Introduction: Airtight Waterproof Hearing Aid Dryer (or, Really, for Any Other Small Items)
My young son uses hearing aids, and has since he was a baby. We learned early on that moisture is the worst thing for the aids -- if they get too damp because of sweat or splashing water, they'll simply stop working. And then, if you don't have backups, you're out of luck!
We like to swim at the beach in the summer, and the YMCA pool in the cooler weather. But what to do with his hearing aids when he wants to go in the water? Just toss them into the bottom of a purse (eek! no way!)? And when he gets sweaty from running around at camp, what do you do if the aids short out? Also, when we travel, my guy needs a place to keep his hearing aids overnight -- a place that will make them dry and fresh for the next day.
There are commercial drying kits that cost a lot -- up to a couple hundred dollars! But I figured there had to be a more affordable solution, so here's what I came up with. This drying pouch with desiccant is not very expensive at all to make, and it works great to keep hearing aids safe and dry. You can also use it for watches, cell phones, or anything else that you also want to stay safe and dry. Plus, it's a heck of a lot more attractive than just a plastic bag, and it keeps your (potentially expensive) items out of sight of prying eyes.
What you'll need (sources for these items are linked in later steps):
plastic zipper lock baggie
two pieces of fabric a bit bigger than your baggie
half-inch double-fold bias tape
scissors or a rotary cutter
(Also, this item is listed for sale on Etsy, for eight dollars.)
Step 1: Get a Zipper-lock Baggie
This is a 4" x 6" heavy-duty plastic zipper baggie. (The plastic's weight is six millimeters, which is a bit heavier than a freezer baggie.) I got a pile of the bags from Royal Bag. You could probably use a small freezer baggie, too, if that's what you've got. (Nickel added for scale.)
Step 2: Cut Notches
The top sides of the baggie will probably be heat-sealed shut. Make a little notch in each of the top sides to cut off that heat seal, so that you will be able to fold back the top edges of the baggie. Only clip down to just above the zipper...don't clip through it!
Step 3: Cut Your Fabric
Choose a fabric for your pouch -- it can really be anything. I chose a blue wave pattern from my stash -- it's a woven quilt fabric, but you can use a knit, or even something like fun fur! Cut two pieces of fabric 1.5" wider and 1.75" taller than your baggie. That way, you'll have an extra .75" on each side, 1" on the top, and .75" on the bottom.
Remember, you're cutting two of these. I've just folded my fabric over so I can cut both at the same time.
Step 4: Fold Over and Iron the Top Edges
Fold the top edge of one piece of fabric down one inch, wrong sides together. Iron to make a nice crease. The better you iron these edges, the easier your construction will be.
Repeat this step on the second piece of fabric, as well.
Step 5: Finish Top Edges
Now you'll want to finish the edge by enclosing the raw top edge of the fabric inside the fold. To do this, unfold the fold you just made, and then fold the top edge of the fabric down again, only a half inch this time, so the raw edge of the fabric lines up with the inside of the crease that you just ironed. Iron that new fold that you just made. Now fold the edge over again on your original fold line, so that the raw edge of the fabric is enclosed in the fold. (The images help to illustrate this process. It's simpler than it sounds.)
Step 6: Sew One Side of Fabric to Baggie
Hold open the top edges of the baggie with your fingers, and tuck the lower edge of the baggie opening into the crease you just made. Make sure you center the baggie edge so that there's .75" of fabric extending beyond the edges of the baggie on all sides (except the top, of course).
Using your sewing machine's zipper foot (if you have one -- a regular foot will work just fine, but the zipper foot just makes it easier, because it will work as a guide), stitch the baggie's flap into the rolled over fabric edge. Remember to hold the top lip of the baggie back away from the needle, so it doesn't catch in the stitching. (I used bright yellow thread here for contrast, to make it easier to see what's going on...the stitching line shows up well in photo three of this step.)
Step 7: Attach Second Side of Fabric
Now flip your work over, and tuck the other baggie flap under the fold of the second piece of your fabric, just as you did with the first piece, again taking care to center the baggie so that there's .75" of fabric extending on each side. Using your fingers, hold back the edge that you just finished in the last step, and stitch down this second flap, just as you did the first.
Step 8: Marvel at Your Progress So Far
Now you've got the top edges of your pouch finished. Step back and view its beauty! :-) The plastic is thick enough that the stitches won't rip through, and since you've only stitched through the top lip of the baggie, and not the baggie itself, it remains airtight and waterproof. Now let's finish things up.
Step 9: Fix Fabric to Baggie
This step is optional, but it will make the next steps a bit easier. If you have some temporary spray adhesive (such as quilt-basting spray), spray a light layer of adhesive on the wrong side of one piece of fabric. Then lay the fabric back down on the baggie, and press lightly with your fingers to smooth it out. Repeat this step for the other piece of fabric.
This will keep the baggie from shifting while you're binding the edges.
Step 10: Trim and Square Up
Now you'll trim the edges of your fabric so that the bias tape will fit perfectly. To do this, first place the bias tape lengthwise down the right edge of your piece. Keep the tape folded. The open edge of the tape should butt up exactly to the edge of the baggie that's inside the pouch (just feel for the baggie's edge with your fingers, and the tape should line up perfectly). Trim the pouch fabric right along the folded edge of your bias tape. (Make sure you don't accidentally cut the fold of the bias tape, as that would wreck the tape!)
Now trim the opposite side of your pouch, and the bottom edge, in the exact same fashion, being sure to butt the tape against the edge of the baggie inside, and being careful not to cut the fold of the bias tape.
Step 11: Cut Your Bias Tape and Clean Up the Edges
Folding and stitching the edges of your bias tape it will give the finished product a cleaner look. Cut a piece of bias tape for each of the three unfinished pouch edges -- one piece for each side, and one piece for the bottom. Cut the side pieces a half inch longer than the height of the pouch, and cut the bottom piece one inch longer than the width of the pouch.
You only have to finish one cut end of the bias tape for each side piece, but you have to finish both ends of the bottom bias tape piece. Here's how (see additional photos for details):
First, open the main fold of your double-folded bias tape.
Fold down each corner into a triangle, and iron that down.
Then fold the tape over on itself at the base of the triangles, enclosing the triangles in the fold. Iron that, too.
Then stitch the folded edge down.
Step 12: Stich Bias Tape to Edges
After you've finished the ends of the bias tape, slide one edge of your pouch into the fold of your bias tape, so the tape covers the raw edges of your pouch fabric, and the edge of the bias tape (which you just finished in the last step) lines up with the top edge of your pouch. Stitch the tape down, being sure to stay away from the left edge -- you don't want to accidentally catch the baggie, and poke a hole in it!
First, stitch one long edge of the pouch, then the other, leaving unfinished bias edges at the bottom. The unfinished edges shouldn't hang over at all, so if they do, trim them to meet the bottom of the pouch exactly.
Then, stitch on the bottom bias tape piece, the one with both edges finished, covering the unfinished bottom edges of the side pieces of tape.
Step 13: Reinforce the Edges of the Opening
To make sure that the edges don't pull apart after repeated use, reinforce the sides of the opening. Stitch horizontally across the top of each corner, going over the stitches two or three times to make sure it's secure.
Step 14: Sewing Is Finished!
Your pouch is complete! Now all you need to add is your desiccant, such as silica gel packets or Damp Traps. There are plenty of different sources...I got my silica gel packets on eBay (1)(2), but you can buy Damp Traps (by DampRid) in department stores, usually near the bug spray and cedar closet moth repellant blocks. Or you can just use the ones that come with a new pair of shoes!
One ten-gram packet of silica gel should get the air in the pouch nice and dry. In the summer, I'd replace the packet once a month, if you use it daily.
I hope this Instructable was useful for you! What will you make YOUR pouch for?