this is about family and its ups and downs, living, and everything about life from a working mom's perspective.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

DIY Project: Make Your Own Christmas Tree with Perla Soap (a fun activity with your kiddo) [Updated!!]

Christmas season is just around the corner (you know how early we start decorating our houses with Christmas ornaments) so I'd like to share with you what my kid and I did last year.

We didn't buy any Christmas tree since the house is too full already with my trinkets and stuff, so I opted to make a disposable Christmas tree instead. So I'm sharing with you how we made our  soap-based Christmas tree.

Last year's Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree for this year!

What you need to make a 9-inch Christmas tree:

1 - medium sized basin

1 - 9 inch square or round cake board (if you don't have a cake board, don't fret. Use a paper plate or use a carton and cut to your desired shape) wrapped in plastic cover or cling wrap  so the water won't seep into the carton. You can also use a "bilao".

2- Squares of White Perla Soap (the soap is divided into four squares, right, so use just two of them)

3/4- cup warm water and some

beads, trinkets, glitters, anything you'd like to use as ornaments for your tree.

a couple of rags

a hand mixer or if you don't have one, a brush, wire whisk, or your own hands for mixing

How to do it:

1. Pour a cup of warm water on the  basin. Place the soap. Allow about 5 minutes for the soap to soften a bit. I used warm water to make the soap dissolve easily.

2. Turn on the mixer and place it on the water. It will become frothy after a few minutes, and it's best to let your mixer rest or it might overheat. Again, if you don't have a mixer, just use your hands to mix it or use a wire whisk (just like how you'd whisk an egg or how your hands will make a bubbly bubble bath.) but it will take longer -about 40 minutes of mixing. Don't worry, you'll have a good arm exercise after this.

It will look like this eventually, but it's not enough:

You'd want something that looks like this - when it would form stiff peaks:

3. Don't make it runny by adding more water. Try to limit the water as much as possible. A runny tree won't dry easily and may collapse. If you think the soap is runny, just turn on your mixer and wait until stiff peaks are formed. To test if the peaks are stiff, gather some on the whisk, raise it up and if it stays on the whisk and doesn't droop, then you're good to go. Another clue is that it would turn really white and no longer airy.

Stiff peak
See how the soapy mixture sticks to the hands?
That's the consistency you are aiming for
To assemble:

1. Take your whisk, scoop some on the carton/plate/bilao.

 2. Start arranging: Pile some on the plate, make it a little heavy on the bottom, and work your way to the top, forming the shape of tree. Better to use your hands for this. Make sure there aren't any big holes so you have to firmly pack it. Make it "siksik" so that when it dries, it won't be prone to cracking.

3. Once you've formed your tree - the tree on the picture is about 9 inches or so- let it sit for about 10 minutes just to let the soap settle in.

4. Start decorating: Add beads here and there, sprinkle glitters, put some ribbons if you want. These would stick on the tree while it is still wet. There is no limit to the number of baubles you'd like to put on your tree. Just let your creativity and your mood dictate what your tree would look like. Make it conventional, give it some spunk, design it the way you want.  If you want to spray paint it, make sure it's a little dry already - after a day, perhaps. Paint is a little heavy and it might weigh down your tree if you paint it while it's still wet. Can you use a paint brush, even if it's dry? NO, unless you want to see your tree turn into bits and pieces.

This is our base for our tree this year:


5.  Place it on the table you are going to display it on and do not try to move it for at least two days to make it stiff and for it to harden. It will never harden like a styrofoam or a paper mache. It will just harden a bit, but would be a little crumbly, so make sure you have placed all your baubles while the tree is still wet.

6. Clean your mess with dry rags.  Not wet, because it would be too slippery. Once you've wiped out the soapy stuff, start washing them off.

A few reminders:

For kids above 7 years old, there's no fear of them swallowing the stuff. But for younger ones, make sure that you would never leave your eyes off them even for just a second. Best be safe! Even if they are old enough, remind your kids that this is not a cake or whipped cream or icing and it cannot be eaten!

Also, be careful when using the mixer. Since this is wet, make sure that you don't let your kid hold the mixer and avoid getting the plug or wire into contact with water to prevent electrocution. Use your hands and wire whisk if you don't feel comfortable using a mixer.

I think you can add a few drops of food color to the mixture while it's at the frothy state, if you want a different colored tree.

Do not move your tree a lot. It's soap with water and it's not too hard so it might crumble and it would be hard to assemble it back, especially if you didn't really "pack" it well when you were arranging it.

Wash you hands well.

If you want a bigger tree, use more soap and more water (just double or triple the stuff listed above), and make sure you consider gravity when assembling your tree. You might want to use a brace for bigger trees, just so it wouldn't collapse.  A few sticks looped with wires would help - just use your imagination for this.

It's a good activity for the kids since the feel of the soapy stuff is soooooo- good! Just look at this little boy while he was testing if it's stiff enough.

If you do try this at home, let me know how it turned out.

Special thanks to Tita Agnes Ilano for teaching me how to do this. And to Misis Tsasin Mi, she might have already forgotten, but she also taught me how they did they Christmas Tree years ago.


Rae said...

Ang galing nito! I should do this with my younger sister.

jakie and the beadstalk said...

Ay thank you!!!