It’s December 20th. You’ve gotten most of your shopping out of the way, but you still have some unfinished holiday business. Whether you’re a procrastinator, broke, found out that your nephew’s girlfriend will be showing up to Christmas dinner after all, haven’t the foggiest clue what to get the receptionist at work, or need to round out a couple gifts, this list will inspire you to make something awesome that will be totally worthy of gifting.
Although you can probably knock out several of these projects with your existing supplies, there are probably a few that will require a special trip. If you want some more ideas and inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards titled “Cheapskate’s Guide to DIY Christmas Gifting 2012” and “Holidays 2012” (which includes general entertaining ideas, as well as holiday specific pins).
With that being said, here’s the list of ideas. If you have any ideas you’d like to add, please drop a comment.
1- Coasters! There are a zillion different tutorials out there. Here are some fun looking ones: etched tile coasters (I think that you could use this tute as a basis for glitter embellished coasters- just glitter the etched parts), beer cap coasters, Scrabble tiles coasters, Perler bead coasters, scrap yarn crocheted flower coasters, and painted cork coasters.
2- Glittered stuff! The holidays are all about glitz, glimmer, and decadence. Glittering is a great, inexpensive way to introduce some shimmer and sparkle into your gift giving. On my glittered tealight holder tutorial, I give you the basics on how to glitter up your life. Glue, glitter, and spray with clear coat. It’s really that easy. The only difficult part is finding more things to glitter!
3- The old crafter’s standby: a scarf. Luckily, knitting looms are popular right now and make a bulky scarf super fast & easy to knit. I knocked this one out in maybe ten hours; it’s a honeycomb scarf knitted with one skein of Woolease Thick n’ Quick.
4- Glittered animal ornaments. I am loving this “spray painted animal figures” trend, and these ornaments are the best.
5- Hot cocoa in a labeled mason jar. The great thing about this one is that it really works for any sort of mix in a jar and any of these gifts are quick and perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
6- Embroidered felt ornaments. Easy to put together, easy to customize, but note that they are deceptively time consuming (depending on the amount of detail involved).
7- Beaded bracelets; simple bracelets are totally trendy and are pretty easy to make, even if you’re like me and tend to drop beads everywhere. Check out these tutorials for some inspiration: DIY beaded bracelet, sliding knot adjustable bracelet, wrapped leather bracelets, or diy fishtail braided anchor bracelet.
8- Block prints. Block prints are fun and easy to make; however, since carving the blocks can be a little time consuming, I recommend these if you’re planning on either selling the designs or making a lot of prints for a lot of people.
9- Silk screened designs. I scored two jars of Speedball silk screen ink at the thrift store for only $.99 each (I love you, Philly Aids Thrift!), and I can’t wait to try this! (Check out this post on Craftster for silk screening tips and tricks.)
10- Baked goods/candies. One caveat: if you don’t bake often, do at least one test run before giving them out. When your baked goods are amazing, people assume they’re a thousand times more difficult than they really are. When they’re subpar, people think you half assed it. Some recipes/tutorials: chocolate covered pretzel rods, fleur de sel caramels, caramel & chocolate dipped marshmallows, sriracha salt, snickerdoodle blondies, and peanut butter kiss cookies (with a twist! hot pink dough + Hershey’s hugs = a hot pink zebra cookie).
11- Personalized coffee mugs. I haven’t yet tried this project, but it’s on the list of “OMG GOTTA MAKE ‘EM!” (Pair them with #5, #6 or #10 for an extra special themed gift!)
12- Personalized gift box. For this specific one, I was rounding out my baby second cousin’s Christmas gift when I realized I had some gift boxes in my stash. I quickly sketched out her first initial, transferred it onto the lid using carbon paper, painted a base coat for the M (using a Sharpie paint pen), then glittered the blue section. Once the blue dried, I glittered the M, marked the bottom of the lid on the box, and glittered the gold section. I added some complimentary ribbon and some metal charms with hot glue, sprayed the whole thing down with clear coat, and it was ready to be stuffed with little presents. If my five year old cousin’s reaction is any indication, most five year olds will think this gift is baller as shit. When she saw it, she shrieked “IT’S GOT AN ‘M’ ON IT. THAT MEANS IT’S FOR MEEEEEEE!” And, well, any crafter can tell you that type of reaction is about the best thing you can hear.
13- Kitchen (or otherwise) art. Lightweight, paper mache’ letters can be found at any craft or art supply store, but if you have a workshop with the proper saw, you should easily be able to sketch out and cut these letters out of lightweight wood, sand, and paint.
14- Christmas stockings! There are about a bazillion different stocking tutorials, but I’ve gotta point out these upcycled stockings made out of old sweaters. They are adorable!
15- Etched drinking glasses! Yeah, I know, this is the third craft involving glass etching cream, but I love it. It’s an easy and relatively inexpensive way to customize glass or mirrors. This is a fun one to combine with coasters and an alcohol related baked good. (Unfortunately, you need a week for this pepper vodka to fully infuse, so you’re out of luck for Christmas Day, but you’re in luck if you need a New Year’s hostess gift!)
16- Canned goods. Yes, Virginia, you can can foods in the winter! The linked post includes links to a ton of seasonally appropriate foods to can. (Note: YMMV depending on your area. Don’t forget to quickly research which foods are in season before taking on this project.)
Hopefully, these ideas will give you a jumping point for your extremely last minute Christmas crafting. Good luck and happy crafting!