You’ve bought your toothbrush and are ready to make a difference. You may have even bought some for family and friends. Great!
Suddenly, it occurs to you: these brushes look the same. How can you tell them apart?
Luckily, we have thought about some ways of easily customising your bamboo toothbrush to tell it apart from others and suit your unique taste.
Below are some quick and easy options to personalise your brush to differentiate it from others in your household.
We have endeavoured to list the more natural and eco-friendly options to help you maintain your zero-waste lifestyle.
There are essentially four different methods we came up with that can be applied in different ways:
1. Ink to add your initials or another kind of design
Ink uses either pigment or dye ink with pure water as solvent. These dyes and pigments are not pollutive. Most are biodegradable and rest are non-pollutive at the least.
Ink provides a great way of seeping into the surface of the material. The type of ink you choose will determine how quickly it fades.
Using a ballpoint pen or fine liner can give you accuracy to make a precise design, but may fade after a few uses. So far, the fine liner has proven quite effective.
A permanent marker, however, will last for the lifecycle of your brush, but at the expense of accuracy. Most permanent markers contain glyceride, pyrrolidone, resin and a colorant making it waterproof. Stamps or stamp pens are also an option that are similar to a decorative marker and provide a ready-made design to put on your brush.
2. Carving to customize the actual shape of the brush
Using a knife or another sharp object will allow you to scratch or carve a design into your brush or carve marking on the side. We used a fine screw driver to punch holes and add our initials. In your hand it does not feel uncomfortable at all. Note that with this option, it is quite difficult to be accurate with your design.
3. Wrapping with external material
Washi tape is a traditional Japanese paper and is typically made from shrubs, and sometimes hemp. Thus, it is fully compostable when you are done with it. We were surprised by this one, as it sticks to the brush surprisingly well even after being re-stuck multiple times in different designs. We had expected it to come off after getting wet, but this was not the case. It still sits tightly after more than a few weeks of use.
We tried out some 100% cotton string, which is also fully compostable at home. Make sure you find one that states 100% cotton and is not a mixture with polyester.
Another alternative to the cotton string is a natural jute twine – less processed and also completely natural and biodegradable. Slightly thicker and rougher in feel compared to the cotton string, so you may not find it as comfortable, but our testers were not bothered by it.
The nice thing about all of these options was the different ways in which you could tie the materials around the brush.
4. Paint or dye
We had difficulty finding natural paints, which is why we don’t have a picture here. They do however exist and this is an option for customising your brush. Food colouring dye comes in a variety of colours, but is not the most attractive looking.
You could experiment with natural dyes if you have some fresh blackberries, blueberries or beetroot lying around. We tried using some frozen blueberries, which made for easier handling and colouring. However, this colouring fades really quickly with water, some markings still remain, but most of the design is washed away.
Wood stain – not sure we would recommend this one. We suggest you apply the stain far away from the bristles and wait until dried. Although there are more natural wood stain products on the market, many can contain chemicals which may result in health implications, so it is probably not advisable to use this on your toothbrush.
All of these options are viable alternatives for customising your brush. They work with varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the look, feel and last that you are going for. Not all will appeal to you, but luckily you can see which works best for you as you go along.
Try and see if you can come up with other options. We would love to hear about them in the comments! :)
Some challenges to bear in mind:
Find material that will not fade, dissolve, come loose with water
Find Natural materials that can biodegrade in nature
Is it easy enough to execute?
If it can be standardised, perhaps?