Polymer Cool Neck Bands
When making cool ties for the Military, they are
required to be 100% cotton fabric.
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
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.
For 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)
Tablespoon of medium Watersorb polymer granules. order
- 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
- 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."
Store in a zip lock bag in the
refrigerator, or hang dry. The
polymer will rehydrate again using instructions in step 6.
by: Joy Polk, Benton/Franklin Clothing and Textile
Advisor, and Kay Hendrickson, Area Extension Agent, Washington
State University Cooperative Extension.
Cooling Vest Instructions
Marker that disappears with water
2 yds. Of
unbleached Muslin Permanent Press (100% cotton) Fabric 45-48” wide
Matching Bias Tape (the large quilt type makes a nice non-chaffing neck)
1 – 10-12
inch piece of 1/2 inch PVC plastic pipe
Medium Watersorb Crystals
XL BAG (Bag will allow the user to soak the vest and transport it in a sealed
keep it moist and ready to use).
Pre-wash Muslin fabric to remove sizing.
fabric flat and cut three pieces out 20 inches wide by 45-46 inches long.
(NOTE: Muslin tears fairly straight when cut and torn carefully.)
Piece two pieces of fabric together and pin or baste edges together to prevent
the piece of fabric in half lengthwise to find center and mark edges.
the center of the folded edge widthwise and mark.
outer edges approximately 1/2 inch from edges along all 4 edges of Piece #1.
This will be your outer seam that is sewn later.
fabric from side to side 1 3/4 inches apart starting from the bottom edges and
working toward center. Stop about 1 1/2 to 2 inches from center folded edge so
you will have room to trim a neck hole later. Mark both sides of piece of fabric
piece #1. Do not mark fabric.piece #2.
mark fabric piece #1 from top marks and bottom edges of each end of fabric piece
#1. Measure over 2 to 2 1/2 inches from each 1/2 inch marks on each side. Then,
mark over 4 inches until you reach the other side. When finished, you should
have a square grid pattern on each end of the center of fabric piece #1. You
should end up with about 11 rows of 4 inch pockets on each side of the center
corners into slightly rounded corners (I used my serving platter for the slight
we are ready to start machine sewing. First, sew along the top mark of pockets
near the center fold. (Center fold will later become the neck hole area). Sew
along each mark that goes side to side on each side of the center fold area.
sew one seam down the center of each ends of fabric starting at the top line and
going to bottom edges on each side of the neck fold. Don’t sew across the
neck fold area.
your funnel and place it inside of PVC pipe. Pipe will help deliver crystals
deep into each pocket so they don’t get in the way of stitching.
a 1/4 TSP measuring spoon and measure crystals into each 4 inch pocket on either
side of sewn center seam. Do Not fill the 2 to 2 1/2 inch pocket on each side.
Leave these empty. After filling a full row of 4 inch pockets from top to bottom
and sew pockets shut.
Put lesser amount of crystals in the 4 inch pockets that have rounded
corners marked across
them. Do one side and then the other. When you get to the
outer edges, you may sew each one along lines.
you finish filling and sewing pockets, you need to place the third piece of
fabric next to piece #2 and baste the edges of all three pieces of
fabric. You should still see the piece with the marked lines on one side and
the third piece on the other.
all outer edges together following the 1/2 inch marks and along the curved
corners. Make sure crystals are shook away from the curved lines before
sewing. Cut curved corners leaving a 1/2 inch border.
HANG IN THERE. YOUR EFFORTS
WILL ALL BE WORTH IT WHEN YOU GET FINISHED.
Locate center of the center fold neck section of vest and mark it. Measure seven
inches on either side of midline and mark. Mark on Piece #1 with other
markings. These will later be turned inside and will disappear the first time
garment is wet.
along a line from the two 7 inch marks. Using this hole, bring piece #3 through
the hole to “turn” garment inside out. Piece #2 and #3 should be showing on
either side. Press outer seam with your fingers and sew along it to make crisp
edge. Do not press with iron. You will need to sew across top seams near neck
hole and down center seam to help hold the third piece of fabric to the others.
I like to sew a “cross” on mine to remind them a Christian made this for them.
the neck/head opening, you may want to shape it in a “scooped” neck line
on front and back. Then, all that remains is to fit, pin and sew on bias tape
along the cut edges of the neck/head opening of vest. After fitting the bias
tape around the neck, pin or baste it in place. Sew the edge of the tape to the
personal note and Cooling Vest Care Instructions to each vest. Your vest will
be used by our troops to be able to quickly treat them for heat related
illnesses like “heat exhaustion” and the potentially deadly “heat Stroke”.
COOLING VEST CARE INSTRUCTIONS
water for 15-20 minutes. Only soak 7-10 to use as headband. Warm water speeds
hydration. Remove from water and pat dry so the polymer spreads out equally
along the pockets. Please remember,
never squeeze tightly, the polymer will "ooze" out via the material if you do.
Can be refrigerated.
Hydrated polymer has the capacity to hold heat/cold 2.84 times longer than pure
water. When Cooling Vest starts to dry out, soak in water again. When the
Cooling Vest warms up to body temp, submerge in cool water. Hand wash in mild
dishwashing liquid then rinse clean. Let it soak overnight in clean water to let
the polymer purge the impurities from it. You can keep the Cooling Vest fresher
if you put about one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into the hydration water.
(Carry for use in Ziploc bag, but Do not store in Ziploc bag until
completely dry or it will mildew).
More Cooling Vest instructions:
Helmet coolers from Jo
them round. The easiest way is to cut a 7” square
- two thicknesses thick and then lay a dessert plate (Corelle is the right size
find a template that’s 7”). Either trace and cut with scissors or cut (holding
firmly) with a rotary cutter. You can also use a fabric circle cutter such as
around the edge just like for a Hug (1/2” or less) and leave an opening about
1-1/2” to 2?. Turn right side out, no ironing necessary, fill with a very scant
teaspoon of crystals, then close by stitching on the outside to close the
It’s not beautiful, but they work.
the first one and see if 1/2 teaspoon is too much or not enough, if
These will also work under
a ball cap if you cut them slightly smaller and use even
so.....adjust amount of crystals. Better too few crystals as too
helmets aren’t a good thing.
less crystals and if the ball cap has mesh for air circulation. They are great
farmers, lawn mowers, or anyone who works out in the heat of the day. Just
experiment until you get it right.
For ready made cool
ties go to:
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 Cool Ties
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
Apr 26, 2003, 6:28am
Subject: RE: Thanks a
Just yesterday I received the cool ties! Of course they show
up on the
day up here yet. It was 105 degrees and a sand storm is in town
3-4 days. It was like blowing heat from an oven. Perfect timing just
the hats the first night I received your package. We are expecting
temps to continue to climb. The ties will be perfect. You and your
are very special people. All of us here are truly grateful for
dedicated service to our great nation. Thanks again and again. I
to be here until July possibly August along with 19 other
Most of our guys have returned home but we are the stay behind
for stabilization and quick response. We have been very well taken
of buy great Americans back home. Projects such as the Ships
schools, churches, families and friends. We love you all and
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 forward-deployed location. On some days, the temperature reaches 120 degrees. Users "charge" the neck coolers by soaking them in water. When 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 information on
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, Felix arrived
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 return to
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 production line,
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 Wakefield, Felix
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
aol.com or by mail c/o Features Department, The Providence Journal, 75
Fountain Street, Providence, RI 02902.