Category: DIY

DIY Trash Can for Your Car

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I promise you my aunt is cooler than yours.

When she was going through cosmetology school she liked to experiment on me sometimes. Remember the infamous 90’s knots? Or Scary Spice Horns? I’m pretty sure we tried that one time. 

But actually, of all the people on the planet, if I could fly her out here from Reno every time I needed a haircut/color, I totally would. She’s that good.

Apart from being incredibly talented in making you look like a million bucks, she’s also got a knack for decorating and crafting. In fact, she told me about this little craft project of hers and I knew I had to share it. 

She watches her two grandkids which are roughly the same ages as my kids. Apparently, I’m not the only woman in the world who struggles with keeping her car not looking like a trash bin. She said she got fed up with it one day and this little idea came to her.

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It’s genius. My kids love it. And just like she prophesied, they fight over who gets to use it. I just leave it on the back seat in the middle, between their carseats.

Another plus is that you can use it for wet and dry garbage. It’s easy to rinse out and I love that it has a little lid which fits perfectly. Since I hate the smell of fast food wrappers or half eaten hamburgers when we’re traveling, the lid helps minimize those odors. Score! If you have to change a dirty diaper and there’s no trash bin in sight, no problem. Stick it in here with the lid on (possibly put it in the trunk )

It’s a cinch to make. Lilliana and I made it in like 15 minutes. She passed me the washi tape while I stuck it on. Super simple!

Here’s what you need:

Step 1: Open

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Get your clean, metal can. We get these from our local food storage place with things like flour, sugar, beans, oats, rice, etc. Any big metal can would do.

Then you open it with a smooth edge can opener. This makes for a perfectly fit lid for your trash can. These can openers cut from the side instead of through the top. They are great to avoid sharp edges and allows you to take the top of the can off without contaminating anything inside. They’re a great little tool to have.

Step 2: Decorate

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Now you get to decorate. Use whatever kind of tape you like. My aunt used some really cute duct tape and different kinds of washi tape. She said it was easier for her to start at the bottom and the top and work your way in towards the middle. Since my washi tapes were all the same width I started at the top and went down. Either way, just try not to overlap the tape. It tends to lift if you do. And don’t wrap any tape around the opening of your can or the edge of your lid. You want the metal to touch metal when you put the lid on in order for it to be a secure fit. If your tape drapes over the sides, just trim it with some scissors.

Step 3: Handle

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You can rough up the tape a little in the middle of the lid and hot glue your drawer pull on to use as a handle. Roughing up the tape helps it stick. Mine still keeps falling off every time I drop the lid so I’m thinking about drilling a small hole and using the screw that went with the drawer pull to secure it on there. 

Guys, that’s it. No more steps. You’re done. 

Isn’t it fun?! And believe me, your car will stay cleaner. I just empty the little thing every couple of days and it’s awesome not to have to take armfuls of garbage to the trash bin. 

Big thanks to my aunt for sharing her artistic and creative abilities with us. Love you Aunt Artie!

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What is your biggest struggle when it comes to keeping your car clean?

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DIY Wood Sign

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Every couple of years we get a crazy hair in our family and decide that we’re going to do all homemade gifts. Originally it was because we were all broke and thought homemade gifts would be more affordable. I quickly realized that first year that homemade gifts are not necessarily less expensive and require a whole lot of extra time! However, I made these last year and pulled it off for only a couple dollars each.

You can make them any size, shape, color you want and with whatever quote or saying you want. It’s a super versatile idea and I’m going to show you the basics. So if you’re not a huge fan of what my entryway sign says or the shape or color, you can easily customize it.

Also, I didn’t fully realize how many steps were actually involved and I want to reassure you that more tutorials are in the making for the basic techniques. In the meantime, I will provide some helpful links.

The first thing you need is a plan. Figure out where you want to put the sign if it’s for yourself and decide on the dimensions you want. We’re going to be using 1×4 lumber, which is actually about .75×3.5 (I still can’t figure out why they don’t just cut them true to size). So the width of the sign is whatever you want to make it and the height will be the number of boards high that you want. You can make a short sign with one board or taller with two, three, four, or however many you want. My sign is 3 feet (36 inches) wide and 3 boards tall.

You also need something to attach the boards to. I used a very small piece of trim and cut three pieces at 10 inches long to screw the boards into. You could just as easily use leftover pieces of 1×4’s but the smaller trim helped the sign sit more flush with the wall.

You will need some kind of saw to cut the boards unless you have really nice Home Depot workers to do it for you. I didn’t have that but I did have a dark and handsome man living here in my house who took care of it for me 🙂

Then you need to know your color scheme and the style you’re going for. I love the farmhouse, vintage kind of look and so I used three colors. You can just as easily, or probably easier, use just one color or just wood stain. 

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Lastly, you need some words. I spent a long time coming up with the words I wanted in my entryway. I decided on this quote from LDS Church President Harold B. Lee because I thought it was a great reminder to me everyday that I walk in my house what is most important.

Ok, now that you have a plan, let’s get started!

What You Will Need

Materials

  • 1×4 lumber (cut to meet your dimensions)
  • small pieces of trim for backing
  • screws (1 inch)
  • sandpaper (100-150 grit)
  • stain, chalk paint or acrylic paint (background and text color)
  • finishing wax or some kind of finishing varnish
  • D Hooks (or whatever hanging hardware you can find)

Tools

  • saw to cut lumber
  • drill
  • 2 regular paint brushes
  • small paint brush for writing
  • printer and paper
  • chalk
  • pen

Steps

1. Cut and sand wood

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Simple as that. Once your boards are cut according to your dimensions, just sand the edges to get rid of any rough spots. If you’re going to stain your wood, do that before assembling. I usually stain my wood a darker color even if I’m going to paint over it. The dark color pops through the sanding in the finished product and makes it look older.

 2. Assemble

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Decide which side of each board you want to be the front and order them the way that looks best. Beware of eyes and rough spots and try to keep the middle of the sign as uniform as possible to make it easier to paint the words on. Then flip them over and screw the trim onto the backs of the boards with a screw in each board.

If the backing is very thin you will want to drill small holes before you screw into them so the wood doesn’t split. Since my sign was fairly wide, I used 3 pieces of backing.

3. Paint

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You can use chalk paint or acrylic paint for this step. Here is the recipe I use for homemade chalk paint.

I painted this first color (driftwood grey from Glidden) with a really crappy, old brush and did it very lightly so I could still see the stain coming through. You can wait for it to dry in between coats but I’m not usually patient enough and I don’t mind the look from doing one color on top of another.

A word about chalk paint and dry times. If you’re trying to get good coverage it is essential that you wait at least a couple of hours between coats. If you’re going for a rougher look like me, chalk paint dries to the touch within a few minutes so it’s ok to layer without waiting for it to completely dry in between.

I layered on a second color (blue jay from Glidden) and then a last coat of white (pebble white from Glidden) with the same technique. Then I roughed it up with 150 grit sandpaper.

5. Print Words

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I am so glad there are super smart people out there who figure out genius hacks and then post them all over the internet for me to easily locate and implement. I did not come up with this idea but saw it on several different blog posts.

You can create your words in Microsoft Word or any other word processor. That is the easiest, most straight forward way. I am quite attached to this font on Picmonkey so I designed my words on there and then opened it in a Word file to print it. Here is a post about designing in Picmonkey (which is free) and here is a post about printing large images in Microsoft Word.

Either way, you’ll need to create your words, size them appropriately, and print them out. You are likely going to use several pages. Just put the puzzle together with tape until you have your saying put back together. 

6. Transfer Words

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In order to transfer the words onto your wood, you take your chalk and scribble all over the back of your words.  

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Then you tape it onto your board. Next, you take a ballpoint pen and meticulously trace each letter.

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When you take it off, you’ll see the outline of the words! It’s like magic 

PaintLettersE1Now I’m going to be honest and tell you this next part is the most difficult but it’s totally doable and just requires some patience and tenacity. You don’t need to be artistic or crafty, just patient. You’re going to use a small paint brush to fill in the space inside your chalk words. Go slowly and smoothly, bending at your wrist, to follow the lines and fill in the space. You’ll probably need two coats so let it dry a couple of hours in between.

It certainly doesn’t have to be perfect and not all the letters will be exactly the same. Guess what, that’s what makes it homemade  

I roughed my letters up a little bit with sandpaper after they were dry.

7. Finish

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Since I used chalk paint I used a finishing wax and a yucky old chip brush to buff in the wax and create a nice finish. Chalk paint is super porous and so a wax does an excellent job at filling in the pores and creating a smooth, lasting finish. It will harden over time and keep your paint from chipping. 

It’s super easy to do, just remember to only use a tiny, tiny bit. I barely dip my brush in the wax until there’s a very small amount on the bristles and rub it in with circular motions. That’s it! You can also buff it to give it a shine but I always skip that step since I like a matte finish.

8. Hardware

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You can use whatever hardware you have on hand or can find at the store. I used a wire hanging kit and it worked great. I’m not going to lie, hanging things on walls is not my strong point. There may or may not be several holes behind this sign now 

HangingE1I love being able to make things for my house. It’s kind of a fun hobby and then I get to be proud when someone says, “Oh that’s cute! Where did you get it?”

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What saying are you going to use on your sign?

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10 Minute Homemade Laundry Soap

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If I told you that you could wash all your laundry in a month for only a quarter and about 10 minutes of your time, would it be worth it to you? A batch of this stuff takes roughly 10 minutes to make and will last anywhere from 3-8 months depending on how much you use per load and how many loads you do. An entire batch (448 oz.) costs about $1.83. I assure you, it is worth your time.

Before I start in on this amazing stuff (of which you will find I am SUPER passionate about) let me address the upfront concerns that I, and probably you, have had about laundry soap you make yourself.

1. Do your clothes smell good?

I have a slight obsession with pleasant smells. I always want my house, my linens, and my clothes to smell good and I have gone to great lengths to accomplish this. For my laundry, I used to spend inordinate amounts of money on not only detergent but add on top of that every single product on the shelves to make my clothes smell like my Nammie’s (grandma’s) used to. It was totally possible for me to spend over $50 a month on laundry products. Yikes! To answer this question, my clothes smell no different to me. My husband trains horses so you can only imagine how not-pleasant-smelling his work clothes are. However, even when I wash them with my own laundry soap, they don’t smell any worse or any better to me than with Tide or Gain or any other brand name laundry soap. Now, I do use fabric softener (although vinegar works just fine too) and I sometimes use the Downy Beads to give it a boost but I would have done that with regular laundry soap anyway. The difference now is that I can buy those kinds of products with zero guilt since I’m saving a truckload on the soap itself. As far as my Nammie’s laundry smell? Hanging my clothes outside has proven to be the answer. Totally free, totally easy, and smells glorious in my book!

2. Do your clothes get clean?

I have a somewhat messy 4-year-old and a ridiculously messy 2-year-old and I can tell you that stains are completely commonplace at our house. I use a regular stain remover like Spray and Wash or sometimes Clorox 2 but as far as the laundry soap goes, not any different than any other I have tried. Our clothes are clean but stains are still the bain of my existence. I have found that getting stains out has more to do with how soon you wash the clothes than what kinds of products you use.

3. Is it safe on HE machines?

I have an HE machine and so does my mother who also uses this recipe. We have been making our own laundry soap for at least 3 years and have had no problems to date. If you google “homemade laundry soap he machine” you will find mostly positive comments and just about every homemade laundry soap I have seen uses almost the exact same ingredients with very similar measurements. The HE machines can’t handle a lot of suds but this is supposed to be a low-suds detergent. I have also heard that liquid laundry soap is almost always better than powdered forms on HE machines. If you’re really concerned check your owners manual or call the manufacturer.

4. Are the ingredients safe?

If you were to research the ingredients in homemade laundry soap as opposed to store-bought laundry soap, you would probably find that homemade is almost always safer than store-bought. Not that I would drink this stuff, but I feel totally comfortable with the mostly natural ingredients. I have very sensitive skin and I haven’t seen any problems in that regard with this laundry detergent. But as always, do your own research if you’re still concerned.

5. How long does it take to make?

Ok are you ready to have your mind blown? This was another big hangup of mine and why it took me so long to catch onto the DIY laundry soap train. I watched my sister make laundry soap one time, grating the soap by hand and trying to pour this globby mess out of a bottle into her machine. I have experimented a little with this recipe and have found some serious shortcuts and tricks to make this as painless as possible. Most days that I make this (which I only make it about once every few months) it takes me all of 10 active minutes, if that. It takes a while to let it cool but since that doesn’t require my attention, I don’t count it. You may need once a year an extra 15 minutes or so to grate the soap and measure it out into baggies, which is what I do, but it saves you loads of time down the road. Also, a food processor and immersion blender make this job super easy and incredibly quick. You can make it without these but in my book, it wouldn’t be worth the time investment. I bought both my food processor and immersion blender at different yard sales for about the price of a month of store-bought detergent.

Let’s Get Started

Are you ready to get started?! You will need the following ingredients:
Ingredients2

  1. Fels Naptha Soap Bar
  2. Borax
  3. Super Washing Soda

All of which can be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store, probably on the bottom shelf. I have included links to both Amazon and Walmart (I used the link where I found it the cheapest) but quite frankly, I was amazed at how expensive these are online. I can buy each ingredient for under $5 (and the fels naptha for less than $2) at my local grocery store.

For tools you will need:

  1. Large pot
  2. 4 or 5 gallon bucket
  3. Food processor or hand grater
  4. Immersion blender or large whisk
  5. 4 one gallon containers (I use old laundry soap containers)
  6. Kitchen scale (optional)
  7. Small plastic baggies

Step One:

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I do this step once every year or two usually. I buy 4 bars of fels naptha soap and grate them all in a food processor. Use the finest grate you have and if there are any large chunks, mince them up with a knife. The chunks will not dissolve unless they are finely grated or minced. Then I use a kitchen scale to measure out 2/3 of a bar. I have already done the math for you so don’t let it be more complicated than it is. One fels naptha bar weighs about 5.7 oz. so 2/3 of that is about 3.8 oz. I separate each batch of grated fels naptha bar by weighing out 3.8 oz and putting it in a small baggie. Four bars will yield 6 batches, which is enough for at least a year or more. Doing this ahead of time will save you the largest chunk of work and time.

Step Two:

When you’re ready to make your laundry soap, heat up 8 cups of water (not to boiling but obviously hot) and pour in one bag (2/3 of a bar) of grated fels naptha soap. Stir or mix with an immersion blender until dissolved.

Step Three:

Pour in 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of super washing soda. Stir or mix with an immersion blender until dissolved.

*Note: Try not to allow your water to boil or it will start to suds up with the soap in it. It just needs to be hot enough to allow the mixture to dissolve.

Step Four:

Fill your 5 gallon bucket with 3 gallons (48 cups) of hot water from the tap. I actually drew a line with a permanent marker on my bucket so I wouldn’t have to measure 3 gallons every time. Empty the contents of your pot into the bucket. Mix with an immersion blender or large whisk until mixture seems properly diluted in the water. Let sit until mixture comes to room temperature, preferably overnight.

Step Five:

This is what the soap will look like after cooling to room temperature. There are several inches of congealed soap sitting on top. You can use your hands to break it up or just start mixing again with the immersion blender.
CongealedThis is what it looks like after a couple minutes of mixing.
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Mix, mix, mix! The more often you mix the detergent while in the 5 gallon bucket, the less you’ll need to shake it in the container to keep it from congealing. I usually mix it with the immersion blender once after adding the mixture to the bucket, again after it starts congealing and before I go to bed, and once in the morning before I start to empty the mixture into my detergent containers. That seems to be the trick and I rarely need to shake my container afterwards.

Step Six:

Fill your laundry detergent containers with the soap. I use old Gain containers and fill them with a ladle and a funnel. Each container should only be about 3/4 full. This allows for room in the container should you need to shake the detergent a little in case it congeals.

I made you a little label that you can print out on waterproof sticker paper and stick on your containers. These labels look like they would work but I actually ordered and used these ones. It helps to have the recipe on the back so you don’t have to look it up every time you go to make it. 

Download (PDF, 847KB)

And there you have it…the easiest laundry soap and $30 of savings per month. That’s almost $400 a year! What could you do with that extra money? I hope you do something fun with it…tell your husband that you worked hard to make it and so that’s your extra money

 

10 Minute Homemade Laundry Detergent
Super easy and quick DIY laundry detergent to help you save loads of money.
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Ingredients
  1. Water
  2. 2/3 Fels Naptha Bar (3.8 oz) grated
  3. 1 cup Borax
  4. 1 cup Super Washing Soda
Instructions
  1. Heat (just under boiling) 8 cups water in stockpot and add grated fels naptha bar. Stir until soap dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and add borax and super washing soda. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Fill 5 gallon bucket with 3 gallons of hot water. Add soap mixture and blend with immersion blender until completely dissolved (about 2 minutes).
  4. Allow detergent to cool to room temperature or overnight. Blend with immersion blender two more times, allowing to sit for several hours in between to avoid congealing.
  5. Empty detergent into containers.
  6. Use 1/4-1/2 cup per load of laundry.
Adapted from Life at Cobble Hill Farm Blog
Count the Happies http://countthehappies.com/

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Let me know if you try this and any questions or concerns you have. I’ll do my best to answer them! Happy Laundry Day 🙂

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