Cooling Neck Wrap Tutorial

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.

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, stitch the length of the wrap and one end. Zigzag or pink the edges. Leave one end open to fill the neck wrap. Turn the wrap right side out.

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.

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12 Responses to “Cooling Neck Wrap Tutorial”

  1. You vs. the Florida heat said:

    [...] There are some ways to keep cool that other people seem to really love but we haven’t liked as much (I think my family just doesn’t like having wet stuff on their skin). Two of those include Frog Toggs Cooling Towels and cooling neck wraps that you can DIY with Disney fabric. [...]

  2. Heather said:

    Thanks for making such a simple and easy to follow tutorial. The diagram of stitching spacing was very helpful. I picked up 1/2 yard of yellow 100% cotton for less than $2 and some water beads for about $4 (both from our local Walmart) and was able to make 4 adult-size cooling neck wraps! An added bonus is how much fun my kids will have playing (under supervision, of course!) with the leftover water beads outside in bowls and cups. In case anyone is interested, I had 42″ width fabric, (always prewash before sewing) so I made the “tails” that aren’t filled 11″ each and made 4 pockets 5″ long. 1/2 teaspoon of water beads is still plenty even for that size pocket. Watch how long you soak them- another site about water beads said you may have to soak up to 12 hours, but our neck wraps wanted to almost burst at the seams by about 3 hours so we removed them from water and just placed them in the fridge. My husband will be taking all 4 with him to work tomorrow and rotating between using them and placing in his lunchbox with a cooler because he works in construction outside and it’s 90+ degrees with high humidity. Thanks again for sharing such an easy to follow tutorial :)

  3. Rhonda said:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’ll be making these for my daughters soccer team!

  4. meredith said:

    We only soak them until the beads fill the space. They take about 30 minutes to get the correct size. Soaking them longer than that doesn’t change how long they will stay cool, from our experience. When they start to lose their cooling ability, just dipping them in water again will help. I hope they help keep your husband cool!

  5. meredith said:

    That’s a great idea! Maybe I should be making them for my daughter’s team too.

  6. babrbara said:

    Has anyone made this with a casing

    that can be removed. Like a pillow case. I’m trying to figure out how it stay clean and not smelling like sweat.

  7. So many not-weaving tasks « Weaving A Gem Of A Life said:

    […] used the proportions from this tutorial, putting 1/2 teaspoon of beads in 3″ of the fabric. That did NOT seem like enough to me. So I […]

  8. meredith said:

    We haven’t had any issues with them smelling funky. I don’t see why you can’t wash the whole thing and allow it to dry.

  9. Kat said:

    Have you had any experience, heard any hearsay, etc about how long this product will last reuse after resuse?

    IN PARTICULAR, I know some cooling products inserts have an expiration date after so many washes or months.

    Can you or anyone tell me anything about this regarding these Water Beads?

    THANK YOU :)

  10. JK said:

    I’m hoping to make some of these tomorrow, but I don’t think it would be good to put these in the washing machine. They would absorb the soapy water and I can’t imagine that would rinse out easily once absorbed.

  11. Jan said:

    We are having a family and friends BBQ at a park in St. Peters Missouri in the middle of AUGUST. It will definitely be extremely hot so I am going to make a bunch of these for everybody at the BBQ. I was thinking of making a button hole on one end so instead of tying the wrap, you can just slip the other end into the eyelet hole to secure it.

  12. Sherri said:

    Does anyone know if the gel in freezer packs is the same material? Could you use the gel from one of these inside the wrap or would it just make a mess? Thanks in advance for any responses.

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