Are you ready to learn how to make a homemade ice pack? The old days of making ice packs with ice cubes wrapped in a tea towel are long gone.

Making your own homemade ice pack is incredibly easy, and you probably already have the ingredients on hand. Here are 10 different ways to make ice packs at home.

How to Make a Homemade Ice Pack 10 Easy Ways

Why Make Your Own Homemade Ice Pack?

Bumps, spills, sprains, cuts, bruises — they’re a part of life, especially with active little explorers. In those moments, the cool relief from an ice pack can be a game-changer. 

Hey, if a kiss can make a boo-boo go away instantly, an ice pack is like pure magic!

Now, you might be wondering, “Why bother making something I can easily buy?” However, making your own ice pack is a breeze, taking just minutes with items you likely already have at home.

Plus, you can customize your ice pack with different colors and add-ins, like glitter or sequins. Your little one will be so entranced they’ll forget they’re even in pain.

mixing gel pack ingredients
Mixing up our homemade ice pack, which was just water, rubbing alcohol, blue food coloring, glittery pom poms, and glitter glue (though I recommend using regular glitter instead of glue as it clumped up a bit!).

Let’s explore 10 simple ways to make your own ice packs and discover why embracing this DIY process is not just practical but also fun. 

Benefits of Homemade Ice Packs 

Homemade ice packs have tons of benefits in comparison to buying commercial ice packs from the store. 

Believe me, as a mom, I’m always looking for the best and easiest way to solve a problem. 

Homemade ice packs are: 

  • Cost-effective 
  • Kid-friendly to customize
  • Environmentally-friendly 
  • Quick and easy emergency first aid 
  • Made with readily available materials 
  • Fun family activity 

Homemade Ice Packs Are the Safer Option 

Pulling a store-bought ice pack out of your freezer may seem like no big deal. But did you know many of these ice packs contain toxic chemicals?

Small children, in particular, could unintentionally ingest these harmful substances. 

“Ice packs are common household items, which makes them accessible to small children. […] Typically, unintentionally swallowing some of their liquid contents causes minor effects such as mouth irritation. However, depending on the ingredients and the amount swallowed, ice packs do have the potential to cause toxicity.”

What’s Inside an Ice Pack (2021) 

The average store-bought ice pack contains some pretty toxic ingredients. 

As reported by the McGill Office for Science and Society, ice packs from the store commonly contain a chemical found in antifreeze. It’s unsettling to think about when you’re using these ice packs with your mouthy, destructive toddler.

Creating your own ice pack out of a few safe items provides peace of mind the next time you open the freezer door.

diy gel ice pack with rubbing alcohol
DIY gel ice pack with rubbing alcohol

Basic vs. Creative Homemade Ice Packs 

Like any good DIY project, you can go from basic to incredibly creative when making your own ice pack.

Making a homemade ice pack can be a quick and simple task checked off your list within just a few minutes using things found in your home. 

Crafting your own ice pack can also include a few more creative steps that will turn your reusable pack into a first-aid hero. Your kids will ask for it when there isn’t a cut or scrape to tend to because it’s just that fun and cute. 

Wondering how to make a homemade ice pack?

Below are 10 easy ways to make your own reusable ice pack to keep stashed in your freezer for those necessary moments. 

10 Ways to Make an Easy Homemade Ice Pack

1. Rubbing alcohol and water 

What you need: 

  • Plastic resealable bag
  • Rubbing alcohol (or isopropyl alcohol)
  • Water 
adding blue food coloring to homemade ice pack
Making a DIY gel ice pack at home! We added a few mix-ins of things we had lying around to make it more exciting.

Steps to take:

  • In the plastic bag, mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water.
  • Seal the bag securely.
  • Gently shake the bag to mix the rubbing alcohol and water.
  • Lay the bag flat in the freezer.

You can add a few drops of food coloring to kick this up a notch. This is a clutch step to take with your little one to make the ice pack their favorite color. 

2. Plastic bag and dish soap

What you need: 

  • Plastic resealable bag
  • Liquid dish soap

Steps to take:

  • Pour your liquid dish soap into a plastic bag and seal tightly. 
  • Be sure there is enough liquid to make a thick layer. 
  • Lay flat and freeze.

This quick creation will be the closest to your own homemade ice gel pack with its gel-like consistency. 

You can experiment here with different-sized plastic bags. Small sandwich bags or large freezer bags are great options. 

Are you running low on dish soap and want to save it for your dishes? Corn syrup will work here, too!

3. Glitter ice pack 

What you need: 

  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1-2 tablespoons glitter (any color or shape will work)
  • 1-quart size Ziploc baggie
glitter ice pack baby foode
Credit: Baby Foode

Steps to take: 

  • Combine all the ingredients in the Ziploc bag. 
  • Shake until well mixed.
  • Lay it flat in the freezer.

Adding one simple ingredient, glitter, will be such a big hit with your little kids. A little glitter can solve just about anything. 

4. Aromatherapy ice pack 

What you need: 

  • A handful of dried herbs (lavender, mint, chamomile, etc.)
  • Essential oil of your choice
  • Water
  • A small, breathable fabric bag
dried herbs for homemade ice pack

Steps to take: 

  • Mix the dried herbs and a few drops of essential oil in a small bowl.
  • Fill the fabric bag with the herb and oil mixture.
  • Tie the bag securely.
  • Spritz the bag with water until damp but not soaking.
  • Place in the freezer.

This cool compress not only provides relief but also uses herbs and oils for a calming experience.

5. Sewn freezer pack 

What you need: 

  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • 2 pieces of fabric (10 ¾” x 6″ each, including ½” for seams)
  • 28 ounces of unpopped popcorn
  • Funnel 

Steps to take: 

  • Place fabric pieces together with the right sides facing each other.
  • Pin or secure with clips.
  • Sew all sides, leaving a 1-inch opening on one short side for adding popcorn.
  • Turn the fabric right side out.
  • Use a funnel to add unpopped popcorn.
  • Carefully sew the remaining 1-inch opening closed.

6. Sponge ice pack 

What you need: 

  • Quart-size plastic resealable bag 
  • Kitchen sponge 

Steps to take: 

  • Wet your clean sponge until it’s damp.
  • Place inside a plastic bag and seal.
  • Freeze.

This DIY ice pack is about as easy as it gets! The cold temperature of the sponge makes this ice pack one of the best ice bags for lunch boxes, too. 

7. Sock and beans 

What you need: 

  • Clean sock
  • Dried beans (any variety)
dried beans bag
Credit: The Kitchn

Steps to take: 

  • Fill the sock with dried beans, leaving some space at the top.
  • Tie a knot at the open end of the sock to secure the beans inside.
  • Place the sock in the freezer.

This simple sock and beans freezer pack is easy to make and provides a flexible solution to mold to your body. This option is a great choice for a gentle face ice pack. 

8. Sock and rice

What you need:

  • Clean sock
  • Uncooked rice 

Steps to take: 

  • Fill the sock with uncooked rice, leaving some space at the top.
  • Tie a knot at the open end of the sock to secure the rice inside.
  • Place the sock in the freezer.

This option is nearly identical to the sock and bean ice pack. Both packs can also easily be used as a cold compress or a warm compress. Just pop them in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds, and viola! 

9. Diaper ice pack 

What you need:

  • Clean, unused diaper
  • Water

Steps to take:

  • Open the clean diaper and lay it flat.
  • Pour water onto the diaper, taking care to cover the entire diaper.
  • Fold the diaper and seal it securely.
  • Place the diaper in the freezer.

I bet you never asked yourself, “I wonder how I can make a homemade ice pack with a diaper?” 

But this one’s so easy, and it’s a great way to use those last few diapers in a pack when your babe is ready to size up.

10. Towel and water ice pack 

What you need: 

  • Clean towel
  • Water 
  • Plastic bag 

Steps to take:

  • Wet the towel with water.
  • Wring out excess water so it’s damp but not dripping.
  • Fold or roll the damp towel.
  • Place the towel in a plastic bag.
  • Seal the bag securely.
  • Put the bag in the freezer.

For this homemade freezer pack, the size of the towel and bag can be whatever you have on hand. A small kitchen towel can easily fit in a gallon-sized bag and won’t take up much space in your freezer. 

This is the best ice pack for neck pain and knee and shoulder wraps because it’s easily moldable. 

Homemade Ice Pack FAQs 

Why should I make my own ice pack at home?

Crafting ice packs at home is budget-friendly. Many of the things you need are common household items. You can kick things up a notch with a vacuum sealer for your plastic bags, but you can keep things simple, too. 

Can I customize homemade ice packs for my kids?

You can customize your ice bags to fit your children’s unique style. You can make the healing process more enjoyable with fun shapes, designs, and add-ins like glitter or pom-poms.

Is making a homemade ice pack eco-friendly?

By following a few easy steps to create your own reusable ice pack at home, you’re making a sustainable choice. Say goodbye to disposable ice packs and teach your kids the importance of an eco-friendly approach.

adding water to ice pack
Making a DIY gel ice pack at home

Are homemade ice packs suitable for first aid?

Yes, ice packs are suitable for first aid. Be prepared for unexpected bumps, bruises, and minor injuries without a last-minute trip to the store. Having a DIY ice pack at hand is a convenient solution for any affected area that needs a little cold therapy and pain relief. 

“Since applying ice to an injury has been shown to reduce pain, it is acceptable to cool an injured part for short periods soon after the injury occurs.”

What Are Ice Packs Made Of? (2023)

Always follow professional medical advice and consult a medical professional for serious injuries. 

What materials do I need for a DIY ice pack?

You can create your own ice pack using materials readily available at home with minimal preparation. It’s an easy and accessible DIY project. Things like ziploc bags, dish soap or rubbing alcohol, and water are all you need for a DIY gel pack. 

DIY gel ice pack

Can homemade ice packs serve multiple purposes?

You bet! These ice packs can be used as a cold pack in your lunch boxes, for headache relief, and for comfort with a fever. Some can even be turned into a homemade heat pack for some heat therapy.

How to Make Homemade Ice Packs 10 Easy Ways

Conclusion

Crafting your own homemade version ice pack is a quick, safe solution your home needs. 

Doing it now means you’re prepared for the next moment your child comes your way, needing a bit of comfort and a cool solution. These simple DIY cold packs will be your go-to remedy for any small injured area.

With readily available materials and an optional dash of creativity, your homemade creation will be ready to bring cool relief to your loved ones. And they’ll last you a long time, which is a win in any mom’s book.


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