Polymer Cool Ties/Vests/Helmet coolers


Polymer Cool Neck Bands

Beat the Heat!!!!

Cool 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

Each 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 properties. 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:

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Tape measure

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Serger/sewing machine

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4″ strip of fabric 45″ long (actual length will depend on personal preference)

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One Tablespoon of medium Watersorb polymer granules. order page


  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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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.)

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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.

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5. Carefully pour the polymer granules into the tube (1-3 teaspoons). Stitch the tube closed. Reinforce with another row of stitching.

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  1. 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.

Cooling Vest Instructions


Martha Weiman marthaw@samlink.com


1 Sewing Marker that disappears with water

2 yds. Of unbleached Muslin Permanent Press (100% cotton) Fabric 45-48” wide

1 Spool Matching Thread

1 Package Matching Bias Tape (the large quilt type makes a nice non-chaffing neck)

1 Funnel

1 – 10-12 inch piece of 1/2 inch PVC plastic pipe



Tape Measure

~1/2 lb. Medium Watersorb Crystals

1 ZIPLOC XL BAG (Bag will allow the user to soak the vest and transport it in a sealed plastic

Bag to keep it moist and ready to use).

1. Pre-wash Muslin fabric to remove sizing.

2. Lay 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.)

3. Piece two pieces of fabric together and pin or baste edges together to prevent slippage.

4. Fold the piece of fabric in half lengthwise to find center and mark edges.

5. Find the center of the folded edge widthwise and mark.

6. 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.

7. Mark 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.

8. Now, 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 fold.

9. Mark corners into slightly rounded corners (I used my serving platter for the slight curve pattern).

10. Now, 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.

11. Next, 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.

12. Take 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.

13. Take 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.

NOTE: 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.

14. After 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.

15. Sew 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.


16. 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.

17. Cut 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.

18. On 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 garment.

Attach a 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”.


Soak in 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: http://www.p2designs.com/pdfs/SoldiersVest.pdf

Helmet coolers from Jo Ann Sanderson

Make 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 or
find a template that’s 7”). Either trace and cut with scissors or cut (holding plate
firmly) with a rotary cutter. You can also use a fabric circle cutter such as an Olfa.

Seam 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 1/2
teaspoon of crystals, then close by stitching on the outside to close the opening.
It’s not beautiful, but they work.

Hydrate the first one and see if 1/2 teaspoon is too much or not enough, if
so…..adjust amount of crystals. Better too few crystals as too many…..bouncy
helmets aren’t a good thing.

These will also work under a ball cap if you cut them slightly smaller and use even
less crystals and if the ball cap has mesh for air circulation. They are great for
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:



Department of Defense article praising the Ship Support effort: http://www.dod.mil/news/Jun2005/20050622_1820.html

Congratulations from Watersorb to all volunteers in the effort!!

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