Polymer Cool Neck Bands
Beat the Heat!!!!
Ties have become a very popular method of keeping cool during the summer heat.
Each cool tie is made with medium size polymer which is safe and
non-toxic. Cool Ties work on the principal of evaporative cooling. Once the
polymer is hydrated, the fabric surface of the Cool Tie draws
the moisture from the polymer to the fabric surface, which evaporates resulting
in an effective body cooler. In
areas of high humidity where no wind is present use two or three Cool Ties,
keeping one in a refrigerator or ice chest and as soon as the one being worn
reaches body temperature, exchange it with the one in the cooler. Wear the
Cool Tie around the neck or head and it will bring great relief
from the heat!
How to Make Cool Ties or Bandanas
pound of MEDIUM size polymer contains about 115 teaspoons of crystals, which will make
at least 50 bandanas at 2 teaspoons per tie.
MSDS click here
There are several ways to make
Cool Ties. Cotton fabric will work best, as it has superior wicking
Let your imagination be your guide. One method is to take an ordinary bandana
and make a Cool Tie by simply folding over the wide edge about an inch or
an inch and a half
and stitching the “hem” down to create a tube. Complete the bandanas
as with the following instructions for the ties:
4" strip of
fabric 45" long (actual length will depend on personal preference)
One Tablespoon of medium Watersorb polymer granules.
- Cut one strip of fabric 4" wide from a
fabric that is at least 45" wide. If you want to have a bow
to tie use a 60" wide fabric.
- Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise (the piece should be
4" by 22 1/2"). Mark the fold. This is the center
back of the neck band. Open up the fabric and measure and mark 7"
on each side of the center back.
Fold the fabric
right sides together the width of the strip (the piece should now be 2" by
45".) Using a 5/8" seam, stitch between the marks. (There
should be 14" stitched--7" on either side of center back.)
- The tail ends may be rounded or slanted to give a more finished
look. Finish the edges and ends of the rest of the band by serging or
turning and stitching. Press.
- Turn tube right side out and press. At one end of the
tube, stitch to close, then double stitch for strength. At this point
you should have one end of the tube open.
- Carefully pour the polymer granules into the tube (1-3 teaspoons).
Stitch the tube closed. Reinforce with another row of stitching.
- To use the cool neck band, soak in water for a 15-20
minutes (hot water speeds the hydration process). As the polymer granules
soak up the water "mush" them around so
the polymer spreads out equally along the tube. Tie around your neck
for a "Cool Band."
- The polymer granules are used in
gardening soil for water retention. (Use Watersorb Medium 1-3 tsp) Each pound of polymer has about 115 tsp.
- The cool band can be refrigerated
so it is more refreshing on a hot day.
- It can be soaked in cold water and
used over and over.
- If too many polymer granules are
used in the tube, the polymer will ooze through the fabric tube. Generally
two teaspoons is all that is needed.
- Store in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator, or hang dry. The
polymer will rehydrate again using instructions in step 6.
Prepared by: Joy Polk, Benton/Franklin Clothing and Textile
Advisor, and Kay Hendrickson, Area Extension Agent, Washington
State University Cooperative Extension.
For ready made cool ties go to:
Department of Defense article praising the
Ship Support effort: http://www.dod.mil/news/Jun2005/20050622_1820.html
Watersorb to all volunteers in the effort!!
History of Cool Ties
In 1988 Dan Wofford, Jr. wrote
and distributed a brochure describing how to make cool ties. In the early
1990’s the Cooperative Extension Service wrote and distributed a pattern and
instructions for cool ties and many individuals started cottage businesses
making cool ties and selling them at flea markets, trade shows and fairs. A
few years later several US companies began making cool ties for sale over the
internet and in hobby & craft stores. Wal-Mart started selling cool ties in
1994.and they have been sold on EBay since the inception of the internet
marketing company. The Home Shopping Network and OVC have been selling cool ties
for over 10 years!!
Intellectual Property Rights for
Several individuals have
claimed to have invented cool ties, and some have claimed various
intellectual property rights including patents. A search of the United
States Patent and Trademark Office www.uspto.gov indicates there are NO currently valid trademarks for
“Cool Tie” or “Cool Ties”.Any claims otherwise are
FALSE. A patent was
issued for a cool tie in the late 1990’s, however this patent was issued
almost ten years after Dan Wofford, Jr. and the US Cooperative Extension
Agency published patterns and instructions regarding how to make cool ties
and evaporative body coolers. Therefore, this patent will NOT stand up in
court and was a waste of time, effort and money by the patent holder.
Feedback from one of the troops:
From An Airman in Iraq:
Date: Sat, Apr 26, 2003, 6:28am (EDT+6) To:
Subject: RE: Thanks a million!
Just yesterday I received the cool ties! Of course they show
up on the hottest day up here yet. It was 105 degrees and a sand storm is in town
for 3-4 days. It was like blowing heat from an oven. Perfect timing just
as the hats the first night I received your package. We are expecting
the temps to continue to climb. The ties will be perfect. You and your
volunteers are very special people. All of us here are truly grateful for
you dedicated service to our great nation. Thanks again and again. I
expect< to be here until July possibly August along with 19 other
Airman. Most of our guys have returned home but we are the stay behind
crew for stabilization and quick response. We have been very well taken
care of buy great Americans back home. Projects such as the Ships
project, schools, churches, families and friends. We love you all and
thanks for the continuing support.
7/15/2004 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Senior Airman Danielle
Clark ties on a "neck cooler" as one way to beat the heat at her f
orward-deployed location. On some days, the temperature reaches 120
degrees. Users "charge" the neck coolers by soaking them in water.
hen wrapped around the neck, the water's evaporation helps cool the
wearer's body. Each cooler contains gel that absorbs water and
releases it slowly throughout the day. Airman Clark is a force-protection
escort with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. She is
deployed from the 354th Services Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base,
Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez)
From "The Air Force Link"
Click on the links below for other Cool Tie patterns and
volunteer organizations making and sending items to the troops.
Knit, crochet, sew for our deployed troops:
Join our mailing list:
An old soldier has gifts for today's troops -- and
01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, July 6, 2005
In an alcove by a sunny window in his apartment in Wakefield, Felix
Pelletier is busy sewing. All around him, on the tables and on the walls,
are mementos that connect him like a thread to the work at hand.
The machine beneath his fingers is buzzing and humming, the rhythmic
sound of efficiency so persistent that the man who lives downstairs had to
ask what was going on. When the neighbor found out, he said to Felix: "You
can run that thing all night long if you want to."
Felix was just an ordinary kid growing up in Manville who,
like so many
boys of his time, left home to save the world. In November 1942, when he was
17, Felix headed to Camp Davis, in North Carolina, to get ready for his tour
He came of age in the Third Army, assigned to an
antiaircraft unit in the
776 Battalion. Felix trudged across Europe, from the beaches of Normandy to
the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, and on to Germany. Every day he was
away, Felix wrote to his sweetheart back home. And every day Lucille
answered him, her letters tangible proof that somewhere out there on the
other side of a dark and unsettled world was another life waiting for him.
On a snowy day in December 1945, his tour of duty complete,
at Fort Devens, in Massachusetts, duffel bag in hand. There were no
politicians to shake his hand, no crowds to welcome him, no marching bands,
no victory speeches. Not that it would have mattered. All he noticed was a
woman, the one who was standing there waiting for him.
After a week off, Felix and Lucille went back to
build a life together.
Felix worked as a third-shift weaver and eventually became a foreman at
Pontiac Weaving, in Cumberland, which explains why he's so good with a
Sometimes when heading down a new path, it's best to
slam old doors shut.
As the years went by, Felix never talked about the war. "But he never got
away from it," Lucille told me.
So, in 1994, when his daughter, Sue Daragan, suggested he
Europe for the 50th anniversary of the Allied invasion, Felix hesitated. He
eventually decided to go. But it wasn't easy.
"I couldn't take it," he told me. "It all
started coming back."
The bloody waters at the beaches of Normandy. The best
friend found lying
on a street in Germany, stripped naked by a Nazi and left to die.
"Before the 50th, we never heard anything about
it," said Sue, who lives
in North Kingstown. "But now we've learned a lot of amazing things." Like
about the time Felix was in a group assigned by Gen. George S. Patton to
defend a town with their guns. Only one problem. They had no ammunition.
From his trips to Europe in 1994, 1995 and for the 60th anniversary last
year, Felix has put together pieces of history and his part in it. On the
wall, there's a map detailing troop movements during the war. In a case,
there's a Victory medal. In frames are other ribbons and medals and an
honorary diploma from the French government. In a scrapbook are postcards
and photos, including a special one of Lucille, his bride of 59 years.
So when daughter Sue mentioned that the troops in Iraq
needed more neck
coolers, Felix set to work.
He begins with bolts of camouflage material fanned out
on a table. He
carefully measures and cuts each neck cooler, which resemble a tie except
that it has four pockets. That's where he inserts the "magic crystals" -- a
substance called "cross polyacrylamide," usually used for gardening. It will
absorb and retain water for hours, providing much-needed relief when
fastened around the neck of a soldier in the scorching desert that is Iraq.
For hours each day, Felix, who is 80, runs an efficient
stitching the inside seams, then turning the fabric right-side out with a
tool he fashioned from a curtain rod, duct tape and wire hanger.
In the past several months, he's made 252 neck
coolers for Operation
Support Our Troops, and pinned a personalized note to each one.
"To a young soldier from an older one," it begins.
In an alcove by a sunny window in his apartment in
Pelletier is busy sewing. And, having just learned that 700 more neck
coolers are needed, I wouldn't be surprised if he runs that machine all
Rita Lussier can be reached at ReetsAL [at]
aol.com or by mail c/o Features Department, The Providence Journal, 75
Fountain Street, Providence, RI 02902.
This article is presented by
For more information about Sew News magazine.
Keep Your Cool!
Chill out on hot days with a simple, cooling neck scarf.
IMAGINE CHILLING OUT ON A SWELTERING SUMMER DAY with a cool moist cloth on the
back of your neck. You can feel cool and look great wearing an attractive neck
scarf filled with hidden water-soaked polymer crystals. The scarf is an easy,
fast project made from readily available materials. Whip up several for guests
at your next barbeque, or join a charity project and sew some for U.S. troops.
Nontoxic polyacrylamide granules, often called crystals, are concealed in the
casing of a cotton neck scarf. When the scarf is soaked in water, the granules
absorb the water, expand, and turn into a crystalline gel. The cotton fabric
absorbs water from the gel, then the water evaporates for a cooling effect.
Scarves stay cool and moist for hours due to the polyacrylamide's
Finished cooling scarves measure approximately 1 1/2"x43"
and will fit an
average adult. For larger sizes, use the measurements in parentheses.
You can make the scarf with lightweight, single-face tie ends or heartier,
double-face ties. Single-face ties require hemming, but minimal turning.
Double-face ties are narrower and require more turning but no hemming, and they
conceal the fabric wrong side and the back of any embellishments. You can cut
the tie ends into points or curves, or create a unique shape.
Choose tightly woven 100% cotton fabric for its water-absorbing and cooling
properties. Avoid loosely woven fabrics--the gel could seep through a loose
weave. Scarves are worn wet, so select colorfast fabrics so the dyes won't bleed
onto clothing or skin. Look for prints in popular motifs, such as red, white and
blue for summer holidays, or sport themes for wearing to outdoor events.
Choose medium-size crystals for best results. Granule size and water
quality can impact how well the crystals absorb water. Water with a high mineral
content can impede water absorption. Experiment to determine the optimal amount
of crystals per scarf by making a sample casing.
To make the test sample, cut a
4"x15" (4"x17") piece of fabric. Fold the
fabric in half lengthwise and stitch 1/2" from one short end and from the long
cut edges. Pour a scant teaspoon of the crystals into the open end, fold down
the open end 1/2" and pin.
Submerge the casing upright in a tall container
of water for 15 to 30
minutes. The casing should be plump after soaking, but not oozing. Using too
many crystals or soaking too long may force the crystal gel through the fabric,
making the fabric feel slimy. Adjust the crystal amount as needed to fill, but
not over fill the casing.
- 1/8 yard of
44/45" 100% cotton fabric, prewashed
- Approximately 7/8 teaspoon of medium-size polyacrylamide
crystals for an average scarf, or 1 1/8 teaspoons for a large scarf
(see "Sources" at the end of this article).
- Matching all-purpose thread
- Air- or water-soluble marker
- French curve (optional for curved-end tie)
- Bodkin or tube-turner
- Point turner (optional for double-face construction)
crystals are nontoxic, but they can create a fine dust. Ted Douglas, president
of Watersorb/Polymers Inc., suggests wearing a dust mask when handling the
crystals. For best results wear gloves and safety glasses, remove contact
lenses, and wash hands after use. For further information, see the Material
Safety Data Sheet on the Watersorb/Polymers Inc. Web site.
Cut a 4"x44" fabric strip for
each scarf. Fold the strip in half
widthwise matching the short ends. Snip-mark both long edges 7" (8") from the
fold (1). The area between the snips will be the casing.
To create narrow-point tie ends (for single-face ties only),
fold the strip in
half lengthwise and mark each end 1/4" from the fold. Mark the long raw edges
12" from each end. Using the ruler, draw a line connecting the marks (2).
Cut on the lines through both layers.
To create curved- or angled-end ties, fold the strip in half lengthwise
and mark the long raw edge 2" from the end. Using the French curve (for
curved-end ties) or the ruler (for angled-end ties), draw a line from the cut
edge at the fold to the 2" mark (3). Cut on the line through both layers.
Repeat for the remaining scarf end.
Fold the strip in half lengthwise, right sides together
and matching the snip
marks. Using a medium-length stitch and 1/2" seam allowances, stitch between the
marks to form the casing; clip the seam allowances at the marks to, but not
through, the stitching (4). Press the seam open.
Stitch a 1/4" double hem on the
scarf ends, or roll-hem the ends on a
serger or sewing machine. Turn the scarf right side out, center the casing seam
Create the casing by stitching across the
scarf at one end of the casing
seam (5). Using a teaspoon, carefully pour the crystals into the casing
open end. To protect your machine and contain spills, work over a bowl, away
from your sewing machine.
Close the casing by stitching across
the scarf at the opposite end of the
casing seam, pushing the crystals to the far casing end out of the needle area.
Double-layer Tie Ends
Cut a 4"x44" fabric strip for each scarf. Embellish the tie ends, if
desired. These tie ends will be a bit stiffer than the single-layer ties. Fold
the strip in half lengthwise, right sides together, matching the casing marks.
Using a medium straight stitch, sew a 1/2" seam along the raw edges, leaving a
3" opening outside of the casing area for turning and filling (6). Trim
corners; turn and press.
With the 3" opening at one end, stitch
across the scarf 14 1/2" from the
opposite scarf end (7).
Holding the opening end of the scarf upright,
use a teaspoon to pour the
crystals into the casing. Stitch across the scarf 14 1/2" from the upper end to
close the casing, pushing the crystals to the far end of the casing, away from
the needle. Hand whipstitch, or machine edgestitch the opening closed (8).
Soak the casing or the entire scarf in cold
or ice water for 15 to 30
minutes, or until the crystals turn to gel; avoid over-soaking. Distribute the
gel along the casing with your fingers. Lay the scarf on a hand towel to absorb
any dripping water, then tie the scarf loosely around your neck. To keep the
casing cool while wearing, roll it to redistribute the gel or dip it in cold
water for a few minutes.
Refrigerate extra cooling scarves for
breezeless humid days. When one
scarf reaches body temperature, swap it for a cool one.
Store wet scarves in an open plastic bag,
hang them to dry, or store them
in the refrigerator. After several days of drying, the crystals will return to
Hand-wash crystal-filled scarves using
a few drops of liquid detergent.
Rinse well and hang to dry. Don't machine-wash or dry. Press the casing
only after the gel is completely crystalized. Shake the crystals to one end of
the casing to press the opposite end. Then flip and repeat. Don't iron the
crystals or expose them to iron temperatures.
What is it?
Polyacrylamide is a super-absorbent, nontoxic polymer
that was developed in the
1960s to retain water in arid soil. Polyacrylamide holds up to 400 times its
weight in water--one pound of polymer can hold up to 48 gallons of rain water!
Different forms of polymer are widely used in many industries and in numerous
products, such as disposable diapers, hot and cold compresses, toothpaste,
cosmetics and flower arrangements.
Who needs 'em?
Join a charity project and make much-appreciated cooling scarves
for U.S. troops
in the Middle East. The Ships Project collects and sends cooling scarves
and other handmade items monthly. Visit http://www.theshipsproject.com for specifications and mailing
information, or write to Ellen Harpin, Dept. SN, Box 564, Goldenrod, FL
Cooling scarves are fast-moving, especially at outdoor fairs.
Choose fabrics in
popular colors and motifs. To speed assembly for mass production, use the
single-face construction method and serge-finish all edges prior to sewing the
casing. Package the scarves in a plastic bag with directions for wear and
washing. Fill a cooler with ice water and prepare a few scarves for passersby to
Embellishing Try embellishing scarf
ties with embroidery designs, names or monograms. Choose colorfast threads
and small designs with light to medium stitch density. A finished single-face
tie end will be approxi-mately 3" wide. A finished double-face tie end will be
about 1 1/2"wide. Choose the embellishment placement and size accordingly.
Let the scarf tie inspire creativity. Echo
the shape of the tie with trim
or decorative machine stitching. Add beads, small appliqués or embroidery test
samples on the tie ends.
Make the scarf ties of contrasting fabric, or piece the scarf tie for a
patchwork look. Minimize piecing in the casing area, as gel may seep through the
Accessories: Make a scarf "clip" from hair accessories, use
a lapel pin, or
slip the scarf ends through a ring or ribbon loop adorned with a button or charm
to fasten the tie around your neck. Do not puncture the fabric in the gel area.
Polyacrylamide crystals are
available under many brand names. Look for them in the garden section of
home-improvement centers, discount department stores, nurseries, or in the
candle, fragrance or flower areas in craft stores. Check packaging for granule
size and to verify there are no additives. Expect approximately 115 teaspoons
per pound of medium-size granules. For mail-order or Internet purchases, and for
other project ideas:
Medium Granules from Watersorb/Polymers
Vielhaber is an occupational therapist and the owner of Whitepaw Designs, a
sewing company that designs patterns and sells hand-sewn gifts. She has been
enchanted by sewing since age 5, when she awoke one morning and found handmade
doll dresses on her bed. She lives in Sterling Heights, MI, with her husband and
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