How to Make a Gel Ice Pack

Homemade Ice Pack. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Make your own gel ice packs for way less than you can buy them. No special supplies required.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 5 minutes or less

What You Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Two freezer bags

Here's How

  1. Mix together two parts water and one part rubbing alcohol in one of the freezer bags. Seal tightly.
  2. Use the second freezer bag to double bag your mixture, so there are fewer chances of leaks.
  3. Freeze until the rubbing alcohol and water gels. It should get slushy, without freezing solid.
  1. Use your new ice pack in place of store-bought ice packs. They're great for icing injuries, but work just as well keeping food cool in a lunch box or cooler.


  1. Make a variety of sizes to accommodate different uses. Gallon-sized bags make great ice packs for large coolers, and take up little space.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring to the bag before you freeze it, to create a colored ice pack. This will help identify it as a non-food item.
  3. Sew cloth sleeves for your ice packs, so you'll have something between your skin and the ice pack.
  4. These ice packs can be used again and again. Just keep refreezing them until they wear out.
  5. Only ice an injury for 15-20 minutes at a time. Longer could lead to further injury, including frostbite. Learn more about the proper way to ice an injury.

More Things to Try with Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be used to make and do so many things. Whip up a batch of homemade hand sanitizer.

 Then, test out some of these other uses for rubbing alcohol.