Budget Bonsai

Hi guys! By now you’ve realised on this site that I love to make things at a low budget and one thing I know that are expensive are Japanese Bonsai trees.

Most Bonsai’s that are established will cost you over a $100! Screw that! I decided to make one myself and if you have the patience you can can create one from scratch that you will nurture and shape over time the way you like it.

Here’s what I did:

Places like Masters have their own little Japanese garden section but if you do your research on what tree you want to grow then you should have no problem finding it in one of their stores.

I chose to grow a Juniper, just a personal preference for me but another great tree to grow is an Elk.

You can find these baby plants for a low price of $6. You then need a tray for your plant, I happened to have found mine on clearance and it was a traditional style Japanese rectangular pot for only $3!

Position the tree how you want in your pot, plant it with top grade soil and some mushroom compost for moisture.

I added in a smooth pebble for decoration, you can usually just find these in someones garden. You can choose to just have the tree if you wish.

Next your going to want to use small pebbles or sand to cover over the soil for that decorative look.
I chose to use decorative sand which you can find at your local Bunnings for $4 a bag. (And yes this time I paid for sand rather than taking it from the beach like my last projects as it is apparently illegal, now you tell me)

And there you have it, your very own Bonsai that you can grow from scratch, which in my opinion is a lot more satisfying when you do it yourself.

Bonsai store: $100 – $150

Dave’s price: $13

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Floating Tea Light Tree

I’d like to finally announce a Dave original creation, my Floating Tea Light Tree!

After months of trying to figure out the best possible way of creating this I couldn’t believe how easy and cheap it was.

Firstly you require a tree branch, how big you want is up to you but I used one that was roughly a metre long.

Next you need some clear fishing wire which u can purchase from any fishing retailer but I chose to buy it from Kmart and it only cost me $10.

Next you require the ornaments. I picked up these ornaments during Xmas clearance and managed to pick up a pack of 2 for only $4. I later discovered these can also be bought from various $2 stores so you don’t need to wait till Xmas for them. I used about 5 of the ornaments for this project.

Lastly some clear 3M hooks will hang your tree branch in mid air. Depending on the weight of the branch you need hooks that will hold the particular weight.

Align the hooks in a row and tie the fishing wire around the strongest parts of the branch. Tie a knot at the end of the wire to hook directly onto the hooks. Make sure to have someone help you with this as its hard to do on your own.

Once the branch is suspended make a double knot again on the wire for each ornament making sure they are secure.

Your finishing touch will be the tea light candles placed in the ornaments and there you have it! You very own floating tea light tree. It makes a great decorative centre piece over the dining table and also is an energy efficient lighting source.

Dave’s price: $25

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Home made Blackboard

Here’s a great idea on how to make your own blackboard. Sent by Maria Blampied
Buy a round edged piece of wood board and two letters from spotlight but you can buy any style shape of board or can use stars etc instead of letters.

Get some gold paint for the letters from spotlight for less that $5 and blackboard paint from riot art for about $16. Chalk and duster from any $2 shop.

Do two coats of blackboard paint on the board, with two hours drying time for each coat. Same deal for painting the letters. Use a low heat craft glue gun to stick the letters on, you can buy that from any craft store. There’s still practically the whole bottle of blackboard paint left, it goes a long way. Also have a bit of fun with jars that you can buy for $2 from ikea/cheap shops.

Use tape to line around where u want the blackboard label to be and when the drying time is over take the tape off carefully.

Very fun and they make great gifts!

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Light up LED tree

I was in Sydney over the holidays and I discovered a Japanese themed store and I was intrigued over these cherry blossom trees that light up that they had in the store and they were selling them for roughly $150.

So I gave myself the challenge to make a cheaper one.

All you need is a branch off a tree (something not too flimsy) I used one from my front yard.

Can of white spray paint from Bunnings at $6. I like to get a white satin finish. You don’t need to spray paint it but it looks a lot nicer in my option. Spray paint 2 coats evenly and let dry for 20mins before a second coat.

You need a small narrow vase, I used one from ikea which was 0.99 cents (see image below)

Lastly you need some led light that are battery operated. The best time to buy Xmas lights is after Xmas when they are on clearance. I chose ones from ikea that were discounted to $2. (See image below)

Lightly place the lights over the branches while trying not to break them. If your having trouble with the vase staying up then use some blu tack.

And there you have it, your own Japanese style led blossom.

Japanese store price: $150

Dave’s price: $12

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Home-made Solar Sun Jars

Here is an idea on how to make your own sun jars. Courtesy of Maria Blampied! She was nice enough to share here cool design on my website and its definitely worth making.

You can buy a sun jar for $30 or more in the shops or online. I’ve seen them as high as $60 online not including shipping.

You can use the small $2 “essentials” solar garden lights which are sold separately from target, buy $2 jars with flip lids from the reject shop and Ikea. Lids need to be big enough to fit the solar light underneath.

Can of frosting paint cost about $10 from bunnings but can be used to frost 4 or 5 jars. Best to frost the outside instead of inside as it dries better, looks prettier and is more even. Frost 2-3 coats. But don’t frost the lid bc it needs to remain clear for the solar panel to work effectively! Take apart the solar lights from the stake. You can screw off the panel, battery and wires from the aluminum housing but keeping it is also fine if it fits to the lid.

Gaffer taped the solar panel and guts to the inside of the lid or you can super glue it if you prefer, either way is fine as long as the glue doesnt touch the panel. Wipe any paint residue from the top of the lid just to be sure and keep it in the sun indoors on a window sill.

You’ve got yourself a snazzy sun jar on the cheap and easy! Makes a great gift and a nice decorative element to the backyard.

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Tightarse Xmas Tree

Being it nearly Xmas I thought I’d do a small post on how to save money on a tree. Xmas trees can be expensive costing you up to $150, but if your on a budget there’s a simpler solution.

All you need is a vase ($5 from ikea)
Some sticks (which you can find off a nearby tree)
And some cheap decorations (you can get a pack of 24 ornaments from ikea or any $2 store for around $2.50)

And there you have it, your inexpensive tightarse Xmas tree that can still look festive on your dining table or even coffee table

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