DIY Neck Coolers

First and foremost, THANK YOU. Thank you for all your wishes and condolences. It means a lot to me. (sniff sniff)

Ok. Let’s quickly move on before I start crying again. I’ve made another handmade gift for my grandmother. Well, two actually. She is in her 80s now and the hot, humid, tropical weather of Singapore is really getting to her. (Climate change I tell ya!) I got the idea of the skinny neck cooler from a visit to a pharmacy. I love snooping around pharmacies. Maybe it’s the hypochondriac in me. :P I saw the neck cooler weeks ago and thought that would be perfect for bush walking or for my grandma. Regrettably, I didn’t buy it then.

Yesterday I went to two pharmacies hunting for the neck coolers with no success. They only had overpriced large wheat bags and the medipacks. So with a quick google search, I found this crystal filled neck cooler tutorial. The crystals in the neck cooler swell with liquid to hundreds of times their weight. As liquid from the crystals evaporate , it lowers the body temperature.

Water Storage Crystals
But I didn’t know where to buy the water storing crystals. The only similar crystals I could think of which is readily available here is the water storing crystals that you use in the garden. I read up more about it and the garden variety crystal looked safe, especially since there will be no direct skin contact.

Crystals Swell with Liquid
I soaked 1tsp of dry crystals in water while I sewed up 80cm by 4cm cotton tubes, with one end open. I used this bandana design as a guide. I sewed scross the width of the tube about 20cm from the closed end. Once the crystals had swelled with liquid, I filled the tube with them and sewed the tube close and also sewed across 20cm from the end. The parts that aren’t filled with crystal become the ties to hold the neck cooler in place. I think my grandmother would like this very much.

(Unswelled) Crystal Filled Neck Cooler
I made three more of these cotton neck tubes. I filled two of them with 1tsp of dry crystals each and sewed it up like the first one. Then I soaked the middle part of the tubes in water. The crystals soaked in the water through the cotton material and swelled inside the cotton tube. It worked well both ways! It’s definitely a lot easier to fill the cotton tube with dry crystals so I’ll do it this way from now.

Soaking Crystals in Neck Cooler
When the crystals lose all their moisture or they feel dry, the crystals can be simply reactivated by soaking it in water again. These neck coolers are super cool! Literally!

Crystal Filled Neck Cooler
I’m keeping these two for when Richard and I go bush walking in Singapore. :) Aren’t I clever?

Rice Filled Neck Cooler
I decided to fill the last tube with rice. This is the back up neck cooler, just in case she doesn’t like the wet feel around her neck. It won’t keep cool as long as the crystal filled one but the rice neck cooler might work better on really humid days where the evaporative cooling method won’t be as effective.

The rice filled neck cooler is stored in the freezer in a plastic bag until she’s ready to use it. I have used my wheat bag chilled in this way and it was so handy in bed on hot summer nights. Stays cold long enough for me to fall asleep.

I’m in a mad rush to get things ready. Only one more sleep to go! Singapore here I come!

Related Post:
Sectioning Homemade Heat Pads

{ 15 comments }

15 Responses to “DIY Neck Coolers”

  1. sukigirl says:

    What a clever idea to make them!
    The scarves are easy to find here but they usually come in the most horrible fabrics. I use them a lot when we travel to Italy in the August heat.
    Does it really get hot in Sydney too?

    sukigirl’s last blog post..My daily crusty bread

  2. taueret says:

    bon voyage kiddo, see you on the other side.

    taueret’s last blog post..These are a few of my favourite things…

  3. Audrey says:

    really cute fabric! I have some neck coolers that I bought in Bright (Victoria) and use them a lot during the summer — hot days in Melbourne tend to be quite dry, except when Sydney weather creeps down the coast, and this is what makes the liquid evaporate fast enough to cool you down … I have a feeling that these might not work as well in Singapore

    otoh the people in Bright said they got the idea from neck coolers they saw in Hawaii, where it’s generally about as humid as Sydney and occasionally as humid as Singapore

    the rice-filled one is a good back-up plan — I might make one for myself …

  4. Mette says:

    Wow! That kind of neck cooler is totally fantastic! Never heard before… But here in Finland we don´t need coolers now. Hot bottle would be nice =D Waiting for the summer…

    Mette’s last blog post..Some cute moments

  5. Nadine says:

    Another excellent well-thought-out tutorial! Sending you big hugs!

  6. Salihan says:

    Sukigirl: I can’t find them in the shops here so I decided to make them. It does get really hot and dry here in summer. It’s autumn now though, so it’ll go in the drawer till it gets warm again.

    Taueret: Thanks!

    Audrey: It worked well in Singapore despite the humidity. It stayed really cool for a long time. It totally dried up in about a week.

    Mette: We don’t need neck coolers here in Sydney now either. I love hot water bottles too. Not cold enough for them yet either!

    Nadine: Thank you! :D

  7. Pam says:

    You can microwave your rice bags for about 1&1/2 minutes for a warm compress for sore muscles, or store in plastic bag in freezer for a cool compress.

  8. Lynnmolly says:

    Hi,
    What a great idea. Just wondered how long the crystals last in these things please?

  9. [...] feature is from Salihan Crafts Blog with this tutorial for how to make DIY Neck Coolers: DIY Neck Cooler Project By salihan.com Yesterday I went to two pharmacies hunting for the neck [...]

  10. Gran D says:

    A WORD OF WARNING – WASH/RINSE IT WELL. I used one of these for the second time one summer and hadn’t been warned to make sure to wash it in in warm sudsy water and rinse well before drying it and putting it away. It had become contaminated and gave me a rash all around my neck that lasted over 2 weeks.

  11. jan says:

    I made these for our grandson’s unit staioned in Iraq. You can make the smaller size and they can put them in their helments and it does work. If you know anyone who has servicemen in Iraqu I know they would love to receive them. All they nned do is soak them in water for 10 minutes an it will bring them 20 degrees cooler.
    Go U.S.A.F. ! !

  12. Joanie says:

    Warning Do not freeze the neck coolie’s. It destroyes the crystals. I’ve had mine for 4 years and they keep working.

  13. Andrea says:

    These neck ties are great been making and giving as gifts for a few years now. For my daughters 16th birthday party in June I made about 30 of these keep them on hand for everyone. Well enjoyed party favor for ages 1 year to to 90 year olds.

  14. Just wanted to let you know that I linked to this post in my weekly roundup (link to it is under my name) – I’m always cranky when I get hot, and I’ve heard of these before but never realized how simple it really is. Thanks so much for posting!

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