Winter is coming, and with COVID-19 restrictions on travel and entertainment what better time than now to get craftier? The projects listed below are all sustainable, meaning they’re helping the environment by:
- Reduce plastic use, and your carbon footprint.
- Re-using items commonly thrown out (like glass jars and milk containers)
- Many ingredients call for ingredients that may be made of recycled materials. The ingredients listed also make several future batches, thus reducing consumption.
- Healthier products: no added sulfites, preservatives or chemicals!
- You may save money! We’ve put almost twice as much into savings per month than we did prior to Covid due to sustainable living habits and minimal travel.
Below you will find some of my newfound favorite DIY crafts that you can get done in under 30-60 minutes. I’ve noted the ingredients needed for each item so you can find something you have on hand. If you see something you’d like to make, order the items ahead of time for pick up or on Amazon so you may make them on your next day off.
- Oat Milk (oats, dates, water)
Place 1 cup of oats in a blender with 4 cups of water and 1 date, pit removed. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Wet a cheesecloth, thin towel, or old t shirt, squeeze the excess liquid out, and place over a large bowl. Strain liquid into jar through shirt. Gather the edges of the towel and squeeze remaining liquid through into the bowl. You may leave it overnight to strain as well. Transfer to a large Ball jar or repurposed container. Refrigerate and use within 5 days. Shake well before enjoying. Makes great oatmeal, delicious over cereal, in smoothies, and even in coffee.
*Almond milk variation: Soak 1 cup almonds in 1-2 cups water overnight. Drain and blend with 4 cups water and 1 pitted date for 1-2 minutes. Strain in towel and store up to 5 days in refrigerator.
- Conditioner (shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, aloe vera juice, essential oil, optional beeswax)
Bring 1-2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan to make a double boiler. Place ¼ cup shea butter, 3 T. coconut oil, 1 T. avocado oil and optional 1 T. beeswax (I’ve made it with and without beeswax. Beeswax will help it harden slightly) in a small saucepan and place over the medium saucepan of boiling water. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 T. aloe vera juice and 7-10 drops of essential oil. (rosemary is recommended for hair) Pour into a wide, shallow Ball jar (or repurposed jar of appropriate size) and let cool for an hour (it will solidify slightly depending on your house temp) Use 1-2 teaspoons (this is stuff is powerfully conditioning) by massage into roots of hair after shampooing. Leave in for 5-10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly for soft, shiny, healthy hair.
- Lotion (shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, essential oil)
Bring 1-2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan to make a double boiler. Place ¼ cup shea butter, 1/4 T. coconut oil, and 2 T beeswax in a small saucepan and place over the medium saucepan of boiling water. Stir until melted. Whisk in essential oil and pour into a wide, shallow Ball jar (or repurposed jar of appropriate size) to harden. Use a small amount of lotion to moisturize. *This recipe can be made without beeswax.
Pictured with Beeswax Candle (easy to make together) *Moisturizer: my version of lotion w/o beeswax
- Beeswax Candles (beeswax, coconut oil, wicks, optional essential oil)
Bring 1-2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan to make a double boiler. Place 1 cup beeswax and 1 cup of coconut in a small saucepan and place over the medium saucepan of boiling water. Stir until melted. Whisk in essential oil if desired. Pour into a medium sized glass jar with a 6” wick placed in the middle. It may move around a little while you pour it, but you can recenter it once you’ve poured the liquid in as it begins to harden.
- Air Freshener (fresh herbs, a lemon, vanilla, water)
In a small saucepan, bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil. Slice your lemon and place in water along with a sprig of rosemary. Simmer until you can fragrantly smell the rosemary. Pour into a wide, shallow jar or repurposed jar of appropriate size. Stir in a teaspoon or so of vanilla.
- Decorative Cement Hands (quick mixing cement, water, latex gloves)
Place 2 gloves over a large disposable cup. Then, pour about 3 cups of quick mixing cement ($15 at Lowes) into an old, disposal mixing bowl. Add water slowly until the mixture resembles thick, smooth pudding. Pour into gloves and tie off the ends near the wrist of the glove. Arrange both gloves in a large bowl and weigh the palms down with a small dish filled with weights (like some rocks). Allow to harden 1 hour, then carefully remove the weighted dish and peel the gloves off the cement. Be careful, the fingers break easily! Sand any rough edges. These are fun to spray paint or use as a succulent planter. Let set for 24 hours before using.
- Container Garden (used milk container, soil, seeds)
Rinse your container thoroughly. If using an almond milk container, cut the nutrition facts side of the carton out. If using a plastic milk jug, cut the handle (top) portion out. Keep the pour spout intact. Make sure the lid is on tight, or secure with duct tup. Fill with soil and plant seeds based on planting instructions. Water enough to keep soil dry but be cautious not to overwater container gardens. Place in an area that receives good amounts of sun, or under an LED grow light.
“We can’t just consume our way to a more sustainable world.”– Jennifer Nini
Most of these products are easy and somewhat cheap to buy. You might think why wouldn’t I just buy an eco-friendly brand? The answer is because its still creating waste. Instead, why don’t we go one step further and invest in the sustainable ingredients to create the product ourselves? Plus, it’s exciting to gain confidence in your abilities when making these things, and far better for our bodies. No preservatives, added sulfites or chemicals, organic. Have fun and let me know how it goes!