How to Make a $20 Ice Pack for $2

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About: Every now and then I come up with a unique idea. And then I find someone else has already thought of it . . . which is AWESOME! Who knew there were so many kindred spirits on the web! YOU GO all o' us!

Intro: How to Make a $20 Ice Pack for $2

Recently I needed a gel ice pack to soothe sore muscles. When I found them at Wal-mart, I was offended by their high price. I thought to myself "there's got to be a cheap way to make one myself." And there is.

Step 1: Gather Supplies:

1 disposable diaper (any body with little kids has one of these on hand for free)
1 gallon zip lock bag
Some water
Some rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
A freezer

Step 2: Make Like a Tick.

Slowly dribble about a cup of alcohol onto a disposable diaper. Then dribble water on until it is nicely swollen, like your kid drank a gallon and then let it all out. When the diaper weighs about 5 lbs., it is ready for step 3.

Step 3: Bag It.

Insert diaper into ziplock bag. Push out excess air and seal the bag. (I double-bagged mine for good measure).

Step 4: Freeze It.

Place gel pack in the freezer for a couple hours.

Step 5: Notes:

1) For added security, you can double-bag the diaper.
2) This works because newer disposable diapers have a nifty powdered chemical inside that can absorb a lot of liquid and still stay granulated and the alcohol prevents the whole thing from freezing solid.
3) I don't recommend cutting the elastic off the diaper--with some diapers this will create holes for the chemical to escape from.

If you appreciate this instructible, please visit my blog for more ideas:
GoodCleanCrazy

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    39 Discussions

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    renee.vlna

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I like this idea, however i read that it was rather stiff. I'm going to try taking the inside of the diaper out once it's totally wet. Then following the rest of the instructions.

    I needed a rather large cold pack - I have a spine problem, so it had to be big enough to cover a good chunk of my back. Gallon sized vacuum bag, 2 size 4 diapers, rubbing alcohol, and tap water. I'm still adding water as it is absorbing it almost as fast as I add it. Total cost: Aout $1.00.

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    JoelDude

    11 years ago on Introduction

    about the corn idea, one problem: corn rots and during christmass i saw this guy selling a powder that he would put it in kids hand and pour water in and it would groww 100 times its size and look like snow. i bet that could be used.

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    Lithium Rain

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Heh. Thanks to the comments, I'm now envisioning  cooling my laptop with...frozen maxi pads! If that's not ghetto I don't know what is.

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    billbrier

    10 years ago on Step 3

    Here's a killer app for the ice pack: LAPTOP computers. They are notorious for overheating and breaking down. Forget using fans. Simply place two size 3 Pamper diapers, half way soaked with water, into a one gallon baggie. Too much water and your computer sits up too high. Wrap the frozen baggie with a hand towel and place under computer. Ice pack will last hours. Cool! -bill

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    metrometro

    11 years ago on Introduction

    OK, this is great, but unnecessary. My instructable: 1) buy bag of frozen corn. 2) put where it hurts. 3) refreeze. Repeat as needed.

    5 replies
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    royalestelmetrometro

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Hey I looked all over this site for DIY ice packs and had no luck. I would welcome your frozen corn 'ible but I wouldn't do it because I'd want to actually eat the corn and the freezing/refreezing kind of takes that out of the mix. But anyways, yeah.

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    metrometroroyalestel

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Sad but true: my wife has cooked and eaten my frozen corn ice packs, with no apparent ill effects. They usually go back in the freezer before they really thaw.

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    royalestelmetrometro

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Ever use them for sore lateral obliques. Or to be blunt, did the corn stink? :) Anyways, yep, sounds like a good alternative.

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    Goodhart

    10 years ago on Introduction

    The "gel" in some of those diapers make an excellent fire retardant also. Some of them you can't burn with a torch ! In fact, that is how one of the newest "fire-gels" was invented....a fireman saw unburnt diapers in a terrible fire...

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    mimzie

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I love this idea!! But I didnt love the idea of my ice pack looking so .. homemade?! LOL (there's really nothing wrong with that, I just wanted to see how far I could go) and I did not like it in the ziplock bag. So instead I took the gel stuff out of the diaper, put it in a vacuum seal bad, added tons of water and blue food coloring, sealed the bag (twice!) to make sure it didnt leak and tossed it in the freezer! It really works great and with blue food dye it looks JUST like one you would buy at the store, well except for the packaging. I'm going to try to get pics of the process and I'll post it. I'm going to try some with alcohol in it and see if it doesnt freeze as hard (It really doesnt freeze that hard and it breaks up easily)

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    royalestelmimzie

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Now the vacuum seal thing is EXACTLY what I was going to do with V2.0 but I thought I'd post the first method I tried. Anyhoo, yeah TOTALLY post your results and (dare I say it?) make an instructable out of it!

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    mimzieroyalestel

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Oh well if you were thinking of doing it already then add it to here! That way ppl can see the easy way or taking it a step further, if I take pics I can send them to you for you to post cause honestly I have no idea how to even make an instructable (I'm sure its easy but I have 4 kiddos and busy 99% of the day) So really dont have time! Here's my results though: 1 sz 5 Luvs makes 5in x 10in (and about 2in thick!) gel pack All are hard as rocks though once frozen so going to try some alcohol to see if I can keep it from freezing so hard. Tried 1 with a little bit of alcohol, will add more next time.

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    royalestelmimzie

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I don't have a vacuum sealer handy, but I would love to post your results here. I'll PM you with my email address.