Saturday, March 31, 2012

Craft Project #9- DIY Laundry Soap

Ok, this may not actually qualify as a 'craft' project, but it is a very awesome and money saving project none the less, so in my opinion, it counts. I have spent enough time this winter on Pinterest and have come across a plethora of useful information which I have diligently bookmarked or 'pinned' to my virtual pinboards which now contain a good variety of things I have yet to try. During the cold months, I did use many of the new recipes I found and pinned many more decorating ideas, spring cleaning tips, and gardening tricks. Now that spring is showing it's face, I'm ready to jump in and try some of those other favorite pins I've saved up.

My first attempt has been to make my own laundry soap. You can google this, or search on Pinterest and find different variations of how to do it, but I wanted to share my experience too since it really got me excited about doing laundry!

Why would I make my own laundry soap when I can conveniently buy it at the store?
-It is EASY
-It saves money
-It lasts for a very long time!

You can find all the ingredients at your grocery store in the same isle as the regular detergents and for less than $20 you can make aprox 10 lbs of soap that will last for months, or maybe even a year depending on how much laundry you do.

Here is the recipe:
1- 4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz) found in the detergent isle

1- 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg) found in the cooking isle

1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz) found in the detergent isle

3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap, found in the detergent isle
(you can also use pink Zote soap instead of Fels-Naptha. Found at Home Depot)

2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total (1.58 kg)) found in the detergent isle.

You should be able to find all of these items at your grocery store.

The first and hardest thing you have to do is grate the Fels-Naptha soap using a regular cheese grater or food processor. This task took me about 20 minutes to grate 3 bars of soap. The little bits of Fels-Naptha will dissolve in your washer with no problem.

Toss all ingredients in a large bucket lined with a garbage bag. The original recommended a 5 gal bucket, but I only had a 3 gal and it worked fine. Then you simply twist the top of the garbage bag and MIX IT UP! I had help with this part. :)

Once you have the powder mixed to your liking, just store it in a container of some sort. I filled an old cookie jar with the laundry powder and labeled it with one of my vinyl decals to store in my laundry room, then funneled the remaining powder into an empty cat litter container I had washed out for long term storage. I labeled it as well and attached the recipe to the container so it's easy to find when I'm ready to make more.

Keep in mind, you only need to use 1-2 Tbs per load. I know that doesn't seem like much, but this recipe doesn't have fillers like the store bought detergent so you don't need as much.**

I marked a line on the little plastic cup that came in the Oxy Clean container and use it as a scoop. For really dirty loads I use a bit more than the standard 1-2 Tbs. and although it's not necessary, I also add fabric softener to most loads to make the clean scent a little stronger. If you feel so inclined, you can check out the blog where I found this wonderful recipe for some Q&A and comments from others about it's awesomeness.

This recipe has a light fresh scent and works just as well as the store bought detergent so I know I will be making more. If you decide to try it out, I'd love to hear how you liked it, and if you like it so much that you decide to stop by my Etsy Shop and purchase any vinyl wall expression, just mention this post during check out and I will send you a FREE "Laundry Powder" decal like mine in the picture above to put on your awesome new laundry soap container!

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Total Package

Ok, so today I have been thinking about packaging. I wish there was a better way to transfer my wall decals into the hands of my customers in a somewhat stylish yet inexpensive manner. Aside from investing in clear bulk tubes that are expensive and take up a lot of storage space that I don't have, I can't think of anything better than my current method.
Currently I use clear poly bags with a decorative label that is printed with my website and simple installation instructions for any wall expression displayed publicly for sale. This works really well for small to medium expressions, but it doesn't work at all for the larger ones. I thought this subject was worthy of a blog post, so here I am.

How much does packaging influence your purchasing decisions? If you purchase a hand made item, are you happy to receive the item in a standard brown box/bag with no additional frills or do you expect that extra special touch (like decorative labels, tags, bows, gift boxes etc) simply because it is a hand made item?

Any item that I ship (primarily those orders through my Etsy shop) is loosely rolled and fitted into an appropriately sized box along with a business card, sample practice piece and the receipt.

I haven't had any complaints so far, but if I jazz it up a bit I may have to increase my prices slightly to cover the added cost. Since I'm a somewhat frugal person, I tend put more stock in the quality of the item than in the way it's delivered, but on the other hand, I will admit that an eye catching label or box does draw more attention. Keeping in mind that shipping regulations are not so tolerant of pretty bows and ribbon adorned packages, I'm thinking more like adding a ribbon tied around the rolled up decal, or maybe just some twine with a nice hand stamped tag then placing it in the shipping box. So whether you sell handmade items online or you just like to buy hand made things (who doesn't?) I would love to hear your opinion on the matter!

Until next time,