Back Ice Pack

When I was in Arizona back in August, my grandfather’s lower back was a little sore and he pulled out this crazy-looking ice pack that strapped around his waist.  I noticed that it was starting to come apart, and no wonder – he’s had it for about 15 years!  Since then, he has really done a number on his back, so I thought that making him a new version of his favorite remedy would make the perfect Christmas gift!  It’s a simple design, but definitely useful for anyone who suffers from a sore back.  Also, it’s filled with feed corn, so you can also pop it in the microwave for some heat therapy… I love a multi-tasker!  So read on for how to make your own back ice pack!


  • 1/2 yd fabric
  • 1/3 yd medium weight interfacing
  • 2 12″ strips of 3/4″ Velcro (1″ would also work)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Feed corn

Measure the waist of your recipient – if you can’t measure it, just give it a good guess; it doesn’t have to be perfect because you’ll add 12″ of Velcro later, giving lots of wiggle room.  The length of each of your straps will be that waist measurement, divided by 2, with an extra inch added; for me, that was 32″ (my Zaidy is ridiculously skinny), divided by 2 to get 16″, and add 1″ to get 17″.  Cut 2 pieces of fabric and 2 pieces of interfacing 10″x13″, and 4 pieces of fabric 4″x(whatever you just calculated).  Following the directions on the interfacing, iron it onto the back of the fabric rectangles.  Press one end of each of the 4″x(calculated) strips in 1/4″.  Then, press each strip in half long-ways, unfold, and press each of the raw sides into the center crease (you know the drill, to make a “strap” that’s 1″ wide).  Line one side of one of the 12″ Velcro pieces up with the turned in end of one of the straps, and stitch in place.  Also, stitch down the sides of the rest of the strap, just to hold it in place.


Two pieces for the corn (with interfacing), and 4 straps

Now it’s time to start assembly.  Start with the two straps with the Velcro hooks.  Place them on the 10″ edge of one of the body pieces, hook side down, about 3/4″ from the top and bottom.  Repeat for the loop sides on the other 10″ side, but make the straps loop side up.  Baste all 4 in place.  That sounds confusing, but check out the photo below to clear it up.


Loop pieces are on the left, loop side up; hook pieces are on the right, hook side down

Now, pin the other 10″x13″ piece right sides together on top, making sure all the straps are contained so they don’t get caught in the seam.  I pinned about 3/4″ from the edge to keep it all under control.  Then sew around the edge with 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving an opening about 4″-5″ for turning.


Pinned and ready to sew! The pins sticking out on the left are to remind me to stop – otherwise I end up closing it all up!

Turn right side out.  Stitch two lines across the middle of the ice pack, each 3″ from the 13″ (now 12″) edge, beginning and ending 2″ from the 10″ (now 9″) edges.  Again, look at the photo below to clear up my wording!  Then fill with corn, and stitch the opening shut.


Those tubes help keep the corn from all sagging at the bottom. It also keeps you from having to use 10 lbs of corn, making the ice pack too heavy!

Unfortunately, the feed corn (whole-kernel type) usually comes in gigantic bags – the minimum I could buy at my local feed store was 50 lbs!  The good new is that it’s cheap… I think I paid $8 for all that.  So use the rest to make some corn hole bags or bean bags.  Or you can make some fun animal ice packs for the kids!  And if you just don’t feel like dealing with it, feed corn makes good bird feed too 🙂