This is day 4 of 12 Days of (upcycled) Christmas tutorials! It is so easy to make homemade hand warmers and they make a great gift! Upcycled from a wool sweater, this set of heart shaped hand warmers has an envelope back with an insert, so you can wash the outsides or replace the insides if they get gross/wet. They are a very quick sew and can be made entirely from scraps. This post was originally shared on Fleece Fun, but came home with updates and a second, more beginner friendly option with a different shape!
My husband was kind enough to model the hand warmers for a man, I think anyone could use these in the dead of winter! I need to make a big one just to warm up my bed at night, our new house is drafty. Make sure when you’re shopping to find 100% wool (merino is thin and nice!), not an acrylic blend that wouldn’t work well in the microwave. Everyone’s microwave is different so be careful as you figure out what your heat preference is!
Looking for more creative inspiration? Check out these posts!
- 35+ stocking stuffers to sew
- 20+ best sewing projects for men’s gifts
- Master list of upcycle sewing projects
The little envelope opening also provides a super cozy spot to stick your fingers, especially if you’ve had to take your gloves off to text or use your phone.
I will warn you that my kids love to steal these heart shape hand warmers and play with them! Use the same shape and make the kids in your life some fun beanbags while you’re at it
Do you use hand warmers? I am going to start using these in the car before we drive in the morning, I hate how cold the steering wheel is!
Are you a beginner? Or just looking for a faster sew? I added a second option for how to make a heart hand warmer! There isn’t an insert, so you’d have to seam rip and dump the rice to sew, BUT they are very quick to make and use the same pattern.
You could call them my Banana Republic & J.Crew hand warmers, since that is where the sweaters are from, haha! Keep reading to see both tutorials below!
Pin this tutorial for how to make homemade hand warmers with this link and photo:
How to make handwarmers
- A thin wool sweater or scarf, prewashed/dryed for the outer heart. If you use a super thick wool, it will be too bulky, look for a merino blend!
- A tshirt or other knit scraps for the inner heart
- Cotton thread (you should avoid microwaving polyester thread)
- Long-grain rice
- Wonder clips or alligator clips (what I used, shown here)
- Scissors, thread, sewing machine, the usual suspects
Heart shaped hand warmer version
Step 1- Cut all pattern pieces as directed; layer two knit hearts on top of one another and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening and making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.
Step 2- Use a tiny funnel (can also use a straw or a rolled up paper) and fill with rice. Stitch the opening close, repeat for the second set of hearts.
Step 3- Fold the straight edge of each overlapping piece over 1/4″ and stitch down to hem.
Step 4- Lay the overlapping pieces over one another with the top piece in front, with right sides together, on top of the whole wool heart. Stitch around all edges with a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Step 5- Flip right side out and squish in your insert!
I hope you dig out some old sweaters and sew up a few upcycled, homemade hand warmers this winter!
Square hand warmer version
This version would not be machine washable, and the innards aren’t removable, though you could seam rip, dump the rice, wash, and resew if absolutely necessary. You will ignore the cutting instructions on the main pattern, though you will use the same heart shape!
Step 1- Cut 2 of the smaller heart shape from a sweater. Here I used freezer paper; you trace the shape, iron it on the felt, trim carefully, and peel the freezer paper off.
Step 2- Cut 4 squares from a wool sweater, measuring 4.5″ square.
Step 3- Applique a heart on the center of a square, pinning it and then sewing around the edges, repeat for the second one. I have tips for how to applique in this post if you aren’t familiar! With two squishy fabrics atop each other, you may need to stop every few stitches and raise the presser foot to readjust. Go slow!
Step 4- Put the squares “right sides together” with the heart facing in. Pin or clip, leaving roughly 1.5″ gap on one side. Sew all the way around with 1/4″ seam allowance, and then trim the corners off without going through the stitching.
Step 5-Gently pull the handwarmer right side out through the hole you left. Use something blunt to push the corners out, iron the entire thing, tucking in the seam allowance around the opening.
Step 6- Fill up your handwarmer! I love this tiny little funnel, but you could roll up paper too. I like to fill mine about 80% full.
Step 7 – Time to close! Here you can see a ladder stitch, with tiny bites on either side and then pulling gently to close.
You can pin this beginner hand warmer sewing tutorial with this link or collage photo: