Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Need some homemade gift ideas?

My sister asked me recently to help her think up some great holiday gifts on a dime.  I am a fan of crafting, though lately have very little time to make stuff.  But there are lots of ideas out there!  If you are looking to save a little money, want to give a homemade gift, make gifts with your kids, or just need a little crafting time, here are some ideas!

For younger children:

Homemade Felt Board

If you’re looking for a gift that keeps giving, for Christmas last year, I made felt boards for my kiddos.  They have played with them all year, and recently have been asking me to add more cut-outs.  So this year, I’m cutting out a few more sets for them.

Glue or double-stick tape felt to a sanded piece of wood (about 8” x 10” or whatever size you want) or thick foam core.  You could also glue magnets to a sheet of felt that is cut to fit inside of an old cookie sheet and use that.  We used wood, hot-glued felt around the front, and sealed up the seams with another piece of felt on the back.  We had lots of fun making shapes!  I ‘googled’ the shapes for the stories I wanted, printed them out, and cut them.  There are also lots of resources out there.  Here’s a great post on several variations of the homemade felt board, plus links to some templates.

Homemade I-spy jars
I’ve also seen these i-spy jars around and want to make them some time but haven’t done it yet.  Seems simple and fun!

Homemade Crayon shapes
I haven’t done this yet, but this blog has a good tutorial and pretty pictures!

Soap Crayons
One ice cube tray
Liquid food color
2 Tablespoon hot water for each crayon
1 cup soap flakes
Small bowl

1.   For each color, put two tablespoons of hot water and one cup of soap flakes into a bowl.
2.   Add as many drops of food color to the mixture as you wish. Stir the soap mixture until it thickens. This takes time, so be patient!
3.   Press spoonfuls of the first color of soap into the sections of the ice tray.
4.   Mix enough soap in other colors to fill the ice tray, following the above directions again.
5.   Let the soap crayons dry for one or two days. Gently bang the ice tray to loosen the crayons.
6.   Pack them in a box for gift-giving.

For a teens or adults:

Bath Bombs / Bath Fizzies
2 Tablespoons citric acid (you can get this at a pharmacy)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
3 Tablespoons coconut oil (or any other emollient oil like almond, avocado or
apricot kernel oil)
1/4 teaspoon fragrance oil
3-6 drops of food coloring (if desired)
Paper candy cups

1.  Place all of the dry ingredients (first 3) into a bowl and mix well.
2.  Place coconut oil into a small glass bowl and add fragrance and food coloring.
3.  Slowly add oil mixture into dry ingredients and mix well. Scoop up small amounts of the mixture and shape into 1" balls.
4.  Let the balls rest on a sheet of waxed paper for about 2 to 3 hours, then place each ball into a candy cup to let dry and harden for 24 to 48 hours.
5.  Store bombs in a closed, air-tight container. To use, drop 1 to 3 bombs into warm bath water.

Homemade Bath Salts
1 cup Epsom salts
Measuring cup
2 jars with lids
2 colored of liquid food color
1 pretty 8 oz. jar
A few drops of your favorite perfume
1/2 yard of ribbon, 1/2" to 1" wide

1.  To make these good smelling bath salts, first measure 1/2 cup of Epsom salt into each jar with a lid.
2.  Add 15 drops of food color to each jar, one color per jar and put on the lids. Shake the jars until the Epsom salts are dyed evenly.  If you want your colors to be darker, add more food color and shake again. Take off the lids and let the salts dry overnight.
3.  Now, make sure your pretty jar is all clean and dry. Then pour the dyed bath salts into the jar, alternating colors (you may want to get colors that go together well).
4.  Add a couple of drops of perfume to the bath salts, put on the lid and tie the jar with your pretty ribbon.

Homemade Refrigerator Magnets
Custom magnets are fun and easy to make. The local craft store (your new best friend when making gifts yourself) will have all the supplies you'll need: magnets, and clear or lightly colored flat circular glass stones. When you get the glass stones home step one is to customize them. You can do this by gluing a photo or scrap of pretty paper with fun designs on it to the flat side. With the stone customized and glue dried attach the magnet to the bottom. The persons most likely to enjoy these are grandparents (use photo of grandkids), tween or teen age girls (use photos of friends, hunky movie stars or funky designs).

Need more ideas?
If you google “homemade Christmas gifts”, there’s a lot out there.  Here are a few websites that have conveniently compiled many ideas.  There are so many to choose from – it’s fun to look through!  There’s something for everyone, but don’t get overwhelmed.  Also, some of these sites have lots of ads.  Sorry about that.

Happy crafting and happy holidays!  Share with us if you’ve found something you like.


  1. Great ideas! I'm going to try the bath fizzies - my daughter will love it!

  2. Thank you Lora!! Guess what? I'm going to do the felt board. I loved hearing about it last year when y'all made them and I actually have all the supplies. The girls really like paper dolls, but they always tear- this looks perfect! Could you post your homemade fabric food too?
    love you! your sister- Rita