Search results for: 'diy'

  • DIY Oil Lamp

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    When a power outage strikes, hopefully your emergency supplies are up to date, complete with emergency power and lighting gear/options. Keeping a variety of flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns (along with batteries or solar power options to keep them charged) is ideal, but if your batteries runs out before the power turns back on, try making this DIY Oil Lamp to light your adventure.

    The San Francisco Globe shows us how to make an oil lamp that can last for 6-8 hours, using two common household items: an orange and some olive oil. Check out the tutorial here.

    Oil Lamp 2Orange Oil Lamp

    For more DIY projects, check out these articles:

    --Kim

    Photo Courtesy of the San Francisco Globe

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: light, DIY, power outage

  • The Rain Barrel: SoCal's Hot New Accessory

    If California’s (no) water situation seems to be taking up a lot of our attention, it’s because certain circumstances, while unfortunate, provide us opportunities to talk about good preparedness practices that may otherwise slip off our radar.

    Here’s a pretty cool example. In response to record low precipitation levels, some Southern California cities have implemented what they’re calling “no-brainer, low-hanging fruit solution[s]” for water independence—policies and projects geared to reclaiming and recycling local water.

    An ABC News story from earlier this month describes the rainwater collection system that waters the Santa Monica city library’s extensive gardens, as well as the water recycling plant near the famous pier that supplies irrigation to several local parks and schools.

    And individuals are catching on. The same article calls resident Josephine Miller’s 205 gallon rain barrel “fashionable,” as neighborhoods dive in to take advantage of local government rebates for home water conservation. While your city hall may not pay you for your efforts, rainwater storage makes efficient use of one of the few free resources at our disposal. Just make sure it’s legal to do so in your city or state, first.

    So, if you’re interested in harnessing some May showers for yourself, here are a handful of tips, tutorials, and helpful products.

    • Heard worrisome things about using roof-collected rainwater on edible plants? Educate yourself on the real and not-so-real risks, courtesy Rutgers’ cooperative extension.

     

    Here’s wishing you a happy and drippy spring!

    --Stacey

    Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water storage, drought

  • UPDATE: You asked, and we listened. The All-in-Four 4-Person Emergency Supply is now available!

    A little while ago we learned about the Life Cube—an all-inclusive, inflatable shelter stocked with the necessary food, water, and gear to help a person survive the few days after a natural disaster occurs. The Life Cube, which weighs between 950-1100 lbs., is ideal to be airdropped into areas suffering from catastrophic events. However, although it is a great idea for mass emergencies and agency use, the Life Cube currently costs anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. For many looking to add an all-inclusive, portable shelter to their emergency gear, this may be a little out of their price range.

    We were inspired by the Life Cube to create our own all-in-one portable shelter kit. Rather than focusing on agency use, however, our portable shelter kit focuses more on a personal/family level, only weighing about 71 lbs. and costing approximately $762. Here at Emergency Essentials, we have configured a list of items that would work as a basic all-in-one (or in our case, all-in-four) portable shelter. The all-in-four portable shelter consists of four bags with essential supplies divided among them. These items not only give you shelter, food, and water, but other basic supplies to help a family of four survive for three days after an emergency.

    DIY All-in-Four Portable Shelter

    First things first: Collect your gear. The following list describes what gear is needed to help four people survive for three days in an emergency.

    Each pack gives you more than 2,800 cubic inches of space to hold all of your emergency supplies and gear while providing durability and expandable comfort to stick with you on all your travels.

    Trail Hiker Backpack for a Portable Shelter

    This pack is a great way to include versatility to fit the needs of the owner. Wear the pack on your back, carry it by the handle, or roll it along the ground behind you. This is a great pack for people unable to carry a lot of weight on their back.

    Good hygiene will help keep you healthy and safe during an emergency. This kit provides basic bathing, dental, and toilet hygiene needs for a family of four.

    Family Sanitation Kit Part of our DIY Portable shelter solution

    These simple-to-setup and waterproof tents give you 49-square feet each to spread out and enjoy a good night’s rest.

    Just-add-water breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (plus sides and drinks) give you enough food to feed a family of four for 3.5 days.

    We typically recommend a two-tier approach for treating your water: have a microfilter and purifier. Adding the Katadyn Hiker Pro and Micropur tablets will help provide you and your family with filtered, purified water while remaining compact and lightweight.

    Katadyn Hiker Pro for a  DIY Portable Shelter

    Made from Tritan™ plastic, these bottles give you get extra durability in a BPA-free bottle. These are perfect to take on outdoor adventures or to use along with a microfilter in an emergency.

    This kit includes 397 pieces of first aid gear to help you survive every scrape, cut, burn, or bruise that you or a family member may get.

    These lightweight, pocket-sized sleeping bags unfold to wrap you in a covering that will reflect 80% of your body heat, keeping you warm on cool nights.

    Emergency Sleeping Bags for a DIY Portable Shelter

    These lightsticks are safe, reliable, and easy to use making them fantastic for families with children. Just bend, snap, and shake for a light source that will last up to 12 hours.

    Keeps you up-to-date with communication services, provides 30 minutes of light (with one minute of hand-cranking), and charges your cell phone (including many smart phones).

    Lightweight and reusable, an emergency poncho is a must-have to keep you dry from sudden storms.

    Easily alert rescuers to your location with an emergency whistle.

    This high-quality, BPA-free water container can store 2.5 gallons of water and collapses to easily fit in your pack. It even remains flexible in cold temperatures.

     Reliance Fold N Filter for a DIY Portable Shelter

    Use Sierra cups as bowls, plates, drinking cups, or as cooking and warming pans. Their versatility lets you get more done with less stuff to carry in your pack.

    BPA-free, washable, heavy-duty plastic spoons can be used for every meal you eat during an emergency.

    This kit includes over 172 hours of total warmth. It includes 6 Hand and Body Warmers, 4 Adhesive Body Warmers, and 2 Hand Warmer 2-packs.

    This super-compact stove is simple to use, fully flame adjustable, and stores easily. You don’t even need matches to light it. Requires a canister of Iso-Butane/Propane fuel, which can be purchased locally.

    Volcano Lite Stove for a DIY Portable Shelter

    Stormproof Matches will help you weather any storm. Blow them out, bury them, submerge them in water, do it all over again, and these Stormproof Matches will keep relighting themselves for up to 15 seconds.

    How to Build It

    Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, you just need to pack them.

    Pack #1: Trail Hiker Backpack

    • 1 Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent
    • Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter
    • 4 (6 inch) Green Lightsticks
    • 24 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • 1 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottle
    • 4 Emergency Whistles
    • 397 Piece First Aid Kit

    To make your pack more compact, fit the lightsticks into the outside pockets along with the Wavelength Radio Charger Flashlight, the 4 Emergency Whistles, and the water bottle. The other items will fit in the main compartment of the pack.

     

    Pack #2: Trail Hiker Backpack

    • 1 Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent
    • 20 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • 4 Emergency Sleeping Bags
    • 2 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottles
    • 4 Emergency Ponchos

    Fit the water bottles into the outside pockets. The rest of the materials should fit within the main compartment of the pack.

     

    Pack #3: Olympia 18” Rolling Backpack

    • 4 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
    • Reliance 2.5 Gallon Collapsible Fold-A-Carrier
    • 3 Sheets (or 30 tablets) of Micropur
    • 1 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottle
    • 2 large Sierra cups
    • 2 small Sierra cups
    • 4 GSI Spoons
    • Warmth Emergency Kit
    • Volcano Lite Stove
    • Stormproof Matches

     

    Pack #4: Family Sanitation Kit

    The last “pack” is the Family Sanitation Kit which comes full of sanitation items for you and your family. About 1/3 of the bucket will still be empty for you to add additional or personal items too. The kit includes:

    • 1 – 6-Gallon Bucket
    • 1 – Bar of Soap
    • 1 – Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid
    • 4 – Toilet Paper Rolls
    • 1 – Box Double Doodie Waste Bags
    • 1 – Epi-Clenz Plus Hand Antiseptic
    • 4 – Fresh & Go Toothbrush
    • 3 – ReadyBath Packets

    Each pack is manageable to carry and there’s extra room in most of them for personal items.

    Upgrades

    Although the basic items will help you survive during an emergency, some people prefer to have items that may make their time in a crisis a little more comfortable. If you’d like to upgrade some of the items in your kit consider adding the following:

    • Headlamps or flashlights instead of the lightsticks.
    • SOL Escape Bivvy in addition to the emergency sleeping bags.
    • One Month Supply of Water in addition to the filter. Instead of just adding a microfilter and purification tablets to your portable kit, try adding a one month supply of water. Water is priceless in an emergency and this item gives a family of four enough stored water to last for a week (drinking 64 ounces a day) in case a water source to filter from is unavailable.

    *NOTE: Upgrading items in the kit will change the price and weight of the pack. It also may require you to rearrange and reassemble how the all-in-four portable shelter kit is packed.  You can, of course, change the way items are distributed among the packs for redundancy in case you get separated.

    To make carrying your all-in-four kit a bit more comfortable, or to add even more space, replace the Family Sanitation Kit (pack #4) with another Trail Hiker backpack, put the kit items in the pack, and lash the bucket to the outside of the pack using [paracord] or another rope.

    Now that you’ve prepped yourself with all the supplies you need to help you and your family survive the days immediately after a disaster, try developing your survival skills with some of our Insight Articles:

     

    --Kim

    Sources:

    http://lifecubeinc.weebly.com/uploads/9/9/4/2/9942328/life_cube_sheltered_delivery_system_user_manual.pdf

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: shelter, emergency preparedness

  • Media Filled Growbeds

    Aquaponics is the practice of raising fish and vegetables together in a symbiotic relationship by using the fish waste to fertilize the plants. In early April, I posted about my beginning adventures in making my own Aquaponics system. To learn more about Aquaponics and my plan for building a system, check out the article here.

    If you’re curious about Aquaponics, you may be wondering what materials you’d need to set up your own system.  As I build my own, I’ll keep you up to date on what you need to have and how to build your own.

    Materials to grow vegetables:

    • Fish Tank
    • Grow Beds
    • Growing Media
    • Water Pump(s)
    • Supply of piping, valves, & fittings
    • An Aquarium Water Test Kit
    • Proper type & number of fish

    Most of the materials I am using have been salvaged for free or close to it. I am building my system inside a greenhouse that I am constructing to allow for four-season growing and to keep predators away from the fish.

     

    Fish tank:

    The tank must be large enough to fill all of your grow beds and still have plenty of water for the fish. The water will return from the grow beds into this tank so make sure it has the capacity to not overflow. You can try using a repurposed, above ground, soft side swimming pool with a filter/pump to filter out the solid waste and supply water to the grow beds. Or, what I’m planning to do, use three Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) holding 300 gallons of water each.

    Grow beds:

    I am using salvaged (free) plastic 55-gallon barrels that are cut in half lengthwise. Make sure you cut them so that each half will have a bung or filler hole at the bottom of the radius in the center. This will allow the water to drain out of the grow bed on the off cycle.

    DIY Aquaponics Grow BedsDIY Aquaponics Grow Bed

    Growing media:

    You can use commercial clay ball media (such as Hydrocorn or other clay pebbles), pea gravel (this is what I will use), or one of the many other types of grow media. There is a lot of information about the different types on the internet. Learn more about grow media from Backyard Aquaponics, Aquaponic Gardening, and Home Aquaponics System.

    Pump(s):

    You will need a water pump, or pumps, depending on the design of your system. There are many inexpensive types out there in either 12-volt DC or 120-volt AC house current. You want enough water flow to be able to fill your grow beds in a short amount of time but not flood them out.

    Plumbing fixtures and piping:

    You will need enough PVC pipe and fittings to connect the grow beds together, carry the water to all of them and also drain it back to the fish tank. This amount is dependent on how your system is designed. I will list what it takes for mine as the construction progresses.

    Aquarium Water Test Kit:

    You will need this to determine the amount of ammonia and PH levels in the water to make sure it is at a tolerable level for both the fish and the plants.

    Fish:

    This has to be a choice based on your climate conditions. For instance, Tilapia is a favorable choice as they are prolific breeders, but they are very intolerant of cool water temperatures. Catfish, on the other hand, tolerate almost any temperature and are able to survive in low-oxygen environments; however, they will not breed in a tank unless it is large and has some type of nesting box to use. I will be using both Bullhead Catfish and Hybrid Bluegill as stocked fish in my system. The thing to remember is that the ratio of fish to water is critical. The ratio I will be using is 1 pound of fish to 10 gallons of water. This means 1 pound of fish at MATURITY to 10 gallons of water. You may get away with 100 fingerling fish to begin with, but they will have to be thinned out as they grow or they will die of oxygen depletion.

     

    I will stop here for now, and pick up next time with design and construction of an Aquaponics system.

    See ya'll next time!

     

    Kevin, OK

    Check out the rest of our Aquaponics Series:

    "Aquaponic Gardening: What is it? (Part One)"

     

    Additional Info:

    http://aquaponics.com/page/aquaponics-information

    Photo of Media Filled Beds Courtesy of Backyard Aquaponics

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, gardening, gardening tips

  • Do you feel like you’ve run out of room to store all your food storage?

    If so, we’ve got another Do It Yourself solution for you. For your next DIY project, consider making a canned food organizer. Now, I know you’ve probably seen a lot b of different DIY shelf organizers on the web that range from flipping wire shelves upside down in a closet to putting Lazy Susan shelves into a traditional pantry.

    So what makes this canned food organizer different than all the rest? It’s a shelf that slides out from the space between your fridge and the wall. It makes great use of wasted space.

    Instead of taking up extra space in your cabinets and cupboards, this shelf creates a totally new space to store your food and other supplies in. We found a tutorial from Mallory at classyclutter.net that shows you a step-by-step process for making a canned food organizer.

    DIY Food Storage Organizer

    Photo courtesy of ClassyClutter.net

     

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    9 – 1×4s cut to 29 1/2″ (top board, shelves, bottom board)

    2 – 1×4s, cut to 64″ (Side boards)

    1 – Thin board, cut to 31 1/2 x 64″ (Mallory used bead board/wainscoting board from Home Depot)

    4 – 1 ½-2″ Metal Casters that hold 50+ lbs (Mallory used 2″, 80lbs)

    7 – 7/16 dowels cut to 30″ long (lumber section of Home Depot)

    Handle or knob

    Paint and Brush, Roller, or Sprayer (if needed)

     

    Tools and Supplies:

    Drill

    7/16″ drill bit for drilling dowel holes

    Several wood screws (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Several 2″ nails (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Several finishing nails (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Hammer

     

    Directions:

    Essentially you’re going to build a ladder-like structure and then put a back panel onto it so that all your food stays in place. Put the completed structure on wheels and put a handle on the side so that you can easily roll the shelving unit out.

    For step-by-step instructions and pictures, check out the article, “DIY Canned Food Organizer Tutorial—Build Your Own.” Or check out this “imgr” food storage shelf tutorial as an alternative technique for building this awesome shelf.

     

    Want more DIYs?

    Check out this list of 60+ DIY Kitchen Shelf projects from diyncrafts.com that can help you organize your cabinets, pots and pans, spices, and much more.

    If you’re looking for more “unconventional” places to store your emergency supplies, check out our “No Room for Supplies?” Pinterest Board and read our article, “Baby Steps: Make Room for your Food and Supply Storage.”

     

    Where do you store your store your food storage and emergency supplies?

     

    Sources

    http://www.classyclutter.net/2012/05/build-your-own-extra-storage-diy-canned-food-organizer.html (Tutorial)

    http://imgur.com/a/nqKrk (Tutorial)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, DIY

  • Have you ever thought about keeping bees?

    Well, if you haven’t thought about it—or you’ve considered it but haven’t taken the leap—here are four great questions to answer before you decide to become a beekeeper extraordinaire.

     

    Beekeeping for Beginners_Part One

     

    Do I have the space?

    Bee hives themselves don’t take a lot of space; they actually have quite a compact footprint (see this video for a good look at the size and setup of a beehive). But you’ll need to consider the fact that bees will be flying in and out of the hives near ground level—meaning they’ll be flying through your yard right at just the right height to disturb people and pets who may be enjoying some time outside.

    There are steps you can take to direct the bees’ flight path in and out of the hive (placing a bush or other “barricade” a little bit in front of the hive entrance to direct them upward), but space can still be an issue—so be sure to limit the number of hives to a reasonable amount for your acreage (or lack thereof).

     

    Do my family members and neighbors have objections?

    In theory, it’s easy to say that it doesn’t matter what other people think, but because your family and neighbors will likely have (hopefully harmless) encounters with your bees, getting their buy-in is a great idea—especially in suburban locations.

    In more rural locations, or if you have a lot of acreage, you can place the beehives far enough away from your family’s usual haunts that they can easily avoid too much contact if bees give them the heebie-jeebies.

    One of the most important factors when addressing concerns of family and neighbors is allergic reactions. If you’ve got a family member or close neighbor who’s deathly allergic to bee stings, reconsider keeping bees on your property. The risk simply isn’t worth it. And if you don’t know whether you’re allergic, get tested before you get started—a surprise reaction to a bee sting can turn into a scary, even deadly, situation.

     

    What are the zoning laws or other restrictions?

    While it’s kind of a bummer to think that keeping bees might actually be illegal in your area, it’s better to be aware before getting set up than to pay fines and have to call it quits after you’ve got a good colony thriving.

    If beekeeping is against zoning or other restrictions in your area, you may be able to find a local farmer who, if they aren’t already maintaining hives themselves, would welcome someone to set up hives on their land. You may even be able to work out an agreement that allows you to keep them there for free in exchange for honey, beeswax, or a combination of both. Win-win!

     

    Am I dedicated and patient?

    Keeping bees isn’t rocket science, but it does take dedication, patience, education, and planning. If your plan is to get a big, golden payday right off the bat, then you’re probably best off just buying a SuperPail of honey. It can take up to a year to get a colony established and producing enough excess honey for you to enjoy it without harvesting the honey that will sustain the bees through the winter. But if you’re willing to put in the work, the rewards are well worth it.

     

    Think you’re ready to dive in? The American Beekeeping Federation has a few Beekeeping FAQ’s that will help you get think through some of the logistics of getting started.

     

     

    Sound off:

    Do you raise bees? What other questions should beginners consider before starting a hive?

    Are you newly interested in taking up beekeeping? What questions or concerns do you have about getting started?

    We’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

     

    Sources:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/lawn-garden/diy-backyard-beekeeping-47031701#slide-1

    http://youtu.be/zDZDYgBkCx0?t=11s

    http://www.abfnet.org/index.cfm

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: homesteading, raising animals, beekeeping

  • DIY Rabbit Hutch Projects

    Once you've decided to raise rabbits for food storage, the next question to ask yourself is where am I going to put them? Since you are raising rabbits for self-sufficiency, and not as pets, it may be helpful to keep them outside to make that distinction clear (easier said than done, I know.)

    Traditionally, outdoor rabbits are kept in hutches. A hutch is a cage that is usually made of wood and is enclosed with wire mesh. Most hutches have tall legs to protect the rabbits from predators on the ground. You can also build a hutch without legs to keep on a table or, in warm climates, directly on the ground.

    Rabbit hutches are fairly easy to build and serve as excellent DIY projects to complete over the weekend. You can make hutches out of pallets, shelves, and even old dressers.

    Here are 5 great DIY rabbit hutch tutorials from the web to get you started:

     

    Tiny Homesteaders.com “Making Yet Another Rabbit Hutch out of Pallet Crates"

    Space is a very important factor when building a hutch. Since your rabbit will spend a lot of time there, it’s important that they have enough room to move around.  This hutch is a great example of giving your rabbits enough space:

     Rabbit Hutch via TinyHomesteaders

    Photo Courtesy of Tinyhomesteaders.com

     

    Mother Earth News’ “DIY Rabbit Hutch from Wood Pallets”

    When building a hutch, it’s important to have at least part of it enclosed so it will be dark enough when your rabbits need to sleep—or so they can hide if they feel threatened by predators.

     Rabbit Hutch via Mother Earth News

    Photo Courtesy of Mother Earth News

     

    Monsterguide.net “How to Build a Rabbit Hutch”

    Since rabbit hutches require regular cleaning (we’re talking on at least a weekly basis), make sure your hutch is built in a way that provides you with easy access to get the job done—like this one.

    Rabbit Hutch via MonsterGuide dot net

    Photo Courtesy of Monsterguide.net

    Bettaliving.org’s DIY Rabbit Hutch Plans

    This step-by-step guide (with in-depth instructions and pictures for each step) is a great source if you want to build a hutch on the ground. Rabbit hutches built on the ground are better to use in warmer climates, but even then should provide a way for your bunnies to take shelter from predators or rain.

    Rabbit Hutch via BettaLiving.org

    Photo Courtesy of Bettaliving.org

    For Urban Homesteaders: DIY Project: Nicole’s Modern Bunny Hutch

    This hutch is made from an altered dresser. It’s a great method for building a hutch if you live in an apartment or don’t have yard space for a traditional hutch.

    Rabbit Hutch via Design Sponge

    Photo Courtesy of DesignSponge.com

     

    Looking for more tips on building a rabbit hutch? Check out these links:

    http://www.amillionlives.net/build-a-rabbit-hutch-protective-shelters-for-the-bunnies-dwelling.html

    http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/getting-a-hunch-about-rabbit-hutches.html

     

    Have you ever made a rabbit hutch? What’s the best setup you’ve found?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: rabbits, DIY, homesteading, raising animals

  • What It is

    A Faraday cage, also known as a Faraday shield, Radio Frequency Cage, or EMF (Electromotive Force) Cage, is simply an enclosure built to protect electronic devices from electromagnetic radiation and electrostatic discharges. It can be anything from a small box to a large room, covered with conductive metal or wire mesh, which prevents surges from damaging the equipment inside.

    The sources of these surges can be powerful lightning strikes, destructive solar flares (CMEs, or Coronal Mass Ejections) directed toward earth, or the effects of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from a nuclear bomb detonation high in the atmosphere.

    The device is named for Michael Faraday, who observed in 1836 that the excess charge from a conductor remained on the outside of a container and had no effect on the interior contents. He experimented by building a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from a generator to strike the outside of it. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room’s walls. Though the device bears Faraday’s name, Benjamin Franklin is believed to have been the first to discover the principle.

    Faraday cages, or shields, are used all throughout our society. Some are used in the scan-rooms of MRI machines, in which the “cage” effect prevents radio frequency signals from being added to the data from the patient’s image. Some electrical linemen wear “Faraday suits” when working on live, high-voltage power lines to prevent accidental electrocution. Military planners and politicians who have reason to keep their communications private often meet in Faraday-protected rooms that are impervious to electronic “eavesdropping.” In 2013, the Vatican even used the technology to shield the Sistine Chapel from curious listeners during the deliberations to select the new Pope.

    Many people buy Faraday bags to protect their cell phones and laptops both from electrical surges and from unwanted surveillance or tracking.

    According to the National Weather Service, an automobile is essentially a Faraday cage, and it’s the metal surrounding you, not the rubber tires, that protects you from lightning (as long as you’re not touching metal inside the car).[i] A smaller example is a microwave oven, which is a Faraday cage in reverse, trapping the waves inside the device instead of keeping them out. In fact, an old microwave oven makes a good Faraday cage for small electronics!

    Typical items that can be stored in a Faraday cage include

    • Laptop or notebook computers
    • Thumb drives or external hard drives
    • Cell phones
    • Ipads, iPods, and e-readers
    • Portable AM/Shortwave radios, ham radio equipment, and walkie-talkies
    • DC/AC inverters
    • Battery-powered radios

     

    Why You Might Need One

    Why, you may ask, would it do any good for you to have working electronics when everyone else’s would be down or destroyed? First of all, you might still be able to communicate with people outside the affected area (and it may be very difficult at first to determine how large that affected area is).

    Second, you won’t be the only “techie” who thought to protect valuable electronics in a Faraday cage. Some preppers do this as a matter of course, and eventually you would probably be able to communicate with them. (Cell towers, however, would likely be “fried” and need to be rebuilt).

    Communication at such a time would be extremely valuable. Unless there had been well-publicized warnings of impending CMEs in the days before the event, many people would have no idea what had happened to our world. Ham radio operators, who could communicate with other Hams around the globe, might become the new heroes of the day.

    Many AM/FM and shortwave radio stations believe that they’ll still be able to broadcast after an EMP or CME event, and without all the usual “noise” of our plugged-in society, their waves may be able to travel farther than they do now. Hopefully there would be Faraday-protected radios out there to receive their signals! There is, however, a likelihood that the earth’s electromagnetic field would be seriously disrupted by such an event, and it might take quite a while for things to settle down and not cause static on the airwaves.

    How to Make a Faraday Cage

    To be effective, a Faraday cage must:

    • Be covered with conductive metal or mesh. Copper is the most conductive metal, followed by aluminum. (Well--gold and silver are better, but we assume you won’t be covering your cage with those!)
    • Be properly grounded (according to some experts, to prevent shocks when touched)
    • Adequately surround whatever it’s protecting.

    In addition, whatever is inside should be adequately insulated from the cage itself, such as being placed on wood, in a cardboard box, or on a rubber mat so that it doesn’t touch any metal.

    Faraday Box # 1—The Galvanized Trash Can

    A Galvanized Trash Can can act like a Faraday Cage

    You will need

    • A galvanized metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid
    • Several boxes of heavy-duty aluminum foil
    • Enough metal screening or mesh to wrap around the top of the can and fit over the lip
    • Cardboard boxes of assorted sizes that fit inside the can
    • Plastic garbage bags or plastic wrap
    • Cloth pieces to wrap items

    Wrap the items you wish to protect first in cloth, then plastic, then 3-4 layers of heavy-duty foil, being sure that the foil is molded to the shape of the item and that each layer completely covers the previous one, with no tears or holes.

    Place your wrapped items in cardboard boxes. Tape shut, then wrap the entire box with 2 layers of foil.

    Line the trash can with cardboard, including the bottom, making sure there are no gaps. The foil-wrapped boxes must not touch the metal of the can. Set the can on wood or cardboard, not touching any other metal.

    Several experts say that simply putting the lid on the can, even if it fits tightly, is an insufficient seal. They suggest folding a sheet of metal screening around the top of the can and over the top lid and then forcing the lid over that to maintain a constant, tight-fitting metallic connection.

    Remember, this is for long-term storage of the appliances inside, not something that you can take your appliances out of to use and then return to the container without a great deal of trouble. A good idea is to look around for good deals on duplicates of things you use every day. Another important thing to remember is that you will need some type of charger—hand-cranked or solar-powered—to power up your devices once a crisis has passed. If you can wrap and store one of these in a protected Faraday container, you’ll be glad to have it. 

    Faraday Cage # 2—A Metal-Clad Box

    Any box made of non-conductive material such as plywood, and then totally covered with metal, metal mesh, or metal screening can serve as a Faraday cage. The metal must touch at all the corners and over and all around any opening for the protection to be complete, as an electrical charge will find its way through any gaps or crevices in the construction. The smaller the holes in the mesh or screen, the better the protection—but either mesh or screen is believed to work better than solid metal. The metal can be attached to the wood with staples or screws, whichever seems to work best for you. You might consider applying the metal mesh so that it folds around the corners. Then let the next piece overlap the edge of the first, securely fastened together and to the wood so that there is no break in the conductive shield.

    Updated: Living Off the Grid

    For those who don’t rely as heavily on electronic equipment for day-to-day life, the idea of Living Off the Grid is more realistic. Those who live off the grid don’t need to worry quite as much about EMP’s or CME’s causing havoc and chaos to their daily routine because they have already given up a lot of the equipment that would be affected by those electromagnetic pulses.

    However, living off the grid doesn't always mean going completely electronics-free.  In this case, living off the grid may not protect you from the aftermath of EMP’s or CME’s even if you produce your own electricity from an alternate source.  Faraday cages can benefit a variety of lifestyles to protect you and your electronics.

    There are many uncertainties about exactly what would happen in the case of an enormous release of electromagnetic energy in our civilized, plugged-in world. We can hope that nothing will happen to damage our electronics, but in case our hopes are vain, we’ll be happy for every measure we've taken to prepare!

    For more DIY projects, check out the articles below:

    DIY Tent Lamp

    Guest Post: Make a Paracord Bracelet

    Baby Steps: DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    Emergency Essentials' DIY Laundry Detergent

     

    Sources:

    www.ehow.com/info__10047811-things-keep-faraday-box.htm

    www.ehow.com/how_8796313_make-faraday-cage-html

    www.thesurvivalistblog.net/building-a-faraday-cage

    www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

    www.science.howstuffworks.com/faraday-cage.htm

    http://thesurvivalmom.com/2012/10/09/skill-of-the-month-make-a-faraday-cage/

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, skills, disaster, preparedness, emergency preparedness, DIY, disaster preparedness, Faraday Cage

  • Looking for a unique DIY present? Why not give the gift of soft, sweet-smelling laundry all year long . . . (and no, we unfortunately don’t sell a laundry-scented 100-hour candle . . .)

    Last summer, we wrote a post about how to make DIY Laundry Detergent, so we decided that we needed to make something for your dryer, too. DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls are a great present to give to your family, friends, and neighbors. I think they’re meaningful gifts and something that is useful to everyone.

    DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    The benefits of DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    • They reduce your drying time
    • They are free of chemicals often found in store bought dryer sheets
    • They reduce allergic reactions because they don’t include fragrances or chemicals
    • They fluff your laundry and reduce static cling
    • They are inexpensive to make (It only cost me $5.49 for the yarn. I already had the other supplies around my house)

    What You’ll Need

    • 100% Wool Yarn (not labeled ‘superwash’ or ‘machine washable’)—I found my wool yarn at Hobby Lobby. The brand was called “I Love this Wool.” Check your local craft store’s website for 100% wool yarn before making a trip there.
    • Scissors
    • A pair of old pantyhose
    • A blunt-tipped needle or crochet hook (a pen cap or tooth pick would work as well)
    • A little string or acrylic yarn (optional)
    • Essential Oil (optional)

    How You Make it

    1. Wrap a strand of wool yarn around the index and middle fingers of your non-dominant hand about 20 times. Pinch the wrapped yarn in the middle and pull it off your fingers. Wrap 4 or 5 loops of yarn around the center of this bundle to hold it securely. Using the bundle as the center of your ball, continue wrapping yarn around it in different directions, turning to achieve a fairly-tight ball shape. Continue until the ball is at least the size of a tennis ball.
    2. Use a blunt-tipped needle or crochet hook to tuck the end of your yarn under several layers of wrapped yarn until you can no longer see the end. Repeat the process described in steps 1 and 2 until you have 5 or 6 balls.
    3. Cut one leg off of an old pair of pantyhose (or use a knee -high stocking). Put one ball into the toe of the stocking, followed by the other dryer balls. Use the little string or acrylic yarn to section off each ball from one another (or just put one ball in the stocking at a time and tied a knot between them with the pantyhose). Tie off the open end of the stocking so that you have a “yarn-ball caterpillar.” Make sure you tie them tight! You don’t want them coming out in the washing machine.
    4. Throw the “yarn-ball caterpillar” into the washing machine with a load of whites or towels in hot water to begin the felting process. Then throw the caterpillar into the dryer.  You will want to wash and dry the caterpillar at least 2-4 times so that the yarn will felt and won’t come apart.
    5. Remove the dryer balls from the stocking. Then toss the balls into your dryer with a load of wet laundry. If you’d like, you can add 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil to the balls to scent your laundry as they work.

    How do they work?

    For each load of laundry, the dryer balls will bounce around in the machine, separating your clothes, and allowing more hot air to circulate through the clothes. This excess air will allow your clothes to dry faster and the tumbling dryer balls will help to make the laundry soft and decrease wrinkles as they hit the clothes.

    How long will they last?

    This is the biggest question I had while making my own dryer balls: How long will they last? I scoured the internet for an answer to this question. The common consensus seemed to be 5 to 8+ years—they’ll last you for quite some time. However, if you use Essential oils, you’ll need to re-apply them regularly to the dryer balls to infuse that scent into your laundry.

    Wrap Em’ Up!

    These DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls would be an excellent present because they are the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year (and beyond!)

    Place your wool Balls into a small wrapped basket or box and include a batch of our Emergency Essentials DIY Laundry Detergent to make a complete present. You can even leave a little note explaining how to use the dryer balls and what their purpose and benefits are.

    -Angela

    P.S. Speaking of laundry . . . top off your present with a Mobile Washer (hand operated washing machine). The Mobile Washer is perfect for washing clothes during a power outage or on a camping trip. All you need is a bucket, a little bit of your DIY Laundry Detergent, and a little bit of muscle to get your clothes clean. Check out how the Mobile Washer works in the video below.

     

    Sources:

    http://erinslittlesecrets.blogspot.com/2012/05/homestead-challenge-3-making-felted.html

    http://bodyunburdened.com/diy-wool-dryer-balls-natural-fabric-softener/

    http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-wool-dryer-balls/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, gifts, baby steps, DIY

  • Happy Halloween!

    Happy Halloween from Emergency Essential

    Boo! Did I scare you? No? Oh . . .

    Well, you know what’s really scary? Coming up short on decorations, costumes, or treats on Halloween afternoon, with only a few hours left before the kids will be dragging you out the door for their annual candy gorge.

    Stumped for a costume? Bad weather? Out of tea lights for that jack-o’-lantern? Would you believe that a well-stocked emergency supply can bail you out of this seasonal disaster? Look back over our Baby Steps Halloween post from earlier this month for last minute ideas on how to make your Halloween safe, fun, and appropriately ghoulish.

    And as you celebrate All Hallow’s Eve, don’t forget that tomorrow, a new month will bring new blog posts, new sales, and a new appreciation for [freeze-dried turkey].

     

    Happy Halloween!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Halloween, preparedness

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