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Super easy homemade hand warmers

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how to make handmade hand warmers

It is so easy to make homemade hand warmers and they make a great gift (see more upcycle sewing tutorials that make great gifts here!) 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!

wool sweater upcycle for a man

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!

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.

sweater refashion hand warmer

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

stocking stuffer to sew wool sweater

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!

free pattern easy hand warmers to sew

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.

wool sweater upcycle idea

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:

Upcycle a wool sweater into heart shaped hand warmers with this easy sewing tutorial! Download the free hand warmer pattern and sew up some soft hearts to keep in your pockets this winter or to stick in a Christmas stocking. #sewing #upcycle #diygift

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
  • Free heart handwarmer pattern – – sign up for my newsletter and get the full pattern once you confirm your subscription! If you’re already a subscriber, you can access the pattern with the password in each newsletter, in the resource library.


Heart shaped hand warmer version – sews up to be roughly 4″ tall X 4.25″ wide when finished

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!

freezer paper felt tip

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.

cutting felt square

Step 2- Cut 4 squares from a wool sweater, measuring 4.5″ square.

applique wool on wool

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!

sewing squares together trimming corners

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.

poking out corners sewing

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.

how to fill handwarmers

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.

ladder stitch

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:

Download this free hand warmers sewing pattern and upcycle some old sweaters! Great gift and handy at home, they keep your fingers warm in winter. Full photo tutorial and pdf pattern included. #sewing #upcycle

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Wednesday 4th of January 2017

I don't think it matters if it's Long Grain Rice, or why Minute Rice would be bad, but any bag rice should do, or dry beans.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Thanks Tonya!


Saturday 7th of February 2015

How long will they stay warm?

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 8th of February 2015

Thanks for visiting Irene! I've never timed it I guess, but about 20 minutes. I use them when driving - so by the time their heat has worn off, the car's heat has kicked on.


Saturday 7th of February 2015

Thanks for the nice tut. I am assuming the rice should be real long cooking rice and not minute rice etc.? :)

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Saturday 7th of February 2015

Hi Pati! Thanks for visiting - I have to admit I've never used minute rice, just plain old long-grain rice (which I assume is real cooking rice?) so it never occurred to me to specify! I added 'long-grain' to the supply list :) Thanks!

Carole @ Fresh off the Frame

Sunday 1st of February 2015

Very clever! I like the idea of upcycling, and have a couple of sweaters saved. The insert is a smart idea. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 1st of February 2015

Thanks Carole, I hope you make some and keep warm :)


Friday 30th of January 2015

Lovely <3

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