DIY Hand Warmers: Animal Buddies to Keep Fingers Toasty

hand warmers

Handmade hand warmers are a fun, fast, and environmentally-friendly project that win pretty much everyone over. Kids can help doodle faces and do basic sewing, parents can customize templates to make a favorite animal or shape, and the rest of us can keep our fingers from turning into icicles. Seriously. Is it this cold in your office too?

Let’s get this party started:


  • Hand warmer pattern (right click to save the image below)
  • 100% wool or cotton fabric
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Embroidery needle
  • Small crochet hook, chopstick, or point turner (for turning points)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Scissors
  • Brown rice or barley
  • Dried lavender, pine or balsam (optional)




Step 1: Cut Out Your Fabric

You can print patterns for a bunny, French bulldog or honey badger using our PDF here, or make your own shapes. Hint: choose a size that can easily fit in the recipient’s palm. Triangles are perfect for hoodie pockets. Circles fit in gloves. Squares make great replacement beanbags when the sun finally comes out.

We added little details like faces and ears to our because, well, look at how adorable they are. Using simple embroidery stitches, add eyes, noses, and any other creature features required. Not an embroidery expert? We aren’t either BUT we watched Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery Sampler tutorial for tips and tricks. Embroidery is a good choice for hand warmer decoration because the material is microwave-safe (remember, we’re gonna heat these up later). Chunky red glasses are totally in right now, by the way.

Pieces cut? Faces added? You’re ready for step 2.


Step 2: Assemble

This is the first step of sewing your hand warmers closed. With the right sides facing in and ears inside (see diagram below for suggested placement), sew (using a quarter inch seam) around the edge of your project. Use the sewing guide below to make sure everything is situated properly, and remember that our pattern includes a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Use a sewing machine to sew these seams if you’d like, but this project is so small that hand stitching won’t take long. Leave a one-inch section un-sewn; this is how you’ll turn the project right side out and add your rice or barley.




Step 3: Turn Right Side Out

Turn your hand warmer right side out, using a small crochet hook to turn out any corners. LOOK AT HOW ADORABLE. You’ll notice that the Frenchie’s ears are folded all the way back. We folded them up to add a cute perky eared dimension.

Step 4: Add the Filling

Next, pour in the filling. Dry rice or barley will retain heat and resist mold, while adding dried herbs or flowers will give your hand warmers a comforting scent. Using a small funnel or simply a paper cone, pour your filling and scent element (lavender, balsam, etc.) inside. Fill it full, but not packed-to-the-seams, since you’ll need a little slack in the material to finish sewing the hand warmer closed.

Step 5: Sew Closed

Tuck in the seam allowance and sew the remaining open section closed.



Step 6: Heat ‘Em Up

To heat, simply place your hand warmer in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Make sure they’re not too hot for little ones to handle.

Okay, we have to know – what animal are you going to make?