Who likes them? Wonderful for sports (both participants and spectators), horseback riding, fieldwork/gardening, laborers such as roofers or construction workers, parking meter attendants, any outdoor activity!
Makes a great gift for anyone whose job or recreation puts them in a warm environment.
Servicemen and women stationed in hot areas really appreciate these. As much as some of them might like bright coolers like the one below, regulations state they must be green camo, desert camo, tan, or military green so keep this in mind if making some to send in care packages.
Also great for dogs (supervised only, please).
This brightly colored neck cooler is available to purchase through Etsy.
Step 1: Gather All Materials
100% cotton fabric (prewash all fabric so that colors will not bleed when cooler is wet)
Water absorbing polymer crystals (see suppliers below*)
Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
sewing machine or hand-sewing needle
*The most common brand of crystals is Watersorb. You can visit their website here: Watersorb. You can also sometimes find them at gardening centers as these are the type of crystals you add to containers to help them retain moisture.
Safety tip: Crystals are nontoxic but if eaten dry, they will expand. If a small dog or child eats a bellyful of dry crystals, it could cause problems. Please keep loose crystals away from pets and kids.
Step 2: Create Fabric Tube
Fold right sides together along a long edge and pin. Sew along the edge to create a long tube.
Step 3: Turn and Press
Step 4: Stitch Across and Add Crystals
Using a funnel, fill both halves of the tube with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of crystals. Shake them down until they reach the center seam. Do not be tempted to use more. The crystals hold a tremendous amount of water and will swell many times their dry size. Too many crystals could put stress on the seams as well as make the gel ooze out of the fabric's weave making it feel slimy.
Meaure 4 1/2 inches to each side of your center mark and stitch across the tube again at these marks. Repeat the addition of 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of crystals to both sides.
Measure 4 1/2 inches from your last stitch lines and sew across to form a second pocket on each side. You should now have four pockets filled with 1/8th teaspoon of crystals.
Step 5: Finish Ends.
Step 6: How to Use.
Tie around you neck (or your dog's neck) and enjoy the cool, evaporative effect. It should keep you cool for 3-5 hours depending on the temperature outside. To regenerate it's cooling effect, simply soak it in cool water for a few minutes (1-3 minutes should do) and replace around your neck.
Your cooler can also be a heating pad. Soak in water as for cooling, then pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds!
Care: When you want to store the cooler, just let it sit out on a counter to dry completely and it will return to it's flat state. Hand wash in mild soap.
And for safety's sake, always wear sunscreen and keep hydrate when you are in the sun!