What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Experiments with SoilMoist™ for Crafting Purposes

One of the great things about crafting is using products that are not necessarily labelled as a craft item.  Yesterday I posted about SoilMoist™ a crosslinked polyacrylamide granular product intended for use as a horticultural water management aid.  While I bought the granules for horticultural purposes for non-edible plants I immediately saw the crafting potential for this product.  So I decided to do a bit of experimenting.

dyed SoilMoist™
I wanted to see how well the SoilMoist™ would dye using food colouring.  My idea was that being able to tint the gel would give a greater versatility for crafting projects.  I allowed the granules to hydrate using plain water.  Then I mixed up a solution of about 2 oz of water with about 5 drops of blue food colouring.  I poured the solution over the gel then let it sit overnight.  This morning I poured off the extra liquid which wasn't much.  The gel had taken on a nice blue from the food colouring.  This means that the gel can be easily and inexpensively dyed using non-toxic food colouring greatly increasing the decorative use for this crafting product.  I can even see using the coloured gel to help colour chrysanthumum and daisys for a centrepiece application.  I think that after using the dyed gel it could be returned to clear by multiple soakings to remove the food colouring.  I still have to test that theory.

scented SoilMoist™
A few years ago I came across a very popular homemade air freshener gel made using Knox gelatin.  While this worked fairly well there were reports of the gelatin molding so I never did try it.  Since the SoilMoist™ gel resembles gelatin I decided to see if it would hold scent.  Vanilla is a natural deodorizer that is water soluble.  I used enough of the gell to almost fill a 5 oz bowl.  I poured 1 tsp of 100% pure vanilla over the gel then covered and let sit over night.  The gel did take on the colour of the vanilla but it also took on the scent of the vanilla.  I did not pour any extra liquid off.  Using a lidded container allows to have the air freshener working only when desired.  Several of these could be made up then placed in areas where you don't necessarily see them where they will continue to deodorize the air without being obvious.  The scented gel could even be incorporated into other decorative room elements so they will never be noticed but the room will continue to be deodorized.  Once the granules dry up then I plan on rinsing well, reactivating then adding more vanilla.

The important thing to remember when using dyes or scents using the SoilMoist™ is anything used must be water soluble.  However I think for a crafting project it might be possible to add mica or glitter for additional effects as these particles are small enough they could be shaken off the dried granules allowing the granules to be re-used.  I will certainly be doing a bit more experimenting with this medium as a craft product.

Garden Gnome