July 30, 2011
These were a lifesaver during our Disney World vacation this summer. The night before our trip, I whipped up these cooling neck wraps and we were all so glad I did. Although the man in the family balked the idea of using one at first, the heat won and he wore his too.
To use the neck wrap to cool you off, you simply soak it in water to activate it and tie it around your neck. Polymer crystals absorb the water. As the water evaporates, it cools you off.
I made them different lengths for the kids than I did for the adult size. Here’s the tutorial for the child size cooling neck wrap.
Start with a strip of fabric that measures 30″ by 4″ and fold it in half lengthwise with right sides together.
Measure 8.5″ from the bottom seam and stitch. This section remains empty.
You can find the polymer beads to use for the wrap in the floral section of craft stores. I found these small packages so I didn’t have to get a huge container. This project uses 1.5 teaspoons, so you don’t need much. These beads absorb water and swell up to much larger than their dry size.
Add 1/2 teaspoon to the neck wrap.
Be sure to get all the beads towards the bottom of the section so you can sew the sew the section closed and not hit any of the beads. They will break a needle! I found it easiest to ease the whole teaspoon down into the wrap before dumping out the polymer beads.
Measure 3″ from the first stitch line and stitch another to form a pocket to secure the beads. Repeat two more times in order to complete three sections with polymer beads. Fold in the end of the tie and top stitch to close the tie.
The two sections at the ends with no beads will be the strips you tie together.
Soak the neck wrap. It may take about 15 minutes to fully absorb the water. The polymer beads will absorb warm water than cold water.
Then wrap it around your neck and chill out. In this picture, it was untied, so it’s pretty loose around her neck.
I made the adult size more like 45″ and made 4 pockets with the beads.
We soaked the wraps the first morning we were at Disney. Each night we put them in the fridge and quickly dunked them in water each morning. The beads remain large for days so it doesn’t take long in the water each morning to have them fully absorbed again.
When we weren’t using the neck wraps, we carried them in an open Ziploc bag in our backpack. If you close the bag while they are wet, they can mold and mildew.
Running the wrap under water to refresh it as you pass a water fountain really feels good when it’s hot.