I can hear the collective groan, but yes, it is time to start thinking about Christmas if you plan to make gifts. You don’t want to be a bleary-eyed crafting fiend the night before Christmas. Leave that to the elves. If you’re looking for something fun, affordable, and cool, here are six ideas for this Christmas.
Canvas Floor Mat
We have several doors in our house that are too low for rugs, but I want that extra buffer after people wipe their feet on the outdoor mat. My mom created these canvas floor mats that are as thin as a piece of fabric, but hold up well. To make them, buy pre-treated canvas rolls (usually treated with Gesso) at the art store, along with acrylic paint, brushes, and stencils. Cut the mat to size and then use carpet tape on the back to “hem” it. Sketch your design on paper, then paint the mat. If you’re not artistic, use the stencils. Let it dry, and then apply several coats of clear shellac. When it’s dry, it can be cleaned with a mop.
Visit a paper store to buy pre-folded white notecards. Next go to the craft store to buy stencils, watercolor paint, and brushes. Paint a pretty design on ten cards, then tie them and ten envelopes together with a ribbon. You could also use stamps rather than paint. Few people write notes these days, but most women still love pretty stationery.
My sister had trouble organizing her jewelry one year, so I made her a pretty pegboard. I simply bought a piece of white corkboard and stapled on a fabric frame. She mounted it to the wall and hooked her necklaces over clear pushpins. You could get fancier by covering the corkboard in attractive fabric in the recipient’s office or bedroom colors. You’ll only need a yard, so you should be able to find cheap scraps at the fabric store. Buy complementary ribbons and place diagonal strips over the canvas to form diamonds. Use upholstery pins to hold down the strips where they cross.
For the more sentimental people on your list, make teacup candles. You can find cheap teacups at the thrift store. They don’t have to match, but avoid cracked cups. Then visit a craft store for paraffin wax and dye dots or unscented candles, and wicks. If you’re using candles, cut it off the wax first. Now melt the wax in a double boiler. Pour it into the cup. Tie the wick around a pencil with a piece the depth of the cup extended from the center. Dip the wick into the teacup and rest the pencil on the edges to hold the wick in place while the wax cools.
This one is simple and fun for you, too. First, buy wine in a cool bottle (bottle color or shape, not the label.) Drink the wine. Soak the bottle until the label comes off and wash the inside and out thoroughly. Paint the bottle with a non-toxic paint suitable for glass. Stick an oil dispenser tap in the top and you’re set.
Buy cheap wooden frames at the craft store, and then hot blue buttons, beads, seashells, or other fun, funky items in an attractive design to the frame. Place a photo of yourself and the recipient inside. It’s a keepsake and a way to show you care.
Baked goods are always popular, but you pretty much have to make those a few days before you give them or make a lot of room in your freezer. Need more ideas? Check out my list of seven more traditional homemade Christmas gifts.