Sustainable DIYs: It’s easier than you think


Pictured above: students participating in the very successful Do It Yourself week event hosted by the Tangible Solutions team back in November 2015.

As students, we’re always looking for that perfect balance between products that are good quality and get the job done, but also don’t cost a ton. If you go for a DIY, or Do It Yourself product, you’re not only in charge of the quality of your product, but you’re being sustainable!

Home decorations are a great, simple place to start. If you’re looking to brighten your space with some festive décor, store-bought items can be a bit expensive, especially since they sit in a closet until the appropriate season rolls around. Making something, on the other hand, stimulates your creativity (and makes for a good break from arduous hours of studying and writing research papers), and you often end up using items that would otherwise be recycled or thrown in the trash. Some examples of home décor DIYs:

  • My friends and I made little bats for the most recent Halloween using the old toilet paper rolls we had lying around, covering them in black paint and attaching wings cut from a separate cardboard roll.
  • Homemade mug cosies are simple and really useful. Okay, this isn’t really a home decoration, but it’s easy to use at home every day. Soft cloth or foam can easily be cut into a semi-circle shape that wraps around a drink, whether it’s a cup, can, or mug, keeping the contents cool or hot. You can even stick them around your to-go mug and head out the door.
  • Canola oil candles require a mason jar, a wick, glue, and canola oil (scent and decorative plants optional). The whole process takes maybe 5 minutes, and you’ve got a lovely new candle for your table or bathroom.

There are so many customizable projects you can do to refresh your place and give it a new look – if you can think it, you can probably do it.

If you’re feeling confident, you can look into DIY spa treatments, as well as making your own bathroom products like soaps and shampoos. There are so many benefits to creating a product on your own. You know exactly what’s going into it. You have a wide variety of essential oils to pick from, so your product can be scented in any way you like, or even unscented. There’s the upfront cost of necessary ingredients, like liquid castile soap needed for shampoo, but the raw ingredients can be used for multiple batches of product. Some quick suggestions to get your DIY cogs turning: sugar lip scrub, bar soap, shampoo, or a hydrating skin mask.

This sustainable and wallet-friendly way of living is easy to do, provides a creative outlet, and you can feel proud of what you’ve made. Get out there and do some DIY’s – you’ll be surprised at how much you can do with your own two hands.


Written by: Sarah Elwood | Tangible Solutions Co-coordinator of Common Energy UBC