How to Make a Tire Swing: Easy DIY

What You’ll Need

  • A large gently used tire

  • Rope

  • Power Drill

  • A large, stable tree with a branch at least 9 feet from the ground

Choosing Your Rope

Rope

Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay

One of the most important safety considerations, other than selecting a tree branch that can support the weight, is the type of rope you use for your tire swing. Let’s dive into the different aspects of types, fibers, sizes, and safety to ensure you choose the best one for your project.

Rope Types

Fiber Types

Rope Size

Rope Safety Tips

Step By Step Guide to Make a Tire Swing

Now that we’ve covered the basics of materials let’s dive into the simple, nine-step process of hanging a single-rope swing in your yard. 

Step 1

Find the Perfect Tire

Swing Tire

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Start by finding an old tire that’s ready for its second life.  You’ll want to make sure that it’s in relatively good condition and doesn’t have any splits or cracks that could compromise its integrity under the weight of a person.

Generally, larger tires are better because they’ll give your kids lots of room to climb in or on them, but be mindful of the weight of some of the oversized options.  You’ll want to find the right balance of size to the amount of weight your tree branch can support.

Step 2

Clean Off the Tire

Clean tire swing on the playground

Image by Dennis Herzner from Pixabay

Chances are good the unwanted tire won’t be squeaky clean, so you’ll want to give it a good scrub before you let your kids play on it.

You can use a heavy duty detergent and a scrub brush to remove all the mud and grime and rise it thoroughly both inside and out.  It needs a deeper clean, you can use a pressure washer, or take it to a do-it-yourself car wash to use one of their high-pressure nozzles to get all of the dirt off.

If there are any residual grease spots, you can use WD40 or a tire cleaner to remove them.  Be sure to rinse the tire again after using these chemicals so that they don’t end up on your kid’s hands once they play on the swing. 

Step 3

Drill Drainage Holes in the Tire

Once your tire is squeaky clean, it’s time to drill a few holes in the bottom of one side of the tire.  This will prevent water from pooling inside when it rains, which could lead to mold or rot.

Use your power drill to make three holes in the base, and be careful as you push through the material.  Depending on the type of tire you choose, you might hit a layer of metal strands used to reinforce the material, and you’ll need to work through them with your drill bit.

Step 4

Pick the Perfect Branch

Tire Swing in a tree branch

Image by rawbuffalo from Pixabay

It’s time to select a branch that’s suitable for your tire swing.  Start by identifying a mature tree that’s large, healthy, and doesn’t have any signs of decay or weakness.  Favorites are Oak or Maple trees, but any species with established roots can work.

Scope out the tree for a branch that’s around 9 feet off the ground, and that’s at least 10-inches thick.  Thicker branches will be able to support more weight and will be sturdier.

You’ll also want to search for a branch that extends away from the trunk of the tree so that you have room to swing without running into the base.  Although you will still hang the tire swing near to where the branch meets the trunk, give yourself a few feet of from for the best results.

Remember, the higher the branch, the more room you’ll have for the tire to swing.  If you’re building for a small child, a branch lower to the ground might be a better fit to limit the movement and how high they will go.

Step 5

Hang the Rope

Tire Swing in the beach and the rope is tightly hang on the branch of tree

Image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay

This is the most dangerous part of the job, so be sure that you put safety first when it’s time to hang your rope over the sturdy tree branch.  Position your ladder securely and climb carefully to the top. It’s smart to have a partner hold it steady on your way up.

Thread one end of the rope over the branch and let it drop down towards the ground so that you can reach it when standing at the base of the tree.

If you don’t have a ladder, there are other creative ways to get your rope up and over.

Try securing something heavy, like a roll of duct tape or balled up socks to the end of the rope and then throwing it over the branch.  Once it’s looped over, the weight should bring the rope down to ground level.

Step 6

Tie a Slip Knot

Use the ends of your rope to tie a slip knot and pull on it until the knot travels upwards towards the branch.  You should end up with a double rope with ends at two different lengths.

Step 7

Hang the Tire

Using the rope, the tire is tightly hang on the branch of tree

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Position the tire so that the drainage holes are at the bottom and tie the rope around the top of the tire.  Use a square knot configuration to keep it secure.

Make sure to position the tire so that it’s an appropriate distance from the ground.  You’ll want it high enough so that your kid’s legs don’t drag when they swing, but low enough that they can easily climb in or on it without needing assistance. 

Step 8

Create a Play Area on the Ground

Children are enjoying the tire swing at the playground

Image by erge from Pixabay

Although it’s not mandatory, it’s a nice touch to add an area on the ground around the swing of soft surface to make it safer for your children when they play.  Consider adding mulch or digging out a section and filling it with sand to cushion landings when kids jump (or fall) off the swing.

Step 9

Test the Tire Swing

Little girl is enjoying the tire swing

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

The only thing left to do on your list of how to make a tire swing is to test it out.  Have one of the larger, heavier members of your family give it a try to make sure that the knots stay secure that the branch will support the weight.

Fun for the Whole Family

A tire swing is a fun addition to your yard that the whole family can enjoy. This inexpensive, easy to do project is suitable for even the most inexperienced DIYer, and this helpful guide gives you everything you need to get the job done.

Featured Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Best Bento Lunch Box

If you spend any time on Instagram, especially in the foodie or parenting circles, who’ve probably noticed a certain trend cropping up to replace traditional lunchboxes: the Japanese bento box. But before you hop on the wagon and start crafting your own adorable lunches, you need to know which style is the best bento lunch box for you and your family.

What once was only adopted in the West by anime and manga fans (often called otakus or weeaboos, both lovingly and not so much), is now used by trendy bloggers and creative parents.

And with the growing popularity of meal prepping, or pre-assembling meals for the busy week ahead, the bento box is now almost entirely a part of U.S. culture.

But what exactly is a bento box? Where did the concept first originate?

And how do you choose the best bento lunch box out of the seemingly endless options currently on the market?

Comparison Table

What Is a Bento Box?

The concept of a bento box is actually quite simple. A bento lunch box is a reusable, Tupperware-like lunch box from Japan. These boxes can be made from plastic, bamboo, steel, or other durable materials.

Traditionally, bento boxes include foods like rice, fish, and vegetables. However, with the adoption of these boxes in the U.S. and elsewhere abroad, today’s bento boxes can contain practically anything.

Where did the bento box come from?

The history of the bento box is surprisingly murky. While we know that Japanese farmers and soldiers packed their food in boxes as early as the 5th Century and that this utilitarian trend spread across China, Korea, and other parts of Asia, things are a little unclear after that.

a bento rice meal on wooden lunch box

Image Source: Instagram.com

We do know that the bento box was a standard for schoolchildren in the early-1900s, and about its role as an economic status symbol between the post-war haves and have-nots. When standardized school lunches were introduced, the bento box fell out of popularity.

That is, until the 1980s.

As frozen dinners and convenience foods dominated the market, the bento box reappeared. This also coincided with Japanese-American immigrants bringing the concept over to their new home.

a bento meal on rectangular containers

Image Source: Instagram.com

A few years later, around the 1990s, character-themed bento boxes became the new trend. Today, we still see these elaborate boxes on Instagram, YouTube, and personal blogs across the Internet.

Why the Bento Box Isn’t Just a Cute Trend

Yes, the best bento lunch box photos might dominate social media, but this isn’t the only reason why this trend seems to be here to stay. In fact, bento boxes offer several benefits.
Here are just a few reasons you should consider jumping onto this new lunch trend:

They can help save the environment

One of the most important aspects of a bento box is that it’s reusable. Unlike plastic sandwich bags and brown paper lunch sacks, the bento box is just as permanent as your ceramic dishes or glass cups.

However, unlike your home dinnerware, a bento box is meant for transport. This means you can also avoid buying prepackaged foods. And, as a result, cut down on the amount of waste you produce with each meal.

a stacked of colorful lunch boxes

Image Source: Instagram.com

Many of the best bento box brands of today emphasize this focus on sustainability by choosing eco-friendly materials and manufacturing practices for their products.

If you care about the environmental impact of your purchases, we suggest seeking out one of these companies for your new lunchbox!

They can save you time and money

Dining out, even if you just make a pit stop at a convenience store or fast food joint, is expensive. This can also be true for children’s school lunches, depending on your district.
Actually, reports say that U.S. citizens spend an average of over $1,000 per year on restaurant lunches. And professionals aren’t the only ones affected by this, with college students spending an average of $27.47 dining out per week!

a bento box with rice chicken and spinach leaves

Image Source: Instagram.com

If you need a little extra motivation to pack lunch each day, a stylish bento box could be just the thing you need. Plus, when you’re not rushing out of the office to grab take-out on your break, you’ll have more time to relax before you get back to work.

They can help you eat healthily

Of course, switching to a packed bento lunch won’t do much good if you fill it with junk. Fortunately, there are several resources and cookbooks out there for healthy, bento-based meal inspiration.

a healthy bento meal on pink lunch box

Image Source: Instagram.com

First, bento boxes offer built-in portion control. Not only can you only pack so much food into a single box, but most boxes feature individual compartments that let you portion out carbs, vegetables, sweets, and more.

Second, the bento box goes hand-in-hand with creative, brightly colored lunches that are often in the shape of cute animals or cartoon characters. Who doesn’t want to snack on a carrot in the shape of a star?

Okay, and they’re cute and fun

Alright, while bento boxes are much more than just a cute photo op, we can’t deny that the bento community creates some absolutely adorable and delicious-looking lunches.
For example, a bento box can turn a normal, healthy lunch into something out of a culinary magazine:

a bento rice box with honey chicken and fresh veggies

Image Source: Instagram.com

Or, you can use your bento box to scratch that itch for symmetry and organization:

a bento box with different textures and shapes

Image Source: Instagram.com

Obviously, we can’t forget the incredibly creative lunches that bento fans are constantly putting together, like this Hermione Granger-themed lunch:


a hermoine themed bento box

Image Source: Instagram.com

You can even celebrate holidays with themed lunches, like this creepy and cute Halloween-themed box (just look at that orange disguised as a spooky pumpkin!):


halloween themed bento box

Image Source: Instagram.com

As you can see, there really is no end to the amazing things you can create with a simple bento box.

So, are you feeling inspired? Well, then it’s time for you to find the best bento box for your newfound creative passion!

The Best Bento Box for Every Lunch and Lifestyle

Just a few years ago, buying a proper bento lunch box meant visiting a specialty shop or ordering one online. Today, though, you can find bento boxes almost anywhere.

However, just because you can run to your nearest general store and pick up one of these trendy lunchboxes doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily get the best bento lunch box for your needs. With their growing popularity, there are numerous types of bento boxes to choose from for packing your next lunch.

Whether you want something sleek and office-appropriate, or something you can haul around in a backpack all day, here are some of the best bento lunch boxes you can buy today:

For the office

Sure, panda-shaped or colorful bento boxes might be adorable. But if you work in a professional setting, they might not be the most appropriate.

If you want a high-quality bento box that your coworkers won’t raise their eyebrows at, may we suggest one of the boxes below?

BentoHeaven Bamboo


Original BentoHeaven Bento Box Bundle with FREE Lunch Bag, Divider,…

  • GET THE MOST STYLISH BENTO LUNCH BOX: Friends, family, colleagues will be longing for your lunch box by BentoHeaven from…
  • EAT SAFE HEALTHY MEALS ANYWHERE: reusable, airtight, leak proof bento box containers made of food grade BPA-FREE…
  • GIVE THE BEST MOMENTS OF THEIR DAY: use your FREE lunch box notes to send a personal message to your beloved ones! Print…

The BentoHeaven Bamboo box, available in black or white, is the quintessential bento box. This classic lunchbox is perfect for the office, or anywhere you don’t want to draw attention to your day-to-day lunch.

With two 20-ounce, stackable containers and individual sealing lids, you can pack anything you’re craving. Plus, the attached chopsticks and cutlery set mean you don’t have to haul around silverware or waste plastic utensils. Everything stays secure with the removable elastic strap.

monbento MB Square

If you want a bit more room for your meal, the monbento MB Square box is what the brand calls a “King-sized bento” option. This square bento box features a modern design and is available in several different colors, from matte black to rose pink.

With this bento box, you get two just over 28-ounce, stacking containers with airtight sealing lids and a secure elastic strap. Unfortunately, this bento box does not come with utensils, though you can purchase them from monbento separately.

While some say this is the best bento lunch box for men, really it’s just a great choice for anyone with a big appetite. 

Bklyn Bento Stainless Steel Bento Box


Stainless Steel Bento Box Lunch Box, A Large Metal 3 Tier Tiffin Food…

  • 3 TIER 100% STAINLESS STEEL LUNCH BOX: Some foods were simply not meant to mingle. Separate containers keep your…
  • 20% LARGER: Ahhh, nothing like market research. We found most people that use bento boxes really like them….
  • ECO & ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY: Not even a touch of BPA, PVC , BPS or PHTHALATES goes into making this food…

Are you trying to limit your plastic use? Even if you choose the best bento lunch box made from reusable plastic, there are still downsides to how these products are created. Fortunately, you can do away with plastic completely with the Bklyn Bento Stainless Steel Bento Box.

This bento box offers a secure, airtight seal for all of your favorite foods. It includes three separate, stacking containers that hold 9 ounces, 16 ounces, and 17 ounces, from top-to-bottom. Unfortunately, because of the lid sealing design, you can’t use just one or two of these containers at a time.

For the kids

Being an adult might mean doing away with cartoon-themed lunchboxes and overly bright colors. But that doesn’t mean your children can’t indulge in these simple pleasures.
For many kids, their school lunchbox is a core part of their identity. Luckily, bento boxes come in all types of cool colors, designs, and themes!

If you’re thinking about switching your child to a bento-based lunch, here are some of the best bento lunch box styles for younger kids:

Bentgo Kids Prints


Bentgo Kids Prints (Pink Dots) – Leak-Proof, 5-Compartment Bento-Style…

  • LUNCH IN STYLE: Bentgo Kids has upgraded America’s favorite children’s lunchbox with fun patterns that showcase your…
  • IDEAL PORTIONS FOR KIDS: 5 practical compartments portioned perfectly for a child’s appetite to encourage a healthy…
  • LEAK-PROOF TECHNOLOGY: Keeps meals and snacks fresh and mess-free during transport – Designed with 2 kid-friendly…

One of the best bento box options for kids is the Bentgo Kids Prints collection. These bento boxes come in six different colorways, each with their own fun design on the top (our personal favorite is the Mermaid Scales version!).

Each of these boxes has a hinged outer shell that securely clasps shut and a removable, segmented tray inside. The tray features five different sections of varying sizes. Bentgo states that these sections are the perfect size for portion control in children ages 3 to 7.

YumBox Original


Yumbox Original Leakproof Bento Lunch Box Container (Neptune Blue)

  • PRACTICAL LEAKPROOF DESIGN: Yumbox Original is designed to make your packed lunches easy & delicious. Molded silicone…
  • IDEAL PORTION SIZES FOR KIDS: Yumbox Original is designed for little kids. Our goal is to promote healthy & balanced…
  • PERFECT HEALTHY PACKED LUNCH: YUMBOX is a winner of Good Design Award for a Children’s Product. Yumbox makes it so easy…

If your child is a slow or reluctant eater, how about trying a bento box with a design hidden inside? The YumBox Original bento box, with its colorful interior images, is just one example.

These bento boxes come in all different designs, from adventurous astronauts to quaint forest creatures. YumBox even has one design that maps out the different food groups and appropriate portion sizes. Whichever design you choose, your child will be eager to finish their lunch so they can see the scene underneath!

YumBox Original bento boxes feature a hinged lid with a secure but easy to open latch. These boxes are great for toddlers and children up to 8 years old and fit perfectly into a standard insulated lunch tote.

OmieBox


Yumbox Original Leakproof Bento Lunch Box Container (Neptune Blue)

  • PRACTICAL LEAKPROOF DESIGN: Yumbox Original is designed to make your packed lunches easy & delicious. Molded silicone…
  • IDEAL PORTION SIZES FOR KIDS: Yumbox Original is designed for little kids. Our goal is to promote healthy & balanced…
  • PERFECT HEALTHY PACKED LUNCH: YUMBOX is a winner of Good Design Award for a Children’s Product. Yumbox makes it so easy…

The OmieBox bento box is specially designed to withstand the use and abuse that comes from young kids. You can even order replacement parts if your child is prone to losing or breaking things!

This bento box features three double-walled, insulated compartments, one of which can be used as a normal segment or hold an insulated thermos (which is included with the box). The OmieBox comes in several bright colors and includes a secure latch that’s still easy to open with small hands.

For on-the-go

We don’t all have the luxury of walking into the office and tucking our packed lunch in the breakroom refrigerator. If you’re constantly on the move, whether for work or for play, you need a bento box that can keep up!

From carrying a whole day’s worth of food to feeding a small crowd, you’ll find the best bento box for your busy lifestyle below.

East World Bento Box


East World Lunch Box for Kids- Leak Proof Kids Lunch Box – Bento Box…

  • SOUP-SAFE AND LEAKPROOF When lunchtime arrives the last thing you want is soggy bread and a soup catastrophe, right?…
  • NOT JUST A LUNCHBOX: As well as being an insulated lunch box that keeps food safe, Bento Friend comes with a reusable…
  • EASY TO CLEAN AND STORE! The East World Bento Lunch Box is Freezer, Microwave and Dishwasher Safe (hand wash the lid)….

What good is even the best bento box if your food ends up warm and soggy by the time you sit down for lunch? Fortunately, the East World Bento Box has you covered.

This bento box features six compartments with an airtight lid and miniature cutlery set. Each piece is entirely microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

But the key element of this bento box is the insulated carrying bag. This bag is the perfect size to fit your bento box, utensils, and an ice pack to keep everything fresh throughout the day. The handle means you can grab-and-go while the durable material means it can safely go in your standard washing machine for easy cleaning.

YBOBK HOME Cute Bento Lunch Box


YBOBK HOME Cute Bento Lunch Box with Flatware Set Stackable Lunch Box…

  • 【Safe and Durable】The cute lunch box is made of food grade stainless steel interior and high quality plastic…
  • 【Unique Design】This stacking lunch box mainly has 3 layers, adding 1 mini bowl is equal to 4 layers, keeping food…
  • 【Freedom to Combine】The stainless steel lunch box is designed to be stacked, you could freely combine them into 1, 2…

If you’re on the hunt for a versatile and hyper-mobile bento box, the YBOBK HOME Cute Bento Lunch Box should definitely be near the top of your list. Available in several different colors and designs (our personal favorite for this box is the Cactus pattern, in case you were wondering), this bento box can go anywhere and hold almost anything.

The three-tier version of this box includes three sealed containers, one small non-sealed container, a lid that doubles as a bowl, and a convenient carrying handle. Each section is fully insulated, and you can use them all together or pick and choose which containers you need.

In total, this box carries holds over 40 ounces. It also comes with a utensil set and a carrying bag that you can easily sling over your shoulder.

YBOBK HOME Insulated Lunch Box


YBOBK HOME Thermal Lunch Box, Leak Proof Insulated Stackable Round…

  • 【Food Grade Material】High quality food grade stainless steel liner and eco-friendly PP outer, BPA free, toxin free,…
  • 【Keep Food Warm for up to 4 Hours】Insulated lunch box and bag, keeps your home-cooked meals warm, fresh and ready to…
  • 【Leakproof Lunch Box】Each layer has a separate lid with the sealed silicone ring that prevents the spillage of…

If the stacked bento box above isn’t quite big enough for your needs, then here’s another box from YBOBK HOME that might be a better fit. The YBOBK HOME Insulated Lunch Box offers many of the same features as their Cute Bento Lunch Box but with larger containers and higher overall carrying capacity.

While the bento box above can hold just over 40 ounces of food, all three tiers of the Insulated Lunch Box can hold 71 ounces! That’s enough to feed a small crowd or keep you fueled through your whole workday.

Each 23.67-ounce section can be used alone, paired, or as an entire set. With this stacking bento box, you’ll also get a portable utensil set and a carrying bag.

Upgrade Your Bento Box with These Accessories

So, you have your new bento box, and you’re ready to create a picture-perfect lunch. But, of course, the bento trend isn’t fueled solely by the concept of using a box to carry your food. If it was, there would be no difference between a bento lunch and a Tupperware lunch.

Instead, the bento box trend is actually fueled by the use of shapes, characters, and colorful palettes. This concept, which started in the 1990s, is what makes bento boxes so special.

Ready to step up your bento skills? Well, you’re going to need some tools.

Fit the mold

What says bento lunch more than anything else? Molded rice balls.

You might not be sticking with the traditional rice and vegetables found in Japanese bento lunches. However, you can still take advantage of cool shapes when creating your own box.

animal themed bento snack

Image Source: Instagram.com

For example, you can mold soft sandwich bread into an adorable panda or create cat face cut-outs with cheese and lunch meat. If you can think of it, there’s probably a bento-approved way to make it!

Make some shapes

Bento lunches are supposed to be helpful for getting kids to eat healthier and learn proper portion sizes. Still, it can be hard to get picky eaters to eat their carrots and zucchini.

star and fish shaped food on bento box

Image Source: Instagram.com

One of the most popular trends in bento box lunches is fun-shaped vegetables. With a set of cute vegetable cutters, you can offer a little extra incentive to that veggie hater in your life. Or, you can use these shapes in your next themed box creation!

Keep it neat

Your new bento box might have its own built-in organization. But that doesn’t mean certain foods won’t make an absolute mess!

To help keep your lunches even tidier and more aesthetically pleasing, you can use reusable cupcake sleeves. Unlike paper or foil sleeves, these silicone cups can be washed and used many times over.

snacks on a bento box

Image Source: Instagram.com

And since you’re likely choosing to use a bento box for its sustainability, the last thing you want is to create unnecessary waste.

Or, you can spring for a whole kit

If you’re not too keen on buying a dozen separate accessories, you’re in luck. With the rising popularity of bento lunch boxes, especially for young kids, it’s easy to find complete kits that contain everything you need to master the best bento lunch box game in town.

Yes, these kits are typically marketed to kids and their parents. That said, we won’t judge if you start sneaking dinosaur-shaped sandwiches into your work lunch!

What’s in Your Bento?

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably feeling pretty gung-ho about your upcoming bento box adventures. Bento boxes offer tons of benefits, from cutting down on food packaging waste to teaching children healthy habits. So, combined with the cuteness factor, it’s no surprise that this Japanese trend has taken off around the world.

But remember, having the best bento lunch box doesn’t need to be a competition. If you choose to dive into the world of themed boxes, don’t let Instagram and Pinterest discourage you.

We promise all your kids will care about is the love and care that goes into their star-shaped carrots — not how many likes their school lunch garnered on social media!

If you decide to try out the bento box for yourself, keep in mind that these boxes aren’t one-size-fits-all. What works for someone with an office job might not work for someone who’s running errands all day. And vice-versa.

At the end of the day, what’s important is that you choose the best bento lunch box for you.

What do you like to pack in your bento box? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com

Everything You Need to Know about Making a DIY Piñata

A piñata is usually shaped like a donkey or other animal and is traditionally made from a clay pot, paper mâché, color tissue. A piñata is filled with candy, small toys or fruit.  Piñatas are sometimes shaped like a seven-pointed star, cartoon character or superhero. 

A DIY piñata lets you use your imagination to create a party favor to entertain all your guests. The piñata dispenses treats or gifts when the guest of honor breaks the paper mâché or cardboard decoration. Use a stick or small bat to break the piñata.

History of the Piñata 

We know that piñatas are a part of Spanish and Mexican culture, but the Chinese smashed large, stuffed paper ornaments shaped like animals as early as the 13th Century. The Chinese burned the remainder of the paper ornaments and thought the ashes were a sign of good luck. 

Marco Polo saw these paper ornaments on one of his trips to China and brought them back to Italy, where the decorations were adapted for use in pre-Lenten festivities. Explores then brought the hanging paper ornaments to Spain, and then across the Atlantic to Mexico.

How to Use a Piñata   

Piñatas are suspended from the ceiling by a rope, and guests take turns hitting the piñata. Guests are usually blindfolded as they hit the piñata, and someone may spin the piñata or move it to make it harder for the blindfolded person to hit it.   

After a guest (or the person celebrating a birthday) breaks the piñata, everyone scrambles to retrieve the treats or toys. 

Should You Buy a Piñata or Make One?

You can buy a piñata online or from a party store. (Piñatas cost up to $50 if you buy them from a website or chain store.) Save money and create something unique for your friend or family member’s birthday with a DIY piñata. You can make a piñata with items you probably have around the house. 

Experienced crafters will have an easier time making a piñata than novices, but the process isn’t complicated. Piñata-making takes a bit of patience, but you’ll have a unique party favor when you’re finished.     

How to Make A Donut Piñata

Some piñatas aren’t shaped like unicorns, horses or donkeys. A do-it-yourselfer’s imagination is the limit for homemade piñatas. Follow these steps to make a donut-shaped piñata: 

Get several different colors of crepe paper and cut some fringe. You’ll need one color for the donut, a few colors for the sprinkles, and one for the frosting. Gather some cardboard, twine, masking tape, scissors, and white craft glue.  

Use a large circular object to trace for the outside of the donut. Trace the inside by using a bowl. The exterior of the circle should be about 30 inches wide, and the inner circle about eight inches wide.

Cut out two circular donut shapes, along with a few strips six inches or wider for the sides. Tape one of the pieces along the inside of one of the shapes. Bend the cardboard, so it curves, and it’s easier to do this before you apply the tape.

Repeat the cutting and tapping for the outer donut circle. Don’t put tape on one piece of the outer ring so you’ll be able to fill the piñata with treats later. Poke a hole to add string or twine. Tape the second donut shape to the first using the same steps.

Use two or more sheets of crepe paper and crepe paper streamers to cut fringe for the piñata. Wrap the fringe you’ve cut around the piñata. Start at the inside of the piece and wrap around it. The inner circle is smaller than the outer one so that the fringe will overlap several times.

Keep wrapping until you get to the last bit of fringe. Bend the fringe to get to the cardboard and glue the final piece.

Now add the donut frosting. Cut pink crepe paper into an uneven circle shape and cut a hole in the middle. Use white glue, a glue stick or double tape to glue the pink crepe paper to the piñata. Add dots of various color crepe pepper as sprinkles. Glue or double tape them to the frosting. 

Add treats or small toys to the open flap of the outer circle; then close it and hang the piñata from the ceiling of your party area.   

How to Make a Seven-Pointed Balloon Piñata

pinata for party

Image via pixabay.com

The traditional seven-pointed piñata is used at Cinco de Mayo celebrations and other Mexican festivities. Here’s how to make your own version of the classic party favor from South of the Border.

Gather the following items:

  • Water

  • Flour

  • Container

  • Seven or eight cardstock sheets

  • Punching balloon

  • Masking tape

  • Utility knife

  • Tacky glue

  • Twine

  • Scissors

  • Thick rope

You’ll also need newspaper cut into one-and-a-half-inch strips, and fine crepe paper cut into two-inch and one-and-a-half inch strips

Use paper mâché to create the piñata core. Blow up the balloon and tie it with a knot. Remove the rubber band off the other side and put tape over the overhanging part. Make the paper mâché by combining one part water to one part flour. Three cups of water and three cups of flour should be enough for this project.

The paper mâché paste should be thick because it needs to bind the newspaper strips. Soak the newspaper in the glue and take off the extra paste before you put the pieces on the balloon.

Tie the twine to the end of the balloon, and add most of the newspaper strips while the balloon is hanging from the ceiling. Overlap the pieces as you add them. Let the first layer dry before adding a second and thirds layer of newspaper. Let the strips dry entirely overnight before going on to the next step.

Create cones (the points on the star) to connect to the piñata while the centerpiece is drying. You can order them pre-made or use cone-shaped cardboard to make an open-ended cone. Form a cone shape and tape the edges if you decide to make your own “star points.”

Now poke a hole in the balloon. Place a cone over the hole in the deflated balloon and a trace a circle around it. Cut a hole inside the traced circle with scissors, but leave one side intact.  Reach inside and take out the balloon, and shake out the excess, dried paste. 

Use a utility knife to poke a hole opposite the opening. Take the end of a rope and tie it into a double knot and tread it through the hole. Now fill the piñata with candy or other treats. Close and tape the hole.  

Cut a few quarter-inch tabs into the cone bottom. Fold the cone in and glue it to the piñata. Tape the cone to make sure it stays attached, if necessary. Hang the piñata and add the rest of the cones using the same method.  

Cut the two inch and inch and a half strips of crepe paper three-quarters of the way into one-quarter inch wide fringe. Cut the pieces while they’re folded. Put a thin line of glue on the paper fringe.

Wrap fringe around the piñata base. The fringe should face downward. Make sure fringe overlaps as you wrap new layers. Cut fringe, so it doesn’t fall on the cones. Use small strips of fringe to cover cones once the piñata base is covered. Trim and cover any unkempt areas. Now you’re ready to hang the piñata for fun and games.      

Other DIY Piñatas 

multicolored donkey pinata

Image via unsplash.com

You can make your piñatas in just about any shape you desire. There are online tutorials for piñatas shaped like hearts, hair spray containers, blow dryers, pineapples, cake slices, diamond rings, and the ever-popular unicorn or horse-shaped piñatas. 

Regardless of the shape or size of your DIY piñata, you’ll need some essential items to build your creation. You’ll need crepe paper, twine, scissors, glue, tape, and cardboard (or card stock) for most projects. For a slice of birthday cake piñata, you’ll need straws to serve as candles.  

You can turn a donkey piñata into a unicorn piñata with a few materials and a bit of ingenuity. Start with a homemade or store-bought donkey piñata and remove external decorations. Trim the donkey ears, so they’re smaller, and then spray paint the figure white. Now you have a blank slate to turn into a unicorn. 

Use cardstock, several colors of cellophane and crepe paper, and make a colorful cone to use as the unicorn’s horn. Fashion the mane out of cardstock and add bright color fringe to complement the otherwise white body.  

Several do-it-yourself piñatas require you to outline the donkey or other animal or object on a piece of cardboard, cut out the separate parts and attach them with tape or glue before adding fringe and filling the inside with treats.

Let your imagination be your guide as you make piñatas suitable for themed-parties and your friends’ (or family members’) interests and personalities. 

How To Make A DIY Projector Screen For Outdoor Movies

A projector screen for outdoor movies is the perfect thing for sleepovers, family bonding time, entertaining overnight guests, playing video games or providing entertainment for the whole neighborhood, church group or Boy Scout meeting.

However, the price for the setup might be beyond your budget. Have you considered making your own? It’s entirely up to you how much money and work you want to put into you DIY projector screen.

You can also decide how portable you want it to be. If you have a place to store your screen in inclement weather, then perhaps you won’t need something that disassembles into a box you can keep under your bed. If you don’t have adequate storage, consider something more mobile.

Your handyman skill is another consideration. If you are able, you certainly can create a projector screen with grommets, snaps, spikes and carved wood. If you aren’t so technically abled, you might consider a less complicated construction.

Finally, you should think carefully about the location of your projector screen. Is there a way you can use the landscape already present in your construction? Are there trees you can incorporate in the design? Do you have a deck that would be perfect for frame mounting?

With these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some DIY projector screen projects.

Quick and Easy DIY Projector Screens

The Wall


a man sitting on the table, in front of the projector screen

Image Source: Unsplash

The easiest way to watch movies outdoors is to project the film on a white wall. The drawback is that every little bump and uneven space will impact the move viewing quality.

If you don’t happen to have a white wall large enough for movie projection, you can paint a large piece of plyboard, or several pieces of plyboard, and mount them directly on a wall. You may have the same problem with uneven sections since plyboard isn’t the smoothest surface.

You also may not have a place you want to mount such a large structure. That takes us to our next option.

The Curtain


red curtain used for diy projector screen

Image Source: Unsplash

You can make your own projector screen using a white sheet, white canvas, curtain backing, or blackout cloth. A white sheet, while probably the most economical, might not be thick enough to reflect the projected image, especially if you start the movie before it’s completely dark. Canvas is a heavier material and will not let as much background light through.

The best options for your DIY projector screen are curtain backing or blackout cloth, available at most fabric stores. These fabrics are thick and sturdy. Blackout cloth has a smooth and foam backed side. When hanging your screen, make sure the smooth side is what you will be projecting on, not the foam side.

You might also consider using seamless white photography backdrop cloth. You can order this from shops that cater to photographers. The advantage of this type of cloth is that is has finished edges, adding to the durability. 

Photography backdrop cloths are made of non-reflective materials

and are thick enough not to allow background light to shine through.

There are several different ways you can suspend the cloth. If you have a wooden fence or clothesline, you can drape the sheet over the top and use clothespins to hold it in place. If you have a place to tie a rope or wire, you can run the cord through the top seam of the bedsheet and suspend it between two trees.

Using one of these methods, however, doesn’t take into account a wayward breeze that might cause your movie screen to undulate, distorting the move projection. To reduce some of that floating about, you might consider attaching a weighted rod or PVC pipe at the bottom.

You can either sew or use a hot glue gun to make another sleeve at the bottom of the sheet to insert the weight. You might still get some movement with a stiff wind, but it won’t be as drastic.

Any wrinkles in the cloth will contort projected images, so make sure the weight hangs evenly at the bottom. You should iron your material for a smooth screen and minimal distortions. Hanging red or black curtains on either side of your screen gives you the whole classic movie theater look.

The Frame


wooden frames in different colors

Image Source: Unsplash

If you are looking for something a little sturdier, you can construct a frame for your DIY projector screen. If you are using wood, make sure you make the structure large enough that the sheet lies flat when you attach it. You can use staples, nails or a hot glue gun to fasten the canvas to the frame.

The nice thing about using wood for framing is you can add a bit of creativity and make it resemble a large flat TV screen or add some sparkly paint for a high-class movie screen.

A wooden frame is a little heavy, so might consider PVC to mount your sheet on. PVC construction also tends to be cheaper and more portable. Use at least 2-inch diameter PVC. Otherwise, the frame will be too flimsy.

You won’t be able to staple the fabric to the PVC, so consider sewing a sleeve that you can slide the pipe through. You could also use snaps or ties spaced regularly on all four sides to attach the cloth to the frame. Remember, the tighter the fabric, the fewer wrinkles there will be.

Either the wooden or PVC frame can be hung on or propped against fences or walls. You also might consider adding a prop made of wood or metal behind the structure to support it, similar to a picture frame.

So what happens if you don’t have any space suitable to mount a framed projector screen? Consider making a screen with a stand.  

PVC DIY Projector Screen

To make a PVC projector screen with a stand, you will need:

  • 12 two-inch diameter PVC pipes cut into 7-foot sections

  •  2 two-inch diameter PVC pipes cut into 6-foot sections

  •  2 two-inch diameter PVC pipes cut into 3-foot long sections

  • 12 two-inch diameter PVC pipes cut into 2-foot long sections

  •  2 45-degree elbows that fit two-inch diameter PVC pipes

  •  4 T-fittings that fit two-inch diameter PVC pipes

  •  1 full-size white sheet

  •  6 18-inch ties or sturdy ribbons

The 7-foot pipes are the top and bottom of the screen. The 3-foot pipes are the legs. The 2-foot pipes are the feet that hold it up. Use the T-fittings to assemble the frame. Use the elbows to attach the feet.

Slide the top hem of the sheet onto the high PVC pipe. Measure where the bottom hem needs to be. Take the cloth off and sew the base sleeve. Add ties along both sides.

Put the bed sheet back on the frame. Slide the PVC into the hems on the top and the bottom. Tie the sides to the PVC pipes. Make sure the cloth is tight and wrinkle-free

You can glue the pieces together to create a lightweight
permanent structure if you like. Otherwise, this projector screen
disassembles in minutes for easy storage.

You may find that your DIY PVC projector screen is still a bit flimsy. Anchoring the feet with 1-inch spikes may help. You could also use sandbags to keep the wobble from becoming distracting.

Another, more creative setup, includes cementing the two side PVC pipes into flower pots, then covering the cement with decorative stones or shells.

If you aren’t particularly handy, several sites offer DIY projector screen kits. The fabric is already cut to size and hemmed. The frame is ready to assemble. In minutes, you’ll have an outdoor projector screen.

With your screen set up, you can begin your amazing movie night under the stars with just a few more bits of equipment. Plug your laptop or DVD player into a projector. Organize your speaker system for optimum surround sound. Prepare a couple of batches of popcorn and pop the movie in. Sit back and enjoy!

Legality

a huge group watching a movie through an outdoor diy projector scree

Image source: Pexels.com

Keep in mind that there are some legal issues when showing a movie in public. If you and the kids are the only audiences for backyard movie extravaganza, then there’s no problem. However, videos that are streamed, rented or purchased are copyrighted and intended for private use only. Therefore they require a license when shown in public.

If you are part of a church group and your summer camp wants to host a movie night with your brand new projector screen, then you might want to look into getting a Church Video License. Otherwise, community groups seeking to host a public showing as a fundraiser should check out the requirements for Motion Picture Licensing.

  

Image Source: Unsplash

How to Wax a Snowboard: Tips and Tricks to Waxing Your Board

Snowboarding is a wonderful sport that many people really enjoy. With that said, though, it is a sport that does require regular board upkeep and maintenance.

As a snowboarder, one of the things you will definitely have to learn is how to wax a snowboard.

Waxing your board is a vital part of caring for your snowboard and of ensuring you can engage in the sport safely and correctly.

The good news is that learning how to wax a snowboard isn’t all that hard either- especially not if you can follow a few simple tips.

Do You Really Need to Know How to Wax a Snowboard?

Before we dive into how to wax a snowboard, you may be wondering if waxing is really necessary. Some people think it’s just a silly suggestion, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Waxing your board is important for a great many reasons. First of all, you’re going to have a hard time really sliding on the snow like you should if your board isn’t freshly waxed. And, when you can’t slide the right way, you’ll probably find yourself getting stuck a lot, which is really going to ruin your fun on the snow. It’s also going to ruin any chance you have of winning if you’re snowboarding competitively.

Waxing will improve your snowboarding experience. It will also protect your snowboard itself and helps it to last for long. Snowboards often have an issue with the base drying out. If not prevented, it can lead to cracking and other problems. Waxing your snowboard will hydrate and strengthen it and allow it to last longer.

 

Another major reason to wax your snowboard regularly is that waxing is going to help it to go fast. Do you enjoy speeding down the snow and feeling like you’re flying? (and who doesn’t?), waxing your board is of the utmost importance.

It All Starts with a Waxing Iron

So, now that you understand the importance of waxing your snowboard, it’s time to learn how to do it.

You’ll want to start with a waxing iron. This can be any iron that you have on hand. Some people will tell you that you have to drop big bucks on a specialty iron, but this is not the case.

Just make sure that the iron you choose is not one you plan to or need to use on your clothes. You won’t be able to use the iron for ironing clothes once it has been used for wax, so keep that in mind.

Take Off Your Board’s Bindings

Once you’ve got a waxing iron that you can use, it’s time to get down to business.

You’ll want to start by removing or at least loosening the bindings off your board. If you don’t do this, you can end up warping and potentially ruining your base by exposing it to heat.

So, with a screwdriver, carefully remove the bindings. If you’d rather not take them all the way off, then at least loosen them to the point that you don’t have tension in your screws.

Once the bindings are properly removed or loosened, you’re ready to progress to the next step.

Start Dripping the Wax Onto the Board Edge

After removing the bindings, you are ready to heat your iron and then press the wax from the iron onto the snowboard.

You can drip a line of wax to the edge closest to you to get started. The wax line should go over the entire length of the board. Make sure that the iron is hot while you do this, but don’t allow it to get so hot that the wax smokes when it hits the board, as this can potentially be damaging to the board.

Once you have your line of wax, press the iron onto the snowboard and go over the drip line a few times, spreading the wax around as much as possible as you work. When you’re done, you can repeat these instructions on the other edge and then in the center of the board, working until the whole surface has been thoroughly waxed.

Let the Wax Seep into the Board

Once you are done with the actual waxing, it’s time to let the wax sit and seep into the board. For best results, try and let the wax sit for at least thirty minutes. It’s even better if you can let it sit overnight, but a half hour will work in a pinch.

After the waiting period is over, carefully scrape the wax, and you’re ready to go.

If you follow these helpful tips, you will get the job done right every time. As you can see, learning how to wax your snowboard isn’t difficult.

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Featured Image via Pixabay

How to Build Rain Gutter Bookshelves

When it comes to a kids room or a baby’s nursery, books are abundant. Storing them in a traditional book case is one option but you are missing out on the beautifully designed covers. Searching the bookcase for the right book can be time consuming. With rain gutter bookshelves you are able to display the cover art and let your little one pick the book that sparks his or her imagination. Here you will learn how to build your own rain gutter bookshelf.

STEP 1:

DETERMINE THE GUTTER LENGTH

Image via Pixabay

Decide how long you want the gutter bookshelf to be. Do you have limited space? Or are you trying to fill a large section of a wall. With rain gutters standard length being 10′ you will have plenty of options. The ones shown in the example were cut to 36″. At 36″ we were able to get 3′ sections from one 10′ rain gutter.

STEP 2: 

BUY THE SUPPLIES

Image via Pixabay

You will be able to purchase all the supplies at your local hardware store. Our store of choice was Menards. You will also be able to find many of the products on Amazon.

Here’s what you will need:
  • Rain Gutters – for our 3′ sections we only needed (1) 10′ rain gutter

  • Rain Gutter End Caps – Determine how many ends you will need. You will need two for each section of rain gutter. For our 3 sections we bought 6 end caps, 3 left and 3 right.

  • Tin Snips – You will want to find some good tin snips to help you cut the rain gutters. Always use safety glasses and gloves to help protect yourself against the sharp metal.

  • Anchors and Bolts – In order to securely mount the rain gutter bookshelves to the wall, you will want to make sure they are secured with anchors and bolts. We used 2 for each 36″ section.

Optional:
  • Paint – If you plan on painting your rain gutter bookshelf as we did, you will need some paint. For our 3′ sections we bought small 7.12 fl oz containers of Pittsburgh eggshell paint.

  • Coating – When the paint drys on the rain gutters it will be hard and can be easy to peal. We used a clear acrylic gloss coating to help protect the paint.

  • Painters tape – If you are plan on painting it more than one color as we did, painters tape always helps.

  • Foam Paint Brush – We used foam paint brushes to paint our rain gutter bookshelves.

STEP 3: 

CUT THE RAIN GUTTERS TO SIZE

Image via Flickr

Now that you have determined the size that you want them and you have all of your materials, it’s time to cut them to size. Use your tin snips (use gloves and safety glasses) to cut the rain gutters to size. Make sure you cut them straight. Use a pencil to mark the cutting line. If it is not a straight cut it could be challenging to put the end caps on the gutters.

STEP 4: 

CLEAN OFF THE SHELF

Image via Pixabay

The rain gutters can have a lot of debris on them from the hardware store or from your cutting process. Take a cloth or some paper towel and wipe them down. Make sure they are clean for painting. If you used any water in the cleaning process give the gutters adequate time to dry.

STEP 5: 

TAPE OFF THE PATTERN

(IF YOU ARE NOT PAINTING SKIP TO STEP 13)

gutter-bookshelf

If you are painting your gutter bookshelf, painters tape will help speed up the process. We tried initially to do it without but it proved to be too time consuming. We used two strips of tape per bookshelf.

STEP 6:

PAINT YOUR FIRST COLOR

rain-gutter-bookshelves

Apply your first coat of paint to the gutter shelf. Make sure you paint long ways with the shelf. Changing directions throughout the project will be noticeable and will not be as visually appealing. Once you have your first coat applied, give it a second coat starting where you began the first coat. Make sure you give any white space the paint that it needs. Once you have applied the second coat look over the gutter. If there is still some white visual make sure you touch it up. Once you have eliminated all of the white from the gutter you can move on to the next step. 

STEP 7:

REMOVE THE TAPE

Once you have applied the first color of paint, remove the painters tape. It’s important that you don’t give the paint a long time to dry. The dryer the first paint color the more likely that the tape will peel up the paint.

STEP 8:

ADD SECOND COAT

rain-gutter-bookshelf

Now you can begin applying the second coat of paint. This requires a steady hand as you don’t want the paint to be overlapping each other. Depending on a pattern, you might need a different size foam paint brush. Once the first coat has been applied move on to your second coat. Make sure you hit all visible white areas. Once the second coat has been applied make sure you check for any noticeable white areas. Touch up any of the white remaining from the gutters.

STEP 9:

PAINT THE END CAPS

gutter-bookhelves

Start painting your gutter end caps. Just as with step 7 and 8 you will need to apply 2 to 3 coats of paint. The paint will also help dull any sharp edges.

STEP 10:

APPLY THE CLEAR COAT

Image via Pixabay

We let the rain gutters dry all day. After we knew it was completely dry we applied the acrylic clear coat. I made sure that I coated it completely. You want to make sure that you move the spray can at a fast enough pace to make sure that no droplets form. We let them dry for a couple hours before we considered them complete.

STEP 11: 

INSTALL THE END CAPS

Image via Pixabay

Now that all the paint and clear coats are dry, you can install your end caps. You might need to help the gutters form appropriately for them fit. Make sure you use your gloves to protect against any sharp edges. Push the end caps (one left and one right) firmly onto the rain gutters.

STEP 12:

MAKE THE HOLES

rain-gutter-bookshelves-2

Now you are going to have to make the holes for the screws. There was crease near the top back side of the rain gutter. I hammered a nail through to create the hole. One on each side. A drill would probably work better but I had to be resourceful.

STEP 13: 

INSTALL

Image via Pixabay

Now it’s time to install them into the wall. It works best if you can find a stud to secure them to. Determine the placement of the rain gutter bookshelves and secure them to the wall. If no stud is available use the anchors and bolts. Make sure they spaced appropriately and make sure they are level. DO NOT use the iPhone level as I did. The iPhone level told me they were level and when I got all three bookshelves secure and stepped back, they were all crooked.

This is how we built and installed our rain gutter bookshelves. They have worked for us. Depending on the size and weight you will be using with your rain gutters, this configuration might not be best suited for you. For best outcome involve a contractor.