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Quick & Easy Homemade Ice Packs: How To

Posted By Tipnut On October 20, 2009 @ 5:20 am In Fixes & How-To | 38 Comments

Here are a few different options for having ice packs and bags on hand for first aid as well as frugal ideas for keeping your lunchbags and camping coolers nice and chilled.

Reuseable gel type:

Method #1

Example2 cups water
1/3 cup vodka (80 proof)
Food coloring (any color you like)
Ziploc Freezer Bag

  • Pour liquids into ziploc freezer bag, add food coloring (you’ll know at a glance that it’s your ice pack and not something to consume) then freeze.


1 cup rubbing alcohol
2 cups water
Ziploc Freezer Bag (1 quart size)

  • Pour liquids into freezer bag, remove air and seal bag. Place bag seal side down into another ziploc freezer bag, remove air and seal that bag. Place in freezer and use (and reuse) as needed (nice and slushy!).


Liquid Dish Detergent
Ziploc Freezer Bag

  • Squirt liquid dish detergent in a ziploc bag until the bag is about 3/4 full, seal and then freeze.


When taking them from the freezer to use, wrap in towel first before applying to body. If they freeze too hard and aren’t slushy, simply allow them to melt and then add more alcohol.

Single use method:

  • Prepare jello as usual, pour liquid into ziploc freezer bag and put in freezer. Wait till the jello gets really cold and gels, then use.

Lunchbox ideas:

  • Just freeze juice boxes the night before and toss in the lunch bag, or buy reuseable plastic drink boxes, fill with juice and freeze overnight (make sure to leave room when frozen juice expands).
  • Fill small ziploc freezer bags with water, freeze and use as needed (solid block).

Camping cooler ideas:

  • Clean empty plastic pop bottles, fill 3/4 full with water, twist cap back on and place in freezer. Take out and use as needed.
  • Large ziploc freezer bags, fill with water and seal. Freeze til needed (this will be a solid block).
  • Wash empty milk cartons, fill with water, close carton and freeze (leave room for expansion).

No time to freeze and need something in a jiffy? Here are some ideas:

  • You can use a bag of frozen vegetables (bags of peas or corn work best)
  • Fill a ziploc freezer bag with some ice (crushed or cubed), add cold water, seal bag, insert seal side down in another ziploc bag, seal that bag, then apply.

Also, don’t forget about this great tip for making microwave heating pads [1], they can also be frozen and used as cold bags (suitable for first aid treatments).

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[1] for making microwave heating pads: http://tipnut.com/make-your-own-microwave-heating-pad/

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