This week I am taking a break from the E.A.T World challenge to share a very easy craft project with you. First, let me introduce to you the formerly-cold puppy who inspired this project - meet Squirmy Wormy:
Squirmy Wormy (that is his witness protection name) is my mother in law's furry companion. When it's warm outside, he loves running around like a wild dog, attacking fallen leaves, and sniffing along squirrel trails to his nose's content...
But when the temperature gets low, the poor little wiggly monster needs a little help staying warm. Enter the Super-Easy-Puppy-Warmer:
There are lots of tutorials for microwaveable rice heat-packs/bed-warmers. I used this one as a guide. It's beautiful but it was a little too advanced for me to follow too closely. This very simple tutorial also helped a lot. And this one is also extremely easy, and so pretty! Because of my limited sewing skills, I made this microwaveable bed-warmer pretty much the same way I made those cat body-pillows for the shelter a few weeks ago.
Let's start, shall we?
Step 1- Start with two square or rectangular pieces of fabric. Make them as big or as small as you want the bed-warmer to be:
Step 2- Place one piece of fabric on top of the other and stitch them together, sewing along three of the sides. Leave one side open:
Step 3- Now that you've made a little bag, flip it inside out:
Step 4- Pour uncooked, long-grain white rice into the bag. Mine is half full, but I've seen some that are filled almost to the top. I just didn't want it to be too full and stiff in case Squirmy Wormy wants to sleep on top of it:
Step 5- Sew along the bag opening to seal it up. You will have to make a hem, and if your skills are as limited as mine, you might find this "How to Make a Simple Hem" article very helpful.
You're done! That was easy! The stitches aren't pretty but they are reinforced and sturdy, and that's all that matters.
Squirmy Wormy is a compulsive bed scratcher, so I cut up an old pair of pants (my readers from the U.K just chuckled) and used the fabric to make a protective case for the bed-warmer. It's a thick material, so he can scratch all he wants and the fabric won't rip. And it's a boring gray color, so it's not flashy and toy-like.
I made the gray case the same way I made the green rice bag, up to step three. The case is a few inches bigger so the rice bag can slide in and out easily when it's time to heat it up in the microwave. Why didn't I just make the rice bag with the thick gray material instead of making a case? Because the gray material isn't 100% cotton and I wanted to be safe. (more below)
I am not a professional crafter or a pet expert, so use your own common sense and judgement, and do your own research if you decide to make a bed warmer for your pets... or for yourself!
General precautions and ideas that I gathered from the interwebs:
* The fabric that you use should be 100% cotton or another non-synthetic fabric that isn't a fire hazard when microwaved.
* I've read that it's best to put a mug of water in the microwave along with the bed warmer to keep the rice from drying out. This is what I do, just in case.
* Always carefully test the temperature on yourself to avoid burning your pup or kitty. Squirmy Wormy's bed-warmer takes 90 seconds to reach the right temperature. You will have to experiment with yours until you figure out how long you need to heat it up. Start with one minute and if it's not quite warm enough try microwaving it in 30 second increments until it's just right.
* If the bed warmer gets wet for any reason, cut the pouch open, throw away the rice, dry the empty pouch completely and refill it with new rice.
* Some people use feed corn (not popping corn!) or dry cherry pits instead of white rice as fillers.
* Keep an eye on your dog or cat when they're using their bed-warmer. The first time Squirmy Wormy saw his bed-warmer, he attacked it and scratched it and tried to use it as a chew toy for a few minutes, then he got over it.
Is that it? Did I remember to say everything I wanted to say? Probably not. I will update this post if I remember anything else. In the mean time, check out this human-warmer that I also made. Meow!
More E.A.T World coming up next week! Who wants to join me on a trip to Denmark? :)