DIY cute and easy owl heat pack

We have the gorgeous Tawny Frogmouth Owl on our property. He is so well disguised you are hard pressed to find him unless he moves. Now in the fabric & craft world one can see owls everywhere. So I decided that I wanted to make a cute owl heat pack for my grand daughters.



It is a hoot to sew this simple and absolutely adorable, microwavable owl heat pack.  I played with various design concepts and each one was different from the preceding one. This owl has been strongly influences by Dustin Pike's cute digital clip art owls. To keep things nice and simple, this tutorial is the easiest version.

Owl heat pack tutorial

 

Materials I used:

  • 2 larger scraps of material approx 20 x 20cm each (8 x 8 inch). I used a minky type fabric for this tutorial, though my other ones have been made from fine pin-whale corduroy. Duck, ticking and most tightly woven cotton materials would be best. Fleecy works well too.
  • Felt scraps for the eyes and beak. A few of my owls had the eyes made from scrap materials too!
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue
  • 1 1/2 cup rice 
  • 1 sprig of lavender (optional and interchangeable with other scents though not many flowers work well unless pre-dried.
  • A funnel was handy. 
  • Pattern: See the end of the post for the free pattern. 

I mostly used my machine for all stitching though I would hand sew the lot if I were traveling on the road, since it is a small project and I like hand sewing too - though my blanket stitch leaves a lot to be desired! LOL

Instructions:

CUTTING
Cut a basic outline of the owl body shape with a 5mm (1/4 inch) seam allowance.*and then from a contrasting or coordinating fabric, cut 2 wing shapes.

Then from some felt remnants, draw a triangle for the nose and some circles for the eyes. *

Then the larger 'double circle' shape for the joined eye patch
Right so that is all the material cut and ready for sewing now. Play around with placement and pin if desired.
I need to go and wet and iron my pink eye patch - it just wont lay flat!

SEWING

    Sew the wing shapes  onto the body front using a zigzag or blind hemming stitch.**.

    Sew the larger 'double' eye in the same manner as the wings


    Since I have used felt I decided to glue the beak and the rest of the eyes. First I glued the beak and then the black pupil to the white of the eye. Before the final attachment of the eyes, I played around with a couple of different eye positions just for the fun of it. Which look do you like best. I think each changes the owl's expression!



    He is getting dizzy with all the changes  - LOL
    OK I decided he is going to be looking up! So I glue it on.


    Now to the actual bag/body part First pin it right sides together. Don't worry about the wings hanging out as they do on mine.

    Place right sides of the body together and stitch small straight stitches leaving a 5cm (2 inch) gap at the base. My machine is playing up and skipped a few stitches every now and then so I decided to sew around a second time as I certainly don't want any rice leaking out!!!



    Now I like to clip the pointy ears to remove some of the bulk.


    I also like to clip around the curves, even to removing little triangles in the seam to reduce the bulk. It is not strictly necessary, but it is what I like to do.



    That's the machine sewing done. Now turn the bag right side out. I like to use a fat pen with the pen part wither retracted or removed to poke the ears out. I found a knitting needle more often poked a hole through the fabric for me.



    Using a funnel for ease, add  about 1 and a half cups of rice, or wheat and a tiny little of whichever flowers or herbs you would like to use.


    Hand sew shut the gap. And you are done.
     
    It actually is slower taking all the photos and writing up the steps than it is to just get stuck into the job. It really is so simple and doesn't take much time at all.
    Tada!

    To use: 

    Microwave for 1 minute and then in 10 second increments until your owl is nice and warm. Be careful not to microwave for any longer than 3 minutes as it will overheat.


    Hints: 

     *     I have a PDF pattern you are free to use to your hearts content with no restrictions other than no direct use of pattern on your blog or other media but feel free to link back or sew and sell finished owls anywhere.
    **   A Blind hemming stitch can resemble a hand sewn blanket stitch by altering the settings.
    *** With felt and fleecy, you can avoid sewing by using a soft tacky glue such as Aleene's
    Machine sewing the eyes - just take it slow and turn constantly

    Variations:

    You could stitch the body around the edges on the outside instead (and avoid the turning bit) for a more rustic look. You will still need to leave a gap at the bottom for the filling before continuing with the sewing. Be aware some fabrics will fray more than others, for some that is part of the charm. You could also cut the shapes with a pinking shears which will reduce a lot of the fraying.

    Button Eyes?
    I choose not to use buttons, firstly because my original owls went to very young children and I didn't want the risk of them choking on a button if it came off. Secondly, buttons are hard and uncomfortable in some positions when using a heat pack. Be especially aware of the googly eye type buttons as many of them are made from a soft plastic which could melt or worst in a microwave oven.

    Stuffing:
    I prefer rice to wheat as the heat material for the much lower allergen problems. Both are prone to absorbing moisture if in a high humidity environment. If this this the case then I suggest you make a cotton calico inner bag and then the outer owl. This way you can replace the inner bag and keep the decorative outer bag. I also like to add a sprig of lavender. You could add a variety of scents. Try a cinnamon stick for a spicy scent especially for a male recipient.
    Of course you can turn this into a softie just by changing the filling from rice to fibrefill.

    Feet?
    On one owl, I added little ribbon feet before sewing the front and back together
     

    See his little feet poking out?
    This next one was my very first owl. Sewing the wings on like this was much more fiddly, but I really wanted to incorporate the hearts which were left overs from a skirt I had made recently for one of my grand daughters. The feet was pretty simple.

    I hope you can just click on the picture above and save it to your computer. Enlarge it to fit on your page when printing. I had a go at embedding a PDF file, but I didn't like the look on my blog post. Since it was my first attempt, maybe I did something wrong. If this doesn't work for you then just send me a message via email, Google+ or Facebook and I will send it to you by return email.)


    I have entered this in my first craft linky party. When you click on that button it takes to the 'party' where lots of people are posting their crafty posts (and some yummy recipes) for the party.

    I actually found another linky party, so here are the two parties. Please come and join me on the new adventure!

    All Things with Purpose