Monthly Archives: February 2012

D.I.Y. Homemade Candles

candle white

Another item I often see going to waste is candle wax.  When a candle (particularly a pillar) burns down, there is usually a good amount of wax leftover that gets tossed into the trash.  At my previous place of employment, they burned large pillar candles.  The round ones were about the size of a basketball.  But even with 3 wicks, the flame would only burn a relatively small hole straight down, leaving copious amounts of wax on the sides to go unused…wasted.

What could one do about this?  Make candles of course!  Our local Michaels craft store just happened to be going out of business at that time and allowed me to grab a few candle making supplies for extra cheap.

You will need:

  • wax
  • wicks
  • glue gun or tape
  • wick centering tool (chopsticks or two pencils works too)
  • melting pot (do not use your good cook ware!)
  • stockpot (go to the dollar store for a cheapy or look on Freecycle!)
  • candle mold or candle container (old glassware perhaps)
  • dye (optional)
  • scent (optional)
  • Thermometer (helpful but not necessary)
STEPS:
  1. Break the wax down as small as possible.  Cut it, smash it, drop it, hammer it…but do it outside because it will make a big mess trust me!  You can skip this step but the melt time will take longer.
  2. Put the wax into the melting pot
  3. Put the melting pot into a stockpot that already has about 2-3 inches of water in it.
  4. Heat on med-low until the wax is completely melted, stirring occasionally to break up the large chunks.  Ideally you are looking for at least 170 degrees or more to insure that all the used wax, scent and oil is melted together.  Do not go much over 200 or you could risk something bad happening!
  5. At this time you could add the coloring if you wish.  Stir to combine.  We like ours clean and white.
  6. Take the melting pot off the heat and allow it to cool.  While it is cooling, you want to add the scent at the final moments before you pour the wax into the mold.  Ideally a lower temperature around 130 degrees.
  7. While the wax cools, glue or tape a wick to the bottom of your container.
  8. After the wax has properly cooled, pour slowly and steadily into your container, trying not to create a lot of bubbles.  Fill to within a half inch of the rim of you container.
  9. Place wick in the centering tool.  Or tape two pencils together with the wick in between them.  Carefully adjusting it so that the wick looks fairly straight.
  10. Allow to cool overnight for at least 24 hours.
  11. Burn and enjoy!
Hmmm, I left out one critical detail…

…one person drinks wine while the other does ALL the work!
! We also sell candles !
More details to come in a future post.  But if you want more info now, just drop us a note and we would be happy to fill you in with all the fine details.
*We do not assume any responsibility for your actions.  Different types of wax, scents, wicks and coloring have different and variable flash points.  Please do your research to learn about the possible dangers of making and burning candles at home.  Not appropriate for kids.  Please do not let your candle burn unattended or burn for longer than 3 hrs at a time.   Please be smart and practice safety first*
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DIY laundry soap

In our quest to become greener and thriftier, we started making our own laundry detergent at home.

laundry detergent

The essential tools.

It is a pretty simple thing to do and will save you a boatload of money.  Now, I haven’t done all the math to show exactly how much it costs, how many loads you can do, how long it normally lasts us, cost per load etc.  But I can tell you that all the ingredients listed in this picture were under $10.  The price for borax has since shot up, but you will get about 10-15 gallons of detergent out of each box.

The first batch we ever made lasted us at 6 months, the next batch lasted closer to a year.  We started out using way more than we needed!  Some people claim to add 5 drops of essential oil to their bucket for some smell good clothing.  I used to be “Tide” obsessed.  Nothing else would do when it came to washing my clothes.  Now, I can’t tell a difference.  But I can tell a huge difference in the $$$ savings per year.

What you will need:

5 Gallon bucket (check Freecycle.com = $0)

2 cups Borax

2 cups Washing Soda (not to be mistaken with baking soda)

1 Bar of Soap (preferably natural ivory soap)

Box Grater

Cooking Pot

2 Quarts Water

Let’s Begin:

Bring water to boil in pot.

melted soap

melting the soap

While you are waiting, finely grate the entire bar of soap the add it to the water.  Stir until the soap is melted.

Add the water mixture to the bucket as well as the Borax and Washing Soda.  Stir to combine.

Add about 3 gallons of hot water, stirring again.

laundry detergent

Pop a lid on it and that’s it!

In the end you, will have a thick, gel-like substance that will need to be shaken or stirred before you scoop it out and into the washer.  Use 1/4 cup of detergent per load of laundry.  Also can be used as a pre-treater for tough stains.

For about 20 minutes worth of time and a few bucks, you have at least half a years worth of detergent for a 2 person household.  Now kick back and relax while your significant other does “your dirty undies Dude… the whites!”