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Neck Coolers


    • 1 yd cotton fabric (at LEAST 42" wide) -- this will make 8 coolers
      please prewash the fabric to remove any sizing
    • 1/2 - 1 tsp polymer granules per cooler (see resource at end)
    • sewing machine or serger


    • rotary cutter and mat (makes for quick cutting)

here are some objects that have been reported as useful when filling the pockets with crystals:

  • a 2 ft length of 1" PVC Pipe
  • a long-neck funnel (check your local auto supply store)
  • roll a sheet of paper into long tube

  • Cut or tear strips 4 1/2" wide by the fabric width (selvedge to selvedge). I usually use 45" wide fab, so I just cut them the width of the fabric -- 45" should be the max
    NOTE: If your fabric is too wide (or not wide enough), purchase 1 1/4 yards and cut in the direction of the selvedge (from top to bottom) instead.

  • Fold in half, right sides together, on the long edge

  • Sew/serge the long seam using a 1/2" seam allowance (anything between 3/8" and 5/8" works here), and turn. Iron. As shown above, the seam has been placed in the center back, rather than at the edge. Now you have a tube about 2" wide and 40 - 45" long

  • Mark the center of the long edge and stitch across it. Drop in a scant 1/8 tsp of crystals on each side of the seam (I used Watersorb, make a test tie with the brand you're using to be sure this isn't too much/too little after it's soaked).
    Mark 4 1/2" from the center seam and seam again.

  • Now you have 2 pockets with crystals.

  • Drop in another scant 1/8 tsp of in both sides and seam like before (4 1/2 inches from the first set of seams). You should have a total of 4 pockets.
    NOTE: Some people make 2 pockets that are 9"/10" each, and some make just one 18" pocket. For longer pockets, adjust the quantity of granules accordingly.

  • Serge ends (or fold in raw edges and sew across) to finish ... I personally prefer the ends diagonal. THE SHIPS PROJECT: please tuck in and sew, do not just serge to finish ends.

Check the Watersorb site to order the crystals in bulk. I personally like this brand the best, it requires some 50% less than the brand I bought in the garden department. If ordering from Watersorb, order the "medium" granules.

NEW USE: The Ships Project has received word directly from a contact at Watersorb® that cool ties made with Watersorb® brand crystals can also be heated in a microwave (once they have been soaked, of course). They will purportedly retain heat about 3x times longer than they will retain cold.

Please attach a care label:

    • immerse in cold water approx 60 min, until crystals become gel
    • tie around head or neck
    • regenerate by soaking 1-3 minutes
    • do not freeze
    • dehydrate to store
    • hand wash only, mild soap
    • ties can be heated (briefly) in a microwave.
      take care when removing as they will be extremely hot!

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