I want to make some neck coolers to keep us cool from the heat. I plan to make them from material. I keep reading that most of them you can purchase online have some kind of gel beads that help to keep you cool. I'm not sure where to locate these gel beads to make them. If you have any ideas they would sure be appreciated.
April from Henderson, NV
This is what you are looking for:
I make hot/cool packs that are filled with regular rice (not Minute rice). They're very easy to make and you can warm them in the microwave to make a hot pad or put in the freezer for a cool pack. They last forever too!
I was told once that the material on the inside is the same stuff as inside disposable diapers. It sounds gross, but you can see how that would work. (08/15/2005)
I made them for my elderly parents who have no air conditioning. The polymer gel material can be found in the garden section of Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowes. One of the brand names is "Watersorb". It's about $7 a bottle, but you need very little. It's original use is to help houseplants retain water so you don't have to water so often.
I took bandannas I bought at the Dollar store, sewed them into neckerchiefs, leaving one small opening where I poured in about 2 tsp of the polymer gel, then hand sewed the opening shut.
Soak the completed neckerchief in cold water; it will puff up with the retained moisture. Store in the frig between uses. Easy and cheap way to keep cool. (08/16/2005)
You can buy the gel beads in craft stores (Michael's, A J Moore, etc.) and in the plant dept. of Home Depot, etc. They are also used in plants to hold moisture when you can't water. The directions for making the neck coolers are available on the internet. (08/18/2005)
I made a few of these to use at an outdoor exhibit we attended this past summer:
Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water. Pour carefully into the long skinny balloons that clowns make animals, hats, etc. out of, and tie it shut. Encase the filled balloon with a long terrycloth towel, carefully sewing the ends. Pop it into the freezer. It won't freeze hard, it will only gel. This alcohol and water mixture works great in gallon sized zipper bags for sprains as it stays cold and conforms to the injury site better than hard ice packs. (09/08/2005)
The chemical in the gel that everyone is talking about is potassium polyacrylate. That is a powder. The crystals I have are polyacrylamide. The potassium polyacrylate is the same or very similar to the powder in diapers. This substance can hold up to 500x its size in water. One brand is Aquagel and it also goes by the name Slush Powder. Magicians use it make water "dissapear".
One can buy the crystals designed for usewith plants or you can harvest it from cheap diapers.
You may choose to simply cut out the absorbent bottom of a diaper and use it whole, or you can carefully cut off the "fabric" liner of the inside to reveal the powder. You will definitely need to wrap the chemical in a water type bag.
I purchase my gel beads at watersorb.com they work great and also very fast shipping. Hope this helps. (07/04/2006)
There is a difference between the gels. The gel in diapers breaks down a lot faster than the other meant for plants. The stuff for plants will cost more, but will last for 7-10 years. Polyacrylamide is what you want. (07/10/2007)
It's called silica gel. Craft stores carry it. When you purchase new purses, etc. there is a small white packet to keep it smelling fresh. Thats silica gel. You don't need much to make a neck cooler. Good luck. (07/04/2008)
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