How To Make Repurposed Denim Coat-Pocket Hand Warmers

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

These repurposed denim coat-pocket-sized hand warmers are perfect for kids or adults alike! And they’re easily made using repurposed denim scraps, long-grain rice and a few drops of essential oil.

A few seconds the microwave and then tucked into coat pockets, they offer comforting warmth on a cold day. 

Pocket sized denim pocket warmers filled with long-grain rice, scented with essential oil. #TexasHomesteader

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

Choosing Fabric To Make Hand Warmers

RancherMan & I wanted to make coat -pocket sized hand warmers for our grandchildren to keep their little hands warm during the chill of winter.

But first I needed to decide a few things: 

      • What kind of fabric should I use?
      • What shall I use to fill my pocket warmers?
      • Should I scent them or not?

I thought about flannel or fleece material for their soft fluffy qualities. And I also considered using felt to be sewn rustically with fun contrasting-colored embroidery thread. 

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

There are several useful ways to repurpose old denim blue jeans, including cute denim hand warmers. #TexasHomesteader

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

How To Make Denim Hand Warmers

Making these repurposed denim hand warmers was an easy project for RancherMan & me. And they make a great gift idea too! 

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
    • Fold ends together inside out & pin
    • 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

By cutting the fabric into 4″ x 8″ sizes I was able to fold the fabric over and only sew 3 sides.

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

These repurposed denim pocket hand warmers are filled with rice and stay warm 20-30 minutes. #TexasHomesteader

But soon cutting this much material with scissors began frustrating RancherMan.

Fabric-Cutting Shortcut Tip

Then I remembered that we had these *Black & Decker electric scissors.  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. 

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

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

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 were now facing out.  I’m left with a sewn square with a small 1.5″ opening.

Filling Denim Hand Warmers With Rice

Using a funnel with the tip placed into that small hole I scooped up 1/2 cup of 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 to sew that tiny section shut and VOILA!

Personalized Designs Using Permanent Marker

Since these child-size pocket warmers were such a hit with the grandkids, I made several slightly larger pocket-sized hand warmers for myself & other family members and friends.

With a blue permanent marker pen I’ve decorated the hand warmers in different ways; the grandkids’ initials, an outline of a tractor for my father, a dragonfly for my mother, a cute snowflake etc. 

Repurposed denim pocket sized hand warmers with snowflake design filled with raw rice. #TexasHomesteader

All of the decorative design was simply done with a blue permanent marker pen. 

Microwave Rice-Filled Pocket Warmer For Heat

To warm them just pop these little warmers in the microwave for a few seconds. Then tuck the heated hand warmers into your jacket pockets. 

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

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

Scenting The Homemade Pocket Hand Warmers

Some of the rice in these hand warmers were scented with essential oil. I poured some long-grain rice into a container & 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 for about 24 hours.

Other Denim/Rice Warmer Idea: Lap Warmer

Lap Warmer: I also made a larger 10″ to 12″ sized warmer for my sweet always-chilly mom. She would warm it in the microwave, set it in her lap and cover with a lightweight lap throw while she was sitting in her chair.

The lap throw kept the warmth close to her and the larger lap-warmer rice bag offered her slow, comforting heat on those chilly days.

She loved that lap warmer so much that I’ve since made several as gifts, and one for myself too!

We Prefer To Give Homemade Gifts

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

We prefer our gifts to be homemade. These denim pocket-sized hand warmers have been well-received.#TexasHomesteader

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

But these cute and functional denim/rice warmers were loved & provide warmth and comfort during those cold months.


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10 thoughts on “How To Make Repurposed Denim Coat-Pocket 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. 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!

  4. Katrin

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

  5. 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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