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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How to of the Day

How to of the Day

How to Make Edible Water Bubbles

Posted: 18 Mar 2020 09:00 AM PDT

An edible water bubble or bottle is water that has been solidified into a bubble-like shape. It is made from water, sodium alginate, and calcium lactate. If you prefer something more flavorful, you might enjoy a Japanese raindrop cake instead. The raindrop cake itself is flavorless, unless you sweeten it with vanilla sugar, or drizzle sweet syrup on top.


[Edit]Edible Water Bubbles[1]

  • 1 gram sodium alginate
  • 5 grams food-grade calcium lactate
  • 5 cups ( 1.2 L) water, divided

Serves: varies

[Edit]Japanese Raindrop Cake[2]

  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) water
  • 1/8 tsp + 1/16 tsp agar powder


  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon (2.63 to 5.25 g) roasted soybean flour (kinako)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 mL) black sugar syrup (kuromitsu)

Serves: 2 to 6


[Edit]Making Edible Water Bubbles

  1. Mix 1 gram of sodium alginate with 1 cup (240 mL) of water. Use a kitchen or a digital scale to measure out 1 gram of sodium alginate. Place it into a bowl, then add 1 cup (240 mL) of water. Mix the 2 ingredients together using an immersion blender until the sodium alginate dissolves.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • You can purchase sodium alginate online. It is a natural ingredient that comes from brown seaweed.
    • If you don't have an immersion blender, you could try a regular blender or a whisk.
    • Don't worry if the mixture develops air bubbles. These will go away as you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Mix 5 grams of calcium lactate with 4 cups (950 mL) of water. Pour 4 cups (950 mL) of water into a large bowl, separate from the first bowl. Add 5 grams of calcium lactate. Stir the 2 ingredients together with a spoon until the calcium lactate dissolves.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • Make sure that you are using food-grade calcium lactate. It's a type of salt used in cheese. You can buy it online.
  3. Add spoonfuls of sodium alginate water into the calcium lactate water. Take a deep spoon, such as a sauce ladle, and scoop up some of the sodium alginate mixture. Hold the spoon over the surface of the calcium lactate mixture, then carefully tip its contents in. Do this a few more times until the bowl is filled.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Do not overcrowd the bowl with sodium alginate.
  4. Stir the mixture for 3 minutes. Use a slender spoon to gently stir the contents in the large bowl. Keep stirring for 3 minutes. This will help activate the ingredients, and cause the sodium alginate to condense into "bubble" shapes.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 4 Version 2.jpg
  5. Transfer the bubbles with a slotted spoon into a bowl of water. Fill a large bowl with plain water; the exact amount does not matter, as long as it is filled. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sodium alginate bubbles 1 by 1, and transfer them into the water. This will help stop the reaction.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  6. Scoop the bubbles from the water with a slotted spoon. Set them down onto a plate or into a bowl. At this point, you can eat, drink, or slurp the bubbles up. You can also give them to young children to play with as a sensory activity!
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Because these bubbles don't contain much, don't expect them to be very tasty!

[Edit]Making Japanese Raindrop Cake

  1. Place 1/8 teaspoon plus 1/16 teaspoon of agar powder into a saucepan. Get out a set of measuring spoons. Use the 1/8 teaspoon to measure out 1 1/2 scoops of agar powder into a saucepan.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • For best results, use Japanese-style "Cool Agar." Do not use agar flakes.
  2. Add a pinch of vanilla sugar if desired. Japanese raindrop cakes are supposed to be flavorless; you add the flavor with soybean flour and sugar syrup once you are ready to serve the cakes.[3] If you want a sweeter, less-traditional raindrop cake, add 1 pinch of vanilla sugar.[4]
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 8 Version 2.jpg
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup (180 mL) of water. Pour the water into the saucepan a little bit at a time. Stir the water with a spatula until the agar powder dissolves.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 9.jpg
    • The traditional recipe calls for mineral water, but if you can't find that, spring or filtered water will do.[5]
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then cook it for 1 minute. Set the saucepan on a stove. Turn the heat up to medium, and wait for the mixture to come to a boil. Cook the mixture for 1 minute, stirring occasionally, then take the saucepan off the stove.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 10.jpg
    • The timing is important. If you undercook the mixture, the agar won't dissolve. If you overcook the mixture, it will condense too much.[6]
  5. Pour the mixture into spherical molds. You can use special molds made specifically for raindrop cakes, or you can use large, round silicone molds instead. If your mold is a 2-part mold that looks like a deep tray with wells in it, do the following:[7]
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 11.jpg
    • Fill the lower mold so that the wells overflow and the tray is half-filled.
    • Wait 2 minutes, then add a filling, such as an edible flower or strawberry.
    • Place the upper mold (with the holes in it) on top.
    • Press down on the upper mold until the excess gelatin flows out of the holes.
  6. Chill the molds in the fridge for at least 1 hour. The raindrop cakes will be set within 1 hour, but nothing will happen if you leave them there longer. In fact, it would be even better if you left them there overnight.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 12.jpg
    • How many cakes you end up making depends on how many cavities were in your mold.
  7. De-mold the cakes as soon as you are ready to serve them. These jiggly treats will melt and lose their shape after only 20 to 30 minutes, so plan ahead. Once you are ready to serve the cakes, turn the molds upside down onto serving plates, and let the cakes slide out. Place each cake onto a separate plate.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 13.jpg
  8. Serve the cakes with soybean flour and black sugar syrup. Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon (2.63 to 5.25 g) of roasted soybean flour next to each cake. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 mL) of black or brown sugar syrup over each cake. Alternatively, you can place the syrup next to each cake instead of drizzling it on top.
    Make Edible Water Bubbles Step 14.jpg
    • You can make your own black or brown sugar syrup. Follow a simple syrup recipe, but use brown sugar instead of white.
    • If you can't find soybean flour and black sugar syrup, or if you simply don't like them, drizzle some honey or agave nectar over the cakes instead.[8]


  • Edible water bubbles and raindrop cakes are flavorless by themselves.
  • You can make raindrop cakes more flavorful by drizzling syrups on top.
  • Don't worry if your raindrop cake does not end up perfectly clear. Use different amounts of water and agar powder next time.
  • You can try stirring some food coloring into a raindrop cake to make it look more interesting.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

[Edit]Edible Water Bubbles

  • 2 to 3 bowls
  • Immersion blender or regular blender
  • Slotted spoon
  • Deep spoon (i.e. sauce ladle)

[Edit]Japanese Raindrop Cake

  • Saucepan
  • Rubber spatula
  • Spherical mold


[Edit]Quick Summary

How to Make a Tree Seat

Posted: 18 Mar 2020 01:00 AM PDT

A tree seat generally refers to a bench that wraps around a tree. It's an excellent way to give your garden or yard a little personality and can serve as a great place to cool off in the shade during the summertime. To build a bench around a tree, construct a hexagon out of wood boards and add legs and braces to support the structure. Before taking this project on, know that you need some experience working with a miter saw to craft a tree seat. Expect to spend 2-3 days working on your tree bench; while the steps aren't particularly hard for a DIY enthusiast, they are quite time-consuming.


[Edit]Creating Your Template

  1. Calculate your tree's diameter and add . Inspect your tree carefully to find the thickest point near the bottom of the trunk. Take a cloth measuring tape and wrap it around your tree. Divide this number by pi (3.14) to get your diameter. Add to that measurement and write it down.[1]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • Round your numbers up to the nearest whole number to make things easier.
    • For example, if the circumference of your tree is , divide it by 3.14 to get . Round this number up to and write your base number down as . The extra space will prevent the tree from breaking your bench in the event that it grows at an odd angle.
    • If your tree is on the younger side and you expect it to grow over the course of the next 10-20 years, add to the diameter.
    • This process will result in a 6-sided bench, which is ideal for wrapping around a tree without leaving a ton of variation in the amount of open space between your bench boards and the trunk.
  2. Divide the diameter by 1.75 (4.5 cm) to find the length of your interior bench boards. Your tree bench will be made out of a sequence of parallel boards that wrap around your tree in a hexagon. To calculate how big you're going to make your interior bench boards, divide your base measurement by 1.75 (4.5 cm). Write this length down on a scrap piece of paper.[2]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • Round any numbers up to the nearest whole number to make things easier.
    • For example, if your base length is , divide it by 1.75 (4.5 cm) to get . Round this up to to make things easy.
  3. Mark your interior board length on a board. Set out a length of wood on a stable work surface. Use your measuring tape to measure out the length you've just calculated. Use a carpentry pencil to put hash marks at the bottom of one side of the board's length.[3] lumber, but you can use 3 or 2 boards if you get thicker wood.}}
    Make a Tree Seat Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • These hash marks indicate the length of your interior board, closest to the tree.
    • For the wood, make sure that you get hardwood, like pine or oak, that has been thermally-treated to protect it from the elements.
  4. Draw a line leading away from each hash mark at a 30-degree angle. Hold a speed square against the base of the board where you made your first mark. Pivot the speed square until you have a 30-degree angle pointing away from the center of the board. Draw a line through the board using the speed square as your straight edge. Repeat this process on the other side.[4]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • This should look like a trapezoid with the lines leading away from you.
  5. Repeat this process 5 more times to finish your interior boards. Use your measuring tape, speed square, and carpentry pencil to repeat this process on 5 additional lengths of boards. Once you've measured the interior boards, you won't need to do anymore measuring for the bench.[5]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 5 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Cutting Your Bench Boards

  1. Cut your interior boards using a miter saw. Put on some protective eyewear and some thick gloves. Plug your miter saw in and adjust the angle of the saw by moving the guideline on the base of the saw until it reads 30-degrees. Place your first board flush against the plate of the saw. Turn the saw on and slowly lower the blade into the line that you drew to trim the board. Repeat this process on the other 11 lines that you've drawn.[6]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • You have to flip the board around after every cut since the lines you've drawn lead away from the center.
  2. Lay 3 other boards above one of the interior boards. Once your interior boards are cut, put them together on the ground in the shape of a hexagon to make sure they fit. Then, set one of the boards on a stable surface with 30-degree cuts pointing away from you. Lay 3 boards lengthwise above the piece that you cut. Insert spacers in between the boards to separate them a little.[7]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Put at least 2 spacers between each board to ensure that the boards are separated evenly.
    • The size of your spacers will determine how much space is in between each board. So long as this distance is less than but more than , your bench will be structurally sound.
  3. Use a scrap piece of wood as a straight edge to mark your cuts. Lay a scrap piece of wood on top of the boards. Adjust it so that the edge of the cut interior board is flush with the edge of the scrap piece of wood. Use your carpentry pencil to extend the angle that you cut through the 3 boards above it. Repeat this process for the other 11 lines that you've drawn. Once you finish extending the lines of an interior board, set the pieces aside and a new set of 3 boards for each interior board.[8]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • You're essentially extending the 30-degree angle out from your interior board by tracing its path.
    • If you don't have a ton of space, make a note in the middle of each board to indicate whether it belongs in the first, second, third, or fourth layer of your bench. If you do have plenty of room, set the boards aside in the proper order to keep track of your layers.
  4. Cut all of your boards to size at a 30-degree angle. Do not adjust the angle of your miter saw. Set each piece of lumber underneath the blade and use it to make plunge cuts along each of your lines. Cut each piece to size the same way you did when you were cutting the interior boards. With all of your boards cut, set your pieces out on the ground or a large table and check to make sure that all of your boards fit together in a hexagon.[9]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 9 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Making Your Legs

  1. Cut 12 lengths out of a board. Take a board and set it out on a stable work surface. Use a measuring tape and speed square to mark off 12 hash marks at a 90-degree angle on the board. Put between them based on how tall you want the bench to be. Adjust your miter saw to cut at 90-degrees and trim the board into 12 lengths.[10]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • The length of these boards will determine how high your bench is. You can make it a little taller or shorter if you'd like, but most tree benches are tall. Keep in mind that the bench boards will add a little height as well.
    • You will attach 2 legs to each corner of your hexagon-shaped bench.
  2. Create 12 braces out of boards. Create 12 braces to hold the legs in place on both sides. Grab a long and use a measuring tape and carpentry pencil to draw your cut lines. Place 1 cut line every until you've marked off 12 lengths. Use your miter saw to split your lumber into 12 pieces to create your braces.[11]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • The 2 braces will hold the legs in place from opposite sides to keep the legs from wobbling or buckling. These braces are also known as stringers.
  3. Connect 2 braces to 2 legs and clamp them in place. Put 1 bracer down horizontally on a stable work surface. Then, set 1 leg on top of the brace at a 90-degree angle. Line the top left corner of the leg up with the top left corner of the brace. Repeat this process using a second leg on the right. Put a second bracer on top of the 2 legs and the first brace and hold it in place. Clamp the pieces together to hold them still.[12]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • This should look like a square with 1 side missing.
    • When you install the legs, the braces will go at the top.
  4. Secure the legs to the braces using wood screws. Drill 2 screws through all 3 pieces of wood on the left. Drill 2 additional screws through the leg and braces on the right. Flip the legs over and add 4 more screws from the opposite side.[13]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • It doesn't matter where you place your screws so long as they're securing the middle portion of the leg and you aren't drilling into the exact same location on both sides.
  5. Repeat this process 6 times to create your leg assemblies. Make 5 more leg and brace structures to give each corner of your hexagon bench its own support. For each piece, lay a bracer down, add 2 legs, and put a bracer on top. Drill 2 screws into each side where the 3 pieces meet.[14] carriage bolt through the center of each leg where it meets the brace.}}
    Make a Tree Seat Step 14 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Assembling the Bench

  1. Stand your legs up on a flat surface and clamp them down. Set your 6 legs up in a hexagon on a flat, stable work surface. Line each set of legs up so that they're pointing at the center of your hexagon. Lay your bench boards on top of the legs in the same order that you're going to install them. Put heavy objects against both sides of each leg to keep them still.[15]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 15 Version 2.jpg
    • Don't worry about being super precise. You're going to adjust the location of the legs after you lay your boards on top. You'll probably end up making multiple adjustments until the bench boards are laying correctly.
  2. Lay 5 sides of the bench down on top of the legs. Take each bench board and rest it on top of the horizontal pieces connecting the legs. Move your legs accordingly until the legs are even with each angle where the hexagonal boards meet. Push the legs in a little so that there is a of space between the front of the bench and the leg underneath.[16]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 16 Version 2.jpg
    • Put your spacers back into each of the boards to ensure that they're evenly spaced out on every side.
    • This is tricky since nothing is holding the boards in place. Take your time and work slowly. Enlist someone to help you carry and lower the individual boards into place.
    • Take a good look at the structure once you're done. Look underneath to ensure that the angle where the bench boards meet is the center of each leg and that your boards are spaced out evenly before moving on.
  3. Drill pilot holes through the boards and legs. Put a pilot bit in your drill. Bore 1 pilot hole all the way through the middle of each board where it meets the brace. Choose one side of the bench to leave open, but leave the boards in place for reference. You'll finish the last section when the bench is around the tree. This will be a total of 40 pilot holes.[17]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 17 Version 2.jpg
    • A pilot hole is a small hole that you drill into a piece of wood to create threading for a screw. It also prevents the wood from splintering when you screw into it.
  4. Drill wood screws through the pilot holes. To secure the boards to the braces, grab some wood screws. Line each screw up with the pilot hole that you made and drill it into the wood slowly using the lowest power setting on your drill. Continue drilling until the screw is flush with the surface of the board. Screw all of your boards into place, leaving 1 side unsecured.[18]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 18 Version 2.jpg
    • At this point, you should have a 5-sided hexagon with 1 side missing.
  5. Wrap the bench around the tree using the opened side. Take the unscrewed boards off of the bench and set them aside. Enlist the help of a friend to help you carry your bench. Pick it up on opposite sides and carry it to your tree. Slide the bench around the tree using the open side of the bench. Set the bench down once the trunk is in the center of the bench.[19]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 19 Version 2.jpg
    • If you attempt to lift the bench on your own, it may break under the odd distribution of weight from the unsecured side.
    • Rotate the bench to orient it until you're happy with the way that it curves around the trunk.
  6. Finish the last side of your bench. With the bench sitting around your tree, finish the last set of boards. Put your boards in place and lay your spacers in between each board. Drill your pilot holes through the center of each bench board where it meets the brace and screw the boards in.[20]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 20 Version 2.jpg
    • Take all of your spacers out when you're done.
  7. Level the bench using a spirit level and a garden spade. Take a spirit level and rest it horizontally on top of your bench. Look at the bubble in the middle of the level. If it's floating in the middle, your bench is even. Repeat this process for each side of your bench. On uneven sides, use a garden spade to remove the dirt underneath the legs until the bench becomes level.[21]
    Make a Tree Seat Step 21 Version 2.jpg
    • Skip this step if you're installing the bench on a paved or gravel surface.
    • The bench is going to shift and settle over time as the legs compress the soil underneath, so it's never really going to be perfect.


  • This project will likely take 2-3 days. It's not especially difficult if you're familiar with a miter saw and have good organizational skills, but it is relatively time-consuming. Don't try to get this all done in one day.


  • Do not operate a miter saw without wearing protective eyewear and thick gloves. Put a dust mask on if you want to protect your lungs from sawdust particles.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Cloth measuring tape
  • Carpentry pencil
  • Scrap wood
  • Speed square
  • Miter saw
  • Protective eyewear
  • Thick gloves
  • Dust mask (optional)
  • boards
  • spacers
  • boards
  • screws
  • screws
  • carriage bolts
  • Clamps
  • Spirit level
  • Garden spade
  • Natural brush
  • Waterproof varnish or lacquer


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