How To Make Repurposed Denim Pocket-Sized Hand Warmers

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

These hand warmers are heated in the microwave and tucked into your coat pockets. They offer comforting warmth when you step outside on a cold day. Easily made using repurposed denim scraps, long-grain rice and a few drops of essential oil. These pocket-sized hand warmers are perfect for kids or adults alike! 

Repurposed denim scraps, long-grain rice and a few drops of essential oil. These pocket-sized hand warmers are perfect for kids! #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)  

We Prefer To Give Homemade Gifts

Y’all know RancherMan & I like to make homemade Christmas gifts. To us, it’s just so much more personal.

Plus by doing so we’ve removed ourselves from the consumerism and stressful side of the holiday. We feel it’s brought us back to a more well-balanced Christmas filled with the love of Christ & the warmth of family & friends.

Gift present red box and bow. #TexasHomesteader

Sure it takes more time (and sometimes more money too) but we feel we’re living our values. And that’s important to us. 

We’ve made many different homemade gifts over the years, they’ve all been well received.

But our grandchildren always receive experience gifts. Still, we want them to have something to open during our family Christmas Day celebration too.

So we decided to make pocket hand warmers for each of them to keep their little handsies warm during the chill of winter. 

How To Make Homemade Denim Hand Warmers

Here’s the quick-reading version of how we made ’em:

Repurposed denim scraps, long-grain rice and a few drops of essential oil. These pocket-sized hand warmers are perfect for kids! #TexasHomesteader

Pocket-Sized Hand Warmers  (Child sized @ approximately 4″x4″)

    • Cut repurposed denim into a 4″ x 8″ strip for each hand warmer
    • Pin each piece together inside out
    • Sew open edges except the final 1-1/2″ with a small 1/4″ seam
    • Turn hand warmer right-side out through opening
    • Fill hand warmer with 1/2 cup rice, scented with essential oil if desired
    • Tuck open section so that final edge is straight
    • Sew open section closed

Microwave Rice-Filled Pocket Warmer For Heat

Their parents need only to pop these little warmers in the microwave for a few seconds. The grandbabies then would be able to tuck the heated hand warmers into their jacket pockets. 

These pocket warmers should stay toasty for about 20-30 minutes, perfect for walking to the bus stop or heading out to play on a chilly day.

Choosing Repurposed Fabric for Hand Warmers

So now that we’ve decided on a project, there are still decisions to be made.

      • What kind of fabric should I use?
      • What shall I fill them with?
      • Should I scent them or not?

I thought about flannel or fleece material for their soft fluffiness qualities. I also thought about felt that was sewn rustically with contrasting-colored embroidery thread. 

But in the end, I decided to repurpose the denim from RancherMan’s old worn jeans.

I love that soft, durable material. Plus that way our grandson can feel comfortable carrying these hand warmers in his pockets because denim is plenty manly alright!

NOTE: I often have these delightful hand warmers for sale in my online store!  For those of you asking about my Online Store Here, feel free to check it out!

Scenting The Homemade Pocket Hand Warmers

Several days in advance I poured some long-grain rice into a container. I added about 10 drops each of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils.

Then I stirred the rice and closed the container to let the rice take on that delightful aroma.

Making Our Pocket Warmer Gifts

Now it’s time to make those hand warmers! I decided for my hand warmers I’d want to cut the fabric into 4″ x 8″. That way I could fold them over and only sew 3 sides.

Plus the finished size would be about 4″ x 4″. (less the seam of course). I’d think that would be about the perfect size for our grandbabies’ hands!

When RancherMan & I make our Christmas gifts we both have a hand in it. Whether cooking and canning edible goodies, making homemade soap, or any of the other homemade gifts we’ve made over the years – we do it together!

So RancherMan dealt with ironing/measuring/cutting the repurposed denim. But soon cutting this much material with scissors began frustrating him.

Fabric-Cutting Shortcut Tip

Then I remembered that we had these *Black & Decker electric scissors. I love these things!  So I charged them up & told RancherMan to give ’em a try.

He swapped out the manual scissors for the electric ones and was amazed! They cut through the fabric like butter. All he had to do was push the button & guide the scissors.

He exclaimed “Dang, this is like a power saw for fabric!”  LOL

Using these electric scissors he made a pair of fabric pieces for each grandchild in record time.

Electric scissors make cutting denim for pocket-sized hand warmers easy! #TexasHomesteader

So he brought the cut fabric pieces to me. Now it’s my turn to have a hand in these gifts. While I’m sewing the hand warmers I asked him to look up some cool fonts to personalize them.

Sewing Denim Pocket Warmers

I pinned the fabric right-sides together and sewed a small 1/4″ seam along the edges, leaving about 1.5″ at the end to fill the hand warmer.

Repurposed denim scraps, long-grain rice and a few drops of essential oil. These pocket-sized hand warmers are perfect for kids! #TexasHomesteader

Using the rounded end of a metal kabob I pushed the inside of the hand warmer through the hole I’d left. So the right sides are now facing out.  I’m left with a sewn square with a small 1.5″ opening.

Filling Denim Hand Warmers With Rice

Then I popped a funnel into that small hole. I scooped up 1/2 cup of scented long-grain rice and poured it into my hand-warmer.

Then I tucked the unsewn edges inside, pinned them together and back to the sewing machine.  I sewed that tiny section shut and VOILA! I copied those steps for the remaining hand warmers.

Personalized Designs Marked On Fabric

But what to use to make the personalization? Well, I have a brand new blue permanent marker pen so I drew our ranch brand on my pair of hand warmers. I mean, heck – it’s a PERMANENT marker so why not?

There, all done.  Now let’s step back & evaluate.  What do I think?  Hummm…  I think I like it!

Repurposed denim scraps, long-grain rice and a few drops of essential oil. These pocket-sized hand warmers are perfect for kids! #TexasHomesteader

I plunked them into the microwave for about 20 seconds and they were pleasantly warm but not hot enough to burn.

IMPORTANT:  Microwaves vary & you don’t want to burn little hands!
A touch not hot enough is MUCH better than TOO HOT!

I love the way they turned out. They’ll offer each of our precious grandbabies the warmth of their grandparent’s love on a cold day.


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Tagged in   All our favorite eco-friendly posts about repurposing. #TexasHomesteader   Our favorite gift ideas in one place. #TexasHomesteader   All our favorite posts about Christmas Holidays. #TexasHomesteader 

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11 thoughts on “How To Make Repurposed Denim Pocket-Sized Hand Warmers

  1. Greg Hill

    Hello Tammy,
    I love these kind of repurposes because they are a functional use of this type of material, and anyone who can sow can made them even by hand if needed.
    Pinned this on Pinterest , put it on my Discover Repurposing , and World of Repurposing and Upcycling sites.
    I think these would be great for many things,
    Like my wife’s cold feet when she get into bed ….WOW!!!! those feet can be cold…. and my arthritis in my hands that need a warm break sometimes.
    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGosh Greg, I love these hand warmers. RancherMan & I volunteer year round for a community project and it involves outside work – these hand warmers are perfect on those cold mornings. I made a pair of hand warmers for my dad for Christmas one year. He lives in the country & has many outside chores and he still raves about them. He asks why EVERYONE doesn’t have a pair of these hand warmers in their pockets! ~TxH~

  2. Ramona Siklosi

    Yay! Now I don’t feel so bad when I start using my sewing machine as your story could very well be mine. Since I don’t use it very often, I always have to stop for the same reasons. I think at those times that the next time I will go over all instructions beforehand and also make sure all thread is accounted for 🙂 the right color spool, bobbin and threaded correctly.
    My husband had a stroke 3 yrs. ago which left him with a painful hand that always feels very, very cold. He has to wear a glove but these hand warmers will be a blessing. Plan on making some tomorrow.
    Have a blessed and healthy New Year. Ramona

  3. Kim

    I think I need the fabric saw thing, lol. I like that these are mini! Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Pinned! Have a great week!

  4. Katy SkipTheBag

    These are great! I have a huge one that is more like a heating pad, but I wouldnt have though to make them hand sized. Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!

  5. Katrin

    A great idea! I have some, but bigger ones and I really like the pocket size style!! Thank you for sharing

  6. ColleenB.~Texas

    Well done Tammy. I used to make these years ago and even made a long one to keep by toes warm at night as I’m always getting cold feet. By making longer ones, they work great for keeping out drafts from under doors, window seals, etc.
    Besides using rice, you can also use dry corn or flaxseed of which flaxseed will stay warmer the longest. 
    They are fantastic for muscle aches, and icy cold toes at night. You can also put them in the freezer for cold packs as well.
    Suggestion:; Always keep extra machine needles on hand and making sure to use right weight needle for fabric using. Also, when you have to rethread a bobbin, do 2 right away; especially with the colored thread you use most often. When one runs out you have a back-up already threaded and handy. I Always see to it that I have 2 white threaded bobbins, 2 black and 2 dark blue, as that is what I use the most of. It saves time when you don’t have to stop in the middle of project to rethread a bobbin.

    1. ColleenB.~Texas

      I gotta tell you a rather funny story about what happened to a friend of mine who made; well tried to make some of these hand warmers.  This happened some years ago.  I had sent her a couple of hand warmers and she wanted to make some herself so she called me wondering how to make them so I told her and gave her the instructions over the phone.
      She asked what to fill them with, at which time I told her rice, corn or flaxseed.  After she quickly made hers and put them in the microwave she quickly called me back and told me that they where’ popping.’  ( I think you know where I’m going from here.)  I asked her what she used, and she said; “popcorn cause she didn’t have rice or flaxseed on hand.”  So folks, Do Not use popcorn when making these unless you want to eat your finished warmers.  :}  We both had a good laugh about it afterwards.

      1. ColleenB.~Texas

        One situation in which you don’t use ‘Whatcha Got.’ :} She did have a pop’n good day tho :}

    2. Laurinda

      Ooo-what a great idea! I’m not a new sewist, but I’d never heard that. Thank you so much! <3

    3. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve heard of different things you can fill these microwave-heating bags with. Although we do have corn I think for such small pocket-sized bags the corn would be too bulky. I have lots of long-grain rice and it takes the scent of the essential oils beautifully. You know my battle cry: “Use Whatcha Got!” I did rethread a couple of bobbins with the white thread so I wouldn’t have to stop in the middle of my project next time. LOL ~TxH~


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