How to Make Reusable Hand Warmers

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If you try to avoid disposable products, check out this DIY sewing project for winter! Learn how to make home made reusable hand warmers to help you stay warm.

Two flannel hand warmers on a table with a black coat and white beanie

I get cold really easily, and have to bundle up extremely well on cold days. When we go to the girls’ snowboarding events or work at the Girl Scout cookie booth, we’ve taken to making sure we have plenty of hand warmers on hand for outdoor activities.

How Do Hand Warmers Work?

Hand warmer packs work really well to keep our fingers nice and warm, but I started to wonder what is in disposable hand warmers to make them work they way they do. If you’ve also been curious about what hand warmers are made of, I did a little bit of research for you. Surprisingly, they seem pretty non-toxic.

I discovered that disposable warming pouches typically contain a combination of powdered iron, salt, water and some sort of absorbent ingredient such as activated carbon. When you open the package and oxygen hits this combo, the ingredients turn into iron oxide (aka rust), which releases heat.

It’s a pretty simple chemical reaction, and something fun you can explain to your kids about science this winter! My girls are always so curious about how things work.

How to Make Hand Warmers

Since we try to avoid disposable products when we can, I started to wonder if I could learn how to sew the best hand warmers myself. After all, we have a sewing machine and plenty of sewing fabric we can experiment with.

The great news? They’re so easy to make that you don’t even need sewing patterns! All you need are some basic sewing skills and a few supplies and you can have a hand warmer pouch in each pocket before your next outing. If you choose flannel fabric like we did, they feel really nice on your hands too!

How to Use Hand Warmers

Once you’ve finished making your homemade hand warmers, simply heat them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Place one pouch in each pocket with your hands and your digits will stay warm much longer this winter.

If you choose all heat-safe fabric, you can also heat them by placing them in a pan and warming them on low on each side like we do with our Salt Sock for Earaches. We don’t have a working microwave, so this is what we normally do.

Where to Buy Hand Warmers

If you don’t want to make your own DIY hand warmers, you can buy them too. In addition to the reusable pouches, you can also get hand warmer gloves and rechargeable electric hand warmers too! If you prefer something you can toss, this is the disposable hand warmer brand we normally get.

More Sewing Projects

If you have fun with this tutorial and want more sewing project ideas, check out these posts:

Ready to learn how to make your very own reusable hand warmers? Follow this easy sewing tutorial and let us know what you think with a rating.

Red plaid flannel hand warmers on a table with a beanie and jacket

How to Make the Best Reusable Hand Warmers

Learn how to make homemade reusable hand warmers with a few simple supplies to keep your hands warm this winter.
4.24 from 13 votes
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Prep Time: 0 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 1 Pair of Hand Warmers


  • Flannel fabric
  • Rice


  • Self healing mat
  • Rotary cutters
  • Durable ruler
  • Sewing machine


  • Measure and cut four rectangles from the flannel fabric that measure 5.5” x 6” each using the rotary cutter, self healing mat and ruler.
    Two pieces of flannel fabric cut with a rotary cutter
  • Place two rectangles together right sides out, making sure the pieces of fabric are the same size. Trim if necessary. Once they're evenly matched up, use your sewing machine to sew 3 sides of the fabric and part of the 4th sure, leaving 1/2” around all the edges.
    Pieces of fabric placed then sewn together
  • Fill the small fabric pouch you made with your sewing machine halfway full of rice then sew it closed.
    Sewn fabric pouch filled with rice
  • Repeat steps 1-3 with the second set of squares to finish off your pair of reusable hand warmers.
    Two homemade reusable hand warmers in red plaid flannel on a sweater


To use, place your hand warmers in the microwave for 45-60 seconds then put them in your pockets to keep your hands nice and toasty this winter.