Monday, July 9, 2012

DIY knee ice packs

Since I have been instructed to ice my knees five times a day I have to keep masses of ice packs in my freezer. I also needed some to take to work with me, and here is how I made them. They have little velcro straps to hold them on my knees (or ankles or whatever) and polar fleece covers, but you don't have to do all that fancy stuff if you don't want. Pardon my photos, they suck and they know it.

What you need:
-water (duh)
-rubbing alcohol
-gallon-size freezer bags with zippy tops (2) make sure they don't have those slider things on them, and are just plain zippy bags.
-food color (optional)

If you are using food coloring (I like it so that it's easy to tell what is in the bags) put two drops in one of the zippy bags. Then pour in your water and alcohol. The standard ratio is three parts water to 1 part alcohol, but I find that to be too squishy and liquidy for my taste. The more alcohol you use the squishier it will be. For this one I used 3/4 cup alcohol and 3 1/4 cups of water. Adjust to your own preference (you just want four cups total of liquid when you are done)
Squeeze out as much of the air as you can and zip the baggy closed. I like to write on the bag with a sharpie so I know exactly how much of each ingredient I put in the bag, for future reference.

Fold the bag in half. You can put some tape on the edges to hold it together if you want to be fancy about it.

Then stick the whole deal inside the second zippy bag and fold (and tape, if you want) that one as well.

Pop it in the freezer overnight and ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom, you are done. POW! Ice pack. You can use it just like this, if you want, just put a towel between the pack and your skin. 

Now, me, I have to haul these puppies to work with me. And use them during the day. I find it nearly impossible to be given free-reign to lay on the floor with ice packs on my knees for an hour a day. So I like to strap the ice packs on with ace bandages. It helps get them in closer contact with my knees, anyway. But ace bandages take up lots of room in my purse, and lots of time when I would rather be doing my job and/or eating my lunch. So I made these little pouches for them. Also, it means you don't need a towel. 

What you need:
-polarfleece fabric, about half a yard (I used this because the thickness is right, it won't unravel in the wash, and it is stretchy)
-18 inches of sew-on velcro (hook side and loop side)

Okay. Cut  a piece of polarfleece about 13 1/2" square, and another about 4" X  25")

Cut your velcro in to 6"strips and pin all of the scratchy (hook) side on one end of the long strap piece. Pin all of the soft (loop) pieces on the opposite end of the strap. Before you sew it down wrap it around your leg to make sure it's all in the right spot.

Then sew the velcro down.

If you want to serge the edges go ahead and do it now. Polarfleece won't unravel too badly, so you can skip this step. I serged mine just for the heck of it. Serge all the way around the strap and down one side of the square.
Then arrange your strap on top of your square, about two inches down from the top edge (parallel to BOTH unserged edges). I put the scratchy side of the velcro facing UP so that it wouldn't be likely to scratch me when I use it later.

Then stitch through both layers in the center of the strap. I went in a sort of zig-zaggy pattern on this one, but you can just sew a square or a few lines, it doesn't matter.

 Okay, you are almost done! Fold the square in half.

Fold up the end of the straps to get them out of the way.

Now stitch together the unserged edges, 1/2 inch from the edge. Leave one end open so you can put the ice pack in later. I just stuck it through my serger so it trimmed off all the extra.
There! It's done! Now you can slip the ice pack in through the open end and pop this baby in the freezer. Did and DONE.


  1. Thanks so much for this. My Ziplock bags are chillin' right now :-)

    1. You're welcome! After I moved to a new place I found that my original bags froze up too solidly in the new fridge. If that happens to you just add a bit more alcohol to the bags.