Homemade for the Holidays

Each year many of us begin our holiday shopping with a trip to the stores on Black Friday in search of a great deal on a perfect gift.  The weeks seem to have flown by since then!  It’s down to crunch time to come up with something for those hard-to-by-for people.  Often times the perfect answer is a handmade gift.

Here are 10 great gift ideas to help get you started.  I’ve included instructions on some of my own ideas.  Crafters in the blogosphere also provide great ideas, and I’ve listed my favorite finds below.  The great thing is, most of these gifts can be put together for under $20 and could also be adopted for other holiday gifting occasions.

Try a few of these and put some warmth and creativity into your gift giving this year!

  1. Window Pane Photo Frames
    The first idea uses some creative repurposing to transform an old window into a photo frame.  To make this particular version, I first cleaned the window to remove any dirt from the sills and clean up the panes.  (Gentle dish soap finished with some window cleaner works great for this.)  The décor I chose happened to be in my “extra decorations” box, and included a garland and tin star adhered using small finish nails and hot glue.  The sky is the limit as to what you use to decorate the window.  Some other options might be green rope garland, deco mesh, ribbon, ornaments or wooden letters.  The next step is to print out photos sized to fit the panes on your window.  I used tiny pieces of double stick tape to adhere them to the window panes.  Voila!  One creative photo gift that’s ready to wrap up and nestle under the tree.
  2. Photo Block Ornament
    This idea is courtesy of Wendy host of “Craft Goodies” blog  and can apply to any recipient from a new Mom, to your best friend or even a Grandparent.  I made one this year for a friend who just had a baby and was able to find the wooden blocks at Hobby Lobby for $0.99 each.  Perhaps you make it a tradition to build one of these ornaments to help remember all the milestones you shared together this past year as a family.
  3. Fleece Tied Blanket
    Find a step-by-step tutorial for this idea from Christian on her “Confessions of a Home Schooler” blog.
  4. Lawn Jenga
    Have any camping lovers or college kids that love to tailgate with friends?  Lawn Jenga is an easy DIY that is sure to provide hours of stackable fun.  This blog by The Kid Connection explains that each game is made out of simple 2X4’s cut in pieces 10.5” long.  One set equals 54 pieces.
  5. Cookies in a Can
    Don’t forget the mailman or teacher on your list!  This is a great way to package some homemade goodies.  Just wrap a Pringles can and place the cookies inside.
  6. Modge Podge Photo Coasters
    A great home décor idea, this step-by-step from FrugalGirls.com explains how to modge podge photos onto ceramic tiles to make personalized coasters.
  7. Canvas Art
    Have a decorator on your list?  This idea from Stacie Edwards’s “Inspired by Life” blog shows an easy way to make your own canvas art from wooden letters, canvas and spray paint.
  8. Salt Dough Ornaments
    Get the kids involved in the DIY gifting with Salt Dough Ornaments from Heart 2 Home.  The recipe is simple: mix 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup water.  Knead until the dough forms.  Make a shape (for this example they rolled out the dough, made a handprint and then trimmed around it).  Make sure to poke a hole in the top for hanging!  Bake at 200° for 3 hours.  Then decorate, seal and wrap up for great keepsake.
  9. Fence Post Santa
    One DIY project that was gifted around my family a few years back is a fence post Santa.  Everyone loved receiving one of their very own and mine makes an appearance each year helping spruce up the house for the holidays.  For this project a little free-hand drawing of a Santa face is a great step to help guide painting.  Using red, peach and black create the face of Santa.  Then using some snow paint (I use Aleene’s brand), fill in his facial hair features and hat brim.  I recommend a top coat sealer to prevent paint chipping and fading.  The spray can form works great and dries quickly.
  10. Wooden Photo Art
    The possibilities are endless for gifting photo keepsakes.  This idea comes from WinthropChronicles.com.  She explains how to modge podge photos to a wood base and add ribbon to put an interesting spin on a photo wall hanging.