08 July, 2011
How to Make a Bean Bag Neck Pillow
You don't have to put up with a sore neck while reading, watching television or sleeping. Using materials from around the home, you can create a bean bag neck pillow that you can heat up or freeze to soothe aching muscles. It's a fairly easy project that would make for a great gift that a child could give to an athlete dad. Or, it could be a gift that you give yourself when your muscles are sore. Either way, you're a quick project away from natural pain relief.
Find a large tube sock that has perhaps lost its mate. The larger the sock, the better the bean bag neck pillow will conform to your neck and muscles. A large hockey sock would work well, or a large man's sock. Make sure it doesn't have any holes in it.
Prop the sock in an open cylindrical container, like a sugar canister. Insert the small end of a funnel into the sock, and begin pouring the beans into the sock. You may have to hold the sock with one hand until it gets full enough that it can stand on its own. Smaller dry beans work best, such as pinto beans or navy beans. You can also use rice, if you don't have beans. Make sure that whatever you fill the sock with can withstand moisture without going bad, and isn't so small that it falls through the weave of the sock.
Fill the sock until it is three-quarters full. Don't overfill it, or the neck pillow won't be flexible enough to conform to your neck. Leave enough space to close the opening.
Use sticky sided Velcro and place the soft half of the Velcro on one side of the inside of the sock opening, and the rough half of the Velcro on the other, so that you can seal the sock up. If you wish, sew the Velcro on for added stability. Don't simply sew the sock shut, as you'll need to periodically change out the beans for a fresh neck sock.
Place a few drops of lavender essential in with the beans, if desired. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends lavender as a relaxing agent that can help soothe your further.
Seal the Velcro, and place the sock in the microwave for a minute or two. The length of time in the microwave will depend on the size of sock and number of beans. When finished, mold the sock around your shoulders to rest on your neck.
Change the beans out every 10 or so uses, as they may become damp and unpleasant smelling after too many uses. The beans can begin sprouting if they're left too damp in a humid climate or damp area. Store in a cool, dry place.
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