After writing my past homemade ideas, I got several suggestions from other crafty folks. Here is what they have done in the past:
*Make a photo calendar. Places like www.walgreens.com or www.lulu.com will make them for about $20 each. You go online and put in your digital photos and they do the rest. Makes a great personal, inexpensive gift that lasts the whole year. Don’t forget to include special family dates and phone numbers on your gift calendar. This will be REALLY APPRECIATED for the elderly relatives that tend to forget important dates and phone numbers.
*Rock Paperweights: Collect small rocks of various shapes, wash them off, soaked them in bleach water (to kill any moss that was growing on them), and let them dry thoroughly. You can get all kinds of ideas for decorating them by examining their shape. Shapes like caterpillars, hearts, potatoes–all sorts of ideas. Paint them with one color, then either paint on designs or glue on stickers (things like happy faces, stars, flowers). You can also glue on tiny beads, use glitter paint, or small buttons. Finally, put a clear glaze on them to make them shiny (and to help hold on whatever was glued on). Another ideas is to paint the rocks and then glue on pompoms, glow-in-the-dark clay (looks great on rocks painted black), and anything you had or could think of. You can put messages on your rocks, names, etc. The possibilities are endless! You can also do this for Easter. Make “eggs” out of round rocks and fill a basket!
*Macrame or braid bracelets
*Handmade paper boxes that you can fill with small homemade candies or toiletries.
*Tote bags with family pictures on them
*Handmade potpourri bags filled with potpourri mixes made with elements from your own garden
*Cedar chip bags for men to put in their sock drawer or in their shoes to keep them fresh smelling
*Jar mixes (such as hot chocolate) Here are two recipes:
1 (1 lb 11 oz) jar Tang
2 (3 oz each) jars instant tea
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
Mix all in plastic container. Keep covered tightly.
Directions: 2-3 tsp of tea mix into a cup or mug of hot water.
Hot Chocolate Mix
1 (8 qt.) box powdered milk
1 (1 lb) box Nestle’s Quik
1/2 box powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 (11 oz) jar nondairy creamer
1-1/2 tsp. salt
Mix above ingredients thoroughly. Keep mixture airtight.
Directions: 1/3 c. of mix to 1 cup hot water.
*Clear ornaments – these are great as “photo time capsiles”
*Wind chimes – You can make them out of beads, tops of cans, and all sorts
of stuff around the house
*Ceiling fan pulls: Use yarn, cording, buttons, beads, etc. They attach to ceiling fans to pull on/off
*Frozen cookie dough – make different kinds of cookies, roll into balls and freeze – Type the baking instructions and include
*Pictures of kids – if the men or whoever has children – snap a neat picture and frame it – everyone loves pictures of their own children
* Make a clay nativity set and you can paint them (you might be able to find these at your local hobby store ready for painting too)
*Homemade Sugar Exfoliator: Sugar is a very good Exfoliator. Try this Sugar Exfoliator to get that amazing glow on your skin. Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup Ground Almond
• 1/2 cup Oatmeal
• 1/4 cup Sugar
• whole milk to make a thick paste
Mix these well to form a thick paste and apply on your face/body. Keep it for 15 minutes and scrub off gently. It exfoliates your skin and will give your skin an amazing glow.
*Rag Rugs – These are time consuming but make a wonderful gift that will last for years. This is a perfect gift for older children to make. Potholders or purses can also be made this way. I have even seen a heavy placemat turned into a cute purse by folding into thirds, sewing up the sides, putting a velcro closure and shoulder strap. Super simple and cute!
*Slideshow of old photos on a DVD
*Home made placemats or cup holders – you can buy some neat ones where you insert photos or make them (IKEA has heart shaped, clear paperweights where you slip in a photo for $3.49 each – super cheap gift)
*Reindeer poop – Take Chex mix with chocolate and white powder sugar – store in a pretty clear bag – find a poem online. Folks love the silliness and they are yummy too!
*Handmade jewelry boxes and paint them – for added touch take a beaded bracelet and put inside
*Make a baby footprint – You can make a print and then hang it with a ribbon by the heal – gives the impression of an angel (ribbon is halo and the toes are the hem of their dress.) – it make a sweet Christmas ornament – you can laminate it to help it last longer. You can also make a paper wreath out of
their hand prints or cut out their hand imprint.
*Make a plaster cast of a child’s handprint. When dry, seal it and glue a decorative ribbon around the edge of the mold. Make sure to attach a hanger. These are perfect for Grandma!
*Homemade Bath Salts: Leaves your skin feeling and looking radiant! Take:
1 Tbsp. glycerin
Perfume or cologne
3 cups Epsom salt
First mix the glycerin and a few drops of food coloring and perfume
or cologne in a NON-plastic bowl. Then pour the Epsom salts in a
glass or metal bowl and add teh fragrance mixture. Mix together very
well. If the aroma is not strong enough, add more perfume or cologne. Seal
tightly in decorative containers.
*Make items from household duct tape (no, really)!
*Ice Candles: You buy the block of wax, wick, wick holders and fragrance, if any. We did
some with and some without. You melt the wax in a coffee can (I didn’t want to ruin a pan) in a pan of water (double boiler). Add fragrance after it’s off the heat. Stir. Meanwhile, put a wick with
the metal tabby-thing in the center of paper or styrofoam cups and fill with square ice cubes (could use rectangle, but square looks prettier). Then pour the hot wax into the cups and let it set. The ice melts but after the wax has set around it. Pour the water out then tear off the paper cup. Just lovely for Christmas!
*Make Fruit of the Spirit Bean Soup. You will need:
small red beans = love
split peas = joy
black beans = peace
kidney beans = patience
pinto beans = kindness
navy beans = goodness
baby lima beans = faithfulness
lentils = gentleness
black-eyed peas = self-control
Directions for soup:
Wash beans thoroughly. Soak overnight in lots of water. Pour off soaking water and add fresh water at least 2 inches over tops of beans. During the last thirty minutes of cooking add desired
seasonings. (Small amounts of chopped cooked meats are also good to add flavor.)
*Buy inexpensive tins at your local $1 store and fill them with homemade cookies, candies, or fudge.
*Homemade picture frames – go to your local $1 store or Michael’s and buy the unfinished wooden frames. Have the kids paint them or decoupage stickers, magazine pictures, comic strips, etc. Seal with varnish. The kids can draw a special picture and frame it for the relatives.
*Do you sew? You can make TONS of inexpensive things with just a little thread and a needle! How about:
- Matching pajama bottoms for the whole family
- Toss pillows (Use old t-shirts for a soft pillow with a design already on it!)
- Tea towels (get some pretty ribbon and sew on the bottom of towels for a cute look)
- Hot pad holders or coasters
I have found great deals on fabric at my local Hancock Fabric (on their bargain table). You can also get inexpensive fabric at Walmart. Looking for fabric that is a little nicer? Call around town for your local quilt store. Ask when their next sale day is. Some stores give a discount for the more yardage you use. Maybe going with a friend will save BOTH of you some money!
*Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments: Make a dough with about equal parts cinnamon and applesauce. Roll it out and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Make sure to add a hole for the ribbon,
then let them air dry for several days. If you want to speed up the drying, put them on a cookie sheet and place them in a very low temperature oven. When they are hard, the kids can either paint them
or leave them natural. They keep their scent for years.
*Leaf Tile Coasters: You will need-Dishwashing soap, 4-inch square white ceramic tiles, Heavy-duty paper towels, Isopropyl alcohol, Paintbrushes, Porcelain paints (peridot, amber, brown, and light green)
Leaf rubber stamps (aspen, maidenhair fern, redbud, and oak), 7/32-inch copper adhesive tape
Wash the tiles with soap and water. Rinse and pat dry. Using a paper towel, wipe alcohol over the tiles to remove any remaining oils or fingerprints. Allow the tiles to air-dry. Brush a base color on the tiles. Moisten a paper towel and use it to gently blot or wipe the base color to add texture to the surface. Let the paint dry for 15 minutes. Brush a contrasting paint color on a rubber stamp. (Do not allow the paint to pool between the raised surfaces of the stamp.) Test-print the stamp on an unpainted tile. Make any color or pressure adjustments before printing on the prepared tiles. Let the paint dry for 24 hours; then follow the manufacturer’s directions to bake the tiles in an oven. When the tiles have cooled, apply copper tape around the edges.
*Walking sticks with carving on the tops – GREAT for boys to make if they know how to use a knife properly. Makes a great gift for an older relative or hiker.
*Christmas (or other holiday) decorations made from clothespins, paint, yarn, wall paper samples, walnuts, pine cones
*Fire starters from pine cones (you can find directions on line)
*Stamp sets of stationery (go to your local $1 store for a box of envelopes to stamp and go with your stationary)
*Trivets or coasters from tile or glass: Go to your local Habitat for Humanity store and scavange for 8×8 tiles and for smaller colorful tiles to break into pieces (Kids love to hammer them!). You can also buy tiles from your local home center store. Draw up designs and then piece them together with the broken tiles. Buy a tub of pre-mixed adhesive/grout. You use the grout to adhere the tiles and as the filler between the pieces. If you have someone handy with wood working, they can make a “floor & siding” for your trivet. You can also use a 8×8 tile as your “base”. The bigger the design (and less intricate) the better. Glass tiles also work but are a bit harder to use. They do make great accent pieces. You can also use your weekly coupon from Michael’s to buy glass/tile pieces that are made specifically for projects such as this.
*Bird feeder: Use any medium or large size terra cotta flower pot and saucer. Paint everything
except the inside of the pot. Seal the paint with clear coat spray to make it stay pretty longer. Turn the pot upside down and place the saucer right side up on top. Perfect for food or water for the birds! These last a long time!
*Flower bed frog critter: Take one terra cotta pot (I use a medium sized pot) and two small pots (the smallest they have). Paint the outside of all 3 pots a bright color green. Paint the inside of the big pot bright pink. Paint the inside of the smaller pots white. Then, paint the INSIDE BOTTOM of the smaller pots black. Seal all of the pots with varnish. Hot glue the smaller pots to the outside of the bigger pot so that all of the openings are facing the same way. It will look like a frog with his mouth open. It is REALLY cute nestled in a garden or walkway. Make sure to sign your artwork!
If you happen to have any other ideas, send them my way and I will include them here. We all love saving money and giving special gifts. Best of luck to all!
For more ideas, try Family Fun!