Category: make stuff

craft project :: DIY rocket ship

guest post + images by amanda wood

From splashing in the pool to shooting to outer space. Now that fall is upon us, transform your neglected pool noodles into rocket ships that really take off.

Rather than cluttering up the garage for a whole year, turn those pool noodles into good fun by creating rocket ships that really fly. Using just a few simple household items, it’s a quick project that will give the kids a little backyard adventure for those crisp fall days. While an adult is needed to do the cutting part of the project, the assembly could be done by school age children.

Materials needed:
Pool noodles *
Card stock (Any type of stiff card stock will work such as the back of a notepad, shirt card or even corrugated cardboard boxes. Dig around in your recycling bin!)
Utility knife or x-acto knife (Scissors can be used for cutting, but it will be a little more difficult to get a nice clean edge.)
Metal ruler
Cutting mat
* Each pool noodle will make about three rocket ships. You can use either the smooth sided or bevel sided versions.

Step One:
Cut three 3″x4″ rectangles out of the cardstock. These will be the starting point for the three fins. If you are making more than one rocket ship, you might want to cut enough rectangles for each one at this point.

Step Two:
On each of the three fins, cut the point off one corner by measuring down 1″ on either side of the point. This should give you about a 1.5″ angle. It doesn’t need to be too precise, but we found that this gave it a nice proportion.

Step Three:
Measuring down 18″ from one end, cut off a section of the pool noodle. This is your rocket ship body.

Step Four:
Trim one end of the rocket ship so that it has a cone-shaped or bevelled point like a pencil. This will be the nose of the rocket ship.

Step Five:
On the tail end of the rocket ship body, you will need to cut slits into the body to insert the fins. Use the long side of the fins to help measure the length. There should be two slits evenly spaced on the bottom and one slit on the top. You can slide the fins into place ensuring that the angled corner is on top facing the front of the rocket ship.

Step Six:
Once the fins are in place, secure them with duct tape.

Step Seven:
You are ready to blast off! Just raise the rocket ship above your head in one hand and launch it just like you would a paper airplane. These rockets really can go quite far and high, so I recommend using them outside where there is plenty of space.

Try a little science experience by testing different materials for the weight in the nose and different sizes and weights of passengers (see below). See which combination makes it go the highest or farthest!

Giddy Up!
If you would like to have a passenger in your rocket ship, you can trim out a cockpit in the middle of the top of the body. Use your toy as a guide to the size of the cut-out. Since the pool noodle is hollow, a nice little space is created to nestle in a little figurine such as playmobile or any other toy of a similar size.

Caution: Your passenger may jump ship if the rocket gets up a good speed, so don’t use anything too precious that might break!


Amanda Wood makes handmade goods for the family home under the name Owl + Pussycat. As a mom of two active boys who is passionate about bringing DIY into the hands of children, she is always on the lookout for thrifty craft ideas to keep them busy. Blog | Etsy

craft project :: lip balm

Store-bought balms often contain petrochemicals, salicylic acid (which dries lips and has several potential health implications), silicone oil (which locks out moisture) and other additives, such as phenol (which though banned in Canada may still be found in lip balms, and pesticides, originating Stateside).

While there are several brands recommended by the Cosmetic Safety Database for having no or low health impacts, you can also make your own! It’s a fun project and offers a great way to control what exactly you put on (and in) your body. Plus, it’s easy!

In this recipe, we use cocoa and shea butter, to soothe and condition, as well as beeswax, which forms a barrier to keep the moisture in and provides the balm with staying power. You can also add avocado or red raspberry oil for a natural sunscreen.


  • 2 oz almond oil
  • 1 oz cocoa butter
  • 1.5 oz shea butter
  • 1.5 oz beeswax
  • 1 tsp edible flavouring (optional)
  • ¼–½ tsp avocado oil for SPF 6–8, or red raspberry oil for SPF 28–50 (optional)
  • Step one:
    Place all your ingredients together in a pot on the stove or in a Pyrex container inside a sauce pan with about an inch of water in it, heating slowly.

    Step two:
    Pour into containers and let cool.

    Feel free to halve the recipe, or pour the mixture into larger containers and use also as a cuticle cream or for rough hands and elbows! Yields approx. 25 3ml tubes or containers

    Originally posted on Granville Online March 24, 2010.

    craft project :: DIY dish soap

    image via princess red

    According to, homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterparts.

    Everybody needs dish soap right? It’s one of those basic necessities that people add to the shopping list and assume you have to buy from the grocery store. Ranging anywhere between $2.00 to $5.00, a bottle of dish soap isn’t that expensive, but every now and then, the stick-it-to-the-man feeling washes (excuse the pun!) over me and I end up revising my dish soap concoction. Super simple to follow and a great way to use up those left ove rpieces of soap!

    Making your own dish soap is great for people that have allergies and sensitive skin. Unlike edible products, cleaning products do not have to list their ingredients. By making your own formula, you know exactly what is going inside it.

    * 2 cups of soap shavings (cut up pieces as fine as possible)
    * 2 cups of hot water
    * 1 bowl large enough to hold the soap and water together
    * 1/2 cup of lemon juice or white vinegar
    * Squeeze bottle or container with a hand pump (I didn’t have a suitable container, so I used a mason jar I had on hand and later added a hand pump recycled from an old shampoo container)

    Step One:
    Using a sharp knife, cut your soap as fine as possible. The smaller you are able to cut the soap, the better your consistency will be. For the picture above, I used some left over soap that I picked up from a recent hotel stay. You can use new soap or as I mentioned above, left over soap pieces. **

    Step Two:
    Place soap shavings in our bowl and add 2 cups of hot water. Let the mixture sit overnight to soften. You will notice that the soap pieces will begin gelling together.

    Step Three:
    Give the mixture a good stir. Don’t worry if you find some large chunks of left over soap pieces. I used a slotted spoon and removed any large pieces or try using a masher to break down chunks.

    Step Four:
    Measure 1/2 cup of lemon juice or white vinegar to the mixture to help fight grease. Add it slowly to reach the desired consistency.

    Step Five:
    It’s ready to use! Pour the completed mixture into your container. Mix / shake well before using as the soap and vinegar / lemon juice may have a tendency to separate.

    Tip: For stubbon stains, use baking soda as a scouring powder. Soak pots and pans in a baking soda and vinegar mixture to eliminate stains, odours and built up grease.

    ** I prefer to use unscented soap or ones with just a hint of scent. However, feel free to add 2 to 3 drops of your favourite essential oils to your finished dish soap.

    ** This recipe is not for use in the dishwasher. Visit stain removal 101 for homemade dishwasher recipes or visit Change Everything for other recipes on making your own non-toxic cleaners.

    craft project :: DIY notebooks

    Give new life to used paperbacks by transforming them into handy notebooks! This is a super easy DIY project that will cost less than $1 to make.


    * Paperback novel (can be found at thrift stores)
    * Scissors
    * Sharpie
    * Ruler
    * Embroidery needle (or one that will hold your chosen thread)
    * Hammer
    * Two bull clips
    * String, twine or yarn
    * Scrap paper
    * Awl (found at Opus/stationery store in bookbinding section)

    Step 1: Choose a paperback novel (I decided to go for the romance novel with extra cheese).

    Step 2: Gather scrap paper. You can use old mail envelopes, junk mail, office paper—anything you can write on. Mix and match with graph and lined paper.

    Step 3: With your scissors, cut the front and back cover off of the book as close to the spine as possible. Put these aside.

    Step 4: Cut out a few pages of your novel. I like to use these pages as dividers inside the notebook. Recycle the spine of the book and unused pages.

    Step 5: Place the inside pages on a piece of scrap paper and trace the measurements. The inside pages will act as a guide for the width and length of your template and will help you cut your scrap paper to the correct size.

    Step 6: Use the template and cut your scrap paper to size. An ideal amount is 30–50 pieces of scrap paper, but this can be adapted depending on how thick you would like your notebook. Trim scrap paper so that the book cover and inside pages are the same size. Lay them out the way you want it to look. I like to place my papers randomly—cover, scrap paper, book pages, scrap paper, book paper, scrap paper, cover.

    Step 7: Line up your pages and clip them together using two bull clips—one on top and one on the bottom. Take your ruler and mark locations for 5 holes vertically along the left-hand side. One hole in the middle, one each 3/8 from the top and bottom, and the others evenly spaced in between. A sharpie works best when you are marking on a glossy cover.

    Step 8: Place a protective sheet between your table and your notebook before you begin. Take your awl, line it up to your marked dots and use your hammer to punch a hole through. Repeat for all 5 dots. Make sure that your hole goes through all the way to the other side and is large enough for your twine to go through three times.

    Step 9: A Coptic stitch bookbinding technique is used to hold the notebook together. Feel free to google this technique for step-by-step guides and video tutorials.

    • Cut a length of thread at least four times the height of your book.

    • Stitch up through the middle hole and leave a couple of inches of thread at the back of the book to tie a knot with later.

    • Stitch down through the next hole towards the top of the book, around the spine and back down through the same hole.

    • Stitch up through the hole nearest the top of the book, around the spine and back up through the same hole.

    • Stitch around the top of the book and back up through the same hole.

    • Stitch down through the next hole towards the centre.

    • Skip the centre hole and stitch up through the second hole from the bottom, around the spine and back up through the same hole.

    • Stitch down the hole closest to the bottom, around the spine and back down, around the bottom and back down, up through the hole closer to the centre, down through the middle hole and finally around the spine and back down through the middle hole (sounds more complicated than it is).

    • Tie the ends together and you are done!

    This tutorial was inspired by Maked, a local craft collective. Originally posted on Granville Online June 12, 2009.

    craft project :: DIY zipper pouches

    Did you know it takes 1,000 years for polyethylene shopping bags to break down? Why not save a few from the landfill and create a sturdy and waterproof zipper pouch!

    Follow these simple and easy steps create a sturdy and waterproof zipper pouch!


    • Iron

    • Ironing board

    • Parchment paper

    • Plastic shopping bags

    • Sewing machine

    • Thread

    • Scissors

    • Zipper

    Step One: Gather two plastic shopping bags.

    Step Two: Lay each bag flat and cut off the bottom seam and handles. Slit the side open so that the bag can be opened and laid flat. Fold the bag so that the image faces inside (if facing outside, the image may rub off). Fold the bag so that you have 6-8 layers (ideal, but feel free to experiment). The layers can be achieved either by folding the bag into itself or by using more bags stacked on top of each other.

    Step Three: Sandwich the stack of plastic bags between two pieces of parchment paper.

    Step Four: Prepare your iron and make sure it is at a low setting (level 2). If you find that the plastic is not fusing together, then turn your iron up to a higher setting (level 3 – Rayon).

    Keep your iron constantly moving and don’t forget the edges! Once the plastic has melted into one sheet, you’re done!

    CAUTION: Make sure that your workspace is well ventilated when ironing plastic

    Step Five: Fused plastic can be sewn just like regular fabric. Pin a zipper to the widest end of the plastic piece and sew in place with the zipper foot on your machine. Turn and do the same so that the zipper is attached to the fused plastic piece.

    With wrong sides facing together and the zipper half way open, sew up the edges. Make sure that the zipper is open so that you can open the pouch to turn it inside out.

    And, voila! You just made yourself an inexpensive, sturdy and waterproof zipper pouch.

    Originally posted on Granville Online April 9, 2009