Sunday, July 8, 2012

Neck Coolers: A Tutorial

I am back!  For real this time...and hopefully for good until it's time for maternity "leave".  The past month has been a whirlwind of traveling, family and fun; but I am happy to be home and getting resettled into normal life!

So.  One of the many things I was busy with last month was Girl's Camp (for those of you who are not LDS, Girl's Camp is exactly what it sounds like; a camp for teenage girls ages 12-18).  Because we are in Arizona and it is H.O.T., I decided to make neck coolers to help keep our girls cool amidst the super high temps.

Here's how it went:

Pick any cotton fabric you want.  Because our theme this year was "Whoo's on the Lord's Side, Whoo?", I went with this super cute owl fabric that I ordered from {Stitchin Away}.  You will also need thread and polymer water crystals* (I will get to those later, but you can get them at any craft store or gardening store).

To start, you want to cut your fabric into a 4"x 36" strip.   You can make them longer than 36", but because I was making 32 of these bad boys, I needed to get as many out of a yard as I possibly could.  And actually, 36" worked perfectly for our teenagers!!

Fold your strip in half lengthwise (with right sides together) and iron it flat.  Sew the entire length of your long side using a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving you with a long, 36" tube of fabric that is open on both ends.

If you are only making a few and want your seam to be cleaner and lay better, trim the excess fabric off the seam allowance.  Again, since I was making 32, time was of the essence, and I skipped that step.  They turned out fine!

You will then turn your tube right side out and iron flat again, with your seam on one of the edges.
Here's where it gets kind of tricky, just because my fabric is dark and you can't see where I sewed.  Fold your tube in half to ind the center and sew a straight line across (so you basically have two large sections of your tube).
Open one end of your tube, and poor 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of the polymer water crystals in.  *Be sure to finish one neck cooler completely and submerge in water to make sure you are putting the proper amount of crystals in.  In the first cooler I made, I only put 1/4 of a teaspoon in each pocket, but realized I could easily fit more, so I ended up using a heaping 1/2 t. for each pocket.*

Measure 4" up from your center seam, and sew another seam straight down, making a little 4" pocket to secure your crystals.  Does that make sense?  You will repeat this one more time on the same side that you started, and then repeat the process on the other end of your tube.  You should end up with 4, 4" pockets (each holding polymer crystals) in the center of your tube.

To finish them off, simply fold in the edges on your ends, and stitch straight across, securing them closed.

That's it!  They are super easy to make.  Just submerge them in cool water until they expand and enjoy!  They will stay cool and expanded for quite awhile before returning to their original state, and they can be used over and over again.

*These are polymer water crystals. 
It's the same stuff used in baby diapers, but it is also used for gardening.  You can buy them at any craft store and I'm assuming any gardening store.  I actually ordered mine from Amazon, and purchased a 1lb bag of it for less than $10.  I had a bit left over after making all 32 neck coolers.


kitblu said...

Thanks. In one factory we were given these neck coolers; tubs of ice water were available for soaking. I was thinking that smaller ones for writs and ankles might be useful for some activities. Use hook and loop tape (aka Velcro) so there are no tails to get in the way.

Karima said...

Wow - never heard of these before - sounds great!

Christine said...

Welcome back!!! LOVE this tutorial!!! Love the fabric too!

You are planning on sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality.. right? Please :)

Seaweed and Raine said...

That is a fabulous idea! I wonder is it the same stuff that is in single use ice packs? (we used them for the students at school)

Christine said...

Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...

I really like the owl material. Thanks for linking up this week!

Katherines Corner said...

I could sure use one of those right now! The fabric is darling! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop.xo P.S. the new giveaway has started!

Michelle said...

I needed one of these when I was pregnant!! I would always sleep with ice packs because it was so hot! Great tutorial!! Thanks so much for sharing and I am a new follower! I am visiting from the GFC blog hop and The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife.
Hope you have a great weekend!

Naptime Review said...

I am your 200th follower! Yay! Congrats.

Following from GFC hop. Love for you to stop over to Naptime Review and return the follow when you can ;) Have a great week!

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Mizz Mary said...

Thank you for the great tutorial. I am going to make these up and donate them to our local VFW who send care packages to our men and women in Afghanistan. As hot and humdid as it is there this will be a very welcome gift. Great for any service person. Thank you so much!


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