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How to Make Your Own Cool Gel Pack

Would you like to know how to make your own cool gel pack?

You know, the kind you can freeze and toss into an ice chest or wrap in a towel and put on aching muscles?

It is super easy to make your own!

You will need these supplies:

  • Ziploc bags
  • rubbing alcohol
  • water
  • blue food coloring

1. Fill a Ziploc bag with 1 part rubbing alcohol, 3 parts water. The alcohol will keep the water from freezing solid, so if you want a firmer gel pack, add less alcohol. If you want it squishier, add more.

2. Add 5 drops of blue food coloring. This is a visual reminder that it is not for consumption. I ended up deciding this bag was too full, so I divided this liquid into 2 bags.

3. To ensure these don't leak, seal them inside another zipper bag.

4. THAT'S IT! Seal well and freeze.

See how how my homemade cool gel packs turned out in the video below.

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  1. Christine says:

    brilliant! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Thanks for the great tip. I’m going to try it out.

  3. So glad to see this. I am going to skip the blue dye. I hate when the store bought packs explode in hubby’s lunch pail and I have to deal with blue “gunk” everywhere.

  4. Oh, thank you thank you! I use gel packs for migraine pain, and they are so expensive at the store! I am ready to stock my freezer. Gel packs are much nicer to lay your aching head on than a rock-hard freezer pack.

  5. Bridgett says:

    Awesome! Perfect for baseball games for my cooler and for any boo boo! Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Janet Ma'ly says:

    Where does the “gel” come from? Seems more like half-frozen icy packs. Are they somehow gelatinous?

    • Smockity Frocks says:


      Alright, you’re onto me. I’ve always played fast and loose with the term “gel”. Yes, they are like half-frozen icy packs.

    • If you want a pack that’s more like gel, try using corn syrup. It doesn’t freeze really, just gets good and cold. Super pliable and NOT toxic at all. I use them for my kids in case they happen to bite through them when they use them for lips, etc.

  8. How funny! Jerah’s physical therapist just mentioned this recipe the other day. The only difference was she said 1 part alcohol to 2 parts water.

  9. We have made these and they are great!

  10. You are kidding me! How easy is that!?!?

  11. Excellent! I have also heard(and read about) using Dawn dish detergent for this. Just put it in a bag and freeze until needed -stays flexible too! Not as frugal as water & rubbing alcohol though…

    • I’ve used the blue Dawn (the simplest form of their dish detergent) to make gel-packs too. I view these as being more frugal than other versions, since the dish soap is 100% reusable as dish soap (something I’d purchase anyway), while the water, alcohol and food coloring mix wouldn’t be useful for anything else. These will freeze to a very hard pack, but soon soften to a gel-pack that molds easily to conform to the injury site, and lasts quite a while (depending on the size of bags used).

  12. Wow! I would never think to make my own gel pack. My only concern would be if it opened up and got everywhere.

  13. This is awesome! I love it! I will definitely be trying it. :)

  14. What a great idea! Frugal and something the kids could easily help with. Thanks for the idea and the easy instructions!

  15. Great idea. I just posted your post on our blog and encouraged our readers to subscribe to your site.


  16. This is a real neat idea! I would like to do a post on this on my blog linking to this tutorial on your site:)

  17. Would these work if I added some gelatin (like the Knox brand) to make it more like gel?

    Anyone have any experience with that stuff?

    • Corn syrup also works, and is MUCH more gel-like. It doesn’t really freeze exactly, just gets super cold. Hope that helps!

  18. I was so glad to see this. My chiropractor just suggested today that I buy one of these because I find it hard to stop and apply ice 3x/day! I’m definitely going to try it! Thank you.

  19. I’m using my foodsaver to get ones that won’t “accidentally” open… and I’ve made colors specific to each kid – orange for one, green for the other!

  20. Hello, thanks for sharing this. But, is it REUSABLE?



  1. […] How to Make Your Own Cool Gel Pack – Smockity Frocks Don’t go buy gel packs to keep your picnic cold this summer, just make some of your own! […]