How to Make; a Water Charged Neck Cooler




About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.
Many years ago I took my small children to an Amusement Park.  It was HOT!  At one of the little kiosks, they has a strip of cloth at they claimed once it had been soaked in water would do a great job of keeping one cool.  I bought one and stuck it in a paper cup full of cold water.  At the end of about 30 minutes the cloth tube was swollen full and squishy.  I put it around my neck and went “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh”.  Over the years I have made many of these as gifts.  People love them.  It takes very little time to charge the crystals, but it takes over a week to completely dry out. They can be reused, again, and again and again.   I usually carry a dry one in my purse or pocket.   You never know when one might come in handy.  So here is: “How to Make; a Water Charged Neck Cooler”.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1:

A 4” x 36(+)” of 100% cotton fabric (you choose the color/design)
2 tsp. 100% polyacrylamide crystals or sodium polyacrylate,(found in Home supply stores, may be known as  “Soil Moist” or “Water Storing Crystals”)
+/-$7 per 12 oz.)
Tablespoon measure
Sewing machine (not shown)
Serger (not shown, optional)
Thread (not shown)
Straight pins (not shown)
Ruler (not shown)

Step 2:

If you haven’t already, cut your material into 4” x 36” (or longer) strip.  You want to use 100% cotton because it absorbs water easily.
I am going to explain how to make it using a serger, but the directions for a sewing machine will be in parenthesis.

Step 3:

Fold the fabric strip in half, length wise, right side out. Using a narrow hem stitch of the serger, surge the length of the strip of fabric. (Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise, right side in.  Sew a ¼ inch seam the length of the fabric.  Turn the tube right side out.)

Step 4:

Using the sewing machine, sew a seam down the middle of the tube, dividing it in two.

Step 5:

Pour 1 tsp. of the polyacrylamide crystals into one end of the tube. 

Step 6:

Use a straight pin to mark the spot 10 inches a way from the center line.  Repeat with the other end.

Step 7:

Using the sewing machine, sew a seam at the 10 inches mark on each end.
Surge each end closed. (Fold each end in ¼ inch and sew it closed.)

Step 8:

It’s done.  Now you can roll it into a ball and stick it in your pocket for that hike, or trip to an Amusement Park.

Step 9:

Now to charge it:  fill a container (1 cup or more) full of water and stick your neck cooler into the water and wait. 

Step 10:

This is how it looks after 15 minutes

Step 11:

and this is how it looks after 30 minutes after more water was added.

Step 12:

Put it around your neck and “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh”.  If you are going to be active, use the tails to tie it around your neck.  If it starts to feel warm, take it off and turn it over.  If it gets dry, add more water.  It’s great especially with the triple digit temperatures we have had lately.  Enjoy!
Pocket-Sized Contest

Participated in the
Pocket-Sized Contest

Maker Moms Contest

Participated in the
Maker Moms Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Make it Glow Contest

      Make it Glow Contest
    • STEM Contest

      STEM Contest
    • Furniture Contest

      Furniture Contest

    16 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Two questions please. The first why the stitch in the middle making two halves and the second, when you first charge the gel does yours feel a little "slimmy" to the touch?!?

    1 reply

    The stitching down the center to evenly distribute the gel pellets. No, no slimy feel there, just just feel wet fabric. Thanks for asking.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Have been wondering what to use inside those I know. Thanks so much. In Louisiana we need all the ways you can find to cool down.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I will try and make one. I might have trouble finding the polyacrylamide crystals, so did I understand correctly that you can use the filling in disposable diapers? Thanks again!

    2 replies

    Go to your local plant nursery, and look for water holding crystals. I saw some just yesterday at Home Depot. The stuff that swells up to hold the fluid added to a disposable diaper is the same stuff only in powder form and yes, you can use that for the neck cooler. Thnaks for commenting.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea ! I usually use a wet bandanna but this would stay wet way longer. Now if only my seamstress wasnt so busy opening her store !

    Oo those are handy. Clever stuff. Good for sore muscles too. And just like what the astronauts have in their suits. Kind of. ;)

    I bet my kitty would even like this. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    My family went on a disney tour about 3 years ago and they gave these to everybody. The feel so nice and we still use them today!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I am looking up correct colors for my son in Afganistan. I think a package of these would be well recieved. Thanks for commenting.

    I have already entered it in 3 contests/challenges. If someone rejects me before Sunday at Midnight I will add it to the picnic challenge.