Neck Cooler directions (for summer use)

One yard of 36″ wide tan cotton muslin will make 9 neck coolers. “Magic Crystals” are the watering crystals you put in the soil of your potted plants. “Moisture Plus” and “Soil Moist” are two brand names.  It is NOT vermiculite or perlite! These tiny beads absorb up to 100 times their weight in water, and swell (alot) with the water and then give it off slowly to the plants, or to a hot neck in our case. They can be found in the garden department of discount stores, or garden centers. One package will make MANY neck-coolers.

Cut the muslin into 4″ wide strips (by 36″ long). Fold lengthwise and sew across the short (selvage) end, and down the long side, using a fairly short stitch length. Leave the other end open. Turn the tube right-side out. A pencil makes this step fast and easy. Press flat.

To contain the crystals in the middle section of the neck cooler, sew a line across the tube about 10″ from the stitched end. Spoon just 1/4 teaspoon of crystals into the open end and make sure that they slide down to your sewed line. Sew another crosswise seam about 15″ from the first seam, to contain the crystals. Finally, just stitch the open end closed.

(NOTE: since crystals vary in size by manufacturer, make ONE neck cooler as a sample first, soak it for 10 to 12 minutes, to determine the correct amount of crystals to use. The fully expanded crystals should fill the tube, and not burst the seam! The tube must be able to BEND enough to be tied around the neck!)

One note of caution: You will be tempted to add more crystals, thinking that more is better. However, these crystals swell ALOT, and packing them too tightly will leave your soldier with something that won’t bend enough to go around his/her neck. (1/8 tsp swelled to about 1/3 cup of gelatinous balls for me).

All the soldiers have to do is soak the collars in water for 8-12 minutes until they swell and then tie them on, The crystals eventually wear out and will not absorb as much water. However, they should last a month or two.

Directions for Using Neck Coolers
(Include a Copy of These Directions With Each Neck Cooler Sent)

There are “magic crystals? sewn into the middle of each neck cooler. To use your neck cooler, soak the middle of the cooler in water until the crystals in the middle bulge. The first soaking may take as long as ten minutes before the crystals absorb as much water as they are capable of. You can then tie the neck cooler around your neck. The crystals will slowly give up their absorbed water and the evaporation of the water should cool you for hours. The neck cooler can be re-soaked and used again and again. It should last about two months before the crystals lose their ability to absorb water.

We know of no negative skin reactions to the “magic crystals?, even with long-term use. However, should you develop any skin problems, discontinue use. In addition, wet crystals are VERY slippery. For safety reasons, we advise discarding ripped neck coolers.

16 Responses to “Neck Cooler directions (for summer use)”

  1. Sandi Coker Says:

    I have bought these from QFC the past couple of summers. I share with friends and family and they are terrific. Helps me to cut down useage of my A/C , which is a very good thing.
    I am happy to learn how to make them myself.
    Thanks so much.

  2. Doloretta Barber Says:

    A few friends and I have made shipped over 2000 “Cool Bands” for our soldiers. They are very useful in the hot weather months Be careful with the polymer, use a good quality, not the agricultural type as that gets slimy as there is a lot of powder in it.

    Cool bands should be hung to dry as they will mildew if neglected. We usually make them a little larger than recommended for our soldiers as they are exposed to much greater heat than here at home.

    God bless all who support our “HEROES” in any way. I am making Gators at the moment as it is very cold in Afghanistan.

    • Merry Says:

      Please give examples of “good quality” polymers. I could only find the kind you use in gardening by using an internet search engine. Do you have a source?

      • Gloria Says: Medium size beads. Watersorb crystals can also be heated in the microwave and keeps warm for a very long time.

  3. Beckie Gruver Says:

    how do i get started on making coolers please let me know.

  4. Drew Says:

    I am wondering, if the neck coolers can be heated to keep warm?

  5. Bev Says:

    I do. After they’re hydrated, I put one into the microwave for just 5 seconds, then for one more 5 second burst. It holds the heat so I can use it around my neck and under my neck for a little extra heat. But I wouldn’t suggest heating it for longer than 10 seconds.

  6. Stacy Pessoa Says:

    Thank you so much for this great article. Do you plan on adding more to this sometime?

  7. Jenn Says:

    I really enjoyed this article. It’s amazing the things you can do with water crystals. I might have to give this a try!

  8. Margo Ames Says:

    Have a grandson recently deployed to Afghanistan and want to make neck coolers for his platoon. Was so happy to find this website. After reading comments, I wondered if there was any update on the polymers used. Someone said not to use the agriculture kind. Did she reply as to what kind to use and where to purchase them?
    Thank You

  9. Billie J Hall Says:

    Was looking for neck coolers for my husband when I found your site. Thanks. I will be making some for soldiers also. My husband uses one when he is gardening. I know a couple of nephew in Iran and will make sure that they get neck coolers.
    God bless our “HEROS” and the USA and you.

  10. Frances Caudle Says:

    Where to purchase polymer

  11. Janet Neely Says:

    Thank you for this wonderful idea! My daughter is a high school band director in Oklahoma. They begin practicing their marching routine on the field the last week of July. The temps here have been stiffling – over 100 degrees since early July. We decided to make cooler collars for each member of the band and staff. I called a few friends and we made 92 collars in 36 hours. We used fun materials – sponge Bob, smiley faces, etc. he kids were SO excited! The collars kept them cool while they practiced. Some of the kids had them around their necks, others on their foreheads! It was a BIG help to morale as well at temp control. We are making collars for my son-in-law’s reserve unit this week (more military like fabric!) and plan to get a large “assembly line” of ladies to make some for our soldiers in the Middle East. It’s such a wonderful project – and so much fun! I had trouble finding the brands of crystals suggested in the instructions but found Miracle Grow Water Storing Crystals at Home Depot. None of the other stores around here even knew about such a product! We’ll use the band collars to see how the crystals hold up before sending to the Middle East.. These dry Crystals are the size of a grain of salt..1/4 tsp. swells a bunch but collars had to soak over night to get to “full capacity”.. Again, thank you for this idea & instructions. It’s the least we can for the men and women who sacrifice so much to keep our country free!

  12. shelba D Says:

    i am using soil moist for my coolers you can purchase at lowes for about $13.00 it goes a very long way

  13. justin Says:

    you can also get these neck coolers at The Warming Store, they work great

  14. Sarahvog Says:

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