How to Make Your Own Bean Bag Heating Pad

30 May 2014

bean bag heat pads

Are you tired of using traditional heating pads that never provide enough warmth or comfort? If so, why not make your bean bag heating pad? It is a fun DIY project and offers the perfect solution for those chilly winter nights or soothing sore muscles after a long day.

This article will guide you through creating your bean bag heating pad. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner looking to explore your creative side, this project will bring warmth and relaxation.

When your back is throbbing from a long day of work, or cold weather is making your arthritic joints unbearably stiff, a touch of soothing heat can be just what you need. Throughout history, heat therapy has been used in various forms to treat joint and muscle pain. Hot baths, hot water bottles, saunas, infrared therapy and electric heating pads are all valuable for easing mild to severe pain and muscle spasms. One modern heat therapy tool that's unique for its simplicity and versatility is the bean bag heating pad.

how does heat therapy work?

Heat therapy is effective for acute and chronic pain conditions that don't involve swelling.  It is commonly used by physiotherapists and medical practitioners. Strained or tired muscles often go into a tight, painful spasm. Heat, when applied to the painful area, reduces the number of pain signals sent to your brain. When your brain stops receiving the signals, it allows the muscles, tendons and ligaments to relax and loosen up for easier movement, which brings even more pain relief. Heat also helps increase blood flow to the injured area, which expedites tissue healing.

medical benefits of heated bean bags

When filled with the material of your choice, bean bag heating pads provide soothing warmth without any need for cords or outlets. All you need is a microwave oven to heat the pad before use. It's easy to wrap your pliable, custom-fitting pad around any area that needs relief. Bean bag heating pads are a perfect solution for chronic pain, fibromyalgia, muscle fatigue or spasm, aching joints, stiffness, abdominal spasm, menstrual cramps, tension headaches and more.

why is a bean bag better than other heated products?

Bean bags offer several advantages over traditional electric heating pads and other alternatives.

  • Bean bag heating pads are portable; you can take them with you wherever you go, even outdoors.
  • You can customize your heating pad with your favourite textures, colours and prints.
  • The pad's shape will never become permanently distorted from accidental shifting or bending.
  • You can change the filling whenever you like, or add dried herbs for an aromatherapy effect.
  • Heat shouldn't be applied to one area for more than 20 minutes; your bean bag has a natural, built-in heat timer to keep you safe, even if you fall asleep.

Gathering Materials

Gathering all the necessary materials is important before you can begin making your bean bag heating pad. This section will discuss the materials you'll need and how to choose the right ones for your project.

Choosing the Fabric

The first step in creating your bean bag heating pad is selecting the perfect fabric. It's important to choose a fabric that is both durable and heat-resistant. Look for fabrics such as cotton or flannel, as they are known for their ability to retain heat. Consider the aesthetic appeal of the fabric as well. Choose a fabric that matches your home decor or reflects your style. Remember that darker colours tend to show less wear and tear over time.

Selecting the Filling

Next, you must choose the filling for your bean bag heating pad. The filling not only provides the necessary support but also helps retain heat. One popular option is rice, which retains heat well and is readily available. Other alternatives include dried beans, flaxseed, or even cherry pits. Consider the weight and texture of the filling as well. You'll want to choose a comfortable filling while providing the necessary heat distribution.

Gathering Additional Supplies

In addition to fabric and filling, there are a few other supplies you'll need to gather. These include a sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, measuring tape, and optional essential oils or herbs. These supplies will make the sewing process much easier and more efficient.

Sewing the Bean Bag

Now that you have gathered all the necessary materials, it's time to start sewing your bean bag heating pad. This section will guide you through the process step by step.

Cutting and Measuring the Fabric

The first step in sewing your bean bag is to cut the fabric into the desired size and shape. Measure and mark the dimensions you want for your heating pad on the fabric, ensuring that you leave enough space for sewing seams. For accurate measurements, experts recommend using a ruler or measuring tape.

Sewing the Sides and Bottom

Once you have cut the fabric according to your measurements, it's time to start sewing the sides and bottom of the bean bag. Fold the fabric in half, with the right sides facing each other, and pin it along the edges to keep it in place while you sew. Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew along the edges, leaving a seam allowance of about half an inch. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam to secure the stitches.

Leaving an Opening for Filling

To ensure you can easily fill your bean bag:

  1. Leave an opening in the sewing.
  2. Choose a section, preferably along one of the straight edges, where you can leave about a 4-5 inch opening.
  3. Secure the edges of the opening with pins to mark where the sewing should stop.
  4. When sewing the sides and bottom of the bean bag, skip sewing over the marked opening. This will create a space where you can later fill the heating pad.
  5. Once you have completed sewing the sides and bottom, remove the pins and turn the fabric right side out. You should now have a basic bean bag shape with one opening for filling.

Adding the Heating Element

Now that you have successfully sewn your bean bag, it's time to add the heating element to create your heating pad. The heating element will provide warmth and comfort when you need it the most. In this section, we will guide you through choosing the right heating element, inserting it into the bean bag, and ensuring it is secure and functional.

Choosing the Heating Element

A few options exist when selecting a heating element for your bean bag heating pad. One popular choice is a microwaveable heating pad, which can be heated in the microwave and placed inside the bean bag. These pads are usually filled with rice, flaxseed, or other microwave-safe materials that retain heat. Another option is an electric heating pad, which requires a power source to generate heat. Electric heating pads come in various sizes and designs, so choose one that fits well within the dimensions of your bean bag. Select a heating pad with adjustable temperature settings and safety features such as automatic shut-off.

Inserting the Heating Element into the Bean Bag

To insert the heating element into your bean bag:

  1. Start by locating the opening you left during the sewing process.
  2. Carefully slide the heating pad into the bean bag through this opening. If you use a microwaveable heating pad, ensure it is properly sealed to prevent any leakage of the filling material.
  3. If you are using an electric heating pad, make sure the power cord is positioned in a way that allows it to easily reach an electrical outlet when the bean bag is in use. You may need to adjust the position of the heating pad within the bean bag to ensure the cord is not twisted or tangled.

Securing and Testing the Heating Element

To keep the heating element in place, you can sew a few stitches around the opening of the bean bag, ensuring that it is securely closed. This will prevent the heating pad from shifting or falling out during use. Before using your bean bag heating pad, it is crucial to test the heating element to ensure it is functioning correctly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific heating pad to determine the appropriate temperature and duration for testing. Check for any unusual smells, smoke, or heat irregularities during testing. If you encounter any issues, discontinue use and consult the manufacturer's instructions or contact customer support. Remember always to use caution when operating any heating element. Do not leave the heating pad unattended while in use, and follow all safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Conclusion

In conclusion, creating your bean bag heating pad is a fun and practical DIY project that provides soothing warmth and comfort. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily make a personalized heating pad that suits your needs and style.

The first section discussed the importance of gathering the right materials. Choosing the right fabric is crucial, as it affects both the durability and feel of your bean bag heating pad. Additionally, selecting the appropriate filling ensures that your pad will retain heat effectively. Lastly, gathering the necessary supplies, such as a sewing machine and thread, will make the process smoother.

Moving on to the second section, we explored the steps of sewing the bean bag. Accurate fabric cutting and measuring are essential to ensure a proper fit. Sewing the sides and bottom together creates the pad's structure while leaving an opening for filling, allowing you to add and remove the heating element as needed easily.

In the third section, we delved into adding the heating element. Choosing the right heating element is crucial for safety and effectiveness. Whether you opt for an electric heating pad or microwaveable insert, following the manufacturer's instructions when inserting it into the bean bag is important. Securing the heating element ensures it stays in place, and testing it before use guarantees its functionality.

Following these steps, you can create a bean bag heating pad that provides soothing warmth and relaxation whenever needed. Not only is making your heating pad cost-effective, but it also allows you to personalize it to your liking. You can choose fabrics and fillings that match your aesthetic preferences while ensuring optimal comfort.

In conclusion, making your bean bag heating pad is rewarding and practical. With just a few materials and basic sewing skills, you can create a cozy and comforting accessory that will keep you warm during chilly evenings or relieve sore muscles. So why try it and enjoy the benefits of your homemade heating pad today?

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