If you’re like most people you have more names on your Christmas list than you have money but don’t worry – you can give homemade gifts to everyone on your list and save a bundle. Homemade gifts are special because not only are they unique, they’re often more appreciated because the recipient knows that you spent extra time on a special gift for them.
Just about everyone has a baby on their list, whether it be a son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter or the child of a friend. One easy gift to make for the baby is a play mat. You can purchase the blanket and make it into a play mat or make a blanket yourself. Purchase a yard of fabric with a baby theme. Fold the material in half, with right sides together, and stitch all but one side closed. If you don’t sew, use fabric glue, which is washable and easy to use. After the glue has dried turn the blanket right side out and fold a sheet or use a thin piece of foam to pad the inside of the blanket. Sew or glue the last side closed. Use a needle and thread to take a stitch here and there, from the bottom to the top, to secure the padding. Cut four pieces of ribbon, about ten inches long each. String rattles, pacifier, teething rings, or other toys on to each ribbon. Tack the ends of each ribbon into one corner of the blanket or use fabric glue to secure the ribbons and toys – one in each corner – to the blanket. This is a nice gift for a baby that costs little but looks expensive.
Also for a baby boy or girl: use a pretty ribbon of pink or blue then tie rattles and other toys onto various sections of the ribbon. This gift only takes a few minutes to make and can then tie onto each side of the crib and hang over the top of baby for playtime.
For a slightly older girl you can make a beautiful doll for next to nothing. Use an infant sleeper and stuff it well with foam pieces, cotton, or pillow stuffing, after first sewing or gluing the wrists of the sleeper closed. Use a knee-hi stocking and stuff it in the shape of a head. Work with it until it is round and well-shaped. Set aside. Dress the baby sleeper in shirt and pants. Hot glue booties or slippers on to the doll. Trim off the excess stocking and hot glue the head onto the sleeper and shirt, at the neckline. Glue or stitch the wrists of the shirt closed. Now glue the wrists of the shirt over baby’s face, as if the baby was hiding his or her face. Finally, glue a hat onto the stocking head of the doll. The hat should be rather floppy and have a wide brim. After attaching the hat you should not be able to see above the collar of the shirt, from the backside. This makes a cute pouting baby that has no detachable eyes or other parts for a small child to choke. A boy doll can be made for a young boy and can be his “buddy”. If you want the doll to stand, simply insert dowel rods into the sleeper legs before stuffing.
A gift loved by many small kids, that you don’t actually make yourself, is a box full of adult clothing, shoes, lace cloth, bandanas, purses, hats and other wearables. Kids love dressing up and this is an appropriate gift for boys or girls. Add strands of beads, boas and plastic jewelry for girls, tool belt and plastic tools for boys. You can make the box look like a closet by simply painting the cardboard box and putting spools on one end for legs. Make a door latch from elastic and a large button.
A teen girl will love a craft kit. Get a hat box or another container and place in it everything the girl might need to make her own jewelry and accessories. Some items to consider are beads, jewelry hardware, fake fur and other fabrics, fabric paints, fabric glue, small faux jewels, small mirrors, glitter, leather stripping, pipe cleaners, sequin, elastic strips, magnetic sheet, paints, metal trinkets, and so forth. Craft stores are full of fun ideas for this Christmas gift. You can even go online and print out instructions for making simple jewelry pieces, small purses, magnetic mirrors and more.
A teen boy would probably like to craft something as well, but not jewelry and accessories. If you’re experienced at working with wood, cut all the pieces the boy might need to build a birdhouse, then include the tools and hardware for assembly. Besides a birdhouse he can make a small wooden “locker” to stack up his cd’s, or a small set of shelves for his room. Just be sure to include all wood pieces, hardware, tools, paints, and instructions.
For a boy or a girl who doesn’t care to craft make a cd holder. The holder is extremely easy to make and any teen would love it. Choose a fabric that coordinates with the child’s room. Cut the cloth 25″ X 50″(the cloth can be cut smaller to carry less cd’s and take up less room on the wall). Purchase a roll or large piece of very thick, really clear plastic. Cut the plastic in strips that are 25″ X 5″. You’ll need 5 strips. Cut a piece of jute twine to 30″ long. Use fabric glue to attach one end of the twine to the top corner of the cloth. Attach the other end of twine to the opposite corner. The fabric should be laying right side up while attaching the twine. Now glue one strip of the plastic across the width of the cloth, at the bottom of the plastic, making sure the sides of the plastic overlap the twine ends. The sides and bottom of the plastic should be attached ,but not the top. Now measure every 5″ and lay a line of fabric glue to separate the plastic into compartments for the cd’s. Continue to the next row of plastic on cloth, and so on, until all plastic pieces are in place and each piece has 5 compartments. Allow an inch or so between each plastic strip. To embellish the perimeter and cover where the plastic joins the fabric on the sides, glue on decorative rope, lace, or another craft item.
Make Dad, or Grandpa a tool holder that’s very unique. Use sturdy cloth that won’t unravel or vinyl and fabric glue for the design. Cut a strip of the cloth about 12″X20″. You’ll also need a piece of half-inch elastic – about 20″ long. Using fabric glue, attach one end of the elastic to the center of one end of the cloth. Allow to dry. Measure about two inches then attach that portion of the elastic to that area of the cloth. Continue gluing the elastic down, every two inches, until it reaches the end. The elastic will hold tools in place as Dad or Grandpa roll them up in the cloth. Use a set of velcro pieces to keep the tool holder closed. To decide where to put the velcro roll a jacket or something similar up in the tool holder. Now mark where the end of the fabric meets the back of the fabric. Place the fuzzy strip of velcro lengthways, up the back of the holder. Do this in the center and on both ends of the backside, about 6 inches long. Now use the rough side of the velcro to go along the width of the inside end of the tool holder. After the tools are rolled up in the holder the sticky portion of the velcro should attach to the three fuzzy pieces. The tool holder will impress the recipient and costs little to make.
An inexpensive gift for small children to make for Dad or Grandpa is a Scrabble name plaque. Use one of the trays from an old Scrabble board to make the plaque. Arrange tiles to spell “Daddy”, “Boss”, “Grandpa”, or another word. Glue the tiles into place.
Make a key ring for anyone by using the Scrabble tiles to spell the person’s name. The ring can be purchased at a craft store. Use clear twine and thread it through the ring, then glue it down onto the backs of the Scrabble tiles. Now glue matching letters onto the backside of the first letters. If you don’t have enough matching letters, turn over any letter and glue it to the backside of the first letters. This will spell the name out on one side and leave blank tiles on the backside.
Anyone, no matter how young or old, would definitely be able to use a bed pocket set. The set tucks between the mattress and boxed springs, then hangs over the side of the bed with pockets to hold remote, tv guide, glasses, or children’s books. Measure from a fourth of the way across the mattress to 5″ or so from the floor. Cut fabric to this length. The width of the fabric depends upon how many pockets you want but a fourth or a fifth of the length of the mattress is sufficient. After cutting the cloth to these measurements cut another piece of cloth that is a third the length of the original piece, and a few inches smaller in width. Use machine or fabric glue to place a hem around the perimeter of the first piece. Now hem the second piece of fabric. Lay the first piece onto a table then lay the second piece of fabric on top of the first. Position the top piece of fabric towards the bottom of the largest piece. Stitch or glue into place. Make pockets by sectioning off two or three pockets, using stitches or fabric glue to make the separate compartments.
Mom or Grandma, a teacher or even the preacher’s wife will all love a potpourri warmer. Use any clear jar of any size to make this craft. Purchase a small string of small Christmas lights, clear in color. Place them in the jar allowing the cord to come up and out of the mouth of the jar. Fill the jar with potpourri using a wooden spoon handle or something similar to push the potpourri tightly into the jar. Cover the jar with a piece of lace and secure it with a pretty ribbon. When the recipient plugs it in, the lights will warm the potpourri, and the aroma will escape through the lace top and into the room. The lights add a warm glow to the jar of potpourri.
Another thing you can make easily, although time-consuming, is a knotted rug. Cut cloth or old tee shirts into 3″ wide strips. The cloth should be something that won’t unravel easily and is not stained. Different colors can be mixed together, allowing you to use several different colored tee shirts. The strips do not have to all be the same length but should all be 3″ wide. Begin by tying a knot into the end of one strip. Measure down about three inches and tie another knot. Continue doing this until you’re almost to the end of the strip. At that point, tie another strip on to the first one and begin knotting it in the same fashion. Continue adding strips until you have yards and yards of knotted cloth. Now start at one end of the strand and begin curling the strands of knotted rope into a circular pattern, to shape the rug. As you curl the rug use fabric glue to secure it as you proceed. When finished allow the glue to dry and the rug is finished. If you’d like to put a rubber backing on the rug purchase a piece of the rubber matting and use fabric glue, or stitches, to attach it to the backside.