Beat the Heat: Make A Cool Tie!

Make a Cool Tie

Beat summer's heat with this sew-simple craft project: a cool tie!

This bright cotton neckerchief has a summer secret: a filling of water-absorbing polymer granules from the garden center.

Soaked in water, the cool tie's polymer granules absorb more than 200% their weight in water. Tied around the neck or worn as a headband, a cool tie provides all-day cool relief through evaporation.

A cool tie is simple to sew, requiring only a straight-stitch sewing machine. It makes a great gift for gardeners! Printable Cool Tie gift tags adds a splashy note to your hot-weather gift.


  • 1/4 yard 45-inch wide lightweight 100% cotton fabric
  • 2 teaspoons Watersorb-brand polymer granules
    (to order Watersorb-brand polymer granules, and for more information about making cool ties, visit's Cool Ties page)
  • thread to match
  • sewing machine
  • pins
  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • bamboo or plastic point turner
  • copy of gift tag


crafting a cool tie neck cooler

  1. Cut cut a 7"-by-45" rectangle from fabric.

    For simplest cutting, fold fabric crosswise (selvedge to selvedge) and use a rotary cutter for a straight cut.

  2. Fold fabric strip in half lengthwise, right sides together.

    To form pointed end, cut a 45-degree triangle from each folded end. Cut back from the fold toward the selvedges.

  3. Mark center opening

  4. Locate the lengthwise center of the folded strip.

    Place 2 pins 1 1/2 inches on each side of the center of the strip.

    The pins mark the area to be left open to reverse the tie.

    Sew from point to center on each side, with a 5/8th inch seam allowance. Leave the area between the pins open.

  5. Trim seam allowances

  6. Using scissors, carefully notch seam allowance next to the tie point.

    Use a plastic or bamboo point turner to turn the tie inside out through the center opening. Press.

  7. stitch close and finish

  8. Measure 10 inches up from each pointed end, and mark location with a pin.

    On each side, sew directly across the tie from end to end, backstitching at the beginning and end of the stitching line. This stitching creates a pocket for the garden polymer granules.

  9. Add 2 teaspoons watersorb granules

    Insert 2 teaspoons Watersorb-brand polymer granules into center of the tie through the opening in the seam.

    (Yes, that is correct: only 2 teaspoons. The polymer granules swell nearly 200 times their size, and will completely fill the tie when wet. One pound of polymer granules will make more than 55 cool ties!)

  10. Stitching close to the folded edges, sew the opening closed.

    For gifts, attach a copy of free printable Cool Tie gift tag.

  11. To use, soak cool ties in water for about 45 minutes.

    After the granules have fully expanded, pat the tie gently with a towel to remove excess water.

    Tie around neck or head for cool relief!

Safety Note: According to Ted Douglas, Watersorb/Polymers, Inc., polymer granules used to construct cool ties are non-toxic and meet EPA standards for potable drinking water.

While non-toxic, dust from polymer granules may lead to irritation if inhaled. Mr. Douglas recommends wearing a dust mask while filling cool ties.

Printable Cool Tie Gift Tags

Cool Tie Gift Tag

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