Celebrate Home With These 8 DIY Earth Day Craft Ideas

Earth Day crafts are the perfect time to show kids how easy it is to reuse and recycle so that they can protect the planet. With images of Earth, trees and small handprints joined together in an eco-friendly mission, these crafts are heartwarming, knowing that this newest generation will be the ones to inherit the Earth the way that today's adults leave it. Using items that might otherwise be thrown away in order to create beautiful works of art, these Earth Day DIY craft ideas are a beautiful reminder of a green way of living.

Kids can draw the oceans and continents on a coffee filter using green and blue markers to create their own version of what they think that the world looks like from above. Spraying the filter lightly with water creates a soft, watercolor effect.

Old newspaper and a paste made from flour and water are the ingredients to make stunning paper mache globes representing the Earth. These eco-friendly craft supplies are easy for kids to play with. Punch small holes to look like stars across the sky and light up the globe from inside with an LED candle or other small light.

Recycled egg carton cups can be cut apart, painted and pasted to a sheet of paper to resemble the leaves on a tree. Draw on a base, or cut a tree trunk out of a flat piece of recycled cardboard, for a recycled image of nature.

Stained Glass Planet Earth {Earth Day Craft}

Stained Glass Planet Earth {Earth Day Craft}. Image courtesy of Mom On Timeout.

Small scraps of tissue paper, such as the wrinkled sheets from a gift bag, make the ideal ingredients for an Earth suncatcher to hang in the window. With the warmth of the sun shining through the tissue paper, it will resemble stained glass.

Ideal for a classroom setting, create a representation of the Earth using kids' fingerprints. Draw a large circle on a wall display, and let kids paint their fingertips with non-toxic blue and green paints to create an image of the globe.

Recycled newspaper makes the perfect backdrop for this kid-friendly craft ideal for young ones. With palms covered in non-toxic paint, kids can make hand prints that form a heart in between. Then, color in a picture of the Earth in the shape of a heart, so that it looks like a child's hands are holding the planet.

Scraps of construction paper leftover from other craft projects can be used to make paper that's embedded with seeds, with this tutorial from Modern Parents Messy Kids. Form the seed paper into a globe using a cookie cutter for a cute addition to the garden after Earth Day.

White t-shirts make the perfect backdrop for a Earth Day tree crafting project. Paint a tree trunk using non-toxic paints on the front of a t-shirt. Let kids dip their hands in green paint and create "branches" on top of the tree trunk. It's a wearable reminder of their mission to protect the Earth.

Have other projects you'd like to share with our readers? Share your comments with us!

Feature image courtesy of Mary Anne Enriquez

Grow Your Own Food!

Grow your own food no matter how much space or time you have!

My sister has an amazing outdoor garden in Oregon! I’ve always been jealous of it. She has fresh squash and carrots and strawberries… but I live in an apartment, and don’t have a particularly green thumb.

Luckily, Kimberly Button recently helped me find ways that allow me to have the joys of gardening without all the hassle!

For more great ideas on recycling check out the following articles and guides:

Past Episodes:

Cheers: 8 Ways To Reuse Wine Corks

Got a collection of wine corks gathering on a kitchen counter? It's okay, we all do it - pop open a bottle of wine, keep the cork for some reason, and soon there's a whole jar of wine corks and you're wondering, what am I even going to do with these?

Here's the answer. Get crafty!

Whether you keep wine corks for sentimental reasons, or simply because they are just kind of cool, those spongy stoppers from wine bottles make excellent crafting materials. If you've got a hot glue gun, then you can transform wine corks into works of art.

Wine cork trivet

Wine cork trivet. Image courtesy of Hope Robertson.

So pour yourself a glass of vino (keep the cork, of course!) and peruse these wine cork craft ideas for unique additions to your home décor.

  • Having friends over for wine and snacks?  Why not craft this wine cork wreath from Recyclart to hang on the front door and set the tone for the night? It's as simple as gluing corks to a wreath form and adding some ribbon.
  • Cutting corks in half and adding monogram letters creates wine glass charms ideally suited for keeping track of everyone's wine glasses at your next party. Use the same method to make colorful pendants, too, for distinctive jewelry.
  • Among the easiest ways to craft with corks is to simply attach the corks with glue to a solid object. You can do this with a piece of plywood to create a unique, three dimensional work of art for the kitchen or dining room. Or cover a monogram cut out with corks for a personalized addition to your home. Add a ring of corks to the outside of a candleholder.
  • Repurpose an old frame by making it a cork bulletin board, instead. Glue corks onto the area where a picture would normally be seen, as shown in this tutorial, to create a small message center ideal in the kitchen or next to a door.
  • Corks are excellent for absorbing and transferring heat, so why not use them as a trivet to keep tabletops from being scorched by hot pots? An easy way to make a cork trivet is to take a circular embroidery hoop, arrange corks inside, and tighten to fasten. Glue a cardboard or felt base to the bottom to keep everything in place.
  • The moisture-resistant material of wine corks make them excellent garden markers. Write the name of herbs, vegetables or other plants on the outside of a cork, place it on top of a skewer, and insert it in your garden.
  • Tiny succulents are definitely a conversation piece when they're arranged in miniature cork planters that can be placed on the refrigerator as magnets. A thimble full of soil is all you need to have a thriving garden on the fridge. Air plants also survive in wine cork planters, too. Or use the same concept to display tiny flowers gathered on a garden walk, small trinkets, etc.

Corks make excellent material for mildew-resistant bath mats. Check out these instructions on how to uncork your creativity and make your own.

Cheers crafters!

Feature image courtesy of Christina B Castro

California Is Almost Out Of Water

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John P walks us through the Eco-News of the day. More battery factories come on line, California is almost out of water, fix a leak week, LED lighting for indoor farms.

Show Notes

For more great ideas on recycling check out the following articles and guides:

Past Episodes:

Go Ahead, Unroll These Unique Toilet Paper Roll Crafts

We've all got them - toilet paper rolls. While an eco-friendly approach is to recycle the cardboard tubes as fast as they accumulate, an even better solution is to repurpose those tubes into artwork, toys and other useful objects.

The lowly toilet paper roll doesn't seem like it should be worthy of artistic display, but you'd be surprised at what a cylindrical cardboard can become with just the right touch. Check out this collection of more than 300 ideas of how to transform a cardboard toilet paper roll into a craft sensation.

Cardboard Tube Totems

Cardboard Tube Totems. Image courtesy of Mary Anne Enriquez.

To get you started, here are a variety of great ideas to transform toilet paper rolls into useful items for your home.

  • Start seedlings in toilet paper tubes filled with soil, as seen on eLivingToday. The cardboard is a biodegradable material that will compost back into the soil as the plant grows.
  • The Almost Unschoolers blog shows how to create homemade Tinker Toys with a paper tubes, a hole punch and some pencils for eco-friendly, educational playtime.
  • Make tiny pillow boxes for small gifts or gift cards by artfully folding a toilet paper tube roll into a small box, as Decor Seven shows.
  • Beautiful filigree designs can be created from curling toilet paper tube rolls around a dowel to form intricate shapes of all sizes. Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom decorated a standard wall clock with a mass of curly-cued enhancements for a stunning piece of home decor. Take the same idea and create floral patterns or abstract designs to display in an open frame, or to embellish gift wrap.
  • A few spare buttons, toothpicks, and a toilet paper tube roll cut into thin strips is all it takes to create a kid-friendly game of Button Golf, showcased on the blog, JDaniel4's Mom. Or turn those tubes into a small bowling game, instead.
  • Reflective paper and some colorful beads can turn a cardboard tube into a fun kaleidoscope. Secure two toilet paper tubes together side by side for kid-sized binoculars.
  • Need a perfect circle stencil? The end of a cardboard tube works great.
  • Kids love toys that make noise, so what could be better (or cheaper) than these maracas created with rice, duct tape, milk bottle caps and toilet paper tube rolls from The Craft Train?
  • Children can create fashion accessories with just a little glue and bits of leftover craft supplies with this toilet paper tube bracelet tutorial from Learn Create Love.

Feature image courtesy of Stacie

25 St. Patrick’s Day Crafts That Scream Green

You don't have to be of Irish descent to love celebrating St. Patrick's Day. While many people don't know the holiday began when St. Patrick was said to have driven the snakes out of Ireland, the day is one that crosses cultures.

St. Patricks Day weekend in Chicago

St. Patricks Day weekend in Chicago. Image courtesy of Jamie McCaffrey.

There are many ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Wearing the color green as well as indulging in Irish food and drinks are customary, but there are fun ways to get prepared for the celebrations too.

Do you like getting crafty? St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to unleash your creative side and create something that is "green" in every sense of the word.

We've put together a list of 25 St. Patrick’s Day crafts that scream green to give you some inspiration. You'll find DIY decorations to prepare for your St. Patty's Day party, attire to keep you from getting pinched on the big day and even crafts for kids on this list.

No matter your skill level, you're sure to find something you can tackle before the big day.

25 St. Patrick’s Day Crafts That Scream Green

Just click the links to access the tutorials!

  1. Recycled Coffee Cup Sleeve
  2. Burlap St. Patrick’s Day Banner
  3. Toilet Paper Roll Four Leaf Clover
  4. Wood Shim St. Patrick’s Day Art
  5. Handmade St. Patrick’s Day Card
  6. Woven Ribbon Shamrock
  7. Mosaic Paper Shamrocks
  8. St. Pat's Magic Mason Jar Vases
  9. Upcycled Yogurt Cups for St. Patrick's Day Treats
  10. Baby Food Jar Pot of Gold
  11. Patrick’s Day Clover Garden
  12. St. Paddy's Day Popsicle Stick Bracelets
  13. Green Felt Hair Accessories
  14. Borax Shamrock Crystals
  15. Four Leaf Clover Beaded Bracelet
  16. DIY Button Hair Clip
  17. Easy Potted Clover
  18. Paper Shamrock Bouquet
  19. Felt Shamrock Ring
  20. DIY Shamrock Headband
  21. Crochet Clover Leaf
  22. Wood Chevron St. Patrick’s Day Clover
  23. St. Patrick's Day Split Pea Wreath
  24. Washcloth Shamrock Heart Wall Decoration
  25. Upcycled Cereal Box Leprechaun Trap

How do you get crafty for St. Patrick's Day?

Feature image courtesy of Judith Doyle

8 DIY Bedding Alternatives For An Eco-Friendly Home

When thinking of ways to make your home more eco-friendly, the pantry and cleaning products are often some of the more obvious places to start. But, did you know that your bedroom is filled with environmentally-friendly opportunities as well?

Yes, where you sleep and what you sleep on can be transformed into a green paradise.

Traditional bedding items are often packed with chemicals and dyes, and many also cause a lot of waste and pollution. There are a few organic and eco-friendly companies out there, but sometimes it feels good to craft things yourself (and save some money).

We’re going to go over how you can make your sleeping space as healthy and eco-friendly as you are. These DIY projects will require some crafty sewing skills, so being comfortable with a sewing machine is a plus.  Here are 8 DIY Bedding alternatives for your eco-friendly home.

Homemade pillowcase

Homemade pillowcase. Image courtesy of Brooke Williams.

1. Sleeping Pillows

One easy way to make your bed greener is to create pillows out of buckwheat hulls or wool batting. Buckwheat is a firmer pillow material, but makes for a great filling that is also supportive.

This guide from Wellness Mama shows you how to make a buckwheat pillow. Creating a pillow with wool filling is not much different. If you are new to sewing, pillows make a perfect beginner project - they are pretty simple and easy to put together, and pillowcases can hide mistakes.

Another great thing about making your own pillows is that you can add your own scents, like lavender or chamomile, so you can have a great smelling pillow throughout the year.

2. Homemade Comforter

While a pillow may be smaller, a comforter is not too much more difficult to make yourself. You can use organic cotton or flax fabric, and fill your homemade comforter with wool or cotton to make it super eco-friendly.

Simply take the fabric, sew it on three sides and fill it with organic wool. Once you’re satisfied with the amount of filling, sew the last edge of the comforter. If you want to get fancy, baffling the comforter will help keep filling in place.

You can also create a duvet by finding fabric that you like and cutting it to be about two or three inches larger than your comforter. Sew three sides shut and attach buttons to the open side. Put your homemade comforter inside your duvet and you’ve got a stylish, personalized bedding set.

3. Bed Skirt

A quick and easy way to hide under bed clutter is to add a bed skirt of your own design. Find a pattern that works for you or create your own and get to work recycling old materials for your bed skirt. Make sure that the pattern you find will cover enough space below your bed to hide any clutter and will look the desired way.

4. Fabric Box Spring Cover

If bed skirts aren’t your style, but your box spring or bed foundation isn’t up to snuff, adding a box spring cover can tie together your bed set. If you have old bedsheets or fabric from another project that you would enjoy using in your room, then you can wrap your box spring with it. If that’s not the case, then find a fabric that you like that is made from an organic fabric like cotton, bamboo, cashmere or hemp.

Homemade accent pillow

Homemade accent pillow. Image courtesy of Lori Hartman Designs.

5. Colorful Shams & Accent Pillows

Eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean boring and bland. You can spice up your bed with cool shams for pillows made from a variety of different complimentary fabrics. Old sweaters, tees, or dresses and other fabric scraps can be matched together with buttons and other trims for a neat designer look.

You can use shams with homemade pillows of all sizes, or to revamp old ones. Let your personality and eco-friendliness shine with this project. Use materials that are sustainable and reuse fabric wherever you can.

6. Blankets

Just as with the comforter project mentioned above, making your own blanket is easy to do. Using a sustainable, eco-friendly wool will keep you warm in the winter and it will breathe well in the summer. Wool also wicks away moisture as you sleep, so you’ll stay the same temperature throughout the night.

7. Sheets

Sheets are easy to make at home. You can create your sheets out of an organic fabric that might be harder to find or more expensive at a store. There are many different ways to make a fitted sheet since they’re more challenging to make than a top sheet. You can also reuse fabric that you might have lying around from another project.

8. Headboard

For a bigger project, try restoring an older headboard. Using a vintage headboard can liven up a room and give it a warm feeling. Having one in your room means that you’re not contributing to creating more products, and you have complete control over paints and glues used.

If you can’t find an older headboard to restore, you can make one yourself. Better Homes and Gardens has a comprehensive list of headboard ideas that you can create out of materials that you already have in the house.

You spend a lot of time in your bedroom and when you sleep, your body is in very close proximity to your mattress and bedding for hours. This means where you sleep is an extremely important place to keep green. Making your bedding by hand and out of organic, natural materials will greatly improve your space and your sleeping quality, while also lending a personal touch.

What have you DIY’ed in your bedroom? Have any awesome, sleep-improving tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image courtesy of jm3

Keep The Change: Penny Art Projects Worth A…..

Ah, the lowly penny. Worth just one cent, people don't even bother to bend over to pick them up off of the ground anymore. There has even been talk of getting rid of the coin since its value has severely diminished over time.

In fact, the materials used in making a copper-covered penny are more expensive than the value of the penny itself, according to the U.S. Mint.

These cast-off coins make perfect materials for unique art and home decor, though.  The metal materials "cost" nearly half the price of what they are worth.

So, it's time to start rethinking the penny. You might not want to carry them around in your wallet anymore, but chances are you will want to put them on your walls or wear them as jewelry after seeing these amazing penny art designs. From easy DIY crafts to intensive home renovations, there's something for anyone who has a jar of pennies gathering dust:

DIY Penny Wall.

DIY Penny Wall. Image courtesy of The Sustainability Adventure.

The folks behind The Sustainability Adventure created (right) a 16-foot accent wall behind their stove with 19,500 pennies when they found that tile was too pricey. That's only $195 worth of material to cover a huge section of wall!

Penny backsplashes are a popular way to reuse the currency, too. With a square foot of pennies costing around $2, using pennies instead of tiles can definitely save on renovation and design costs.

Using pennies to replace tile on the walls isn't the only solution to save on construction materials. How about using pennies to tile the floor, too? From simple layouts of shiny pennies, to decorative designs using aged pennies and other currency, a penny floor is sure to make a statement that friends and family will be talking about.

Pennies can be sentimental. Ever hear of a bride putting a penny in her shoe? Celebrate a special occasion, from an anniversary to a birthday, by collecting pennies minted in a year special to you. Display the pennies in a frame, use them to make a charm bracelet, or create an ornament. The possibilities are endless, but the meaning behind the craft is priceless.

Bowling Ball Penny Yard Art.

Bowling Ball Penny Yard Art. Image and idea courtesy of House of Hawthornes.

Create a piece of garden art (left) by covering an old bowling ball with pennies. The shiny copper will glisten in the sun. All it takes is less than $5 in pennies and silicone rubber sealant to attach the coins to the bowling ball.

Make a fashion statement that costs just pennies when you repurpose your coins into jewelry. Add decals to pennies to create a pendant necklace, drill holes into pennies and hang off of a charm bracelet, or glue to a ring band.

Add a coppery shine to mirrors (picture below) and picture frames by covering the outside with layers of pennies.

Cover the top of an old table with pennies, such as a side table, dining room table or desk.

Want to use shiny pennies for your penny art, but your coins are a little dingy? The easiest way to polish up your coins and remove the copper oxide is to put them in a bath of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of table salt. Allow to soak in the bath for a minute or so, and then rinse off.

Now that's advice worth its weight in..well.....pennies!

DIY Penny Art Mirror.

DIY Penny Art Mirror. Image courtesy of Honey Sweet Home.

Feature image courtesy of theilr

Turn Old Stuff Into New Stuff – Repurposing Made Easy

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Cali drums up ideas for turing old stuff into new stuff. DIY repurposing has never been so easy!

Show Notes

For more great ideas on recycling check out the following articles and guides:

Past Episodes:

Hanging The Holidays: 75 Handmade Christmas Ornament Ideas

Handmade paper ornament

Image courtesy of Victoria Pickering

For many families, Christmas ornaments are timeless treasures. They are handed down through the generations and brought out each year as a way to reflect on memories past, while making beautiful new memories.

Store bought Christmas ornaments have been more en vogue over the last couple decades, but a return to the respect for handmade items is upon us. More and more families are choosing handmade Christmas ornaments over the less personal store bought variety.

If you've thought about making your own Christmas ornaments, now is the time. Your imagination is your only boundary. If you're not feeling a creative spark on your own, check out this list of handmade Christmas ornaments that will have you crafting in no time at all.

75 Handmade Christmas Ornament Tutorials

  1. Wine Cork Snowflake Ornament
  2. Candy Kiss Mouse Ornament
  3. Painted Flat Marble Ornaments
  4. Clothespin Poinsettia
  5. Baker Twine Ornament
  6. Tinsel Stuffed Ornament
  7. Frozen Inspired I SPY Ornament
  8. Christmas Mouse Ornament
  9. Graduation Tassel Ornament
  10. Beaded Icicle Christmas Tree Ornaments
  11. Paint Swirled Ornaments
  12. Christmas Ornament Cupcake
  13. Melted Crayon Ornament
  14. Faux Stained Glass Paper Snowflakes
  15. Straw Snowflake Ornaments
  16. Button Ornaments
  17. Cinnamon Ornaments
  18. Ugly Sweater Ornaments
  19. Easy Glittery Toothpick Painted Holiday Ornaments
  20. Melted Olaf Ornament
  21. Terrarium Ornament
  22. Cork Ball Ornament
  23. Popcorn Ornament
  24. Cute As A Button Ornament
  25. Terra Cotta Christmas Bells
  26. Jingle Bell Wreath
  27. Colored Sand Ornament
  28. Snow Globe Ornaments
  29. Bringing Home the Tree Car Christmas Ornament
  30. Candyland Ornament
  31. Christmas Cookie Ornaments
  32. Santa Lightbulb Ornament
  33. Polar Express Christmas Ornament
  34. Old Fashioned Hard Candy Ornament
  35. Etched Glass Ornament
  36. Decoupage Christmas Ornaments
  37. Ribbon Tree Ornament
  38. Holiday Rag Ball Ornaments
  39. BBQ Beads Suncatcher Ornaments
  40. Melted Bead Ornaments
  41. Duck Tape Stars
  42. Baby’s First Christmas Footprint Ornament
  43. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ornaments
  44. Easy Candy Cane Ornaments
  45. Painted Glass Ornaments
  46. Ironed Contact Paper Christmas Ornament
  47. Peg Doll Snow Globe Ornament
  48. French General Christmas Ornaments
  49. Painted Washi Tape Ornaments
  50. Glittery Snowflake Ornament
  51. Ornaments to Make with Broken Crayons
  52. Polymer Clay Butterfly Christmas Ornament
  53. Glittery Shell Ornaments
  54. Christmas Tree Ornament Balls
  55. Salt Dough Santa Hand Print Christmas Ornament
  56. Simple Rhinestone Recycled Ornament
  57. Glitter Handprint Christmas Ornament
  58. Handprint Snowman Ornament with Poem
  59. Fingerprint Snowman Family Keepsake Ornament
  60. Cinnamon Stick Stars
  61. Santa Claus Ornament
  62. Glitter Candy Cane Christmas Ornament
  63. Simple Snowman Ornament
  64. Bell Jar Christmas Ornament
  65. Glittered Initial Ornaments
  66. Peppermint Candy Christmas Ornaments
  67. Bottle Cap Snow Man Ornaments
  68. Popsicle Stick Ornaments
  69. Chalkboard Ornaments
  70. Clay Ornaments
  71. Recycled Cardboard Ornaments
  72. Beach Inspired Ornaments
  73. Bird Seed Ornaments
  74. Puzzle Pieces Rudolph
  75. Popcicle Stick Sled Ornament

Have you ever made your own Christmas ornaments?  Which one of these ornaments will you make next?

Feature image courtesy of Charlie J 

50 DIY Natural Handmade Beauty Products That Make Great Gifts

Handmade soap

Image courtesy of M Car

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? There's nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh? If you still have a long list of people to shop for, consider making some of your own gifts! You can beat the crowds at the mall and give something more personal as well.

Handmade beauty products are always a huge hit during the holidays. Fortunately, even novice DIYers can create some pretty great natural handmade beauty products if they follow the right recipe. And most people even have many of the ingredients needed to make some of these recipes lying around their homes already.

We've put together a list of 50 DIY natural handmade beauty product recipes for you right here, so you can get your Christmas list finished up pronto. (Hint - each idea listed below is a clickable link.)

For the Body

  1. Peppermint Sugar Scrub Bars
  2. Solid Perfume
  3. Sugar Scrub Flowers
  4. Healing Himalayan Salt Scrub with Grapefruit and Sandalwood
  5. Candy Cane Bath Bombs
  6. Whipped Gingerbread Body Butter
  7. Oatmeal Exfoliating Bars
  8. Bath Salts for Kids
  9. Sea Salt Body Scrub
  10. Slow Cooker Lotion Bars
  11. Calendula Lavender Salve
  12. Ultra Moisturizing Whipped Body Butter
  13. Homemade Deodorant
  14. Lemon Sugar Scrub
  15. Coconut Oil Body Scrubs
  16. Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrubs
  17. Peppermint Star Bath Bombs
  18. Brown Sugar Coconut Scrub
  19. Detox Bath with Ginger
  20. Spicy Coffee Sugar Scrub
  21. Natural Sunscreen
  22. Sugar and Sage Body Scrub
  23. Peppermint Foot Soak
  24. Peppermint Milk Bath
  25. Hard Body Butter Bars

For the Hands

  1. Manicure in a Jar
  2. Soft, Silky Hands Treatment
  3. Gardener's Hand Scrub
  4. Foaming Hand Soap

For the Face

  1. Pomegranate Facial Scrub
  2. Yam Facial Mask
  3. Honey Facial Mask
  4. Honey Cinnamon Nutmeg Facial Mask
  5. Natural Face Toner
  6. Anti-aging Moisturizer
  7. Activated Charcoal Face Mask
  8. Coconut Mocha Face Mask
  9. Face Powder
  10. Smooth Hippy Shaving Cream
  11. Peppermint Tea Tree Aftershave

For the Lips

  1. Sweet Lips Sugar Scrub
  2. Soft Lips Moisturizer
  3. Mango Pina Colada Lip Balm
  4. Vanilla Peppermint Lip Scrub
  5. Peppermint Lip Balm
  6. Dreamcicle Lip Balm

 For the Hair

  1. Hairspray
  2. Herbal Goddess Soapnuts Shampoo
  3. Rosemary Honey Conditioner
  4. Tea Tree Hair Gel

There is sure to be something on the list for everyone on your list!

Do you like receiving handmade gifts? Will you be giving handmade beauty products for Christmas gifts this year?

Feature image courtesy of Annouk

The Essence Of Giving: 5 Essential DIY Holiday Gifts Made With Essential Oils

The mention of “fragrance” on a product label may seem innocuous, but this one word is likely to encompass a handful – if not dozens – of harmful chemical compounds that don't have to be listed individually.

Manufacturers are not required to disclose the exact components included in fragrance due to the risk of other companies copycatting their formula, and unfortunately it has become commonplace to stash any number of questionable ingredients under the vague mention of “fragrance” on ingredient lists.

One way to neatly sidestep this scent condundrum is to skip artificial fragrances altogether, build your own collection of essential oils, and use them to make your own fabulous gifts. Here are five suggestions to get those DIY juices flowing:

Lavendar field

Lavendar field - Image courtesy of kennysarmy

1. Aromatherapy Playdough

Apparently it is no longer acceptable to give children small sips of whisky to take the edge off, and aerosol valium still hasn't been invented yet. Thus, whipping up this naturally-scented homemade play dough might be the best gift in the world to give to the energetic children in your life (and their parents!) Using scents like lavendar or Sweet Marjoram can add a soothing aromatherapy component to an afternoon of tactile play.

2. Low-tech car air freshener

Cut a cute shape out of felt and attach a piece of ribbon or string to create a simple, pleasingly low-tech car air freshener. Adding a few drops of essential oils to the felt every week or so will keep a loved ones ride smelling good, naturally. Bonus points if you use an essential oil like pine that gives a nod to the old air freshener classic, without a trip to the convenience store.


Eucalyptus - Image courtesy of jar ()

3. Soothing Bath Salts

Epsom salts are incredible for easing sore muscles and replacing depleted magnesium stores. Mixing up a batch of scented bath salts is simple, and makes a fabulous gift for the hardworking teachers in your life. Simply stir 10-15 few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or vanilla into 1 cup of epsom salts, and 1/2 cup baking soda (to soothe skin irritations and soften water). Package the salts in a nice glass jar, and voila!

4. Gardener's Hand Scrub

The perfect gift for the green thumb in your life, this homemade hands scrub combines white sugar, gentle dish soap (substitute an eco-friendly brand for Dawn), and essential oils to gently lift dirt while softening tired hands. This recipe uses small mason jars to hold the scrub, and adding a pretty label and ribbon is the perfect finishing touch.

5. DIY Essential Oil Cologne

Don't feel like the men in your life have to be excluded from the essential oil party. Whipping up a custom scent for your favourite dude is simple with essential oils, witch hazel, and water. Combine any combination of oils like sandalwood, cedar, or vetiver to create a perfectly masculine signature scent.

Feature image courtesy of kennysarmy

Uncork Your Creativity: DIY Recycled Wine Corks Bath Mat

Recycled wine cork bath mat.

Recycled wine cork bath mat. Image courtesy of Inhabitat

Enjoy a glass of wine with a bath? Why not indulge your passion for fine wine by recycling all of those corks you've been collecting and creating a stylish eco-chic recycled wine cork bath mat?

Wait, what? How could you possibly consider putting wine corks in a bathroom of all places? Think about it. Cork is the preferred method to sealing wine bottles, known for its ability to lock out liquid, and keep vino fresh. If it's good enough to preserve your favorite bottles of wine, shouldn't it be durable enough to craft with?

Cork has amazing properties that are highly desired in bathroom décor, too. Cork is inherently antimicrobial, antibacterial, hypoallergenic and resists mildew. You know, all of the benefits that companies try to impart on their products with the use of chemical additives to non-natural fibers and materials. Yet cork offers them up naturally, in a material that comes from the bark of a tree and is a more sustainable choice.

Oh, and you can probably get all that you need for free. So what's stopping you? Here's how to make a bath mat from recycled wine corks:

  1. First, you need corks. Like, 100-400 of them! Don't worry. If you haven't consumed that many bottles of wine (or you have, but you just haven't kept the corks from the bottles of wine that you have consumed), just ask around. Scam some corks from your friends, or better yet, ask a bartender or wine shop if they could give you corks from opened bottles of wine.
  2. Next, you can either use a hot glue gun to attach corks to a non-slip backing, or you can stack up corks in a wooden frame.
  3. Among the easiest way to make a wine cork bath mat is to stack up the corks inside a wooden frame with raised sides, such as a shadow box. If you're crafty, you could nail together pieces of wood to create a shadow box frame. However, make sure that there is a base underneath attached. Otherwise, reuse an old shadowbox or purchase one new.
  4. Now, simply add the corks. Place them vertically so that you can see the end of the wine cork. This will take the most amount of corks. Or you can place them horizontally so that you see the entire width of the corks. If you would like to make the wine corks more stable, hot glue them together on the edges. Or just place them in as tightly as possible so that they do not move around, without the need of glue.
  5. Another way to create a bath mat out of wine corks is to cut the corks in half and lay them flat on a non-slip base. A piece of corkboard could work well as a base, or a piece of non-stick shelf liner with a rubbery gripped feel. Cut the base to the size that you would like. With a knife, cut wine corks carefully in half. Glue each half to the base, stacking the corks side by side in rows.

Now go uncork your creative side - and that favorite bottle of wine!

Feature image courtesy of Sam Howzit 

Pucker Up! Gift DIY Cocoa Lip Balm This Holiday Season

As the holidays approach we are always thinking about gifts for our friends and family, especially handmade gifts. This easy DIY cocoa lip balm recipe can be made with only a few simple ingredients. And, who doesn't love a little TLC for their lips this time of year!?  Ready to get started?

Lips pressed

Image courtesy of Myrmidon Formicidae


  • 3 teaspoons organic unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure, filtered, unbleached cosmetic grade beeswax pastilles
  • 1 teaspoon organic cocoa butter
  • 2 capsules of vitamin E (optional)


  1. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Using a heat safe bowl, place the bowl over the boiling water making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Place the coconut oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter in the bowl. Stir regularly to diffuse the heat. As soon as the items are all melted, remove from the heat.
  3. Optional - Open the two capsules of vitamin E and stir into liquid.
  4. Transfer the liquid into small glass containers while the mixture is still in a liquid state.
  5. Let the lip balm cool before placing the cap on.


If you want to vary the above recipe, add some essential oils to make a flavor that your gift recipient will just kiss you for. Tip - You will only need to use a very small amount, about 1 or 2 teaspoons for each 'batch'.  Here are a few variation options you might consider;

  • Peppermint or spearmint oil (minty)
  • Orange oil (sweet)
  • Camphor (good for cold sores, only use one drop very strong)
  • Tea Tree oil (anti-viral and anti-bacterial but can be an over powering scent some may not like it)
  • Vanilla (sweet)
  • Almond (sweet and can be combined with vanilla)

If you want your lip balm more glossy use 1/2 tablespoon of castor oil after your other ingredients have melted (but it is still in the bowl over the heat.) Stir it in until it is well mixed and remove from the heat.

Personalize packaging for the person you are giving this to based on their interests. You can also make several variations of this and give your friends a selection of lip balms.

Bonus recipe:

A great compliment to this gift is a lip scrub which is great to use when your lips are very chapped (and whose aren't this time of year). All you need is three tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (warmed to a liquid state) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix together in a small glass jar. Rub a small amount of this on your lips - exfoliating the skin gently.

What is your favorite scent of lip balm?  Would you consider giving this as a gift this holiday season?  We'd love to hear your thoughts - share them with us in the comments section below.

Feature image courtesy of Toan Nguyen

Be The Handmade Holiday Hero This Year: 5 Amazing DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

Handmade is in. There is something so special about receiving a gift that someone put their heart into.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a crafting genius to create DIY gifts that are sure to get a smile. There are many things you can make yourself with items you likely already have around the house! And if you have mason jars and some ribbon, you have the packaging too.

Here are 5 DIY Christmas gifts you can easily make with items you already have in your home.

Sugar Scrub

You can make a basic sugar scrub with 3 simple ingredients.

  • Combine ¼ cup of oil (olive, melted coconut, etc.) and 1 cup of sugar in a mixing bowl.
  • Combine, then add about 15 drops of your favorite essential oil and stir in.
  • Transfer to a cute mason jar and tie a ribbon around it and you have a lovely, handmade gift.
Sugar scrub cubes

Image courtesy of Marilyn Sherman

Bath Salts

Another very simple, yet classic DIY gift is bath salts. Just combine;

  • one cup of Epsom salt
  • one cup of sea salt
  • one cup of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil

You can even add some lavender buds or crumbled rose petals at the end to make a visually stunning salt. Like the sugar scrub, place in a mason jar or other glass container, tie with a ribbon and gift to someone that could use a soothing bath.

Ice Candle

Image courtesy of Happy Mothering

Ice Crystal Candle Holder

All you need for this one is a mason jar, spray adhesive and Epsom salts. To create the Ice Crystal Candle Holder, spray the jar with adhesive then roll around in the Epsom salt until the jar is coated. Allow to dry then insert a candle and you have a sparkling gift!

Homemade Hot Cocoa Powder

For this recipe, you’ll need;

  • 1 ¾ cups dry milk powder
  • ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • and goodies like marshmallows, broken candy cane pieces and mini chocolate chips.

You can either layer each item in the mason jar, or you can combine all of the powders then top with the goodies.  Download a cute tag to add to your mason jars here.

Salt Dough Ornaments

Everyone loves receiving special, handmade ornaments, right? To make salt dough ornaments, combine 4 cups of flour and one cup of salt, then stir in 1 ½ cups warm water. Knead until the dough is pliable and soft. Then roll it out and make shapes with cookie cutters. Make sure to use a straw or toothpick to make a hole for the ribbon.

Bake your ornaments at 325 F for about an hour, or until they’re hard. Once cool, paint and add special touches, then tie a ribbon to the top of each one. You can put a few into a wide mouth mason jar or a gift box. This is a great gift idea kids can help with!

Salt dough ornament heart

Image courtesy of Elin

These are just 5 DIY Christmas gifts you can make with items you likely already own. Reusing items from around the house reduces waste but increases the love.  Now what's not to love about that!?

What is your favorite handmade gift to give?

Germs Gone Wild: 4 Natural Cleaning Recipes To Drive Away Dirty

Many store-bought cleaning products contain numerous toxins, such as synthetic fragrances, propylene glycol, and Ammonium Hydroxide. Making your own cleaning products is an easy way to save money and reduce toxins in the home.

To minimize packaging waste, save your spray bottles and jars to store your homemade cleaning potions to minimize packaging waste. With just a few basic ingredients, you can make a variety of products. These staple ingredients include baking soda, borax, washing soda, lemon juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Castile soap, and essential oils. If you have children, this can even be a fun family project.

Here are four simple, natural cleaning recipes that will have you saying goodbye germs in no time.

Natural Disinfectant


  • Fill a dark spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Fill a separate bottle with white vinegar

To disinfect surfaces, such as counters, door knobs, tabletops, sinks, cutting boards, and even the toilet, spray a few times from each bottle (the order doesn't matter) and then wipe. This system can be used on produce, but rinse with water before eating. Note, the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide shouldn't be mixed together in the same bottle before applying, as it causes the hydrogen peroxide to break down.

Research from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University shows this simple system is highly effective at killing a variety of germs, including E. coli and Salmonella. Although vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are both strong disinfectants on their own, they are particularly potent when they team up.  Don't have time to create this recipe? Check out our natural cleaning products available at YouChange.

Powdered Laundry Detergent


  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 bar of soap (Fels-Naptha or Castile bar soap are popular options)
  • Several drops essential oil (optional)

Finely grate 1 bar of soap by hand with a box grater or in a food processor. If you want an unscented laundry detergent, use unscented bar soap.

Add the bar soap, washing soda, borax, and essential oil (if desired) into a mixing bowl and stir. Put the mixture into a sealed container. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load of laundry as the water is filling the washing machine.

* Note: This detergent can be used in both standard and HE washing machines.

Laundry Stain Remover


  • 2 parts hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 part liquid dish soap (Dawn is often recommended)

Dish soap is good at breaking down oil, while hydrogen peroxide allows stains to fade or disappear. Shake the bottle before applying and beware that hydrogen peroxide can have a lightening effect, so use with caution on colored items.

Mix the two ingredients together and add to a dark bottle or store in a dark place, as peroxide breaks down in light. Apply the mixture an hour or two before laundering.

Powdered Dishwasher Detergent


  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • optional: several drops of essential oil

Mix together ingredients and store in a sealed jar. Use 2 tablespoons per load and pour in a couple tablespoons of vinegar in the rinse compartment to help remove sediment.

Disinfecting or cleaning your home doesn't have to done with products be laden with chemicals.  These easy to create recipes are made with all natural, safe ingredients.  Add to that reduced waste, and you have a recipe for a clean, eco friendly home.

Feature image courtesy of Andrés Þór

Trade You A Hammer For A Nail: Home DIY Project Market Gets Social

As the use of the internet and social media has grown, so has the proliferation of home DIY projects. According to a survey conducted by TheStreet, Inc. and GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, 70% of all home projects now involve some sort of DIY component.

It’s so easy to hop on Pinterest or your favorite DIY website to locate a project; why hire someone when you can save money and do it yourself? Of course, DIY projects can become costly very fast if you don’t adhere to a strict budget.

Supplies alone can get expensive if you’re paying retail prices for new materials. There are now websites that help DIYers locate free materials for their projects – and for people looking to unload their unwanted supplies.

Home DIY project

Image courtesy of Kevin Bailey

For example, DIY Exchange is a free website that was created to help DIYers locate, share and sell extra DIY project and home repair materials. Members can find (and list) a wide variety of items, including appliances, light fixtures, fencing, joint compound, drywall and much more on DIY Exchange.

Another useful feature is the ability for members to barter labor for labor, ask and answer questions within the community, offer project coaching and discuss stories of success. It’s designed not only as a listing site like Craigslist, but one where DIYers can build a community.

Saving the green in your wallet isn’t the only reason to reuse construction materials – saving the environment is another huge factor. According to Green Waste, home construction, remodeling and demolition projects account for 25-30% of the country’s municipal solid waste each year. The U.S. EPA says that 170 million tons of excess home renovation materials end up in landfills annually. However, the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association estimates that number to be closer to 350 million tons.

Instead of contributing your old home improvement and DIY supplies to our growing landfills, you can make an eco-friendly decision to pass them onto someone who will put them to use. If you simply don’t have the time to list your materials on the DIY Exchange website, another option is to call up your local Habitat for Humanity chapter and see if they need materials for an upcoming project.

Either way, it will serve us all best to reduce the amount of waste that goes into our landfills. Paying forward our home renovation and DIY project materials is one simple way to do that.

Feature image courtesy of Sean

(DIY) Non-Toxic Finger Paint Recipes So Easy A Kid Could Do It

Kids love to unleash their creativity with arts and crafts. Some of those art supplies, though, can be toxic, which is especially problematic for younger children still prone to put everything in their mouths.

How can you encourage artistic self expression and protect your children from chemical exposures? Create your own finger paints from ingredients in your pantry, of course.

So easy a kid can do it

Finger paints are among the easiest arts and crafts for young children. All you need is the paint and a canvas - be it a plate, paper, cookie sheet or tabletop.

If you are going to be covering your kid's hands with paint, though, you want it to be safe enough to ingest. Good thing that inexpensive kitchen staples such as flour and corn starch can provide hours of creative fun.

Homemade finger paints can be created with a variety of food ingredients. It depends on what you have on hand at the moment, as well as what your child's allergies and sensitivities might be. Remember, anything your child cannot eat should not be used to create finger paints.

While the recipes are certainly edible, that doesn't mean that they will necessarily be tasty. However, your kids won't be ingesting synthetic chemicals or toxins if they decide to put their fingers in their mouth using these non-toxic finger paint ideas:

A dash of color

Finger paints can be created from just one food, too. Consider using yogurt as an edible finger paint ideally suited for small children. Colors can be added if desired. Pure mashed fruits and veggies are also a colorful finger paint option, whether straight from a baby food jar or mashing up produce from the garden.

It is important to use only organic and food-derived food colorings in any recipe to limit your child's exposure to synthetic ingredients. Conventional food colorings contain synthetic colorants. Natural food colorings are available that are derived from fruits, vegetables and other colorful foods. Alternatively, mashed up colorful foods, such as blueberries, can add a non-toxic color to the paint.

Consider pouring portions of the finger paint base into individual sections of muffin tins. Each muffin tin can be individually colored, yet all of the paints are in one container.  Ice cube trays are another smart container for smaller amounts of paint. Paints can also be mixed in old glass jars with lids, such as baby food jars, or any repurposed small container, and stored for more arts and crafts fun at a later time.

A few heads ups:

  1. These non-toxic paints can be a little thicker than store-bought varieties
  2. Consider using a paintbrush for older children to apply to the paper
  3. The thicker paint will also take a bit longer to dry.

Now let the kids go (non-toxic) paint the town!

Feature image courtesy of Renate Flynn

Burn The (Halloween) Midnight Oil: Transform Halloween Into DIY Candles For Thanksgiving

Well folks, Halloween has come and gone once again, leaving in its wake a trail of spiders, witch hats, and a lingering sugar-high that may well last into late November.

Now of course the question is, what does one do with all the spooky decorations? Most are easily boxed up and stored to be re-used next year, but what about all those tiny pumpkins and gourds that so brightly adorned your mantle and front porch?

You can certainly compost them, or keep them around for Thanksgiving decor, but you can also employ a little ingenuity to create a fun autumn craft that will make your home feel warm and inviting until the snow blows.

This simple tutorial teaches you how to create festive Thanksgiving candles out of leftover gourds and mini-pumpkins using just a few basic supplies. With natural beeswax and lead-free wicks, hollowed out mini-pumpkins are transformed into cute, waste-free, natural DIY candles.

The process is simple, and a perfect activity for little hands to help with (just make sure adults handle the power tools and hot wax).

  • First drill a hole in the pumpkin or gourd to hollow it out, or alternately, use a knife to cut the top off and scoop out the seeds as though you were making a tiny jack-o-lantern.
  • Once you have created a hollow inside, use a tin can or double boiler to melt pure beeswax until it becomes liquid.
  • Cut a lead-free wick so that it extends about a quarter inch above the top of the gourd and place it inside, holding it centered while you pour in the beeswax.
  • After you have poured the beeswax, place the finished candles somewhere where they won't be disturbed and allow them to harden and cool.

Not only is this a great way to re-purpose Halloween decorations, but these homemade candles readily replace store-bought versions which may use artificial waxes, wicks which may contain lead, and a host of artificial fragrances, too.

When complete, these natural votives make great seasonal decor, thoughtful hostess gifts, or, paired with a sweet note, they can become wonderful Thanksgiving gifts for your children's hard-working teachers.

Feature image courtesy of rjcox

Upcycled Secret Book Safe Tutorial

How to make a secret book safe. Photo: Dinah Wulf

How to make a secret book safe. Photo: Dinah Wulf

What can you do with an old book? You can try giving it to a library or secondhand bookstore, but not all books are acceptable for donation, including those that have out-of-date information or are too damaged to read. Being the trash-to-treasure gal that I am, the answer to this question for me is simple: I upcycle it!

For one recent project, I made a book-safe. I'd wanted to give something like this as a gift, but I figured that I would have to buy it because it would be too difficult to make.

But I took the time to figure it out, and it was a lot easier than I thought. Here is how to make a secret book safe.


  • Thick, hardback book
  • Decoupage medium or glue-and-water mixture
  • Plastic wrap
  • Paint brush
  • Sharp knife
  • Metal straightedge

Step 1: Wrap the cover and front pages

Although the book I used was slightly damaged, I wanted to keep a few of the front pages intact to show the copyright date and an illustration. So I covered the front cover, those pages plus one extra page with plastic wrap to protect them from glue I'd be using in Step 2.

Photo: Dinah Wulf

Photo: Dinah Wulf

Step 2: Brush the book's edges

I used Mod Podge, a decoupage medium, and a paint brush to seal the three edges. Make sure you saturate them with approximately three coats.  Allow the Mod Podge to dry (about 15 minutes) between each coat. Then set something heavy on top of the book to create pressure.

Photo: Dinah Wulf

Photo: Dinah Wulf

Step 3: Mark the area to cut

Next, using a straightedge and a pencil, I marked the area I wanted to cut out.

Step 4: Make the cuts

Using a sharp knife and a metal straightedge, I carefully cut out a few pages at a time, making sure to remove small bits and pieces along the way. Take your time while doing this step.

Photo: Dinah Wulf

Photo: Dinah Wulf

Step Five: Seal the edges as you go

After I reached the desired depth, I sealed the inside edges with Mod Podge and allowed it to dry completely.

Step Six: Final touches

I then used Mod Podge around the top edges and glued the extra front page on top.  After a few minutes, I used the knife to cut out the center.  This top page gives it a nice clean look.

That’s it in six simple steps! Be sure to save the book pages for other book page craft projects. Also, consider using ribbon to cover the inside edges or decorative paper to cover the inside back for a more finished look.

Dust Off an Old Filing Cabinet and Turn It into Something New

Take your old filing cabinet from functional to fun with these upcycling ideas.

Take your old filing cabinet from functional to fun with these upcycling ideas. Photo: Shutterstock

Was being more organized one of your New Year's resolutions? Then it's time to dust off that old filing cabinet in the garage and give it a new look.

If you're still using the cabinet, file these tips away for later: House Revivals compiled a list of ways to upcycle your filing cabinet into an end table, kitchen island, work bench and more. A standard piece of office furniture never looked so chic!

If filing cabinets aren’t your thing, check out 12 ways to upcycle other thrifted furniture.