Gnar Pro Wetsuit Wash DIY

We’re starting to get an early Spring here in Central Florida with temps up into the 80’s. We may get La Niña patterns-a-comin’ soon (means worse hurricanes for us in the Atlantic), but it’s WARM.

And that makes my inner Chris Farley dance like the El Niño king.

I would wear this

So in celebration, I decided to come up with an end of season wetsuit cleaning routine and try it on the ripest suit I could find….

There’s a lot of Neoprene here

This suit was given to me by a kind friend for scrap material, BUT, it’s 10 years old! Sorry, but before I would even touch it with a 10 foot pole for a project, it needs a DEEP clean. Bleach is the best option, but the chemicals in traditional bleach are harmful in so many ways, especially to the environment. Also, cleaning sports gear with regular detergent is a no-no if you want to make it last and avoid breaking down the material.

I’ve read that Oxygen Bleach is a good alternative to regular bleach in many cases, and can be easy enough to make yourself. The key ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, usually added to a carbonate. For this, I’m using Washing Soda, which is more effective than Baking Soda in this combo. Washing Soda can be found in the laundry aisle too, along with standard detergents. Just keep ’em separated, and they’ll last ya a while. Hint: you can use these for other things, not just wetsuits.

You don’t need much

Procedure:

This required my trusty 5 gallon utility bucket, cleaned and ready for use- outside. Although many instructions will say oxygen bleach will work in all temperatures, adding a bit of hot water doesn’t hurt to help along the reaction, which is a slow chemical process.

I began by filling the clean bucket partially with hot (or not) water. Now I was ready to start adding the ingredients, measured for use with approximately 3-4 gallons of water. Do not use more- a dab a’ do ya, brah, don’t over chemical things, man.

Wetsuit Wash (Dilute in 3-4 gallons of water, mix well):

  • 1 teaspoon Washing Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Hydrogen Peroxide (most stores only sell 3% to 5%, that’s all you need)

To stir, use a stick or handle, not your hands- it is bleach, yo. I used a broom handle. Allow the mixture to react for about 5 minutes BEFORE putting the suit in- the solution will get a little milky colored like mine did.

Make sure you stir the mixture for a few minutes before anything goes in

I put the suit in (with the broom handle since it’s grody), stirred it around, dunked it with it stick, and then let the suit sit in the mixture 24 hours, stirring it a few more times at the beginning of the process. Be sure to cover it if you leave it outside- I put a lid on mine to prevent any animals from drinking from it since I left it overnight.

 

The reaction is fully completed after 12 hours or so, so the mixture is inactive, and can be tossed out safely. Yay.

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I made sure to rinse the suit REALLY WELL afterwards- this is important! You don’t want any white powdery crud to remain on the suit.

BUT…if your suit is x-tra freakin nasty…..

Fill your rinse bucket back up with clean water, and add a few drops of pure Pine Oil. Pine Oil is a very effective disinfectant, and only a few drops are needed to make a quick rinse dip for your suit. Be sure to rinse it once more afterwards.

I hung the suit up on my HangAir dryer in my garage to dry, and it smells so much better and fresher. The inner lining didn’t lose any color either.

Smellin’ PHRESH 

So no, I can’t bottle this up and sell it, but if I did, I’d totally name it Mr. Belvedere’s Gnar Pro Wetsuit Wash. “Gnar Pro” gives it the surfer cred, but “Mr. Belvedere” makes it classy to be clean, yo.

It’s all about the marketing.

It’s sorta effective 

What do you think Mr. Wonderful???

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?

Meet Max Chill, The Amigurumi Surfer Dude

I’ve been crocheting for a while now, and honestly, I’m SO over all the pricey, “yummy” (I freakin’ HATE that yarn store word!) yarn out there. Gimme the Red Heart cheap stuff, and let me sculpt something goofy in my favorite crochet technique, Amigurumi, and I’m all good.

Case in point, I wanted to make a fun cartoony Surfer Dude, but I’m better at doing it in yarn- I’m not a great clay sculptor. So, I just started crocheting, spiraling around Amigurumi style, starting with the head, hair and face. I typically use between a 2.5 to 3.0 mm hook with the standard acrylic yarn like you find at most hobby stores for a couple of bucks. On this project, I used a 3.0 mm hook. No pattern, I just made it up as I went, yo, it’s all righteous….

Starting with the bulbous head

Made each individual dreadlock, brah

Nothing says surfer like droopy eyelids and a Zinka nose

Making the rest of the torso

I made the appendages next, and I wanted them to be exaggerated and goofy. The narrow legs and arms made it tricky to stuff, though. 

I used a paintbrush to stuff a little

I even made the Dude some boss boardshorts from an old rash guard sleeve. Plus, I used a tiny holed shell I found on the beach last week to make him a gnar surfer necklace, so he has some cred.

Sweet boardshorts

When he was finally complete, he just looked like he should be named Max Chill. Cool, bro, stoked. Let’s surf.

Is it 4:20 yet?

Duuuuuuude…

Upcycled Surfboard Car Rack Pads

Flashback Post!

Originally Posted 1  February 2013.

OK, so I broke down a bought a new car after 11 years and nearly 225,000 miles. It was about time. One requirement was that I had roof racks installed on this vehicle, of course. I had to get the Yakima permanent mount type, so I paid through the nose to get them installed. I at least could save a bit my making by own rack pads to go on the bars so it wouldn’t damage the boards. Ok, like $40 bucks, but hey, better than nothing. I thought a lot about the materials I could use to make the pads out of, and I decided on using an old yoga mat I didn’t use anymore since I got a new one. For the sides, I had some flag fabric, which is essentially heavy duty nylon cloth, used to make those outdoor decorative flags. It can be found at any fabric store, but I already had some in my fabric stash.

First, I measured the width of the bars across. I came up with about 27 inches. I decided to round this down to 26″ for my pads to leave a bit of room. You will have a different measurement depending on your racks.

Next, I took a pool noodle and measured the circumference using a tape measure. I came up with 8 inches. Since I’m going to use Velcro as a closure, I added 1 inch to each end, to make it 10 inches to make an overlap. This made the dimension 26″ by 10″. This is what I cut out twice from the yoga mat for each pad.

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I was going for pockets on each end of the yoga mat to fit the pool noodle into- therefore, I cut four squares of the flag fabric into 10″ by 10″ squares using a rotary cutter on a cutting surface. The width is the same, but I wanted some space inbetween to fit the pool noodle into.

I then overlocked each edge of both squares using a standard overlock stitch on my machine set at 5.0 width, and 1.0 wide. I used a J foot on my sewing machine, used for overlocking.

Next, I stitched the stitched the squares to each end of the yoga mat, placing the squares ON TOP of the mat. Here’s a diagram of the stitching pattern and the layout on the floor:


When you stitch, keep the edges *just* overlapping- try not to overlap too much. Use a straight stitch and preferably a roller foot to make the pass.

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When you’ve stitched both squares down, lay the piece down right side up and fold each half toward you.

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I acquired some blue 3/4″ Velcro from the store to use for this project. Laying it up against the long edge, STAPLE it (no pins, Ma!) along this edge to secure it for sewing. Sew lengthwise along the edge of one side of the Velcro, then sew another line along the other side of the Velcro lengthwise. Here’s a sewing guide for this stage, also:

FLIP the piece to the other side and do the same thing. Don’t forget that the Velcro needs to be on opposite sides since the piece will be wrapping around a cylindrical piece.

Finished!

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Now, I’ve got to cut the foam noodle. I’m cutting it to 26″ inches. I mark the point with a pen.

For cutting foam of any kind, I use a electric knife like for cutting turkeys. Yep, they work great. They cut though foam like butter and make a mean turkey sandwich (well, when I used to eat meat).

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I need to cut the foam noodle down the center (but not all the way through, just to the hole in the center). To help keep it straight, I chocked the noodle with a couple of heavy books:

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Once the noodle was cut lengthwise, it was placed into the yoga mat pocket.With the noodle cut side up, I tucked the flag fabric into the slit.

I did not close the Velcro yet until I got the pads over the rail.

Slip the pads over the rail slit side down and with the fabric tucked in. Close the Velcro around the rails. The nice thing about these pads is that they have a slight sticky quality, which helps to keep the board from moving around.

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Spiffy! Now my rail pads match my seat covers. I’m officially a total kook. Here’s to sorta keepin’ it real….kinda.

Say It Like You Mean It…Woo Woo

I will admit I’m a total kook. I don’t surf well consistently, I don’t look before I take off, I wipe out in front of people, etc. I’m a general hazard in the water to all who dare enter it. Even the sharks worry about getting nicked by my fins (that why this worked so well).

To celebrate this fact, I decided to make my own supa cool surf cred t-shirt. I started imageout with a blank one that was a medium blue, not really light or dark. And I washed the heck out of it. On hot, with the towels, no fabric softener. I actually put it through three cycles before even starting my little project. These t-shirts always have sizing all over them, so it’s best to get rid of any of that before trying to iron anything on to the shirt.

I found some iron on printable sheets at the craft store, containing 5 iron on transfers for light fabrics, and 5 for dark. I wanted to experiment with this, so I decided to use the transfer for light fabrics just for fun. This means I will need to mirror flip my image once I complete my edits.

imageFor a background, I decided to use a collage I made years ago using collected surf stickers, wood, and paint. I used my Scanner Pro app on my iPad instead of taking a pic, because I thought it would make it a bit sharper, even bring out some of the texture better.

I brought the image into the scanner app, adjusted it a bit using the controls to make sure the logos were fairly distinct.

I also wanted to make sure the colors were pretty strong as well, knowing that I’m using a light fabric transfer.

Next, I imported the scan image into ANOTHER app called Over. This is a pretty neat imageprogram that has a lot of cool fonts you can superimpose over photos. I chose one that was kind of stencil-y looking and used a deep blue. I did fade the background just a touch to make the font stand out, but kept the strong colors.

Like a Rube Goldberg device, I finally brought the image into iPad’s Pages, resized  the image to 8 1/2″ by 11″ size, and flipped the image backwards. I then printed it out on my HP Envy, which is an InkJet printer. I knew I kept it around for something.

I put the shirt on a hard stable surface (my cutting table), with a small square of cotton fabric covered wood in-between the front and back layer of the shirt, then ironed on high the front where I was going to place the iron-on. After ironing for a few seconds, I laid the iron-on printed side down and quickly began to iron back and forth over the sheet pressing down hard, making sure I really got the corners. It takes a few minutes to get the iron-on hot enough to melt into the shirt. Just keep moving the iron, and press down HARD.

Don’t wait too long to peel off the backing- if you try to peel it cold, it will be a mess. I thought the light transfer had a neat-o effect on the blue shirt!

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I wanted to vintage up the shirt a bit, so I got out a little 220 grit sandpaper in the garage and scratched some of the sheen out of the iron on, then sanded up the seams a bit for X-tra cred.

Kookarific kiddos!

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Upcycled Neoprene Chicago Screw Keychain

Wrong time of year for this project, I guess, but I collect scrap neoprene, mainly old wetsuits. So, these projects are year round fun for me, at least. I really like playing with neoprene- I don’t own an industrial sewing machine, so I’m limited on what I can sew, but there’s a lot of fun projects that you can make without needing anything exotic.

I do wash the scrap neoprene in the washing machine with detergent to cut out any “ewwww” factor. Usually, these suits are given to me, and have no life left for surf or dive use because of their condition. But, it’s a shame to throw out neoprene since it’s really not “recyclable”, and I don’t know of any programs that do so, except for Rip Curl’s wetsuit recycling program. So, washing in detergent isn’t a big deal, since if it breaks down the neoprene a little more, so what- it’s already shot!

Wetsuit kneepad

The old wetsuit’s kneepad

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The fob I’m going to DIY

I had cut up a men’s 3/2 full suit to use for repairs on another suit. This one had those heavy duty rubberized knee pads on it. I saved those, thinking there’s SOMETHING I could do with them, even if it was as a jar opener (it works, depending on the type of knee pad rubber). However, I saw a neato type of keychain advertised on Pinterest called a “Foldover Fob” that used a Chicago Screw and a simple strip of leather. It was nice because it keeps your keys from jingling in your pocket. The not-so-nice thing is that it cost 20 bucks, I think.

I thought this kneepad’s thick rubber reminded me of leather, so I thought to undertake this project with this material.

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Chicago screws and the contact person

Chicagoscrews.com was kind enough to send me an array of samples of these types of screws, and they’re quite amazing. If any local peeps would like to try this project too, let me know, I have extra screws. For this project, I used a 3/4″ stainless steel screw, but they manufacture them in plastic, aluminum, in colors, different lengths, etc.

Next, I wanted to allow for the longest keys I had, so I cut the long rectangular piece from the dead center of the kneepad, using my sharp rotary cutter and a good straight edge. You can see I made the strip about an inch in width.

I’ll clean up any imperfections later, or whatever. So, here’s the screw I’m going to use, 3/4″ long stainless steel, with an option to use a flathead or Philips screwdriver. The other side is polished blank.

I estimated about a quarter of an inch down from one end of the strip and cut two little slits with a sharp pair of scissors. Do this on the other end as well. You can use an awl or a strong punch if you have one, of course. This allows me to push the long end of the screw through one of the ends. I’m going to keep the rubbery side out.

Next, I loaded my keys on. This length fits about four average keys. Once you’ve loaded all your keys on, push the short end of the screw through the hole on the other end.

Get a screwdriver (even a coin works!) and screw it all together. Done!

imageThis keychain has been pretty handy. You can swing out the key you need from the fob, and I don’t feel like the college kegger Keymaster. I guess you can make something like this for those electric remote keys, but I drive a Mirthmobile with manual windows, so this is for the beach bum set, like me.

Cheap DIY Fin Covers

Project Rewind again! Bringing more of the “best of” Blogger posts over to this new WordPress site. Thanks for your patience with me, and thanks to those checking out the posts. WordPress has been much easier to work with, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my silly surf projects. 👍

I originally published this post on July 22, 2011 (sorry about the pic quality):

I have a bad habit of bumping my delicate, expensive, fiberglass or carbon fins into the wall, car, or some other standing or moving objects (sorry about the cat….) when putting my boards away, resulting in some repair work down the road. Some of my fins came with fin covers, some didn’t. Even the ones that came with the fin are ill-fitting and not really my style. To motivate me to use fin covers more, I decided to make some fun, bright, well fitting covers that will stay on the fin while driving, and will tell me which fin is which easily. This project takes less than 10 minutes on a machine- easy!!
I used foam sheets like they sell in the craft stores, usually in the kid’s crafts section. This project requires sewing, but you can sew them by hand if you don’t have a machine.
imageBasically, I found it was easiest to trace the outline of your fin directly onto a piece of foam with a pencil. Sorry about the quality of the pictures- the light wasn’t working with me today. Trace a line across the base of the fin, but don’t draw it longer than the fin that sticks above your board. That way, you can have the fin cover on while the fin’s in the board. This bottom straight line WILL NOT BE SEWN!!

imageI put another piece of foam underneath, and instead of using pins, I stapled the pieces together a good distance from the edge of the trace line. I stapled upside down so I wouldn’t scratch the heck out of my sewing machine plate as I sewed.

To sew this on a machine, I used regular polyester thread and a stitch length of 4.5. If you make the stitch length too small, the stitching line will create a perforation tear in the foam and you’ll have to start over. I also used a 70/0 universal needle. If you are hand sewing, use a standard embroidery needle with polyester thread and do backstitching (you can find a tutorial here), but have a light hand and space your stitches to avoid foam tearing.

For the machine, you’ll see I used a roller foot, which is a specialty foot, but a teflon foot works just as well on this foam.
I placed my trace line on the left inner edge of the foot and used this as a guide. This ensured that my stitch line was 1/4″ OUTSIDE the trace line- this ensures that the fin cover will come on and off easily. If your fin is supa-thick, use a wider margin.

 

Finished sewing!
After stitching the curved part of the fin cover together, I’m ready to start cutting out my cover. Foam doesn’t ravel, so I don’t need to overlock the edge, but you can if want, just know that the less perforation in the foam, the better.
Start cutting the shape out about 1/4″ outside the stitching line. Cut slowly, and try to keep a continuous cut going (don’t stop and start cutting) to make the edge smooth.
Once the curved edge is cut, I cut the bottom RIGHT ALONG the trace line I originally made. You should now have an opening for your fin!


Erase your trace lines, and that’s it! Put the cover on the fin to ensure a good fit, and that the bottom is not too long. This one came out great.

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The fun thing is you can decorate the cover with Sharpies (SUPER art project for kids!), use contrasting colors for each side, paste foam shapes to the covers, label what imageboards they go with, or label the type and size. I labeled mine at the top for easy organization and color coded them.
The anal retentive surfer…… 🙂
Enjoy!!!