Need a quick gift using scrap wood? A Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holder is an easy and fun gift to make and certainly a project that you can customize to meet your needs. Best of all, the kids can help with the painting step!

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Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holder

Mother’s Day is this coming weekend! Have you decided how to show her your appreciation and love?! I did! My mother is a professional artist. She creates amazing paintings that inspire others and brightens their homes. For Mother’s Day I wanted to brighten her studio with these art utensil holders. I call them “Creative Blocks.”

Go ahead and raid your scrap pile and join us as we make these colorful and fun Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holders.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

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Instructions:

1. Block assembly: Select two 2×4″ scraps cut to the same length. Spread glue on one board and sandwich them together.

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Clamp the wood together and drill two small holes to countersink the heads of the screws. Drive two screws into the bottom of the wood to hold the pieces together.

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Use a band saw, jigsaw, or table saw to trim off the rounded edges of the wood so you have a square block of wood with straight corners.

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Putty any cracks or holes. Sand until smooth.

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2. Creating the mask:

If you have a craft cutter (Silhouette or Cricut) you can create a mask in vinyl easily. But, if you don’t you can use the computer to print out your words. Lay the print out on top of a strip of Painter’s Tape. Use a few pieces of tape to secure the corners.

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Trace around the words with the X-acto knife (be sure to have a few fresh blades on hand.) Transfer the resulting cut-out tape onto the block of wood. Press the edges of the tape mask to secure the tape.

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3. Painting the block: Paint a base color onto the block. Then use a brush and/or palette knife to dab thick paint over the block (minus the base.) Use the X-acto knife to gently peel off the tape mask. Let the paint dry thoroughly overnight.

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4. Drilling Holes:  After the paint has dried completely, mark the location of the utensil holes with a pencil. Put a piece of painter’s tape on the drill bit to mark the depth of your holes. Clamp the block and drill holes at each pencil mark.

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Dump sawdust out of the holes.

Wrap up the blocks in gift wrap and enjoy the look of joy as your Mom opens her Creative Block Mother’s Day gift!

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You know, as an artist myself, I almost loved these too much to give them away. But, my Mom is worth it. (And I can make another set if I want ;-).)

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For more last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas and many other creative projects, check out the Gift Ideas section here on the blog.

PHGFancySignIf you liked this project, you’ll love these floating picture frames using more 2×4 scrap wood.

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Today’s tip is one that is gentle on your washer (HE and regular), but most importantly it will save you money! If you’ve ever looked at the cost of laundry detergent, you may have choked at the cost. I have a wonderful recipe to make your own Liquid Laundry Detergent for only $1.25 per year! And the detergent is low suds and low residue which will keep your washer and clothes cleaner.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Only $1.25 per year

How to Make DIY Laundry Detergent

If you think this detergent couldn’t possibly work on dirty clothes, think again. I can tell you that in addition to our regular clothing, I’ve been using this recipe for 9 years on my boys’ clothes, on my own work clothes, and my husband’s karate clothing. And it really works. Whatever stains don’t come out in the wash are no match for my DIY Miracle Stain Remover.

The ingredients for the laundry detergent are simple and can be purchased at your grocery store. Just look on the high or low shelves in the laundry detergent aisle. If you can’t find them there, you can also look at your local hardware or home improvement store.

To make the detergent, you only need about 15 minutes and then let the detergent sit overnight. The next morning, you stir, add more water and you are done! Do you think that’s too much time to devote to making laundry detergent? What if I told you that this batch lasts our family of four (did I mention two of them are young boys) six months or more.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Only $1.25 per year

Click Here to Download the Printable Version of the Recipe

Laundry Detergent for $1.25 a Year

Several of you asked me to make a video showing how I make my own detergent. For your convenience you can watch the video, then scroll down to read the directions.

Ingredients:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

DIY Laundry Detergent Ingredients

Please note, you can purchase these items cheaper at your local grocery store or hardware store. The links are here to help you see what the box looks like or to order if you can’t get to the store.

Optional: Essential Oil for Scent (see below for scent ideas)

Instructions:

  1. Cut Fels Naptha Bar in quarters. Grate one quarter of the Fels Naptha Bar using a fine cheese grater.
  2. Boil 1 cup of water. Pour grated Fel Naptha into pan of boiling water. Stir continuously until the soap has dissolved. Meanwhile, pour 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) of water into a large container or bucket. Pour dissolved Fels Naptha into the bucket of water. Stir.
  3. Add 1/4 cup Super Washing Soda and 2 TBSP Borax to the bucket.
  4. Add 2 1/2 quarts more water and stir.
  5. Cover the mixture and let is sit overnight out of reach of pets or children. Uncover the bucket and stir the gelatinous mix.
  6. Add 5 Quarts (20 cups) of water to the bucket. Stir.
  7. Add 15-30 drops of essential oil of your choice.

Some essential oil scents you may like:

Citrus scents: lemon, lime, orange, bergamot, or grapefruit
Herbs scents: peppermint, spearmint, rosemary, basil
Other scents to try: Eucalyptus, chamomile, cypress, lemongrass
Want to fight mold & mildew? Use Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca)

Blends to try:

  • basil & lemon
  • lavendar & lemon
  • orange, bergamot, and lemon
  • chamomile, lavender, and orange
  • lemon & tea tree

Miracle Stain Remover Recipe:

If your clothing gets stained, try soaking in this miracle stain remover a day or two before laundering. You’ll be amazed how the stain lifts out effortlessly.

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How did I figure out my cost per year?

I had to do a little guestimating to figure out my cost. In the nine years I’ve been making this recipe, I’m only on my second box of Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.

Each batch of DIY laundry detergent consists of at least 4o cups. If you use the required 1/4 cup per load (do not use more, as more detergent won’t get your clothing cleaner) you can easily get 160 loads from each batch.

All this to say, I came up with a very conservative estimate that I pay $1.25 for laundry detergent per year!

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Only $1.25 per year

Storing Your Laundry Detergent:

When I first started making this recipe, I used my empty laundry detergent container. But, it was often too small for the batch size. Next, I used an empty 2.5 Gallon Water Jug. But, several years ago I bought a big glass drink dispenser and a smaller bottle with a flip top stopper. The smaller bottle is filled and used for dispensing detergent into the 1/4 cup measuring cup and then added to the washer. The large drink dispenser holds all the excess detergent. This is a prettier solution to storing all the detergent.

DIY Laundry Detergent | Pretty Handy Girl

Gift Idea:

Once you try this DIY laundry detergent, I know you’ll love it. And then you’ll want to share this recipe with everyone you know! I like to share the recipe with a small sample amount in a laundry themed basket.

DIY Laundry Detergent |Pretty Handy Girl

If you want more uses for that big box of Borax, check out my 2 Ingredient Ant Killer!

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Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Only $1.25 per year

 

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Make It May! A Stay at Home Series

My friends, I know with confidence that COVID-19 has changed your life. I truly hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during this scary outbreak. While my entire family is home with me 24/7, I’ve been keeping busy with home and garden projects. All while also trying to keep up with cooking and caring for my family. But, I’m also trying to carve out time for myself to keep me sane. Personally, I know a little sunshine, sweat, and creativity will get me through this ordeal. Although I can get outside, I know many of you still have to work or don’t have the ability to get outside. Please share how you’re staying sane in this insane time! Specifically, what are you doing to “Make It” through?

With the goal of helping us all “Make It” through May, I’m going to be sharing some hand-picked tutorials with you that I know you can make while staying home and with limited supplies.

From Monday – Friday look for one “Make It May” project a day. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to subscribe to my email list to get each project delivered to your email. (Did you know if you subscribe to my email list you can simply reply to any email to chat with me? You can ask me questions, tell me how your project turned out, or just say Hi!)

This morning’s Make It May project was the recipe for making your own laundry detergent. You may wonder why anyone would want to make detergent when you can buy it at the store? I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for nine years now and one batch lasts us 6-9 months.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Only $1.25 per year

We just ran out last week and luckily I didn’t have to “run out” to the store to buy more. Plus, did I mention the detergent I make costs us $1.25 per year? It’s true! If you missed that tutorial this morning, here it is again.

Next week I’ll be bringing you five tutorials you can make for yourself, make with the kids, or make as a last-minute Mother’s Day gift! I can’t wait to share all 21 projects with you!

Once the projects publish you can see All the Make It May Projects Here!

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to subscribe below.