Tag Archives: DIY

Bamboo Candles with Soy Wax and Essential Oils

We have a very tropical backyard that is bordered with lots of bamboo. Lots. Since it is so plentiful and grows so quickly, I’m always looking for clever and creative things to create and do with it. A while ago my husband Bill made me bamboo planters by cutting the bamboo sticks, filling them with soil and planting succulents.

This past weekend I came up with yet another fun idea– bamboo candles. I love everything about this project. It brings the beauty and simplicity of nature indoors using sustainable materials and when the candles melt down, you can refill them.

Image of candles made from bamboo

Here’s what you need to create your own bamboo candles.

  • Bamboo sticks. If you don’t have them growing in your yard, you can purchase online or at a garden store. Or you can message me and I will send you some!
  • Wax. I like soy. It burns clean and is safer for the environment.
  • Candle dyes. I like white candles, but if you want some color you can purchase at craft stores or online.
  • Candle wicks. I prefer the kind that have metal bottoms and I always get the sticky tabs that help hold them in place.
  • Candles scents. I like essential oils for their natural, less “perfumy” scent.
  • Plastic wrap and rubber bands.

You will also need a large Pyrex measuring cup to melt the wax in a double boiler or in the microwave.

Here’s what you do:

You will need to cut the bamboo into various lengths. Use a hand saw or table saw. My husband did this for me. You can cut the sticks at the knots so there will be a “floor” at the bottom of your candle. However, if this is not possible, you can create a false, removable bottom with plastic wrap. Yes, it works and will not melt, even with hot wax. Just be sure to completely cover the bottom of the candle and secure tightly with a rubber band as close the edge of the bottom as possible. Then proceed to melt the wax in the Pyrex glass measuring cup. I prefer the microwave. Start in 1 minute intervals until the wax is completely melted.

While wax is melting, place wick with sticky bottom in the center of the bottom of the candle. Once the wax is melted, you can add color, if desired, and a few drops of essential oil scent. Lemongrass, citronella and plumeria are good choices that go well with the bamboo tropical theme and as an added bonus they also help keep bugs away. Stir your mixture with a metal or wooden spoon or a chopstick you might have lying around from your last order of Chinese food. Pour wax mixture into the bamboo container and wait for it to dry. Allow at least four hours before you remove the plastic wrap. Don’t worry if there is a little over spill that pools at the bottom of your candle. That happens if you don’t secure the wrap close enough to the edge. It will harden and you can scrape off later. Soy wax is very soft and spills clean up easily. Once the candle is completely hardened you can trim the wick to the length you prefer.

For more creative ideas on what to do with bamboo, follow me on Pinterest. Or send me some of yours with some photos and I will feature them here.



Sea Glass Sea Shell Soap and Lotion Dispensers

image of sea glass colored soap and lotion dispensers decorated with seashells and beads

I’ve been decorating glassware with pressed flowers and marine botanicals for years and I was looking for new ideas and was inspired when I discovered this really cool “sea glass” craft spray paint from Krylon. It comes in many colors, but I like the sea foam, cornflower and aqua the best because they are the most “beachy” to me. I like the soft, sea glass like pastel hues of the colors. They remind me of mermaid tails. I decided to experiment first by spray painting some clear class jars to see how it looked and I loved the effect. It took a little bit of practice. I learned through trial and error to shake the can well and spray at a distance of about 12-18 inches, that way the paint mists onto the glass without leaving dripping marks. I also did a few coats until I got the desired effect. (Note: Be sure to use in well ventilated area and wear silicone gloves to protect your hands.)

image of plain glass jars sprayed with sea glass spray paint in blue and aqua colors

Once I was satisfied with my test pieces, I moved on to some clear glass soap and lotion dispensers I had on hand. I purchased them wholesale from GlassNow, but you can buy individual ones here.

image of clear glass soap and lotion dispensers

The really fun part was next– decorating them! Keeping with the sea-inspired beach theme, I choose from my collection of seashells, sea stars, sand dollars, driftwood, seaweed. For a colorful accents, I embellished with assorted beads in complementary colors.

image of assorted seashells and beads

I used a hot glue gun to adhere the larger items and craft glue for the seed beads. I love the way they turned out! The beads really add a subtle sparkly effect that reminds me of walking alongside the ocean and seeing a splay of colored pebbles and tiny bubbles of water from sand crabs.

This is only the beginning for me.  These first few items are available on Etsy with plans for many more to come!

Bamboo Planters Zen Decorating Idea



When I moved to Santa Cruz 24 years ago I remember the first time I saw aloe vera, cactus and other succulents growing on the side of the road. It was November, 1992 and I had just left the barren trees and slushy snow of New Jersey when I found myself  tranplanted into a year round tropical oasis– a completely alternative landscape from the coniferous and disiduous vegetation I was used to. It didn’t take me long to embrace the California surf culture and  Zen-like vibe, which typically involved hot tubs, bamboo and succulents. We have all three in our yard and my husband Bill, handy, creative guy that he is, made these lovely DIY bamboo planters for me and filled them with luscious succulents.

Mermaid Sea Salt Bath Sachets

image of sachets decorated with seaweedIn Santa Cruz, California the ocean is usually cold year round. Since I always enjoy a good salty soak, especially in my antique claw foot tub, I found a way to experience the healing properties of the ocean indoors. I discovered a recipe for a seaweed rich mineral bath in 100 Organic Skin Care Recipescourtesy of Santa Cruz aromatherapist Jessica Ress. I mixed up a batch of bath salts and then filled sachet bags I had printed with images of my pressed seaweed. Here’s how you can do it yourself.


Place salt in large glass bowl. Fold in the lavender buds, spearmint and seaweeds. Add the drops of essential oil. Mix well.  IMG_3695


Make a sachet  filled with the salt mixture and toss in the tub. Loose salts can be stored in a sealed jar for up to 6 months. Note: I chose to decorate my linen sachet bags with images from my SeaweedArt pressings. You can use whatever image you choose.

Tie the opening of the linen sachet with the attached string. Immerse the sachet, and your yourself, into the tub and soak for 20 minutes. Shower afterward to rinse off the excreted toxins. Contents of the sachet are good for one bath and the bag can be refilled and reused many times.


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