It’s been super humid here in West Michigan, so I was especially inspired to whip up a batch of neck coolers in an effort to cool off.
Read on for instructions to sew one of your own and scroll down to watch my recent TV demo of this project. (Note: These are best made in batches because chances are good that someone in your life is going to see yours and want one, too.)
* Water Keep (medium granule) or similar brand of water abosrbing crystals (These can be purchased online at water-keep.com or at your local garden center.
* 4″ x 32″ strip of cotton fabric (I cut my 4″ strips from selvedge to selvedge, so there is some variety in the length depending on how wide the fabric is.)
* 1/4 tsp. measuring spoon
* Turning tool for turning your fabric tube right size out (These are inexpensive and worth your the investment. Find them at your local sewing store.)
* Water soluble fabric pen
Step 1: Hem each 4″ end of fabric strip to finish the edges. Then fold the strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides facing. Sew along raw edges to form a tube.
Step 2: Turn the tube right side out and press. Fold in half and mark center with fabric pen. Use the pen to make lines 3″ and 6″ out from center on both sides. You will stitch on these lines to form four compartments for the water absorbent crystals.
Step 3: Stitch one end of the tube closed. (I like to push in a corner form a pointed end for a more feminine look, but this is optional.) Next sew across the first pen line (closest to the end you just closed) located six inches from the center point. Next, add 1/4 tsp. of crystals and shake them down close to the line you just stitched, then sew across the next line located three inches from the center point. Add 1/4 tsp. and sew across the center of the tube. Now you should have two pockets of crystals. Repeat this process for the remaining two pockets.
Step 4: Stitch the open edge of the cooler closed. (Push one corner inside the tube to form a decorative point if you wish.) You can stop here and call it good, or you can top stitch along each edge of your cooler for a more finished look. The tricky part of topstitching these is that you have to be careful to avoid stitching through the crystals.
Now you’re ready to soak your cooler in cold water for a minute or two. Pop it in the fridge for about 10 minutes, then tie it on and cool off in style. You can also tie these around your forehead and wear them like a sweatband. My children prefer this option to tying them around their necks and I like this option when I run.
Rinse your cooler thoroughly after each use. Once cleaned, you can let it dry out in the sun or store it wet in the fridge sealed in a Ziplock bag so it’s ready for the next heat wave or hot flash – whatever comes first. : )
Let me know if you have any questions about these instructions. And if any of you have made these, feel free to share your tips below.
Stay cool, everyone!
P.S. Here’s the clip from my “Take Five” neck cooler craft demo.