Homemade Ice Packs

Place holder photo. Please share a photo for this guide.

Make your own ice packs to use for minor injuries. This is a guide about homemade ice packs.


Solutions: Homemade Ice Packs

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Rice Ice Pack

This is a simple and quick project. We keep ours in the freezer and they are always ready for the large amount of boo-boos in our house. They always seem to make the kids feel better. You can use scraps of material, since you don't need too much. For this pack, I used an old t-shirt. You can make them any size you would like.

Approximate Time: About 15 minutes.

Yield: 1filled channels


  • fabric
  • rice
  • sewing machine (unless you want to sew it all by hand)
  • funnel


  1. Cut 2 pieces of fabric the same size. I just fold over the fabric, so that there are 2 pieces on top of each other. This one was 10 1/2 inches by 8 inches. They can be as big or small as you want.
  2. measuring fabricmeasuring width
  3. Make sure that the side of the fabric you want to see is facing the inside. You are going to sew around the fabric, then turn it inside out. Sew only 3 sides.
  4. pin edgesfold with right sides together
  5. Turn inside out. Make sure you push against the inside of the corners with your finger so that it's not bunched up.
  6. Measure where you would like to sew the dividers. The rice stays better evenly distributed this way. I just made 2 dividers, for a total of 3 sections. Try to make it as even as you can, but it doesn't need to be perfect.
  7. Sew straight lines for the dividers. Leave about a centimeter not sewn at the ends, where you will close it up. This is so that you can fold it in and hand sew it closed. My thread really matched this fabric well. If you look closely, you can see the 3 different sections.
  8. sew channels
  9. Take your funnel and fill each section with rice. My funnel is too small and the rice bunches up in there. So, I cut the end off a soda bottle and use that as my funnel. Fill each section about 3/4 of the way.
  10. soda bottle funnelend of bottle funnel in pack sectionrice filled pack
  11. Fold over the ends, into the inside. Hand stitch the ends to seal the ice pack. Make the stitches close enough that rice won't leak out.
  12. closeup of hand sewn opening
  13. Put in the freezer, so it will be ready when needed.
  14. three examples

By Becky Miles [81]

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Tip: Freeze Juice Packs for Ice Pack

I always keep some of those Capri Sun juice packs on hand for the neighborhood kids. We live on a lake and there's always children going by.

I recently had back surgery and needed ice packs to help with pain and swelling. I asked my husband to freeze some of the juice packs to use. They were the perfect size and didn't leak or thaw quickly. I didn't realize the muscles on my chest would be sore too. Each pack fit just right in my top over chest. I guess they would be good too for hot flashes, just slip it in your bra. LOL

    By Peggy [63]

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

    Tip: Easy Ice Pack

    For boo-boos, swelling or high fevers, slip a freezer-sized zipper bag into a tube sock THEN fill it with ice and zip. Tie a knot in the top of the sock, and you have an easy-to-manage ice pack that won't leak and easily conforms around knees, elbows, and foreheads.

      By Kelli [27]

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Tip: Homemade Ice Packs

      For a gel ice pack, place 2 cups water and 1/3 cup (80 proof) vodka in a ziploc freezer bag. Seal and enclose in a second ziploc freezer bag. Place in freezer. When frozen, wrap with a cloth before applying to skin.

      By duckie-do from Cortez, CO

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Tip: Keeping Cool Tube


      • new disposable diaper
      • 45x3 1/4 inch fabric
      • sewing machine
      • 2 cups water
      • 1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide


      Take a diaper and take apart the layers. In the middle is cotton type material, it contains microscopic crystals, that holds moisture.

      Take a piece of fabric, 45 by 3 1/4 inches, fold in half to wrong sides together with 1/2 inch seam allowance stitch the full length of the fabric to construct a long tube. Turn right side out 6 inches from 1 end and stitch across to seal. Stuff in the cotton from the diaper, trying to distribute evenly, then stitch across 6 inches from the opposite end.

      To hydrate the material inside the tube: In a large Ziploc bag, pour 2 cups cool distilled water and 1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide. Place your diaper cotton stuffed tube in this bag, the cotton will expand holding the liquid, it will stay cool. Place this on the back of your neck. As it draws the heat from your body it starts to warm. Just turn it over to the cooler side. This will eventually dry out. Each time you need to rehydrate, add 1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide to distilled water before rehydrating. This will foam up, it's killing any bacteria that has transferred to the cool tube (if you do not use the peroxide it will start to smell.) Don't worry, it will not bleach clothing. At the end of the hot season, just hang it out to dry completely or just make a new one next year. I suggest making 1 for dirty jobs, gardening or washing the car. You can keep them in the refrigerator to get them really cool.

      By Babbie from Lemon Grove, CA

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Give a "thumbs up" to the solution that worked the best! Do you have a better solution? Click here to share it!


      Here are questions related to Homemade Ice Packs.

      Question: Homemade Phase Change Ice Packs

      I've been trying to think of ways to defeat heat stroke. I'm thinking about buying these jell packs filled with Phase change material. They are expensive. Would any one have ideas on making some thing similar? To elaborate, phase change material aren't freezing cold. They just pump out a nice pleasant 60 degrees or so over a long period to help you avoid heat stroke in the absence of air conditioning. any one got any ideas on creating a cheap, cost effective version of this stuff?

      Quizzelbuck from Toledo, OH

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


      Most Recent Answer

      By Dennis Lee (Guest Post) 07/19/2008

      Making homemade phase change cold packs should be relatively easy to implement as they are by definition not freezing cold but instead delivering a more constant and stable 60 degrees F. for a much lower period of time.

      The recipe calls for the use of something called Sodium polyacrylate it is the stuff that also happens to be in baby diapers.

      One can get Sodium polyacrylate from, http://www.watersorb.com/prices.htm

      The unique thing about Sodium polyacrylate is that it has the ability to absorb 30 gallons of water per pound of sodium polyacrylate granules.

      A little sodium polyacrylate medium sized granules goes a long way. One should only use 1 teaspoon of sodium polyacrylate granules per quart of water. So for example when using a gallon sized ziploc bag use no more than 4 teaspoons of the sodium polyacrylate granules with four quarts of water.

      By using the sodium polyacrylate granules when mixed in the proper recommended above ratio one can make a suitable homemade phase change ice pack that can by design parameters have a much higher and not freezing cold 32 degrees F but instead delivering a more constant and stable 60 degrees F. for a much lower period of time.

      This is the way to go as far as customizing ones own homemade phase change ice pack for different desired objective temperature points for different chilling objective applications.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Cooling Neckerchief Pattern

      Can I make a homemade "cooling" bandanna or similar product?

      By Denise from Duluth, MN

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

      Most Recent Answer

      By Denise Carlino [2] 06/05/2010

      Thanks! I am going to try using the ice packs that come with my medication first. This is my plan. Open the ice pack and fill a snack sized baggie with the cooling material and follow the instructions to add to a bandanna. Any ideas or suggestions?

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Making My Own Gel Boo Boo Packs

      I know there is a way to make gel, aka boo boo, packs, but I do not remember the recipe. Do any of you know it?

      By McCollonough from TN

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


      Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

      Archive: Home Made Ice Packs Using Alcohol

      I recently had shoulder surgery and am using lots of ice. I would like to make my own ice packs. I know that you can put rubbing alcohol and water in a zip lock bag and freeze it. The alcohol prevents it from freezing solid...it becomes slushy and can be easily molded to your "owie". The only problem is that I don't know how much of each to use; nor do I know what strength of alcohol since it comes in 50%, 70% and 91%. Can anyone help me?


      Margaret from Texas

      RE: Home Made Ice Packs Using Alcohol

      Hi Margaret! I hope your shoulder gets well quickly. Here's a site I found for making your own ice pack with alcohol. www.recipezaar.com/91931 I really doubt that the % of alcohol will make a huge difference...other than, as the site says, the more alcohol the "softer" the pack will be. God bless you!!! (04/29/2005)

      By Luvyabye

      RE: Home Made Ice Packs Using Alcohol

      get some cotton fabric, cut it the size you need for your ice pack. sew three sides, put in enough plain white rice to half fill the bag. Sew the fourth side together, freeze when you need an ice pack, or microwave for two minutes when you need heat. ARDIS (06/24/2005)

      By Ardis Barnes

      RE: Home Made Ice Packs Using Alcohol

      Use equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water. Any type of rubbing alcohol will work, too! (09/08/2005)

      By dimps

      Archive: Homemade Squishy Ice Pack

      Yesterday, my 7 year old daughter fell and hurt her knee. Well, she loves an ice pack for all of her ailments so I got the cheap dollar store ice pack out and it was hard as a rock and hard to hold in the right place so since she had already destroyed my "good" squishy one by trying to see what was in it, we made our own. I took a quart size generic ziplock bag and put rubbing alcohol and water not quite half full and froze it. I guess you could add food coloring for more interest. Anyway now we have a very, very cold squishy ice pack that conforms to all those odd parts that sometimes need ice.

      By Ginger

      Editor's Note:
      A reader mentions below that the rubbing alcohol could be toxic to a child. A better mixture might be water and vodka. That way it would be much less toxic if it broke or some of the contents dripped out. If you use this with a child, make sure they don't lick eat the contents or suck on the bag.

      Susan from ThriftyFun

      RE: Homemade Squishy Ice Pack

      You can also add cotton balls to this and it keeps it a little more "spill proof" if the seal opens or the bag breaks. (10/16/2004)

      By Barbie

      RE: Homemade Squishy Ice Pack

      This could be dangerous, as rubbing alcohol is irreversibly toxic to the optic nerve (can cause blindness). Make sure your child doesn't lick it or drink anything that may drip out. (10/17/2004)

      By Susan B

      RE: Homemade Squishy Ice Pack

      We use a small packet of frozen peas.

      If you label it well, you can use it time and time again - just refreeze. It will mold well to any body part.

      Label it well because you do NOT want to eat them after thawing, etc. (01/05/2005)

      By anisah

      RE: Homemade Squishy Ice Pack

      from my OT for my hand therapy for a tendon repair
      • 2 cups water
      • 1 cup alcohol

      By 2shoes

      RE: Homemade Squishy Ice Pack

      Thank you, this works great! (Very Cold). I have a fractured ankle and it is great for decreasing swelling. I also double bag this mixture to keep liquid from spilling out. :-) (07/24/2005)

      By pauper

      RE: Homemade Squishy Ice Pack

      I found using two bags helps control the condensation. I also found out that using a larger freezer bag for the outside bag is helpful since the condensation will run through both bags if too tight fitting. (09/24/2005)

      By Thor

      RE: Homemade Squishy Ice Pack

      Love the Editors note above. Mix Vodka and water. You start off with a frozen ice pack to comfort your pain and when it thaws you can drink it and further dull your pain. LOL. Chill, just being funny.

      I live with neck and back pain every day from herniated discs. My PT passed along the info to mix the rubbing alcohol and water to make cold packs. My little 5 year old loves them. She won't put an icecube pack on her booboo, but she will use the alternative. (11/29/2007)

      By Shelby

      Archive: Homemade Cold Pack

      Another great homemade cold pack is to add regular rubbing alcohol to water - about 1 part alcohol to 3 parts water - in a freezer type zip top bag. I keep a couple of these in my freezer at all times. The bags don't freeze solid because of the alcohol and that makes them ideal to wrap over a wrist, knee or similar area. I use them over and over before they get a leak. I also usually add a drop or two of food color to the mixture to make them easy to find in the freezer.


      RE: Homemade Cold Pack

      These work great. I use 2 ziplock bags to prevent leakage. They last a very long time. (10/09/2007)

      By Charity.

      Archive: Make Your Own Lunch Box Ice Packs

      I find those store bought ice packs ineffective. There are 2 kinds. The big bulky ones that take up too much space or the thin kind that don't reach everything. Freeze ice cubes and seal in a vacuum sealed bag, then let it melt until you have moldable ice pack to refreeze that will fit your needs. It's reusable and leak proof to boot.

      By Mildred

      Archive: Homemade Ice Packs Using Alcohol

      I recently heard that you can make your own ice pack by putting water and alcohol in a zip lock bag and freezing. does anyone know what the formula is?


      Archive: Homemade Ice Packs

      I can't remember where I heard this, but I've done it and it works. Just place the amount of liquid dish soap you desire in to a Ziplock bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze. It comes out nice and pliable and reusable as an icepack, or if you decide you don't need or want it as an icepack anymore, you have soap to wash your dishes.

      By Deeli from Richland, WA

      RE: Homemade Ice Packs

      I will keep that in mind. And, I also keep a bag of frozen corn in a special zip lock for knees and such. When it thaws, you simply keep using, but never eat. (08/26/2009)

      By Poor But Proud

      RE: Homemade Ice Packs

      If you add some rubbing alcohol, it doesn't freeze, (also at the $1 stores) the emulsion will become more gel like and thereby conform better to whatever you're putting it on. They can be used time and time again, but if you're going to use a $1 store brand bag I would suggest double bagging it as they are not quite as strong as name brands are (experience talking). (08/26/2009)

      By xstchr92