Make Your Own Shapeable Ice Pack

My youngest child re-injured his previously dislocated knee cap a couple of days ago attempting to do 6 backflips in a row on a trampoline!
“Mother Of The Year” here forgot to have him wear his knee brace for his “Big Air” tumbling class. (A professional snowboarder comes in and teaches the boys how to do big air tricks.  They LOVE it! But don’t call it “tumbling” to their face…they will deny having anything to do with it!)  ;-)
Anyhoo……..we have been doing the R.I.C.E. thing our doctored recommended (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and it occurred to me that there had to be a better way to do the icing part than with a big, bag of hard chunks of ice from an ice maker.

Guess what? There is! Shocking huh? My friend Google and I came up with dozens of “recipes” for SHAPEABLE ice packs…but they all boil down to about the same thing…..

To make your own shapeable ice pack: 
Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water in a ziploc bag and put in the freezer. 
(The alcohol will prevent the water from freezing completely.)
When it’s frozen, wrap with a towel or cloth of some sort and apply.

That’s it!  Works like a charm!   Our “big air acrobat” seems to be improving nicely.

For those who like to take things to the NEXT LEVEL….you can even whip up a little pillowcase-style flannel cover for your ice pack like this one here at DisDressed. Cute huh?  I doubt my son would go for the polka dots though….wonder if I can find any XBox flannel???

OR….you can even make several different sizes (for different sized boo-boos) and colors like I found at My Country Haven.

Tip:  If the mixture freezes too hard, just add a little more alcohol.  If it’s too slushy, add a little more water.

Now you’re ready for life’s inevitable bumps and bruises!

And that’s today’s….


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    • says

      KK– good ol’ regular blue dawn works great for those! That’s what I use. I put about 1/2 C-3/4 C of regular strength blue dawn in a heavy duty baggie (I also have a few that I have done with my vacuum sealer.) it keeps everything nice and cold! I put one in my homemade insulated lunch bag and it keeps everything chilled all day long!

    • Skinner says

      Just put dish washing liquid in a ziploc bag and freeze. I use a food vacuum sealer to keep foods fresh and I put the dish detergent in there, got as much air out as possible then put in freezer. Holds the cold quite well but will freeze solid

  1. Mindy says

    This is a wonderful idea and you could make different covers for them too. How about camo print flannel (comes in regular camo/pink camo/blue camo) or many NFL/NBA/NCAA/NHL teams have fabric with the team logo/mascot.

  2. Karen says

    Just found this post via Pinterest…and I LOVE it! Thanks for this great tip!!

    Question – do you have a tutorial for the icepack holder? Some of us are sewing challenged and need step-by-step instructions. :-)

  3. Wendy says

    I get migraines. I use the alcohol and water mixture ice packs to sooth the throbbing. I used my vacuum sealer and reused milk bags (from Canada, eh) to seal and make the ice packs, then I made pillow cases for them and attached elastic to make them into headbands so they can stay on my head while I go about my day. To make the pillow case I used the width of the ice pack plus an extra 1/2 inch (for 1/4 inch seams on each side), and then the height of the pillow x3. I fold the fabric like a letter that is folded into 3 and then sew at each of the sides. Some pillow shams and fancy pillow cases are done this way so that there will be an overlapped flap on the back side of the pillow. If you want to put some elastic or fabric ties, you can pin them inside the ‘letter’ before you fold it; the placement should be halfway down each of the sides where you will stitch the folds together. You could add the elastic by hand after you sew the pillow case together and turn it right side out. The fact that these ice packs are flexible is the key; they form to the shape of my head and stay where I need them. The cuff from a clean old sock also makes a great case for these.

  4. says

    Pintrest find! LOVE it. Just finished making these with my two kids (6 and 4 yrs) We made two for each kid. One snack bag size, and one sandwich bag size. I double bagged mine, just in case.

    We also added color. My daughter choose red, just one little drop and it’s a dark pink. Then she did red and blue for a purple one. My son went simple with blue for one and green the other.

    I’m going to do a blog post on this later, and I’ll be sure to link you! Thanks for the ideas. Thinking about sewing little cases for them. And the old sock might work great for the snack sized ones!


  5. Caitlin says

    I saw these on Pinterest and thought it sounded like a great idea since I’m constantly sore or tight somewhere from running/working out. I got back from a run today and after stretching I applied one to my shins and I noticed the bag was leaking a tiny bit but didn’t think anything of it. I got in the shower after icing and stretching a bit more and the second the hot water hit my skin it started burning. I dealt with it, but by the end of the shower the skin on the back of my calves, where I had applied the ice bag, was completely swollen and I now have a chemical burn. So, if you’re going to make and use these: make sure you double bag or use a bag that is NOT going to leak, and after using don’t jump in a hot shower. My only guess is the combination of the alcohol on my skin and the hot water ’caused the burn. I won’t be using these again.

  6. says

    This is amazing! Thank you Pinterest :) And thank you so much for this idea…I sometimes have muscle pain after I exercise but using hard ice packs is sometimes more painful than helpful, and I love that it’s possible to make these at home.

  7. Kate says

    I am also a PT and use the same 1:2 ratio as Nancy and double bag – a single always leaks. The double layer of plastic is enough skin protection for most adults. You do want it almost unbearably cold to be beneficial. Kids may need a THIN layer of fabric. Ice for 20 minutes at a time and then referee for an hour before reapplying as needed.

  8. Marni says

    I tried this recently after dealing severe bi-lateral carpal tunnel syndrome for months and had my first surgery 2 weeks ago. These are great! easy to mold around the wrist and hand. I CANNOT sew. So the little cover is not an option for me but wrapping them in flour sack towels work just fine!

  9. says

    I just created a cover for my ice pack I made using your awesome instructions! I will post it on Oct. 24th if you’d like to check it out. I’ve also linked back to your post so people can learn how to make the ice pack itself. Thanks! I hope we won’t need to test it out soon, but with three roudy boys and a clumsy toddler, I’m sure we’ll be pulling it out of the freezer soon enough!

  10. Myndi says

    Great minds think alike! I was just sitting here with a bag of ice on my neck and remembered seeing the moldable ice pack on Pinterest and thought to myself “I should make some kind of cover for my moldable ice pack so I don’t have to try to hold the fabric between my skin and ice pack.” Thank you for the alcohol:water ratio!

  11. Brenda says

    My daughter and I had to make these, she uses ice packs all the time, she thought these were awesome, because we could make whatever colors we wanted. We made one that is brownish, mixed lime green and purple, kinda looks like cola in the bag. The other one is purple.
    I think we are going to make several for our local gymnastics center, the kids usually forget to return the ice packs they borrow from the gym. I think the gym would appreciate a few that are inexpensive, but look cool. Merry Christmas to the gym.

  12. Jane says

    Hi! I’ve used this recipe myself and I think its wonderful. I have double bagged mine with name brand zip bags but have still had some issues with mild leaking. If anyone knows of a solution, please let me know. Overall its a great and inexpensive ice pack. Alcohol seems to be the most practical… it seems like a waste to use dish soap or corn syrup… unless they are less likely to leak I guess. Thanks for another great idea Jill!!

  13. Deana says

    I have made the ice packs but found that the Ziploc bags leak, mostly at the bottom seam. I have had much better luck placing the alcohol water mixture in a Seal-A-Meal bag. Place Vacuum packer on liquid setting. The plastic is much stronger and bag seals better.

  14. rebekah says

    Thank you for sharing. I LOVE that you allow your son to be active, even if a few bumps and bruises are possible. So many parents are terrified to let their children engage in these kinds of activities. KUDOS to you!! xox

    • Alex says

      Ice Down- yet you bothered to research how to make them?

      Thanks for the pictures! I love the bag options you are all trying. I’m going to start with the double ziploc, because that’s what I currently own.

  15. Rose says

    These are great! I use a 2.5:1 water to 70% rubbing alcohol ratio. Cheap and easy to replace… Because eventually they spring a leak even with careful use. That’s why I skip the food coloring. When I first did this a few years ago at my PT’s suggestion, I had a bag pop and had a lovely blie stain on my old couch and carpet as a result.

    Also, I suggest labeling the ice packs as poison! I had a friend who thought I was making slushy cocktail mixes and tried it with a spoon! She knew better to spit it out, but I could see a child thinking they might be giant freeze pops or something. Another reason to forego food coloring– it doesn’t look appetizing.


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