Have I talked about crafting here before? Well, surprise, I really love crafting. Now, I can’t crochet or knit or anything, but I can use a sewing machine and Mod Podge so I think that gives me at least some authority on the subject. Anyway, I used to hand-make a lot of the gifts I gave to people, for a couple of reasons: 1) they felt more personal, 2) it was usually cheaper, and 3) it was something to do when I wasn’t doing school anymore.
With school and finals and all of that fun stuff, I didn’t get the chance to go out and buy craft supplies to make anything this year, but I still wanted to share some of my favorite handmade gifts I’ve made. I
don’t have any pictures of what I’ve made myself (see: computer issues), but I’ll link to the tutorials and also list some tips I have from my own experience.
On to the crafts!
UPDATE 12/16/16 – There are now pictures of what I’ve made coupled with the tutorials!
This is one of my favorites, and it’s one that I’ve given a few times. All you need is a mug and an paint marker, so it’s fairly inexpensive and easy to do. I bought my mugs at the Dollar Tree (the trouble was finding one that wasn’t damaged, but it worked out). The paint marker only set me back about 3 or 4 dollars, and since you only need one, it’s money well spent in the long run
A few other notes: In the tutorial, they use graphite paper to trace the designs onto the mugs. I tried that the first time, but after that I just drew the designs freehand with a visual reference. I also occasionally drew other designs on the mug – like music notes for a musician friend. And finally, I tried this with white paint on a black mug, and it worked just as well, so that’s also an option.
All you need for this is a glue gun, some fabric, and some pens. I bought a pack of 8 or so pens from the Dollar Tree, and scraps of fabric are easy to find at your local craft store. Alternatively, you could buy bandannas for about $1 apiece and use those.
As for other suggestions, I would just say that this is something you could couple with a small notebook or other stationary to really complete the gift.
Stuff with Soda Tabs
I went through this phase where I collected soda tabs. I’m trying to break the habit.
But anyway, now I’ve got all these soda tabs lying around and I’ve been able to use them for a lot of crafts! The keychain is fairly easy once you figure it out, and you don’t need very many tabs for that. You can do it with yarn, cord, or ribbon. I also have some plain bottle caps sitting around just for crafts, so sometimes I add one of those to the keychain as well.
If you have a LOT of tabs sitting around, you can make a bracelet. It’s pretty easy until the end – to be honest, I just tie it however until it looks like it won’t fall apart. Here’s a full tutorial, or if you just want to know how to lace tabs together, there’s this. Just sure you leave enough at the beginning to tie it later! Also, you can paint the tabs with nail polish if you’d like to add more color. Just be sure to let it dry long enough or it will come off while you’re lacing them together.
This is another one I’ve given a few times. It does require sewing, but it isn’t anything crazy. It’s a bit more of an investment, but considering you only need half a yard of fabric, and some thread, it’s not that bad.
One thing I’ll say about this is that it’s very easy to lost track of which pieces are which, so be sure you have plenty of room to spread things out and put it together.
Now you could also make bracelets with this, but I prefer the keychains (plus they’re the only ones I’ve made). Paracord can get a little expensive, but the good news is that you usually get a lot of it so you can make a couple of keychains. I still have some leftover from a few Christmases ago!
No extra tips here, except please be careful with melting/fusing the paracord at the end. Fire is involved, and I’m like 99% sure I burned myself. So be careful out there, friends.
(I know the website is called “Frugal Fun for Boys,” but don’t be fooled, this would be a great gift for girls too!)
I made this for my brother not long ago while he was obsessed with Rubik’s cubes of all shapes and sizes. Obviously I didn’t use wedding pictures, but I had pictures of him with his friends, playing football, with the family, etc. It was time consuming, but I still liked the way it turned out.
When I made this, I bought a cheap knock-off cube at the Dollar Tree, which I regret. The cube didn’t rotate very well, so it didn’t really lend itself to puzzle solving. If you do this, I’d recommend buying a real Rubik’s cube. It may be more expensive, but well worth it in the long run. In addition, make sure you glue the picture down well and give them plenty of time to dry before adding the Mod Podge.
I made a set of these for my grandparents a few years ago (there were four, one for each grandchild), and they’re still intact today, which clearly means I am a Craft Master.
A few quick notes on the tutorial: I didn’t use the sealant, and they turned out okay, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to add that on top of the Mod Podge. I’d also use something other than Mod Podge to adhere the photo to the tile – tacky glue would probably work well. And finally, you could probably use those felt things that go on the bottom of chairs in place of the felt, but the felt works just fine. That’s more of a preference thing.
Basically, if you get nothing else out of this post, go buy yourself a jar of Mod Podge. That stuff is magic.
Have you ever handmade any of your gifts? Do you think you’ll try any of these? Should I post more about craft stuff in the future? Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
I’ll see you on Friday!
Side note: Sorry for the lack of pretty title images. I’ll be adding them as soon as I get my laptop back in action, but until then, there’s not much I can do. Sorry!