The Orange Peel Surf Wax Mold (My Review)

I was a Kickstarter supporter for The Orange Peel, a new surf wax gadget that just shipped out to most of us last week who bought in to the concept. I felt like doing a review of this product, so here it is. Did I get it for free? Hell nah, brah. These opinions are all Average Surfer Approved, and that’s all that matters, Bro-tein Shake.

The Orange Peel (peelitout.com, $11.99) is a 100% silicone cup that’s meant to fit into your car’s cup holder, and collect the gnar bits of surf wax that end up in your car. Unfortunately, this silicone cup was a little too small and got “lost” in my Surfmobile’s (Yaris) oversized side door cup holders, so it’s going to have to sit in the open middle console instead. Here it is in my grody Surfmobile:

The actual surfy-special feature of this mold cup is a raised strip of silicone along the bottom of the inside. This allows the mold to create the traditional break line for the bar of surf wax after melting it into the mold, creating the distinct halves. A half a bar is enough to wax up a longboard for a sesh, and fits into a pocket easily.

That feature is what makes the mold stand out for me. There are plenty of silicone molds out there for far cheaper in the craft store’s baking section, but as a surfer, I like the simple and practical addition of this line in the mold that creates a truly usable bar of surf wax.

To test this new mold, I used an actual old gnarly ball of surf wax from under the seat of my car, and rolled it around in more sand from the car. Yummy.

Here’s your WARNING WARNING WARNING!

Although the Orange Peel cup itself alone is microwaveable, you SHOULD NOT microwave things with sand all over it. Here in Cocoa Beach, a lot of our sand is dredged from shoals off the Cape, and there can often be trace metals in the dredge material. NOT a good thing to put in the microwave.

For this experiment, I used the little toaster oven we picked up at Goodwill. It stays out in the garage, so I use it for melting small amounts of wax sometimes, but mostly it’s for baking modeling clay (no fumes in the house, bonus).

I heated the clump in the toaster oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (recommended by Peel Surf) for 20 minutes. This wax was most likely “Tropical” hardness from throughout this Summer and Fall, so I figured I would need to heat it for a while for it to melt sufficiently. The sand and debris in the wax will tend to fall toward the bottom of the cup. After I removed it from the oven, I made sure to give it a little stir to help things along.

Allow it to set for at least an hour. I left mine to harden overnight.

It came out of its mold with some difficulty because of the thickness of the cup’s walls. It’s a sturdy design, but it also makes it tricky to pop out easily without damaging the edges of the finished wax bar a bit.

Once the bar was out, I just scraped off the sludge that had settled to the bottom, which is now at the top of the bar of wax. I still had quite a bit of clean wax that remained.

Done!

Ok, so here’s my overall impression…..

Pros:

  • Makes a decent sized, good looking bar of wax
  • Molds a deep, easy-to-break line in the center
  • The bright color of The Orange Peel makes it easy to spot in a dark car in the morning

Cons:

  • Expensive- the price point of 12 bucks needs to be reduced to make this product work, or else I’m using my old muffin cups
  • May disappear into the cup holders of many cars with oversized holders

My suggestions:

  • Please get the price down- nice concept, but most surfers will have trouble justifying the expense, even to recycle their wax and Save Da World.
  • Include a simple Recipe Book- a lot more people might buy your product if you include some fun how to’s, similar to a Surf Wax Making Kit.
  • Introduce a “Jumbo” Orange Peel for oversized drink holders, and people who want to make larger bars of wax.
  • Consider a Glow In the Dark version for those Dawn Patrol sessions.
  • Offer unique molds (flower shapes, animals, etc.) with break lines through them. Only the inside of the cup needs to be shaped, the outside of the cup can be smooth, so it can still fit into a drink holder nicely.

I’ll definitely be using this cool little mold often, but I’ll be waiting on buying anymore “Peels” until the price drops a bit. BUT, if there’s a surfer you want to splurge on, this might be a fun gift to give along with some natural beeswax (and show them how to make their own surf wax too!).

DIY Boardshort Pillow

When I was young,  I would bug my patient grandmother to teach me to sew. She was a talented seamstress, and sewed for me the most beautiful dresses when I was younger, one of which I still keep with my wedding dress and formal wear.

Back then, I also remember her making me the coolest “Jams” out of ANY wacky printed cotton combo fabric I wanted in Hancock’s Fabrics. I loved my crazy ass pairs of Jams, and even today, I find myself wearing boardshorts with crazy prints just about every day. Honestly, they’re coastal Florida’s version of sweatpants.

I’ll totally admit that most of my boardshort collection is storebought, since surf companies use this schweet, stretchy, silky material that an average home sewer like me can’t get reasonably. Fortunately, most boardshorts like these are fairly long-wearing if you don’t put ’em in the dryer after washing. Good, since you may need to skip a car payment to buy some of these pairs lately…yikes.

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Loved these

One of my favorite pairs of boardshorts was ready for retirement, but I loved the surfboard print, and wanted to hang on to it in a unique way. So I made it into a squishy pillow that I could use indoors or out.

The stitching is pretty straightforward, I attached the inseam of the shorts up about 2″ from the bottom to make the pillow look more square after stuffing, but the legs are still somewhat distinctive.

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Stitching the inseam up to the mark

 

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2” of inseam sewn together

After this step, it’s a matter of closing up the holes. Just leave the top middle section open to stuff, OR you could stuff through the fly, then sew those openings up. The fly section was going to be too bulky for my machine, so I hand sewed the opening shut.

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Sewing the fly shut on the machine was tricky!

You can handstitch this Pillow or machine stitch it, neither way takes very long. Just make sure it’s stitched up tightly enough to be moderately stuffed, and machine washable. Don’t overstuff this, or it might start looking too much like an ass pillow.

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Stuff a little at a time

 

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Handsewing the top shut

 

Done!

 

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Husband calls it the Butt Pillow

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Another I made for one of my BFFs

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I like my Ass Pillow

 

I have the awful feeling the pillows only get bigger from this point on though….

 

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Yeah, hold da meat

 

 

DIY Upcycled Neoprene Surfing Beanie

In case you didn’t already know, I hate winter. We don’t generally get snow in this part of Florida- just windy, gloomy days with a biting chill that can become unbearable sometimes. At least the winters appear to be getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means I may have waterfront property sooner than later.

Always look on da bright side, yo.

As I’ve been playing with and learning more about Neoprene upcycling, I’ve considered more things I can make, and one thing I NEED is a well fitting Neoprene beanie hat that will stay on when I surf to keep my head warm from the chilly wind. However, most surf beanies are fitted right to the skull- great for guys with short hairstyles, not so great for surfer chicks with ponytails…

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BLEH!!!! NO chinstraps, please

I wanted to make something that had the top open enough to allow my ponytail to poke through, but I could close it up if I had wanted to wear it down. I used plain paper, a pen, and rulers to draft out a beanie pattern that would use 4 of these pieces (this is a good visual tutorial that is similar to my project).

 

 

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Drafting out my beanie pattern

 

I had an ancient 1.5 mm Hyperflex Neoprene surf vest that had plenty of decent material to use. I made sure to cut away any original flatlocked and finished seams on the vest, so the sewing machine wouldn’t bite on them.

 

 

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Cutting away the neoprene pieces out of the vest

 

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Laying out the pieces and pattern

 

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The four beanie pieces cut out

 

In this project, I used a simple 2-thread overlock on the serger since the total thickness would be 3 mm (1.5 mm for each layer). If it was any thicker than 3 mm in total, I would’ve hand stitched the pieces together. Totally doable with a sharp heavy hand needle, some heavy nylon thread, and a basic whipstitch.

 

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Two pieces of the beanies serged along the edge, with the top left open

 

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Fit check!

 

For the hat band, I used 1″ fold-over elastic in black. I measured the elastic about 3″ shorter than the hat’s circumference, and stretched as I stitched to fit.

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After the hat band (fold over elastic) has been sewed on

 

On the crown, I hand stitched grommets (2 at the top of each quarter, 8 total). I made these grommets so I could pull elastic or a drawstring through to close the crown. I made my own drawstring ribbon from some scrap Lycra in a fun purple paisley print. Just because it’s so freakin’ jaunty. You can use elastic cord, or other drawstring materials.

 

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Different things to use as drawstrings

 

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Last fit check

 

Done! Now, I can thread my ponytail through, and it will help as a pseudo-tether as well.

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Better than a chinstrap

 

Hey, surfers may get a bad reputation as stoners, but at least our beanies and hats don’t turn out like the skiers’ and snowboarders’. Ya hippies.

 

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I’ve skied in one of these, full disclosure

 

DIY Upcycled Neoprene Pouch Keychain

This week has been cray cray. The stress of the holidays is approaching, and you can see it around Cocoa Beach with the influx of angry out of towners. And here I thought the ocean was supposed to be soothing.

Instead of getting out in the crazy shopping melee tomorrow, MAKE something useful out of your old wetsuit, since you’re probably getting a new one anyways. Even if you’ve been naughty and stealing my waves, you wanker.

I used a scrap of Neoprene from a machine washed wetsuit sleeve for the main part of this pouch. Machine washing is OK and DESIRED if it is to be used for crafting! The Velcro and nylon webbing piece came from another old surfing vest zip back. I cut the piece of Velcro in half so it would span the top flap and keep it closed.

I also used a keychain ring with a clip from the hardware store, and some heavy duty nylon thread in purple and black to sew everything. You can use Neoprene repair glue if you want to glue the pieces instead, but I hand sewed everything on.

I cut the sleeve just a few inches above the wrist, then cut away a little on the inside, leaving a top flap to put the Velcro on:

I sewed the clip and strap onto the back of the pouch also:

Done- and useful for putting all sorts of surfy stuff in, like surf wax, fin screws, leash loops, etc. Schweet.

Now, wasn’t that more fun than dealing with the holiday chaos?

A Wetsuit for All Seasons

I’ve been getting really sick of this El Nino crap. It feels like Summer one day, then I’m back in a wetsuit. Come on Summer. Enough of this chilly nonsense.

I upgraded wetsuits (well, I got a deal online on a 4/3) this year, so I still had my old 3/2. In all honesty, it was REALLY on its’ last legs, but I can’t get rid of neoprene. I need to be on “TLC’s Neoprene and Surfboard Hoarders.”
A friend of mine asked if I could cut the legs off of her brand new Billabong 3/2. She didn’t like the way the legs below the knee constricted her pop-up, and since her legs are in the water anyway- shielded from the wind. She would be comfortable without neoprene on her legs.. I was hesitant, but she liked how the suit came out, so I had to make a chopped wetsuit for myself. And I had the perfect candidate for a suit!
One tidbit my good friend told me is that she attempted to cut her own suit once. It came out horribly ragged and jagged on the edges- but at least neoprene doesn’t fray, so it was still usable. Albeit hillbilly. (Sorry, D.)

Neoprene Cutting Tips Right Here!

  1. Use a rotary cutter, preferably a 45 mm or larger since surf neoprene is thick. Use NEW rotary blades!
  2. If you must cut with shears, use the type made for thicker fabrics (Fiskars makes an ok one, and you can get in at most craft stores). These type almost resemble the Pinking Shears Grandma used to use, without the spiky edge.
  3. When you cut, don’t cut all way down the shears (scissors), only about 3/4 way. Carefully reset the shears (reopen them) to the last cut, and start cutting again. Try this on a piece of paper- you’ll see a difference.
  4. Don’t use pins with neoprene. Either use quilter’s clips, staples (yes, they work!), or, if you’re really good, just hold it in place.

*****

Now to the good part!
Here’s the old, mercilessly pilled-on-the-inside, salt embedded neoprene. I’ve washed it, but it’s been more comfortable, stretchy and LOOSER in the past….

I hate wetsuits. Truly.

First, I wanted to chop off the legs. I’m pretty modest, so I don’t like the shorts being too short.
Using fabric weights, a straight edge, and a rotary cutter, I just cut the legs off (at a slight angle to the torso, but perpendicular to the leg length- hey, our legs don’t go STRAIGHT down) with two cuts- one for each leg:

No need to sew or hem. If your seams are glued and sealed, no worries. If you have flatlocked seams (you’ll see the thread begin to fray), put clear nail polish over the fraying end.

***UPDATE***

I wore this suit from January into March- I loved it. Warm, but not constricting. I think this will be done on future suits if I can get a better deal on a 3/2 than a specialty long sleeve 2/2 that has a limited season.

***

On to the next…..
Now, with the air getting warmer, I wanted a short Farmer John (Jane). Back to the old suit!
This is a little trickier- you need to try your suit on and mark with chalk where you want it trimmed up BEFORE you cut. My suit has a funky Velcro neck too in back that’s annoying too I’d like to lose:
This suit doesn’t have shoulder seams (more common as suits get better), so I laid the suit flat on my cutting board, measured out about 2″ from the collar seam:
Measuring from the bottom of the collar seam, 2″ out to the shoulder is where I’m cutting it (Notice the pattern/fabric weights. They’re made from canvas and BB’s!)
Other shoulder

Also note how I’ve lined it up on the grid- I’m going to curve OUT slightly, toward the armpit. If you don’t, the fit will be Kooksville.

Both shoulders, weighted, lined up, and ready to be curve cut with the rotary cutter.

  Personally, I like a 60 mm or larger, kind of like a Pizza Cutter. I don’t have all day.

You can see the faint curved chalk line out to the armpit.
Arm is surgically removed!

Here’s the result- again, NO SEWING (taped and glued seams):

Me likey.
NO FRAY! NO SEW!

I still was bothered by the high, rubbery neck. Didn’t need the super cold protection, just a thick wind block. I looked inside to the neck area to check it out:

Inside the suit, looking at the collar, suit front facing camera

The rubbery, friction-y part looked like it was flatlocked to the neoprene. Time for the seam ripper!!!

Ripping out the inside seam to open the rubber flap and expose the base neoprene
When that inside seam was removed, you can see the regular neoprene. I’m going to use the glue/sew line to cut away the excess. I did use my thick fabric scissors, and used the method described above. Came out well!:
Cutting away the excess rubber and neoprene with thick fabric scissors
I can breathe!!!!
So here it is finished:
Paddle perfection
*** APRIL UPDATE ***
I’ve been using it for a few months, and it works great, except for the scratchy pilling.
For real, don’t be scared to chop up your suit. Compared to the $15 you can get for selling your nasty used it on Craigslist, you could be saving $100 on a spring suit. It’s a no brainer. Like this dude:

Recycle Your Nasty Wax

El Nino has been showing a taste of what’s to come around here. We’ve had a few days of glassy surf, then windy storm chop and hellacious rain, then cold temps and offshore winds. We’ve already repeated this pattern a few times, and I’m sure there’s a couple of more in store before Spring. It was a rainy, windy, washed out day Wednesday, so I decided to strip my nastiest board to recycle the wax. I’ve recycled wax before, but this was especially cruddy, so I thought I’d try a new technique.
Here is my gnar gnar board, which is a 6’10”, so I should be able to get a fair amount of wax. Especially since I never change it out apparently:
There must be more tar in the water
than I thought.

I did scrape off the nastiest, darkest sections and threw that wax away. That’s from where my board sits on the rack bumpers on my car.

Removing the darkest wax
The remaining wax I scraped up to use is still pretty dark.

Next, I got out my trusty double boiler I got at Ikea for 6 bucks. I looked and waited for one to show up at Goodwill, but, I gave up and got one I use ONLY for melting wax (no food, yuck). I filled a larger pot with enough water to touch the bottom of the double boiler when it’s the pot. I placed the mass of scraped wax into the boiler and set the whole thing to boil on the stove. If you put the wax in a little at a time, it melts faster, but I just threw it in there like the lazy bum I am:

Wax clump in the double boiler

Most of this wax is from the Summer and Fall, so it’s mostly Tropical Wax. It was pretty hard wax, so that would sound right.
Since I’m going to use it in cold water (and dropping temp fast….brrrr), I’m going to add 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil to soften up the wax. I only used this much since I estimated the wax I had scraped came out to approximately 1 cup. For kicks, I also added 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil to give the wax a pleasant smell. We know where it’s been.

Adding 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil to the wax
to make it more suitable for cold water

Stirring the mixture with a bamboo skewer

I kept stirring the mixture until all the wax had melted, and I had stirred in the coconut oil and essential oil completely. After about three minutes, the mixture was runny enough to be poured.
For molds, I used an OLD muffin tin and placed a couple of muffin liners in it (I didn’t have THAT much wax!). Over the top of the two liners, I cut a layer of cheesecloth to catch any more nastiness I could get.

Muffin tin and cheesecloth

POUR SLOWLY! If you pour slowly, most of the crud will have settled out at the bottom of the boiler and not transfer into your muffin liners. The cheesecloth can catch fine strands of debris, but make sure you lift the cheesecloth off of the wax after you’ve finished pouring before the wax hardens.

Wax poured into molds

Allow the wax to cool at room temperature for at least a 1/2 hour to eliminate bubbles. Once the bubbles are gone, and the wax has firmed up some, you can speed up the process by popping the wax molds in the fridge (NOT freezer).
So, here’s the final product on the right, with a new bar of Mrs. Palmer’s on the left. Yes, its a little darker, but it’s clean from grime and sand, and is tacky like me!

New wax vs. recycled wax

Beach Cover Up- For Kids!

Oh, the cuteness!

A surfer friend of mine recently brought her 4 month old grandson to the beach for the first time. I’m positive he’s going to become a little grommet, making us all look bad in the lineup, but we’ll have fun watching him grow.I made my friend a terry beach towel post surf cover up with a hood, so I thought it would be cool to make one for her grandson. This one is super easy, and only requires a hand towel, a washcloth, and less than an hour to make on the sewing machine (a little more if you want a bit of detail, wink wink). It will be big on the 4 month old, of course, but should be usable for the little one by the time he gets to walking up until he’s through toddler stage.
First, I bought a new washcloth and hand towel from my local outlet. Linens are ALWAYS cheaper there, and they are of better quality than the big box stores. Of course, the best option is to reuse old towels you no longer use. Avoid buying terry cloth off the bolt from the fabric store unless you are making a large cover up, since terry is much more expensive that way.

I laid out the towel and used a washable marker to draw a centerline up the length of the towel until I hit another mark I made across the center of the towel. This will mark the front slit opening of the robe that I’m going to cut.

At the top of this line, in the center, I drew another line 4 inches long, 2 inches on each side of center, to make room for the neck.

Use a ruler or straightedge to mark, and sharp scissors or a rotary cutter to cut along these lines, making a bit of an oval when I get to the neck so I can sew a hood around the neck opening.

For the hood, I took the washcloth and cut the finished hem off that had the tag on it so I had one raw edge to sew onto the neck opening of the robe.

Next, I wanted to make a little elf-like hood, so I just eyeballed a little “swoop” on the opposite raw straight edge I had just cut, and cut it with my rotary cutter to get the cleanest cut.

I sewed up this swooped edge and finished it on my serger, but an overlock stitch on a sewing machine works just as well. A walking foot helps A LOT when working with terry cloth, trust me!
Turn the hood right side out and pin it to the neckline of the robe. I used quilting clips just because pins can get lost in Terry cloth, and I didn’t want to sew over pins and possibly damage my machine. You may have to “ease” the hood’s bottom around the neckline you made, but terry has a hint of stretch, so work with it until you can get a good fit. Leave a little bit of neckline of the robe exposed on each side of the front, since we are going to put binding down the front.

I used wide double fold bias tape (like you use for quilting or hems) in a nice dark blue to contrast the light blue. I applied the tape on each edge of the front of the robe to cover the edge. I do recommend overlocking or serging the raw edge before doing this step to avoid any future fraying. A good tutorial for applying bias tape is here.


Next, I pinned and sewed down each side on the outside of the robe on the right side, following the towel’s pre-finished edge closely, starting approximately four inches down from the fold (shoulder) to allow baby’s arms to pass through.

Now, I should have probably attached a belt BEFORE stitching up the sides, but no worries, the towel is short enough to slip over the free arm so I could make a squared tack point to station the belt in place on the back of the robe. The belt is simply a strip of fun cotton fabric about three inches wide, folded over right sides together, stitched with a 1/4″ or 5/8″ seam and turned inside out and pressed flat.

For another bit of fun detail, I added an appliqué from the same material on the left chest of the robe. To stabilize and keep the appliqué from moving around while you stitch it down, I highly recommend double sided iron-on adhesive.

Sorry for no pics with the kid modeling the towel- it’s a bit big yet, but maybe one day Auntie Crafty will get a mention when he’s on the WCT! Go Logan!!!
And here it is complete:

P.S. I love to hear from folks who check out my blog, so if you can take a few moments to comment or follow me on Twitter (@craftysurf), on Instagram (@surfswithscissors), or on Pinterest (Crafty Surf). Thanks!