Glow in the Dark

Something I saw on Facebook reminded me of this often-asked question: Can you make me a _____ that glows in the dark?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. The good news is, there is a “but” that comes after that, lol.

The main obstacles to getting awesome glow in the dark Wallypop items are:

– The glow in the dark effect of most glow in the dark fabrics lasts only 3-4 washings. (such as the Michael Miller Fairy Frost Glow fabric) I am not certain, but I believe most of these fabrics get the glow effect from a surface paint, as well.
– The only longer-lasting glow fabrics I can find are very clearly made with a surface coating that is painted or sprayed on.
– There are no glow in the dark dyes, only paints. Paint is a surface coating.

Surface coatings open up a whole new arena of government regulations that are expensive to comply with. Items with a surface coating cannot get by with component testing, but must have the entire item tested. So even if I have certification that the paint is lead-free, and the rest of the item is exempt from testing, the addition of the surface coating means the entire item must go through testing.

I know that, for some of you, the above reads like “blah blah blah,” and I apologize. The long and the short of it is – I COULD make glow in the dark stuff, but in order to turn a profit after government required testing, I’d have to charge you several hundred dollars extra.

 

BUT!

There’s nothing preventing you from acquiring your own glow in the dark paints and going to town on your items after you get them home. Buy a diaper cover, order some awesome glow in the dark fabric paints from Dharma, make sure they’re properly heat set so that they’re safe in the laundry, and Go To Town! Why not?

 

I know some folks make and sell children’s products that are glow in the dark. I can only assume that they are aware of and are following CPSIA rules regarding surface coatings.

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Somebody Asked…. about Homemade Laundry Soap

This is a question I get a LOT, and I’m never really sure how to answer. Yes, homemade laundry soap is awesome. And yes, some people really love it for their diapers. At least, they do at first.

Everyone’s experiences may be different, but I personally do not recommend using homemade laundry soap on your diapers. And rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m just going to send you over to a link from Little For Now that does an awesome job of discussing the issue.

Here you go!

I’ll add to this that if you live in an area with hard water (so, Iowa), homemade laundry soap isn’t going to get your diapers very clean. You could just end up with soap scum on your dipes and in your washer.

Somebody Asked… About Malden Mills Brand Fleeces

“How does Windpro Fleece compare with 300 wt Malden Mills fleece? Is it better or the same?”

The Malden Mills 300 wt is considered to be in Malden Mills’ “Insulation Fabrics” line. ” These fleece fabrics are designed to provide warmth without weight. They are easy to care for, do not pill or shrink and dry quickly. They come in a wide variety of weights, widths, color and finishes. ”  The 300 wt specifically is the “heaviest of their thermal products, these fabrics provide all-purpose insulation and breathability required for cold-weather wear. ”  (200 wt fleece is also used by some cloth diaper makers and is the “middle” weight of the thermal fabrics.)

Windpro is considered to be in Malden Mills’ “Weather Protection Fabrics” line, “designed to give you maximum protection against the elements.” WindPro specifically is “A revolution in thermal fabrics allows you to forgo the use of a shell in all but the most extreme wet or windy conditions. The tight knit construction of the Polartec® Wind Pro blocks 95% of the wind, yet is highly breathable.”

(all quotes from the MM wholesale website) (And keep in mind that of course Malden Mills fleeces are milled for sports apparel, not for diapers, of course, so that’s why all of their descriptions sound like you’re planning a mountain climbing expidition.)

I prefer Windpro for diaper covers because it’s designed to be waterproof, and is more tightly knit than the materials in the Insulation line. Both come in a variety of colors (though mostly subdued) and a very limited number of prints. For a diaper cover, either one would be preferable to just regular fleece, such as you could buy at a fabric store. Regular fleeces are available in a wide variety of prints, which makes them appealing, but they just don’t have the performance I’ve come to expect out of a fleece cover.

(I have made, custom order, covers from two layers of regular fleece and have heard back that the customers are happy with their items because they were able to get the print they wanted, but that the custom covers have underperformed the ones made from Malden Mills Windpro.)

Somebody Asked: About Discounts

“I’m buying for twins, what kind of a discount can you give me?”  “I’d like to buy several of the same thing, but I want to know what the price will be first.”

I hear these questions a lot. While I’ve considered changing my policy on discounts like this from time to time, I currently still do not offer package discounts for most situations, beyond the Packages offered on the website.

Here’s why:  I work hard to keep my retail prices low so that they are affordable to all families. (more on that here) I know many resale shops and major manufacturers offer discounts on buying packages of 6-12 of the same diapers, or discounts to those buying diapers for twins, but those shops and manufacturers, by and large, are working with a much higher markup than I am. For some major brands of diapers, the retail markup is double. The diaper the retail store sells you for $20 cost the them just over $10, and cost the manufacturer just $5 or less. They have some margin there to work with.

My margin is much, much smaller. For one, though I buy my supplies wholesale, I don’t buy them in nearly the same quantities as, say, bumGenius. For two, all of my items are made by hand from start to finish. I don’t have a cutting machine. I don’t have an army of workers. I don’t have a factory, overseas or domestically.

If I wanted to open up the possibility of offering discounts for purchases of 10-12 diapers at a time, I’d actually need to raise my regular retail prices, in order to offer the less expensive price to only a few select customers. (So the discount price of our regular instock fitteds would be $9.99, but the regular retail price would have to go up to $13.99 or so, in order to make this “discount” happen. That’s not much of a discount, is it?)

Instead, I opt to offer the lowest price I can to ALL of my customers. I think you will agree that, particularly for their high quality, Wallypop diapers are already at the low end of the cost spectrum. Compare our $12.99 MTO hemp fitted to a Happy Hempy at around $18, for example.

It’s rare that, after I explain this to someone who’s just asked for a discount, that they go ahead and make a purchase. People don’t like being told no. But I cannot, in good conscience, raise my prices for everyone else in order to offer a special discount to just a few customers.

Somebody Asked… About Making Your Own Reusables

From Facebook:

Can you offer a suggestion for making the switch to cloth toilet wipes and tissues with things we have on hand? We have a huge box of old clothes that my hubby hasn’t seen or worn since high school (10 years ago), and I have basic sewing skills (straight lines, and 10 stitch options on my mom’s sewing machine that I hi-jacked 6 months ago, and she still hasn’t needed). At this point our budget won’t allow us to purchase these items, and in order to save the money we would need to make the switch…is that backwards thinking? Would love some suggestions if you’re willing 🙂

I’m happy to help.

You have a few options, and what you choose will depend on how fancy you want them, and what fabrics you have available.

  • Tshirts and other knits technically do not have to be sewn around the edges – they won’t unravel. If you have thicker knits, you can just cut them into squares and use those for hankies or wipes. If you have thinner knits, I’d recommend using those as hankies instead of wipes… some people use the thinner stuff for single-ply wipes, but I prefer something a little thicker. You know those annoying TP commercials about keeping you clean while getting you clean? Well, thinner knits don’t do a good job of that.
  • Thinner knits, you can double up and sew around the edges, just with a regular straight stitch. Again, they’re not going to unravel, so you don’t need to worry about the edges.
  • Soft fabrics that aren’t knits (flannel shirts, old towels), you can cut into squares, sew two squares right sides together, leave an opening for turning, turn them right sides out, and then topstitch.
  • Personally, I’d recommend saving things like twills or denims for other uses, as these won’t be comfortable as wipes or tissues.

So there you go! I hope that helps.