Minimalist D.I.Y. Inhale/Exhale Wall Art Craft

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Guys, we recently moved to Granger, Indiana!!!  This is the closest that the military has ever placed us to my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, so I am super excited to be closer to friends and family (under two hours!!!)!

Anyway, our last place was a two-bedroom, 1 living room small little place, and our new place is a 4 bedroom, living room and family room, much bigger place. Needless to say, I have been knee deep in boxes, and furnishing and decorating this place has become quite the task! It’s an older house, and we are renting, so I’m limited with what I can do with the place, but I’m going for a minimalist vibe with a bit of bohemian style mixed in there.

Today, after finishing up another bedroom, I noticed that I wanted something simple to hang at the end of the hallway. I went on Pinterest to look at different ideas, and I got sidetracked, as I usually do on Pinterest, by some cool looking tattoos on there. Then I came across this one:

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And BAM! Inspiration struck. I grabbed a couple of 12″ x 12″ blank white canvases that I had in one of my craft boxes that had yet to be unpacked, a pencil, some black acrylic paint, and some toothpicks. That was all I needed to make this cute little wall hanging for the end of the hallway. I love how it turned out. White canvases on white walls. Super simple, but looks perfect with the decorating theme I’ve been going with throughout.  After creating this gem, I decided that I needed to share it with you all, because it is a super easy craft, and it really looks great!

Before getting to the simple process of creating this masterpiece (can I call it that?…oh well, I just did), a couple of notes:

  • You can use any phrase for this, and the design can be whatever you want. I just liked the inhale/exhale thing because, for one, I was feeling overwhelmed with all of the moving festivities, so it was a nice reminder, and also because I got inspired by the tattoo I saw on Pinterest.
  • I did white canvas on white walls, but you can easily paint the canvas any color you would like first, and then once it dries do the lettering over it…I think a light grey canvas with white lettering would look pretty rad!
  • I did my lettering free-hand, but you could also use a stencil of some sort to do this too. You can usually find some pretty cool wording stencils for various popular phrases.

Okay, let’s do this!

EASY D.I.Y. MINIMALIST INHALE/EXHALE WALL ART CRAFT

Materials needed:

  • two 12×12 blank white canvases – I got mine on Amazon a while back here.
  • a pencil
  • black paint
  • toothpicks (one for each color you are using)

Directions:

1.) First, you simply use your pencil to draw the lettering onto the canvases. If you are using the same design as I did, place the two canvases next to each other so they line up, then draw the line connecting the inhale and exhale from one canvas to the other so you know where to draw “exhale” on the second canvas so the line lines up when you hang them.

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2.) After you’ve drawn your design on the two canvases, dip your toothpick in the black paint, and slowly and carefully trace over the pencil drawing on the canvas until the whole drawing is now painted on your canvases. This is the trick to making it look quite precise – use a toothpick instead of a paintbrush!

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3.) Allow the paint to dry, and wa-la! You are done, and you have a super cute and simple wall hanging that looks great in any room! When you hang them, do so so that the line from the first canvas to the second canvas lines up.

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Told you it was super easy, but seriously – so cute, right? Enjoy! 🙂

Lighted Wood Christmas Craft

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Aren’t these the most darling lil crafts ever?  These are what I am giving out as Christmas gifts this year…hmmm…hopefully my friends and family don’t read this before they get them! 😉

I love these things, because they look really nice and rustic, but they’re actually not all that hard to put together!  Of course, if you LOVE the way they look as much as I do, and you don’t feel like having to do it yourself, you can also easily purchase these on my Etsy store too!

They make for a perfect Christmas decoration, and the lights in them give such a warm and cozy ambience to any room they may be displayed in!  The wood is unfinished, and I put a light coat of gray paint on them to make them look nice and rustic.  They are just perfect for a nice looking Christmas decoration!

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You can hang this craft on the wall, or you can display it on a shelf or table.  Regardless of how you display it, believe me, you will LOVE the way it looks!

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Let’s get to the instructions on how to make this!

LIGHTED WOOD CHRISTMAS CRAFTS

Materials Needed:

  • Unfinished block of wood (like a side of a crate) – I got mine at Amazon here.  It’s perfect, because it has the hardware for hanging it on the wall already installed.
  • pencil
  • Stencil of the design you would like to paint on
  • tape
  • measuring tape
  • drill (size of the drill bit is up to you – bigger = more light)
  • dark grey paint
  • white paint
  • paint sponge
  • paint brush
  • toothpicks
  • Craft glue (I use Crafter’s Pick – it’s the best)
  • LED wire lights (you can get these here)
  • cuttable cork board
  • scissors
  • Large thumbtacks (4)

Directions:

1.) Use your tape measure to place your stencil in the middle of the wood accurately. Tape in place, and do a light sketch of the stencil onto the wood with your pencil.

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2.) Remove the stencil and draw in dots around your stenciled design where you want to have your light holes.  Use a drill to drill holes over those dots.

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3.) Mix your gray paint with a bit of water, and use your sponge paintbrush to paint your board gray.  Let dry completely.

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4.) Once the paint is dry, place your stencil back on the board in the same position you had it on there before.  Tape into place, and use your paintbrush and your white paint to paint the stencil onto the wood. Carefully remove the stencil. Don’t worry if it’s a little sloppy – we will clean it up in the next step.

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5.) Use a toothpick and both paints to clean up the stencil design on the wood.

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6.) Flip the piece of wood over.  On the back, glue your battery pack of your LED lights along the bottom of the wood.  Arrange your LED lights in a pattern so that the lights line up with the holes you drilled.  Tape into place, then glue into place by placing drops of glue along the wires (not on the lights).  Allow the glue to dry completely, and then you can remove the tape.

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7.) After the glue is completely dry, use your tape measure to measure a piece of cork board that you can lay over the back to cover up the wires and lights.  Cut out the piece of cork board using your scissors, and then lay it over the wires, but keeping the battery pack outside of the cork board.

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8.) Use four thumbtacks to secure the cork board into place, taking care not to poke a thumbtack into the wires.

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You’re all set!  The on/off switch for the lights is on the battery pack.  Display your finished product proudly! 🙂

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Enjoy! 🙂

Super Easy DIY Silver Polishing

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Pinterest win!!!  I’ve been on a minimalist kick lately, so am trying to get rid of some things.  As I was going through my jewelry to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, I came across some of my silver jewelry (including my favorite bracelet) that I would totally wear, but they were a bit tarnished, because it had been awhile since I last used them.

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I decided that I wanted to keep these pieces, but I would need to get some silver polish…then the light bulb in my head went off, and I thought – PINTEREST!  Sure enough, there were tons of DIY silver polish tricks and recipes.  They all were a little bit different, but it was the same main idea. I decided to try a little bit of each of them to come up with my own process.

I don’t mean to brag, but this little concoction/procedure turned out FANTASTIC!  I’m pretty sure Harvard will be calling soon in hopes that I will accept an honorary P.h.D. in Chemistry, but I probably won’t accept.  Hey, I’m just a humble gal trying to salvage some of her favorite jewelry pieces!

The great news is that all that you need to clean silver is probably in your kitchen cupboard, and oh my gosh, guys – this stuff WORKS!  I was skeptical because it seemed so simple, but by golly, it worked!

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It’s completely safe and non-toxic, and the way that I did it keeps the mess to a minimum (I read a lot of posts on Pinterest that complained of the mess of adding baking soda to boiling water – don’t worry!  The way I did this will keep that from happening).

It doesn’t just work for jewelry either!  You can use it for silverware, silver figurines, etc…plain and simple, it works!  Seriously, guys – you need to try this stuff!  You will feel like a mad scientist in your kitchen as you watch the tarnish magically disappear, and you will be left with beautifully shiny and brilliant silver!

DIY SILVER POLISH

Materials Needed:

  • A large bowl (big enough to fit whatever you are cleaning)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Soda per 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 tsp. salt per 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • boiling water (enough to cover whatever you are cleaning)

Directions:

1.) Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.  While the water is heating up, line your bowl with aluminum foil.

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2.) Place the baking soda and sea salt in the bottom of the lined bowl. Slowly add the vinegar and watch it bubble and fizz – this is where you will feel like a brilliant chemist.  Once the water is boiling, add enough of it to the bowl so that whatever you are cleaning will be completely covered.  Once again, embrace your inner chemist and watch as the baking soda and salt that hasn’t yet dissolved in the vinegar magically dissolves completely.

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3.) Gently drop your silver into the bowl.  You will see the tarnish just melt away – it’s really quite neat!  Let the silver soak for about 10 minutes.

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4.) Carefully use a spoon to take the silver out of the bowl, and use a rag to dry off and remove any spots that haven’t come off yet.

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5.) If it is not yet as pretty as you would desire, you can repeat the procedure to get it even cleaner, but my guess is you won’t have to!  I’m still shocked at how well this worked and how easy it was!

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AMAZING!  IT WORKS!!!  Enjoy! 🙂

Homemade Espresso Cup Beeswax Candles

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Aren’t these just the cutest lil candles?

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I don’t know about you, but I LOVE candles.  They are incredibly relaxing, and just set a perfect cozy ambience in a room.  That being said, it is unfortunate that most candles are quite toxic.  I’m talking about paraffin candles.  Check out the article on this pin.

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Well, that says a lot.  Parrafin candles come with many dangers.  These types of candles produce soot when they are burned, and this soot is subject to inhalation by us!  They can then penetrate deep levels of the lungs, and lower respiratory tract.  On top of that, many candles have lead in their wick – what???  Yeah, you read that right.  Low level exposure to lead and the soot produced by paraffin candles can lead to the following issues.

  • hypertension
  • kidney troubles
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • neurological problems
  • sleep disturbances
  • memory loss
  • breathing difficulties
  • cancer

This isn’t even the whole list.  Soooo, what to do???  We love candles and the mood they set, but it’s definitely not worth all these health issues!  Well, hooray, I’ve got an alternative: BEESWAX!!!  My mom used to make beeswax candles when I was growing up, and whenever she was making them, the house would be filled with the amazing aroma of beeswax (which smells like honey if you didn’t know)!  Oh, how I LOVE that smell!!!  Not only that, but beeswax is non-toxic and completely natural, so it is safe to burn candles made of beeswax.

Based on all this, I made these cutie patootie candles with 100% organic beeswax, and all-natural wick free of lead, zinc, and other metals.  The result is an adorable candle that smells amazing and is safe to burn to your heart’s content!

Okay, let’s get to this craft!

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ESPRESSO CUP CANDLES

Materials:

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  • espresso cup
  • beeswax ( I got mine here)
  • wick (I got mine here)

All you need to make the candles is an espresso cup, beeswax, and wick.  I painted my own afterwards, but you can purchase cutely decorated espresso cups and just make a candle out of them if you don’t want to paint your own.  If you do decide to buy plain espresso cups and paint them yourself, you will also need paint and paintbrushes.

Directions:

1.) Cut your beeswax into chunks and place them in the espresso cup.  Put in the microwave for 4 minutes.  As the wax melts down, add more.  Continue this until the level of melted wax reaches the level you would like.

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2.) Place your wick into the center of the espresso cup.  Place the scissors on something that puts them at a level where they can hold the wick in place.  Use the scissors to hold the wick in place as the wax hardens.

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3.) Allow the wax to harden completely.  This will probably take an hour or so.  I let mine sit overnight just to be safe.  Once hardened, cut the wick so there is about 1/2-3/4 inch wick above the wax.

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4.) Your candle is now ready to paint!  Paint however you would like, or like I said, you can also just start with espresso cups that are already decorated to your liking.

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5.) Let the paint dry, and your candle is ready to burn!

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SOOOO CUTE!  These are also available for purchase at my Etsy store.  They are customizable, or you can just buy the candles in plain white cups with saucers and decorate them yourself.  Enjoy! 🙂

 

DIY Throw Blanket – Finger Crocheting With Video Instructions

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If you are lucky enough to live in a part of the world where things are cooling down, then this easy project is perfect for you!  We are stuck here in San Antonio, where it is still hot, HoT, HOT, and I make it no secret that I am a Michigander through and through, so not a fan of the heat AT ALL.  That being said, my internal Michigan clock is still telling me that it should be close to Fall now, and I wanted to start with a fall project.  I had recently been talking to my mom about crocheting, and I decided to give it a try making a cute dishtowel.  I wasn’t the most coordinated with the crochet needle, so decided to try something different.  I came up with finger crocheting.

With finger crocheting, you basically just use your finger in place of the crochet needle.  Obviously this makes for a much bigger stitch, so this type of crocheting is best for chunky scarves, throw blankets, and the like.  I decided to try to make a blanket, and it turned out GREAT!

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This thing is so soft and cozy, and I can easily sit in our air conditioned apartment and snuggle up in this thing and just pretend like it is nice Michigan fall weather, so it serves as a little piece of home.  Anyway, once I made this blanket, I was hooked!  I told my mom about it, and sent her a picture, and she said she wanted one, so I made another one for her, and I made sure to document it using videos to share with all of you so you can make these if you would like!

These blankets are super easy to make, and I love making them, because I can just zone out and relax while doing so.  They make for perfect Christmas gifts as well, so you could get started now and hand these out for Christmas as well.  At any rate, you will fall in love with finger crocheting once you give it a try!

Without further ado, here is the step by step video instructions on how to make these blankets!

1.) INTRODUCTION

2.) SLIP KNOT

3.) MAKING YOUR STARTING CHAIN

4.) SINGLE STITCH FIRST ROW

5.) SINGLE STITCH SECOND ROW

6.) CHANGING YOUR BALL OF YARN TO A NEW BALL OF YARN

7.) MAKING A DOUBLE BORDER

8.) ENDING YOUR LAST STITCH AND FINISHING YOUR BLANKET

Easy Peasy!  These are also available for purchase at my Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/PinningJunkie.  Enjoy! 🙂

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Homemade non-toxic hand soap and a homemade mason jar foaming soap dispenser

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With flu season peaking pretty much everywhere here in the states, having an effective hand soap is essential to aid in the prevention of getting sick.  The problem with this is that many people reach for store bought, antibacterial soaps to use, and unfortunately, these soaps contain quite a few ingredients that are really detrimental to our health.  Considering we have to wash our hands even more than usual this time of year, I believe it is absolutely essential to use a soap that you know is safe, and that soap is good old Castille Soap!

This may lead you to ask “Right, but is it effective in killing germs that would cause us to become sick?”, and the answer is YES!  I came across the following pin on Pinterest which links to a post that goes over how Organic Castille Soap is just as effective as the other soaps that contain dangerous antibacterials and other undesirable ingredients (fragrance, parabens, sulfates, etc.)

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Some of the dangerous ingredients that are in many commercial brand hand soaps are

1.) Triclosan – this one is a big one.  It is a known carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.  Triclosan is so bad that some states and countries have banned it’s use in personal products.  Many hospitals and doctors offices are looking for alternatives to antibacterial soaps that contain triclosan because of how often their workers have to wash their hands.

2.) Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate – These ingredients are linked to skin and eye irritation, organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicological, and biochemical or cellular changes, and possible mutations and cancer, as reported by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

3.) Parabens – these have hormone disrupting effects, can cause diminished muscle mass, and have been detected in human breast tumors.

4.) Diethanolamine (DEA) – This is linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergies/immunotoxicity, and organ system toxicity.

5.) Synthetic fragrance – Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates, which are endocrine disrupters that mimic hormones and may alter genital development.

These are five of the main offenders, but there are others as well.  Obviously, you don’t want to be giving yourself a dose of these guys every time you wash your hands!  Also, many of the antibacterial soaps out there that contain these chemicals are contributing to the superbug overgrowth problem that we are hearing more and more about.  Thus, if there is a safe alternative that is just as effective, wouldn’t you rather use that?

I have a great homemade hand soap that I make and I put it in these cute homemade hand soap dispensers that I make out of mason jars – they’re adorable!  You can use this soap without the foam dispenser, but you won’t get much lather with it, and I love how the dispenser makes it lather nicely.  I will start with the soap recipe!

HOMEMADE NON-TOXIC HANDSOAP

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup castille soap (I use Dr. Bronners.  You can use any scent you would like)
  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • essential oils (optional) – I use lavender and tea tree oil (5 drops of each) for their natural antibacterial properties.

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to a soap dispenser, shake a bit to combine, and you’re good to go!

It’s that easy!

Now for the dispenser!

Materials:

  • Pint Size Mason Jar
  • Foaming Soap Dispenser (just the actual dispenser (top))
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • black marker
  • glue gun
  • marbles (optional)

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Directions:

1.) Start by using a hammer and a nail to puncture holes in the center of the mason jar lid to create a hole that is big enough for you to fit the dispenser top through it.

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2.) Now stick the dispenser through the hole and use your marker to mark a circle showing what needs to be cut out to get the soap dispenser to fit through it so the bottom of the dispenser is able to touch the mason jar lid.

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3.) Once again, use your hammer and nail to puncture small holes around the marked circle until you are able to remove the circle all together.  Use caution with this step as this will cause the edges to be rough and sharp, so take care not to cut yourself.

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Now your dispenser will fit nicely on the lid.

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4.) Now glue the soap dispenser to the lid using your glue gun.

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5.) Your lid is done now.  Lastly, just fill the mason jar with your homemade soap, and add some marbles if you would like (I like the way they look).  Put your lid with the dispenser on top and seal the jar as you normally would (twisting on the lid).  Ta-da!  A super cute soap dispenser with safe, non-toxic, effective soap!

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Enjoy! 🙂

Sources:

NON-TOXIC SHOWER CLEANER

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I’ve mentioned in many of my posts on household cleaners that many store bought cleaners contain chemicals that are extremely harmful to our health.

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This is especially concerning when it comes to shower cleaners, because the chemicals that are in these cleaners are easily inhaled when they have been used and you take a steamy hot shower.  You may be getting rid of soap scum and mildew using these cleaners, but you are leaving behind chemicals that are far worse for your health.  For this reason as well as many others, it is very important to use non toxic cleaners in your tub and shower.  I’ve got a great recipe for a non toxic and effective tub and shower cleaner that removes soap scum, mildew and germs.  I will share it with you in a minute, but first, I want to go over some of the nasties that many store bought shower cleaners contain. The following chemicals along with their health effects are found in many store bought shower cleaners.

Ammonia: The vapors of ammonia can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs.  It can also cause kidney and liver damage.

Fragrance Chemicals: Most cleaners contain these.  The two most common offenders are phthalates and synthetic musks.  Both of these can wreak havoc on the endocrine system causing reproductive effects in both men and women.  Some cleaners also contain cancer-causing benzene and formaldehyde.

Quarternary Ammonium Compounds: These are irritants that can cause severe allergic reactions and may cause adverse genetic and reproductive effects.

Silica Powder: This is a known carcinogen and can be found in abrasive cleaners (scrubs).

Sodium Hydroxide: This is highly corrosive and can burn the eyes, skin, and lungs, and is a respiratory irritant.

Trisodium nitrilotriacetate: The International Agency for Research on Cancer rated this as a possible human carcinogen.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of these anywhere near me, let alone left behind in my shower after cleaning for me to breath in or soak up into my skin in a bath!

No worries!  I have a solution!  My shower cleaner recipe is completely toxin free and free of harmful chemicals!  It works GREAT and it smells great!  I use vinegar quite a bit in my cleaning products, but I don’t when it comes to shower cleaner, because as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really like the smell of vinegar, so I didn’t want to have to smell it when relaxing in a nice hot shower.

In the recipe, you will notice that the amount of water to add varies greatly.  this is because it depends on how you want to apply it.  You can make a paste, in which case, you just want to add 2-3 Tbsp. of water, or you can make it into a spray on cleaner in which case you need to add anywhere from 2-4 cups of water.  If you want it as a spray, you just need to make sure it is thin enough so that it doesn’t clog up your spray bottle – I learned this the hard way! :-/  However, you still want it thick enough to “cling” to your shower wall and scrub away soap scum.  I suggest adding 2 cups to start, then add accordingly.

NON-TOXIC HOMEMADE SHOWER CLEANER

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup liquid castille soap
  • 10-20 drops tea tree oil
  • 2 Tbsp. to 4 cups water

Directions:

  • If making a spray – use a funnel to add all the ingredients to a spray bottle.  Shake well.
  • If making a paste – Mix all ingredients together in a container with a lid.
  • To use – Apply to shower and tub.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  Scrub with a sponge or rag.  Rinse well!

Super easy and effective!  Enjoy! 🙂