I kid you not – this bean bag could easily be the best gift you have ever given! I received a bean bag as a Christmas gift one year when I was a high school guidance counselor. Our receptionist gave it to me as a holiday gift and I still count it as one of the best gifts I have ever received!
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This bean bag is not a toy and is for use by adults. It is a heatable pillow filled with corn and it makes life so much nicer. You can place the bag in your microwave, heat it for 1 -2 minutes and use it to warm your hands, your feet or anyplace else that needs to be warmed. *Always supervise the heating of a bean bag in a microwave. Do not ever leave it unattended.
I did not have any aches or pains at the time I received mine but I was working in an environment where our office got extremely cold during the winter. The school building was circa 1939 and the chilling winter wind would whip right through the large room. I could barely type on my keyboard, it was so cold. So, I would bring that bean bag to school every day, nuke it and keep it on my lap. As my hands got too cold, I would slip them under that delightful little gift to get the feeling back in my fingers. I never left it at school, though. It always came home with me so that I could use it as a bed warmer. I placed that heated bean bag under the covers, right where my feet would be. They stayed toasty warm all night long!
After many years and many washings (it has a washable outer cover) the kernels inside the bag disintegrated. It was time to learn how to make one myself!
Making a bean bag proved to be easy to do. In fact, it was fun to make. So, I made a whole bunch of them as holiday gifts. My niece still uses hers today. My second bag lasted another 5+ years. We’d still be using it now but it disappeared. I have no idea how you lose such a valuable tool of comfort but it’s gone!
Just this week, my hubby was experiencing some very sore shoulders and asked where ours had gone. It truly had vanished. I have no clue where it went. He really needs a couple of them so I made two and I photographed the process for you so that you can make some, too.
These “bean bags” are more precisely “corn bags” because they are filled with whole corn kernels. They are the kind of corn kernels that you use for feeding livestock and can be purchased at your local feed store or possibly a garden or pet store. You can also order them online from Amazon, which is as easy as it gets!
I bought my corn kernels at a feed store. They told me that many crafters come into the store but they often buy flax seed, because it is less moist. Wanting to stick with what I know, I solved the moisture problem by slow-baking a big baking tray full of the corn feed on a baking sheet. I started it at 350° and set my timer for about an hour. Then I reduced the heat to 225° and left it for another 4 hours. It did not damage the corn* and the corn dried it out nicely. Cool the corn kernels completely before stuffing your bean bag.
Tip: keep an eye on the corn while in the oven. If you see it starting to “toast” you will want to reduce the heat right away.
How To Make A Bean Bag
The parts of your bean bag consist of an inner bag, which will be completely sown closed after it has been filled with the corn kernels, and an outer bag. The outer bag is a cover, like a slip cover, that has an opening to allow you to remove it for washing. Be sure to use durable, washable fabric. In this instance, I used a brand new white pillowcase that I cut down to make two inner bags. The outer cover is made from cotton or flannel fabric. The cover on my original bag was a pretty flannel so it was very soft.
Tools & Supplies Needed For Making A Bean Bag
1 yard soft washable printed fabric (cotton or flannel)
3-4 cups whole kernel corn feed for animals
Pre-wash the fabric and dry it to assure that there will be no shrinkage when you wash the outer cover in the future.
Cut the printed cotton or flannel fabric in a rectangle. I used an 8 1/2 X 11 inch piece of copy paper as a pattern. This will be the outer slip-cover for your bag.
Utilizing the already sewn sides and bottom of the pillowcase, cut two internal bags. They should be approximately 7 1/2 X 10 inches. All you have to do is take that copy paper and a ruler and cut 1 inch off one short end and one long end of the paper and you will have the pattern for this internal bag.
The inside bag gets totally sown on all sides. First, sew three sides and a couple of inches of the fourth. Leave a long section open so that you can turn it right side out and fill it with the prepared whole kernels of corn.
Now, sew the remaining open part so that the corn is securely inside. Next, it is time to make the pretty outer cover.
Fold over the two long sides of the rectangle of fabric about an inch and sew them to finish them. They will become the open “envelop” part of your slip cover.
Fold the rectangle in thirds so that the finished parts overlap each other about an inch.
Pin the ends and sew them.
Turn the slip cover right side out and stuff it with the bean bag
You are done!
Using Your New Homemade Bean Bag
IMPORTANT: Every microwave is different so it is important that you test it out on yours. It is very important to know that heating this non-food item in a microwave could be dangerous if it gets too hot and could even be a fire hazard if heated too long. Start with 1 minute and work your way up, if desired. Make sure the bean bag can still easily be handled in your bare hands and is not too warm. ALWAYS stay right by the microwave while it is heating. Stop the microwave if you detect any problem. Do NOT use for young children.
*This author is not responsible for the use or misuse of this craft. Please do not allow children to operate a microwave or use a bean bag.