If you have kids in sports, or if you play sports yourself, chances are that at some point, someone in your family needs an ice pack, either for an injury or just for sore muscles. You can buy gel ice packs that you can keep in the freezer for such times, but I find those always seem to eventually go missing, and then you have to remember to buy more for the next time you need it. That task seems to inevitably get forgotten and then you’re left ice-pack-less the next time you need one! These DIY ice packs are honestly just so much easier, and of course, much cheaper too!
Here’s how you make them!
First get yourself a big ziplock bag. Or a small one if you want to make a teeny ice pack!
Place the ziplock bag inside a glass measuring cup to make it easier to fill. Fold the top of the bag down over the outer rim of the measuring cup.
Next add 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. I used a measuring spoon to make sure that I got the exact right amount of salt so my ice pack would turn out the right consistency once frozen. (P.S. this is a fun little science experiment to do with kids to show how salt water doesn’t freeze!)
If you’re keeping track, that’s 1 cup of water to 1 tablespoon of salt. Change the recipe accordingly for larger or smaller sizes.
Next, close your bag up! You can double bag it if you like, but I find that if I just make sure it stays standing up in the freezer while it’s being frozen for the first time it’s just fine. Once it’s frozen, it can’t leak anyway!
Stick the bag in the freezer and let it freeze! After about an hour it will be a bit slushy and cold enough to be an effective ice pack if you need it right away.
It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the ice pack will be slushy but still pretty liquidy at this point, so make sure you’ve got it closed really well if you use it while it’s still in this state.
If you leave it for a few more hours, it will freeze further, well as far frozen as it can get, and will be kind of like a bag of snow. It’s the perfect ice pack!
Definitely take 5 minutes and make up a couple of these to have on hand so you aren’t stuck handing your kid one of those hard lunch box ice packs, or the frozen bag of peas that you were going to have for dinner. 🙂
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.