A couple months ago, my dad came home from a dental appointment with something unexpected. His dental hygienist had given him a soft corn-filled bag she made and told him to heat it in the microwave for a few minutes to keep warm. It can also be placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer to use as a cold pack! After a visit to my parent’s house complaining of strained neck muscles, the bag was loaned to me. At first, I used it on my neck, but then I started using it all the time to keep warm in my not-so-well-insulated house. It’s a great handwarmer, lapwarmer and perfect to warm the sheets before getting into bed (also looking forward to keeping it in the freezer this summer for a quick cool-down)! Eventually, I figured I should give the bag back to my dad — thus began my mission to make my own bag.
(If you’d rather not make your own, I will be listing some shortly in my Etsy shop, or you may contact me via Etsy for a special request!)
You will need:
-whole feed/field corn (NOT popcorn or cracked corn. You are looking for whole dried corn kernels - the type you purchase at a feed or farm supply store… ideally, it will say it has been cleaned. 3.5 cups is needed for one small bag)
-100% cotton fabrics (I purchased two fabrics: one thin muslin-type to seal the corn in – thin is better here to allow it to breathe – and cotton flannel for a soft outer washable casing. How much fabric you purchase will depend on the size/shape of the bag/s you choose to make…for this tutorial, 1/2 yard of the thin fabric and 1/4 yard flannel will suffice.) I recommend washing your fabrics before sewing.
-100% cotton thread (The purpose of 100% cotton fabric/thread is to prevent melting/burning/sparking in your microwave.)
When choosing what size bag to make, looking at the interior size of your microwave may be helpful (it is possible to fold the bag to fit, but seems to heat more evenly if it lays flat).
This tutorial will make a bag that measures about 12×5 inches.
You will only need to cut one square (not two as the photo shows); however, you may choose to forego a washable casing and simply cut a square of flannel and seal the corn this way.
Make sure you are using 100% cotton thread!
Filling the bag only about 1/2 or so full allows the hot kernels to mix better.
Now it’s time to heat it up – you may notice it smells like popcorn, especially the first few times. It will also put out a moist heat these first couple of uses. You will want to microwave your bag right away to make sure any possible bugs from the corn get ‘cooked’. I put mine in for two minutes, but all microwaves vary and you should start with one minute and then 30 second intervals to see what works best for you. Be careful, as it is very possible to burn yourself if you overheat the bag and use it on bare skin! I find that a small bag stays warm for about 40 minutes in open air, longer if you keep it under a blanket. If you choose to reheat it after it’s started to get cool, only reheat for about half the typical time since the kernels still have some heat deep inside. (If made/used properly these bags are safe, but please note that if you choose to make/use a heating bag, you are doing so at your own risk.)
You may also want to take a look at THIS archived page – it was very helpful to me and provides far more information about corn bags than I have.
Stay tuned for a corn bag giveaway coming up later this week!
Did you try making one? Let me know how it worked or share any tips you might have!