R2-D2 Droid Crochet Hat Tutorial inspired by Star Wars

R2-D2 crochet hat tutorial free pattern star wars r2d2

Step by step R2D2 droid crochet hat tutorial inspired by Star Wars. Easy to follow and fun to make. Free pattern.

If you sell hats using this pattern, please credit HanDIY Tutorials for the pattern and include a link to this video. Thank you!

Check out my BB-8 crochet hat tutorial here: https://youtu.be/yVZaA9NZiDo

Finish your hat? Please share a picture of it on my Facebook Page! I love to see your work. http://facebook.com/handiytutorials

Written PDF pattern will be available soon.

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BB-8 Droid Crochet Hat Tutorial inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Easy step by step BB-8 droid crochet hat tutorial inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Free Pattern! https://youtu.be/yVZaA9NZiDo
Star Wars: The Force Awakens inspired BB-8 Crochet Hat Tutorial. Free Pattern. Easy step by step tutorial.

Part 2: Adding embellishments. https://youtu.be/39ngnfu7M0o If you sell hats using this pattern, please credit HanDIY Tutorials for the pattern and include a link to this video. Thank you! Finish your hat? Please share a picture of it on my Facebook Page! I love to see your work. http://facebook.com/handiytutorials Written PDF pattern will be available soon. IMG_8622


Four Ways to Hand Wash Your Laundry: Build a Washer for $3

Homemade washing machine. Build a similar system for under $5! (Complete with spin cycle!)

This week I've been participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For one week, I've put away my fancy cloth diaper supplies and adopted the use of simple flats (think your Grandma's cloth diapers) with covers. I took it a step further and decided to come up with a cloth diapering stash and washing system for under $20 that is perfect for people who have a tight budget or want an emergency preparedness option for diapering! Click here to find out more.

In addition to only using flats, all participants are forgoing the use of their washer and dryer and must come up with a handwashing routine.

Even if you aren't interested in cloth diapering, today's post is still for you if you are interested in coming up with a low budget (under $5) hand washing routine for emergency preparedness, homesteading, traveling, camping, etc. 

I tried four different washing routines so far this week to fill you in on the good, the bad, and the ugly of each. The good news is I found a winner!

Before I begin, I am assuming that before washing you have disposed of any solids from your diapers into your toilet before washing. If your child is not yet eating solids, you can toss your soiled diapers right into the wash. This is because it infant poop is water soluble.

Your routine, detergent, etc. may be different based on your water, allergies, etc. That being said most cloth diaper routines look something like this.

Basic Cloth Diaper Washing Routine:
  1. Rinse warm
  2. Hot wash w/ detergent (heavy duty)
  3. Rinse warm/cold
  4. Extra rinse until bubbles are out.
  5. Spin cycle to remove excess water. 
I tried my best to follow this same washing routine for all of my methods.

The four methods I tried were:
  1. Hand washing in a sink
  2. Washing in sink or bathtub with plunger
  3. Plunger and bucket system
  4. Plunger and two bucket system w/ spin cycle (WINNER!) 


Hand washing in Sink

On day one, I decided to try the most basic option of hand washing all my diapers in my small bathroom sink through the day as I went along.  I washed two diapers at a time and covers when they got soiled.

I wanted to try this because I know it may be someone's only option if you are traveling, road tripping, or your power goes out and you have no other option. This can be done in any sink, anywhere, as long as you have access to water.

  1. Rinse warm.
  2. Put in rubber stopper.
  3. Fill sink with hot water and detergent. (Only about half way or you'll splash water everywhere).
  4. Add your flats. (You can't fit very many)
  5. Agitate the water and diapers with hands. 
  6. Rub fabric together.
  7. Let the water out of the sink.
  8. Rinse, wring, and rinse until there are no more bubbles.
  9. Wring out and hang dry.

  • Realistic option if you only if you absolutely have to clean diapers this way.
  • Does the job and the diapers do get clean. 
  • Good for spot cleaning. 
  • My preferred method for cleaning covers.
  • I couldn't clean very many at one time.
  • Water spills around quite a bit everywhere.
  • You get very up close and personal with the diapers. 
  • It takes time.
  • If you have sensitive skin, your hands could get raw. 
  • You are constantly washing through the entire day to stay up on it.  
  • Hard to wring out all water by hand. 
Because it was hard to wring out water by hand I tried laying my flats on a towel and then rolling the towel.


Washing in Kitchen Sink/Tub with Plunger and Sprayer:

Everything was very similar to my routine with handwashing in a sink, but this time I used a plunger to aggitate the water and the sprayer was very helpful during my rinse. It even worked well on a couple prefolds I had in the laundry from  before I started the challenge.

  1. Rinse warm.
  2. Put in rubber stopper.
  3. Fill sink or tub with hot water and detergent. (Less than half way or you'll splash water everywhere).
  4. Add diapers. (You can add more in a larger sink and a bunch in a bathtub).
  5. Agitate the water and diapers with the plunger till flats are clean.
  6. Let the water out of the sink. 
  7. Rinse (using your attachment sprayer until there are no more bubbles... no need to wring). 
  8. Wring out and hang dry.

The good:
  • The plunger did a decent job of agitating the water.
  • I didn't have to use my hands.
  • I got more diapers clean in less time than just hand washing. 
  • It even worked well on some pre-folds I had that needed to be washed from before the challenge!
  • The sprayer was an AMAZING tool. Rinsing was much faster and easier and I didn't have to wring the fabric during the ring to get the soap out. 

The Bad:
  • I couldn't agitate it as heavily or quickly without water splashing everywhere. 
  • I wanted to sanitize everything in sight right after.
  • The plunger would get suctioned to the bottom of the sink/ tub or clothes, slowing down the process.


Plunger and Bucket System: Great System!

This is a very popular system by moms taking this challenge. You use a 5 gallon bucket, plunger, and a lid with a hole slightly bigger than the plunger handle. Drill holes into your plunger for a better system. (It agitates better!)

  1. Place clothes into bucket. 
  2. Rinse warm
  3. Pour out water
  4. Add hot water and detergent
  5. Put plunger into bucket and guide the plunger handle through the lid. 
  6. Secure lid.
  7. Agitate for 10+ minutes
  8. Pour out water
  9. Wring and Rinse
  10. Pour out water
  11. Wring and Rinse (Repeat rinse till all bubbles are gone.)
  12. Wring out
  13. Hang dry.

The Good:
  • Plunger with holes works much better than plunger without!
  • You don't have to use your hands.
  • Faster than the other methods.
  • You can agitate the water very heavily without water splashing around. 
  • Very similar to washing machine.  
  • Can be used anywhere (bathtub, backyard, camping, etc). 

The Bad:
  • Arms get tired. But it is a good workout. 
  • Because there is no drain in the bucket, you have to lift and pour to get the water out. 
  • Difficult to get all the water and soap out of the bucket just by pouring, so it requires more rinses.    
  • Wringing out fabric gets very tiring. 


Plunger and Two Bucket System With Spin Cycle: WINNER!

I found this system on a YouTube video when I was researching different washing options. It is very similar to the one bucket system, but has a few fantastic additions that make it the winner in my book. The secret is that one bucket has holes drilled into it, which makes it the most like a regular washing machine, reduces need to pour out water, and need for several rinses. My favorite part, is it has a spin cycle! No need to wring out by hand. We made it for just $3! (Edit: Looking back, I would invest in a nicer plunger. The generic dollar store ones aren't durable enough for heavy duty use like this. The rubber wore out and started breaking at towards the bottom after only three washes.)

To create this system you need:
  • Two 5 gallon buckets (we picked ours up from the local bakery for less than $1 each!)
  • One lid
  • A plunger
  • A drill
  • Strong piece of thin line/rope. (Optional: For the spin cycle.)

Instructions to create washer:
  1. Drill several holes into the sides and bottom of one of your 5 gallon bucket. 
  2. Space holes at least an inch apart to maintain integrity of the bucket.
  3. Cut/drill a hole into the lid that is slightly larger than your plunger handle.
  4. Drill several holes into the plunger.

 Washing Routine:
  1. Place clothes into bucket with holes. 
  2. Rinse warm
  3. Place bucket into other bucket. 
  4. Add hot water and detergent.
  5. Put plunger into bucket and guide the plunger handle through the lid. 
  6. Secure lid.
  7. Agitate for 10+ minutes.
  8. Lift top bucket out of bottom bucket. Dump out dirty water from bottom bucket.
  9. Rinse until all bubbles are gone. (Instead of wringing out by hand you can place bucket without holes into bucket with holes to help push the water out, etc).
  10. Attach piece of rope to the handle of the top bucket and hang over a tree, etc.
  11. Spin bucket in a circle for SPIN CYCLE!

The Good:
  • Plunger with holes works much better than plunger without!
  • You don't have to use your hands to wash/wring.
  • Faster than the other methods.
  • You can agitate the water very heavily without water splashing around. 
  • Can be used anywhere (bathtub, backyard, camping, etc).  
  • Two bucket system helps you drain and rinse easier than one bucket system.
  • No need for wringing out by hand.

The Bad:
  • Arms get tired. But it is a good work out.

I will be posting a complete video with instructions and the wash routine sometime in the next few days! For now here are some clips.


Spin Cycle:

A few others tips I learned along the way:

Instead of using a plunger, you can invest in a mobile washer (hand powered) from Emergency Essentials. It's a very well designed, durable, high quality device that looks like a fancy plunger. It is currently on sale for $15. I have heard great things about it. I plan to purchase one.


Roll wet flats in a towel and squeeze or walk on it to effectively wring the water out.

Try "sunning" stains out. The sun works wonders on stains. Here is a picture of before and after an hour in the sun!

Do you have a hand washing routine you swear by? Any other DIY laundry tips? Share it in the comments below.


How I Turned Old T-Shirts Into Flat Cloth Diapers

I'm doing the Flats Challenge this week. I decided to go very low budget to prove that you don't need to invest hundreds of dollars to diaper a child. This is also a great option for an emergency preparedness kit. Click Here for a more detailed description of my low budget stash (only $42) that I'm using for the challenge and learn how you can create a similar stash and hand powered washing machine for just $20!

How I Turned Old T-Shirts Into Cloth Diapers

Items Needed:
  • 7 T-Shirts (Size XL preferred, but smaller sizes work too)
  • Scissors 
*Each T-shirt will create two flats.  Use more T-shirts if you want more than 14 diapers. 

Cost:     FREE!

  1. Cut the sleeves off your T-shirt. 
  2. Set aside. (These sleeves will become boosters to add absorbancy to your diaper.) 
  3. Cut length ways from the arm pit down to the bottom of the shirt on both sides.
  4. Cut along the seem from shoulder to shoulder across the neckline to create two pieces of fabric.
  5. Voila! Your old t-shirt is now two flats and two boosters!

Two t-shirt flats in a pad fold and two sleeves for boosters

Fold your piece of fabric in various ways to fit the needs of your child. There are folds specifically for boys, girls, toddlers, newborns, etc. :) Click Here to learn how to do 8 simple folds.

You can use a pad fold to just lay into your diaper cover and then secure your cover to your child. You can do this with ANY cover, but the Flip diaper covers have flaps on the front and back that help hold the flat in place.

Another option is to fold it like a pad fold or tri fold and fan out the back sides. This is often called the angel wings fold. Then use a snappi to secure it onto your child. This is a great fold that keeps newborn poop from escaping out the sides onto your cover.

You don't have to use T-shirts for diapers. You can also re-purpose burp cloths, flour sack towels, and receiving blankets.

Use your T-shirt sleeves as boosters to add an extra layer of absorbancy. Just lay them into the diaper where you want the additional absorbancy before you secure it to your child using safety pins or a Snappi.

How Have The T-shirt Flats Held Up So Far?


I am amazed at how well a simple t-shirt has worked for diapering. I honestly haven't noticed a huge difference compared to prefolds, my fancy snap in inserts, and various boosters. It is definitely more work to fold the flat compared to a snap in insert, but I'm getting a good amount of protection. It doesn't absorb as much as my hemp and bamboo inserts and boosters, so I am changing diapers more frequently. But I still haven't had any leaks and my baby boy seems to not notice any difference at all. I recommend a re-purposed receiving blanket for overnight use as it is more absorbent. I have also heard you can layer two flats together for heavy wetters or overnight use, though I haven't tried it yet.

Click Here for a more detailed description of my low budget stash (only $42) that I'm using for the challenge and learn how you can create a similar stash and hand powered washing machine for just $20!


My Flats Challenge Stash - Great for Emergency Preparedness!

Flats Challenge Stash (Photo doesn't include plunger and 5 gallon buckets)

Here is my stash for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. This is also a great cloth diaper stash and hand-washing system for anyone interested in a sustainable or emergency preparedness solution for diapering.

My goal was to keep it under $50. But I will tell you how to build a similar stash for under $20! (The price of one pack of disposable diapers!)

Here is the breakdown of all my supplies and the cost.

Build a Similar Stash for Under $20
Put together a similar stash for under $20 by switching out the Best Bottoms, Rumparooz, and Flip covers for Alva Diaper Covers ($3.99 each)!

Why a Plunger and Two 5 Gallon Buckets?
These will become a hand powered washing machine! Complete with a spin cycle! I'll go into more detail with the specifics of this system on Thursday. This is a fantastic option for laundry in general. Not just for washing cloth diapers.

Many already have some 5 gallon buckets around the home, so you may not have to invest in those. We have found that Lehi Bakery has the cheapest option at under $2 per bucket. I bought my plunger from Dollar Tree. 

Flats are a single layer piece of fabric that act as the absorbent layer for the diaper. The benefits of flats are that they clean easily, dry quickly, and they can be folded in numerous ways to fit the needs of your child from newborn to toddler.

You can use purchased cotton flats, hemp flats, bamboo flats, re-purposed T-shirts, receiving blankets, burp cloths, or even flour sack towels from your kitchen! Tomorrow I'll write about how I re-purposed 7 T-shirts to create my flats.

How many flats do you need for your stash? It depends on how often you change diapers and how often you want to do laundry! :) But I recommend a minimum of 12.

Boosters add an extra "boost" in absorbancy. They are great for overnight diapers or when you know you need to go a little longer between changes. You simply set a booster into your flat before you fold it onto your child. My personal favorite are hemp boosters, but to keep cost low I used the sleeves from my re-purposed T-Shirts.

Snappies are a great alternative to the typical safety pins that hold the flat onto the child. Snappies are a fantastic item to add to your emergency preparedness kit because they easily can turn any piece of fabric into a diaper. 

The diaper cover is the waterproof layer that goes over the flat. This is where most of your budget will go. There are may options for covers ranging from $2-$30. The white pull on plastic covers with elastic legs can certainly do the job. But I personally prefer my Rumparooz, Best Bottoms, and Flips diapers because they can be adjusted to fit any size and are leak free.

Why do you only need three covers? Covers can be used over and over again. Simply wipe it out between changes and you are good to go. If it becomes soiled, (meaning solid matter leaks onto the cover) it is best to switch it out for another cover. I like to hand wash it immediately, lay it out to dry, and then add it right back into my rotation. How many covers do you need? At least three.

The Rumparooz and Best Bottoms covers are very high quality and durable material. They have snaps that adjust to fit any child from newborn to toddler. They also include double gussets which gives you extra protection from leaks. I've never had a leak with either of these diapers. EVER. Seriously. They are amazing. Best Bottoms is a husband and wife company with their products made in the USA, so I love supporting them with my business. Plus they make a truly fantastic diaper. 

I included the Flip diaper cover in my stash to add variety because of their unique design. Fold your flat diaper into a "pad fold" and simply set it in. No Snappi required! They also have snaps that adjust to fit any child from newborn to toddler. Only a single gusset system, but still a great cover.

Other great covers to check out: Thirsties ($13), Buttons ($11), g-diaper ($15), Imagine ($9), and Alva ($4).

While I love Grovia, and have a few in my regular stash, I don't recommend their hybrid covers for use with flats. The mesh interior makes it more difficult to wipe and reuse for multiple diaper changes. They are best used with their snap in inserts with water resistant backing.

Cloth Baby Wipes

For a sustainable option for wipes, a receiving blanket cut into squares works fantastic. Just wet down a square before you use it and then toss it into your wet bag with your diaper. 

Wet Bag / Garbage Bag and Plastic Bag

A garbage bag or wet bag is needed to store your diapers when they are soiled and waiting to be washed.No need to be fancy, but the pail liner is more sustainable. The grocery bag is great for when you are on the go.

My usual stash I use a pail liner and a travel size wet/dry bag
Optional Items
If your child is not yet eating solids, you can toss your soiled diapers right into the bag without rinsing. This is because infant poop is completely water soluble. Once baby starts eating solids you need to shake, swoosh or spray solids from the diaper into the toilet before you wash. This is where fleece liners and diaper sprayers that attach to the toilet come in handy.

A diaper sprayer is like the spray attachment on a kitchen sink. Use it to spray the solids off rather than "dunking and swooshing" the diaper in the toilet.

Fleece liners (you can buy or make your own) are set into the diaper closest to baby's bum. They catch the solid matter on a fabric that you can easily shake into the toilet. The solids come right off and the fleece. It also acts as a "stay dry" layer to keep your baby's bum feeling dry.

My stash for this challenge is definitely more of a "roughing it" stash geared towards an emergency preparedness kit. While I have learned that I can certainly make do with my flats challenge stash, I do love my usual stash. Above is a photo of my complete cloth diaper stash. It is still a lower budget option at $210. Perhaps after the challenge I will do a post about my everyday stash.


Why I'm Taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

This week is the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and I'm participating!

What is the Flats and Handwashing Challenge?

It is a cloth diapering challenge in which participants go "old school" and only use flats (one single layered piece of flat fabric) and covers for one week. All covers and flats must then be washed by hand and line dried. Cloth diapers have come a long way and this challenge is an opportunity to go back to the basics. You can follow others doing the challenge by checking out the link above following #bringingflatsback #flatschallenge

Why am I doing this?

I'm already a cloth diapering mom, but I wanted to take this challenge for the following reasons below:

Emergency Preparedness/ Self Sufficiency

I live in a community where emergency preparedness and self sufficiency is very valued. Our family is no exception.

My main reason for becoming a cloth diapering mom was to have a self-sufficient diapering option and to not depend on expensive disposables that are just thrown away.

There are many families who aren't prepared to diaper their babies in the event of running out of disposables, a parent losing a job, a natural disaster, a zombie apocalypse, ;) etc. I want to spread awareness that by purchasing a few affordable basics and gathering supplies you likely have laying around the house, you can build a useful and sustainable diapering option in the event of an emergency. (I'll talk more about this on Wednesday!)

The one item you should add to your Emergency Prepareness kit today? A Snappi. (Pictured below.)

First T-Shirt Flat of the Challenge! (Before I put the cover on!)

Not Depend On Washer and Dryer

I also want to do this challenge so that I am prepared to handwash my diapers and other laundry in the event the power goes out, the washer goes out, or another emergency comes up. I will be using a plunger and a bucket and/or the bathtub. I look at this as a great "practice run" to iron out any kinks that may come up and make changes as needed. I'm going to try a few different options and let you know the good, the bad, and the ugly of each! I'll share what I learn so that you can learn from my mistakes!

Make Cloth Mainstream 
I hope that by participating and blogging about my experience some friends, family, acquaintances may perhaps consider cloth diapering as an option for emergency preparedness or daily use.

Viable and Low Budget Option

I also wanted to bring awareness to the fact that many people do not cloth diaper because they believe they cannot afford it. Many are under the impression it is MORE expensive than disposable diapering and requires a huge investment. While there are certainly some cloth diapering stashes out there that are worth well over $3,000, my current stash is worth $210. The photo below is every cloth diapering product I own (AIO, hybrid, covers, prefolds, inserts, boosters, snappies, wet bags, etc.)

While this is a picture of all of my items, (including a few indulgent "pretty" covers that make me happy) my go-to stash that I regularly use is actually closer to a $160 budget.

My current stash of all my cloth diapering supplies (not for the challenge) valued at $210.

When I am finished with these diapers, I could very realistically sell my stash for 50%-80% of what I paid for it. Some people think that cloth diapering is beyond their budget, but I want to show that it can be much more affordable than people even realize. And it is a viable option for people on a tight budget.

For this challenge, I'm keeping it very low budget (under $50) by using re-purposed materials from around my own home. Instead of using purchased flats, I'm using re-purposed T-shirts and receiving blankets. You can even use flour sack towels!

DIY flats out of old T-shirts

Instead of using baby wipes, I'm using T-shirt sleeves and a receiving blanket cut into small squares. 

The only items that do cost money are my covers, snappies, and plunger (my handmade washing machine!). 

I will give more details on my Flats Challenge stash that I am using this week on my blog post tomorrow. But here is a sneak peek!

* Not pictured, my plunger AKA handmade washing machine.


Flats and Handwashing Challenge

I'm taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge to become better prepared for emergency preparedness. More details coming tomorrow!