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How to Create a Perfectly Tiered Cake

Have you ever been at a wedding, or a fancy dinner party, or even the quaint bakery down the street and wondered how in the world the baker was able to stack 17 perfect layers into that beautiful, and more importantly, stable stack? You just know that if you ever tried to create a tiered cake, it would end up looking more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But fear not! You don’t have to be a world-renowned baker to pull of a successful tiered cake. The secret? Plastic cake serving boards.

First, start by baking your layers. Make as many or as few as you want––each one a little smaller than the last. You can bake using different sized cake pans, or, in a pinch, you could trim the layers to the right size (this method works best for a cake covered in frosting rather than a naked cake). You want to bake perfectly flat layers so they stack well on top of each other. These cardboard and plastic cake boards will help with stability. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it seems!

Take an old towel and cut it into strips that fit around your cake pan (you only need one strip for each pan). Wet the strip and wring out any excess water (it should be damp, not soaking). Wrap it around the pan and safety pin the two ends together so the strip is secure. Once you pour the batter into the pan, drop it onto the counter from a few feet up to pop any air bubbles which can cause the cake to dome. Bake the cakes, and there you have it! Perfectly flat layers. If this do-it-yourself method is too complicated or doesn’t appeal to you, you can always buy even-baking strips or you can bake as normal, and then even off the top of the cake with a serrated knife after the cake cools.

Now comes the intimidating part––stacking the layers. Use one of our plastic cake boards for each layer of your cake. Because they are non-permeable, you don’t have to wrap the boards in plastic wrap or tin foil––just use them as is! This also means you don’t have to worry about the boards weakening from oil or grease, so you can trust that your cake will remain steady. Start with your base layer on top of your largest cake board. In addition to structural stability, the cake boards are perfect for allowing you to transport and display the cake with ease. Next, simply stack the rest of the layers with a cake board in between each. The boards will prevent the cake from collapsing due to the weight of the layers, and they also make serving easy as you can simply remove each layer one at a time to slice and serve. Finally, frost your cake, decorate, and impress all your friends with your perfectly tiered creation.

Our cake boards are perfect for your next event, whether that be a wedding, a work dinner, or a birthday party. They are washable and reusable, so they’re much more cost-efficient than other options like cardboard cake dividers. Take your baking game to the next level with our plastic cake boards.

Cork Mats & Furniture Protector | Creatives

For many, trying to find a good gift to give a friend or loved one for an event, holiday, or birthday can be nerve-wracking. It can be almost impossible to find a present that perfectly incorporates creativity, thoughtfulness, flexibility, and fun, all while trying to maintain any specific budget you may have set for yourself. Giving gifts can be especially difficult if the person receiving the gifts is a creative. How do you manage to find a gift that they won’t simply create for themselves? Here at Curtis Wagner Plastics, we all believe in the power of creativity. More than that, we believe in giving people the tools they need to create something interesting and fun all on their own.

Cork plant mats are an uncommon idea for a present for a special occasion. But these simple pieces have the potential to unlock a whole world of gift meanings! Ideally, the main use of a cork plant mat is meant for those who have a strong connection to plants and flowers. This gift would be a perfect bulk present for anyone you may know who owns a plant nursery or a flower shop. Buying a present that supplements their business goals is thoughtful and it is smart. It shows the person that you support their business while also alleviating them of the cost of having to purchase it for themselves. But you needn’t limit yourself to people only in the business of plants. Anyone you may know that boasts a impressive collection of plants of flowers in their home will be grateful for the addition to their repertoire.

This gift is also idea for those who love to host guests and dinner parties in their homes. Cork plant mats can easily be substituted for coasters to place drinks under. And for the creative people in your life, cork plant mats are a way to create endless opportunities for arts and crafts of DIY projects. A simple search on Pinterest.com lists tons of exciting and interesting possibilities to create interesting pieces of art using cork plan mats. Some examples include creating moss-covered coasters, or turning your plant cork mat into a personalized mouse pad. You can even create wall hangings! This is a great way to encourage your most creative friends to continue to push the boundaries of what materials they can use.

If you’d like to order cork plant mats for your next gift in Houston, give us a call today!

Utilizing Grow Tubes

Over the last 10 years, the use of grow tubes has become popular and fairly widespread among vineyard growers throughout the United States. Grow tubes allow the vine to get off to a quick start by promoting rapid upright growth without the use of stakes. Likewise, during dry periods, they can provide moisture at the grow tube base by capturing normal condensation. In doing so, the added moisture aids in the initial establishment of the vine. The tubes also added protection to young vines from pests such as rabbits and deer. If you are a new grower, the most advantageous quality of grow tubes is to reduce the dangers to the vine when applying herbicides.

Grow tubes are available in many different shapes and sizes. Some tubes are preassembled while some require assembly. The cost of these tubes is a significant factor because plant densities range from 500 to 1500 plants per acre. Moreover, the life expectancy of the grow tubes are only 3-5 seasons. Tubes are available in several Heights from 18 to 36 inches. Some of the costs are are offset by the fact that they allow the grower to reduce labor costs associated with vine training and eliminating the need for individual fine stakes

Growth rates of almost 2 inches per day have been reported with the use of grow tubes. This rapid growth is significant because the faster the vines get up to the fruiting wire, the faster the vine can be allowed to produce. Internode length is often longer inside the tube. This can result in fewer water sprouts in later years, further reducing future labor costs.

Grow tubes create a multitude of benefits for vine establishment. As we pointed out, they encourage upright growth and speed the growth process. In addition, grow tubes offer protection against physical damage from the wind and small mammals. They also protect young plants from herbicide dangers used in weed control.

Read more about plastic grow tubes.

How to Keep Hanging Baskets Moist

10in-Hanging-Basket-Drip-PanHanging baskets are notoriously difficult to keep moist especially if you live in a climate that is very hot or windy. Although it may take some effort on your part, you can make sure that your plants thrive. One thing you can do is attach hanging basket drip pans to your baskets. These devices catch the water overflow and help your plants stay moist, but there are other things that you can do as well.

Choose the Largest Basket

The largest hanging baskets can hold the greatest amount of soil, so this is the best choice for every type of plant. A basket with a lot of soil can hold moisture for a longer period of time, but it can also retain more nutrients for your plants or vegetables. Keep in mind that it must not be so large that it cannot be safely secured to your home.

Apply a Lining

After you have the perfect basket, the next step is to line it with plastic, such as a simple grocery bag or a garbage bag. To make sure that it does not show, cut it so that it comfortably fits inside the basket. Then, place it beneath the basket’s rim. Also, cut several holes in the bottom of the bag to reduce the amount of moisture that evaporates along the sides. If your plants like a drier climate, only line the basket’s sides. This allows moisture to freely drain to the bottom.

Select the Appropriate Soil Mix

Some soil mixes retain moisture more efficiently than others. Two options are substances that are made from volcanic rock called “vermiculite” and “perlite.” Experts suggest that you add between 20 and 40 percent of these special substances to your soil to help your compost retain its water. The downside is that these substances are a little expensive, but there is an alternative. Worm compost also serves as an excellent moisture retainer, and it is something that you can make yourself.

Add Mulch to the Soil

You can slow down the evaporation process by placing a substance that is known as “mulch” on top of the soil. Mulch can be anything, including pebbles, pieces of plastic, old leaves, grass clippings or cardboard.

Water with a Plastic Water Bottle

You can slow down the watering process by fashioning an altered plastic water bottle to the compost. Take a half-liter plastic bottle and then remove the bottom. Drill a few 1/8-inch holes in the bottle’s lid. Place the bottle in the compost with the lid facing downward. When it comes time to water your plants, use your watering can to fill the bottle. The water will slowly drip out of the plastic bottle through the holes in the lid.

Feed Your Plants Frequently

Even if you have a big hanging basket, it will not be able to hold a large amount of food. Therefore, you will have to feed your plants on a frequent basis. A liquid tomato feed works well on fruiting crops, but other types perform well with worm tea or liquid seaweed.

Other Accessories

Hanging baskets will lose water whether you follow the advice listed above or not. Therefore, you would benefit from other products that will prevent water damage in your home. For example, you can place cork plant mats beneath your hanging baskets to keep water from touching the furniture or the floor. You can also use plant saucers for this purpose. Clear plant saucers are unassuming and can fit in with the décor of any room. These and other useful accessories are available through local florists and garden stores to help you create a joyful and satisfying planting experience.

Proper Drainage Is Critical For Potted Plants

SQDSMoisture is essential for healthy growth of decorative greenery, but standing in stagnant water is usually fatal for most plants. Wet soil promotes root rot in a container, taking up space that provides air to healthy plants. Proper plant care allows moisture to nurture feeder roots, using drainage holes to direct excess water into plant saucers. Choosing a container for potted plants requires consideration of stability and floor protection in addition to drainage considerations.

Ensuring Proper Drainage

Outdoor and indoor container plants require proper drainage, although many pots do not include a drainage hole in the bottom. Removing plants from containers that cannot provide proper drainage and re-potting them is essential. Pots that have only a single drainage hole are likely to create root rot as well when the opening clogs with compost.

Experts advise against placing gravel in a pot to improve drainage, citing the tendency of water to “perch” above the layer of gravel. A better alternative is to place gravel in a saucer below the pot to increase humidity in the area of the plant’s roots. Water that evaporates from the gravel escapes upward into the bottom of the container.

Choosing an Appropriate Container

Decorative pots can enhance the appearance of a garden or patio, and the ambiance that they create in a home’s décor is unique. Pot selection is a matter of personal preference, and it can reflect the architectural style of a home. Terracotta or glazed, stone pots are suitable for outdoor settings, and their weight usually ensures a solid environment for a plant.

Plants such as camellias and Japanese maples can grow to heights that can cause a pot to tip over, however. Using a compost that is heavy can help resist tipping over. Pots that accent a patio can achieve a desirable level of drainage by resting on bricks or the pot’s feet instead of sitting on a solid surface.

Making sure that indoor plants have solid footing prevents spills and accidents that can damage tender growth and blooms. Anticipating the full height that a plant may reach can prevent the tendency to overload a pot with a top heavy plant. Clear plant saucers in heavy, vinyl gauge plastic are ideal for use indoors or outdoors. Serving a functional purpose while not attracting attention, they hold excess water and prevent it from creating a potential problem. Water that escapes from plants on a patio can make a surface slippery, and any moisture that leaks from pots in a home can cause damage to expensive furniture, carpets and floors.

Accenting with Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets in garden shops appeal to anyone who wants to create an array of flourishing greenery at eye level. Hanging baskets may require more care than plants that live in pots or in the ground, but they provide a unique beauty that is a welcome reward. Regular watering is essential for hanging baskets that are exposed to direct sunlight and wind.

Hanging basket drip pans that have four hooks instead of three provide stability that reduces the opportunity for spills and drips to occur. Clear plastic plant trays enhance the appearance of hanging baskets without the distraction of unnecessary color. The elevation of hanging baskets usually puts them at a height that allows them to drip on someone soon after they are watered if a hanging basket drip pan is not used..

Technologically designed drip pans that are easy to snap on to a basket can prevent unwanted accidents. Drip pans that feature built in, molded hooks are effective for indoor or outdoor use. By catching water overflow and keeping plants moist, they allow hanging baskets to provide an accent of colorful blossoms and greenery.

Five Tips for Faster Clean-Up After Your Next Painting Project

paint-trayHome painting projects can give new life to tired interior décor and can create a fresh new look for every room of your house. By choosing complementary shades and colors, you can achieve an exciting interior design plan that suits your lifestyle and your aesthetic preferences perfectly. Managing the clean-up process after the job is done, however, can be significantly less exciting than the initial transformation process. Here are five expert tips and tricks designed to help you clean up plastic paint trays and brushes more quickly after your home improvement project.

Look for a Silver Lining

Many interior design specialists recommend lining your plastic paint trays with aluminum foil before filling them with paint and beginning the application process. This can prevent paint from sticking to trays and can allow you simply to lift and toss the lining after your project is done. For decorating schemes that require more than one color, using a tinfoil lining can allow more rapid paint changes and can ensure faster completion of your project.

Stick to Latex and Acrylic

Oil-based paints can damage plastic paint trays and should generally be avoided for most painting applications. Sticking with acrylic and latex paints can ensure that plastic trays stay pristine and ready for use time after time. Allowing these paints to dry completely in the plastic tray can result in faster cleaning. In most cases, the layer of dried paint can simply be peeled off and discarded, leaving the plastic paint tray ready for further use. If any remnants of latex or acrylic paint remain on the tray, they can usually be removed quickly and easily with a small amount of dish soap and a few swipes with a scrub sponge.

Dispose of the Evidence

Disposable paint trays are a low-cost way to streamline clean-up for your remodeling and home improvement activities. Although these trays are less sturdy and durable than their non-disposable counterparts, they cost less and require no storage or cleaning after use; instead, you can simply toss these inexpensive paint trays in the trash after your painting project is complete. By investing a small amount in these disposable items, you can save a considerable amount of time and effort during your clean-up efforts.

Choose the Right Tools

Double-well paint trays are ideal for edging and trim painting projects. One well can be used to hold paint, and the other can serve as a convenient resting spot for the brush when it is not in use. This can reduce the likelihood of paint spatters and unexpected spills. Plastic paint roller trays, drip mats and other tools can protect your flooring and furniture while ensuring faster clean-up for you and your family.

Repurpose Plastic Products

Pet place mats can sometimes be used as a substitute for paint mats and can catch any errant drips or spills. After use, the paint spots can be scrubbed away or scraped off to restore the mat to its former pristine condition. Clear plant saucers can be used to blend two or more paint colors and to provide convenient containers for smaller amounts of paint. Smaller saucers are ideal for younger members of the family work crew and can allow them to participate in the painting process more effectively. Be sure to choose appropriately sized brushes for these small containers to minimize the risk of accidental spills and other mishaps.

By incorporating these five strategies into your next home redecorating project, you can enjoy added convenience and reduced paint clean-up time. Choosing complementary colors and integrating a common theme throughout your home can help you achieve the most striking results and can ensure the success of your ongoing painting, remodeling and renovation efforts.

Enhancing Everyday Consistency and Convenience with Pet Place Mats

HR-1218CThe right place mat can provide added protection for hardwood floors, carpeting and tile when feeding your household pets. Pet place mats are available in a wide range of styles, materials and patterns to complement your décor and to provide dogs, cats and other pets with a comfortable and consistent feeding area inside your home. The right pet place mats can provide a number of benefits for pet owners, including the following:

• Cleaner and more controlled feeding areas for pets
• Improved health and hygiene
• Reduced risk of slip-and-fall accidents in pet feeding areas
• A more consistent approach to food and water presentation for improved behavior before, during and after the meal
• Stylish additions to your home’s décor

By choosing an appropriately sized and configured place mat, you can create a pleasant and instantly recognizable spot for feeding your dog, cat or other household pet. These affordable accessories can also provide increased comfort for your animals after a move or home remodeling project.

Keeping Your Home Clean

Pet place mats can keep your carpeting, linoleum, tile or hardwood floors clear of food debris and spilled water during meal times. These items are designed to stay in place and to catch any debris or food particles during your pet’s meal times. By making pet place mats a regular part of the feeding process, you can reduce cleaning chores and ensure that your valuable flooring stays intact and unspoiled by wet and dry pet food and water and that any spillage is confined to the area of the mat. Absorbent place mats composed of plastic and fabric materials often feature a waterproof backing to provide even greater protection for kitchens, living rooms and dens.

Improved Hygiene for Pet Areas

Place mats can be easily removed and cleaned between meal times to provide a fresh, odor-free area that reduces health risks for you and your pets. Some place mats can be sanitized in your dishwasher or washing machine; others may require hand washing to ensure the cleanest and most hygienic environment inside your home.

Reduced Risk of Falls and Slips

Pet food debris and spilled water on the floor can result in slips, falls and injuries for you and your family. Place mats can reduce this risk and can confine water and food to a small area. Constructed of durable materials, pet place mats can provide added safety and convenience for your pet feeding activities. Although it may be tempting to use cork plant mats as convenient place mats for pet food and water dishes, these items can be attractive targets for chewing or scratching and are best suited for their original intended use.

Improved Training and Control

By using a mat to define the area in which your pets are fed, you can establish consistency and help to set the stage for better behavior at meal times. For homes with multiple pets, separate place mats can define areas assigned to each dog or cat. This can reduce squabbling at mealtimes and can ensure that each pet feels confident in their own space. Confident and well-adjusted pets are less likely to behave aggressively or to demonstrate insecurity, allowing you to enjoy a more harmonious relationship with your beloved animal companions.

A Wide Range of Colors and Configurations

Place mats for pets are available in numerous sizes, shapes and colors to suit your home’s décor and your pet’s requirements. Larger dogs require more food and may need a larger pet place mat to hold water and food. Smaller dogs and cats typically consume less food, allowing you to choose smaller place mats for these animal companions. Choosing place mats in colors and styles that complement your current interior design can ensure a cohesive and integrated look for your home and an attractive appearance for pet feeding areas.

Pet place mats can provide added consistency for dogs and cats and can reduce your clean-up time to a considerable degree. Adding these accessories to your pet feeding routine can ensure a safer, healthier and happier environment for you and your animal friends.

Many manufacturers of plastic pet place mats also offer other useful products for the home, including clear plant saucers, paint trays and hanging basket drip pans. These useful products are inexpensive and help keep your home clean and protect furniture and floors.