small part of the sock, sew closed and then cut off.
  6. Heat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or in the oven at 300 in a glass container for 10-15 minutes.

 What creative ideas have your children come up with?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


19 responses to “DIY Reusable Hand Warmers from Baby Socks”

  1. DavetteB Avatar

    Is there any caution on what material is okay for the microwave, I.e. should it be all cotton or does it matter?

  2. Yuliya Avatar

    Hi, I always buy more than one pair of similar socks. If one sock has lost another one is waiting for its hour (for example, when a sock of other pair will be spoil)
    Sorry for my English. I’m from Russia.

  3. franki Avatar

    forgive my ignorance, but how do these work? do you have to hold them in your hand? or do you have a pocket or something to slip over your hand, so it’s free to continue working?
    I sort of thought the top part of the sock was folded back over the rice-filled bottom, which would make a place for the hand to be inserted. Maybe cut finger holes if I want to use them while on computer, etc, so that they warm the back of the hand…?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Any of the above! Generally we use them when on outings in the cold, so they tend to live in pockets. I love your finger holes idea though!

  4. Stacie Avatar

    Another good thing to use the small heat packs for are dry eyes. I made a few of these for my family; we all have dry eyes. After you heat for 20 sec. lay down, close eyes and lay the warm pack on lids. It helps to open the glands under your eyelids. It really relieves the scratchiness, and soreness that comes with dry eyes.

  5. Isabelle Avatar

    Very good idea, even more for those sensible skin of the little one. I know my son can’t tolerate any chemicals or product on his skin. This will help me keep his feet warm.

  6. Mae Avatar

    Why is it that organic white/jasmine rice is preferred? Since the rice used isn’t being eaten, I’d assume that it would be safe to use any rice. Do conventional rices have something on or in them that could be inhaled, or is it just personal preference to use organic materials whenever possible?

  7. Pat Avatar

    I make corn bags. They hold the heat much longer than the rice. If you take it to bed and put it on your feet or against your back, as long as it touches you it will stay warm all night. I have several different sizes. I make approx. 6X8″ , 8X10″ and 8X12″ Another thing I do with them is
    heat one when I bake bread and leave it in the microwave and sit the bread bowl on it to rise. Works great. I microwave my 8X12″ size one minute and 50 seconds. And, use any type of corn…just plain old feed corn.

  8. Linda Avatar

    We made some recently with clean whole kernel corn (from the farm supply store). Works well.

    My daughter likes to use her too small socks to make dog toys. She stuffs them and ties them. Our dogs love them.

  9. Heather Avatar

    You must be so proud of your little Wellness Mama in training! What a sweet, smart little girl! These will be great for my daughter while walking to the bus stop in the early Am! Please tell your lil girl thank you and to keep her good ideas coming!!

  10. Dianne Avatar

    In the old days, people used to heat bricks in the fire and wrapped cloth around them and put them around their feet when they went on buggy rides. Using the same concept as the rice bags, I wonder if pebbles or small rocks could be heated and the heat might last longer than the rice bags. I’ve used rice bags for aches and pains but they don’t seem to stay hot for long. Has anyone tried anything like this?

    1. Roxxanne Avatar

      I have heard that some types of rocks will explode when heated. Maybe do some research first.

    1. Charlee Avatar

      I love the idea of using a crock pot to warm these! I will have to try it.

    2. Angela Avatar

      Thank you!! We have not used a microwave in 3 years by choice and our new house didn’t have one. I have been wondering about a safe way to heat a rice sock up. Crock pot and the 300 degree oven in a glass dish are just what I was wondering. THANK YOU!!

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