DIY Upcycled Corn Bag – Homemade Heating Pad

Published on February 11, 2015 By Lauren

To be honest, the inspiration for this DIY Upcycled Corn Bag came from years of blood, sweat, and cold feet!

I’m not sure why my feet are always so cold.  Maybe it’s the weather.  Maybe it’s genetics.  My husband swears my cold feet have been used as icy weapons on chilly nights when we might have had some unresolved conflict.  That’s just crazy talk!

I just haven’t found a way to keep my feet comfortable without smothering them in 100% wool socks.  Then they sweat and I slip around on the floors.  Next thing you know I’ve now created a whole other set of problems.

So I set my mind to think of a way that I could have my feet be warm when I’m sitting at my desk, lounging around on the couch, or lying in bed with my honey.  A DIY corn bag!

You might have heard of rice heating pads.  Well I’ve used a homemade corn heating pad (same idea) for years.  If only I could swaddle my feet with it.

Some people come up with medical discoveries to change lives.  I keep it simple.  Let’s make a heating bag that I can wrap around my feet!

I decided to really save some money on this crazy idea by using a comfy pair of old sweat pants.  They had outlived their usefulness and, well, they’re purple.  So they were the perfect guinea pig on my quest for warm feet.

Here are the steps I took to make these simple DIY Upcycled Corn Bag.

Here are the supplies you are going to need:

  • 100% Cotton Sweat Pants (They can’t be polyester or elastic because those are synthetic and will melt.  And don’t worry if you’ve lost the drawstring, like me.  We’re going to make one of our own.)
  • 5 pounds of corn (Feed corn for deer is perfect.  Don’t use popcorn because this will be heated in the microwave.  A 40 pound bag of corn costs around $7 at the feed store, sports and outdoors store, or anywhere that sells hunting equipment.)
  • sewing machine
  • 100% cotton thread (again, don’t want to melt)
  • straight pins
  • scissors

Here are the Step by Step Instructions:

Step 1: Pick through the corn to remove rocks and weird pieces and throw them out.

Step 2: Take the pants, and cut off anything that isn’t cotton.  This includes embellishments or decorations. I removed the gromets for the drawstring and elastic from the waistband.  This will make it safe for microwaving.

Step 3: Turn the pants inside out.

You’ll want to “try on” the bag before you make any cuts.  Sit in a chair and place the pants around your feet so that the waistband lands where you’ll want it to be tied off.  You might want it right at your ankles.  I liked mine to sit just a little higher toward my calf.  Depending on how you like the bag to fit, you might use some of the pant legs for your feet or you might just use the seat of the pants.  Mark that spot with a pin on the left and right of the pant leg so you’ll know where to cut in the next step.

Step 4: Cut where you pinned the legs.

Step 5: Cut off the bottom hem of the pants and set aside for later.

Step 6: Now use the legs to cut four sections that will fit inside both sides of the front and back of the pants.  You’re basically cutting four sleeves that will turn into corn pillows.  The corn pillows should fit easily below the waistband and above the bottom where you cut the legs off. I was using some petite length sweatpants for my project and I was able to get four pillows with fabric to spare.

Step 7: Turn the leg sleeves you just cut for the corn pillows right side out.  We will be sewing them so that the inside will be outside, but that’s confusing so just trust me for now.

Step 8: Leaving the shorts inside out (yep, you made some cool sweat shorts), sew the legs shut with a straight seam.  Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each leg to lock the stitches.

Step 9: Now sew the corn pillows halfway shut on one side and all the way shut on the other.  You leave one side part way open so that you can turn the bags inside out in the next step.

Step 10: Turn each corn pillow inside out so that what used to be the inside of the pant leg (the pilly, soft side) is now facing out.  

Step 11: Fill the bags with corn.  They can’t be too full because we still have to sew them shut.

Step 12: Turn the pillow seams in about 1/4 inch and sew the corn pillows shut with a straight stitch.  You could hand sew this if you’re more comfortable.

Step 13: Pin the corn pillows to the front and back of the bag.  I placed mine about an inch below the waistband and an then sat a few inches above the bottom to leave room for my feet.

Step 14: Sew the corn pillows in place with a zig zag stitch (I like this stitch here because the corn pillows kind of pull down on the pant fabric and this seems more supportive than a straight stitch).  I stitched about 1/2 inch below the top of the bag so that the fabric wasn’t too thick right on the edge.

Step 15: Now to make the drawstring.  Retrieve the pant hems you cut off earlier.  Cut them in half.  Sew the two hems together with a zig zag stitch to make one string.

Step 16: Turn the bag right side out.  Thread the drawstring through the pants with a safety pin.

All finished!

When I get into bed at night – I warm this up in the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes – then place my feet inside and tie it shut. Now my feet are all warm and toasty in bed, I don’t have to turn up the heat and sleep like a baby!


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