Thursday, April 3, 2014

Green Tutorial: Beaded Lucky Bamboo Bottle

This project is fun and easy to make - and the lucky bamboo is so cheerful! I had the idea for this project after I received my first Darby Smart craft kit last month. I bought the March edition of the monthly To DIY FOR box, the contents of which are a surprise! Inside my box was a wood burning hot pen, a reusable stencil, two cutting boards, a practice piece of wood, a tube of green beads in a bottle and an instruction sheet for making Wood Burned Cutting Boards.

I'm still practicing using the wood burning hot pen, it's taking me a while to master and I want to have a good technique before I burn the cutting boards. I'll share how they turn out on the blog!
The idea for this project came from another Darby Smart kit, the Confetti Champagne Flutes. The flutes look like they have little beads along the outside of the glass and the green color of my beads in a bottle made me think of plants!

Glass bottle (I bought a cute bottle at Target, it's made by Paper & Dots)
Beads in a Bottle
Lucky Bamboo


Gather all of your materials. You can recycle a bottle you already have at home (which I will probably do with the leftover beads in a bottle, unless I come up with a different project!), but I used a bottle I found at Target. If there is a label on your bottle you can wash it off after soaking the bottle in warm, soapy water. For stubborn or sticky labels, follow the instructions in this Home Hack from Apartment Therapy: How To Remove Jar Labels and Odors.

Amelia thought my lucky bamboo (which isn't actually bamboo, it's a Dracena, Dracaena braunii) was a giant blade of cat grass and wanted to investigate. I only let our cats sample plants that I know they can eat safely: catnip and cat grass. Dracaena braunii is toxic to pets so do not allow your cat to nibble it!

Beads in a bottle is very easy to use, it's basically a thick gel that forms 'beads' as it dries. I recommend practicing first on a piece of scrap paper or cardboard, until you get the hang of it. The gel settles into a round shape on its own rather well, even if you leave a pointy tip of gel it usually settles out... but only if the gel is allowed to settle on a level surface! I did a small section of my bottle and noticed that the wet gel of the 'beads' were sinking a little (check out the middle photo above). I corrected this by lying my bottle on its side and letting each section dry before continuing.

The gel takes about five minutes to dry enough that the bottle can be uprighted, but I would wait longer than that just to be safe. Eventually you will be resting the bottle on a side that already has 'beads' on it and you don't want to flatten them! This is a nice project for a slow afternoon, or multi-task crafting! You can work on another project and when you take a break, add another section of gel 'beads' to your bottle.

Once you've beaded all the way around your bottle, allow it to dry fully before adding water and your lucky bamboo! Keep the bamboo in bright, but indirect light and change the water at least once every two weeks.