Blog, Crafts

Handmade Gifts for Friends and Family

By: Kristen Finstad

With the holiday season comes an abundance of expenses – from the dozens of gifts, to the Christmas tree, to the potlucks, to the decorations…you know how it goes. Handmade gifts are a wonderful way to cut costs in the gift giving department. Plus, everyone knows handmade gifts are so much more meaningful! Here are just a few ideas for homemade and reasonably-priced gifts for anyone on your list:

  1. Pallet Art
    Last year, Andrew was able to get his hands on some pallets at work, and we thought we could turn them into a great Christmas gift for his parents. We looked up all sorts of ideas, and ended up combining a few of our favorites to create this:We started about by painting the sky dark navy and the ground black. Then we lightly sketched the words and pictures with a pencil. We used a skinny sponge brush to fill in the sketches with white paint. Once everything was painted and dried, we drilled holes where we wanted the Christmas lights to come through. We filled in the holes with white paint and added a little star design. Then we covered both boards in a lacquer so that it could survive the Wisconsin winter elements. πŸ™‚ Once that was dry, we taped the Christmas lights to the back, and voila!
    We also thought it might be a good idea to get one of those outdoor spotlights to shine on the boards at night so that you can still see the design.
  2. DIY Sangria Jar
    Who doesn’t love a good sangria? For this gift idea, all you’ll need is a drink dispenser (like this one), a bottle of wine, a variety of fruit (cranberries, lemons, limes, oranges, etc.), and finish it off with a wooden spoon tied to the jar with some cute ribbon. It’s super clever and unique, and requires such minimal effort (which is ideal this time of year, in my opinion!).

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  3. Chocolate Bark
    Christmas cookies abound during the holiday season, so why not mix it up a bit with a little homemade chocolate bark? It’s easy to make, and even easier to eat. πŸ™‚ Try some peppermint bark with white chocolate drizzle. All you need is 12 ounces of milk chocolate (roughly chopped), 1/4 cup of crushed candy canes or peppermints, and 2 ounces of white chocolate. Hold the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water to melt it, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove from heat. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, and pour the melted chocolate, spreading evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, and put in refrigerator. Next, melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Remove the bark from the refrigerator and drizzle in the melted white chocolate. Return to fridge for two hours to solidify. Use a sharp knife to break into various shapes and sizes. Throw into a bag, a jar, or a box, and decorate accordingly. πŸ™‚ That’s it!

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  4. Lemon Sugar Scrub
    A sugar scrub would be such a fun gift to receive, and you can scent them however you like to personalize them to each person you’re gifting them to! You will need: 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1 cup granulated white sugar, 2-4 drops of yellow food coloring, and 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil. First, melt coconut oil in microwave for 20-35 seconds. Pour sugar into oil and mix. Add food coloring to make the color you desire. Store in an air-tight container. Label and decorate accordingly!

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  5. DIY Coasters
    Coasters are another useful, practical gift for anyone, and you can easily personalize them with different designs. Here’s what you’ll need: scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, spray acrylic sealer, foam brushes, a glue gun, a roll of thin cork, and white tiles (found at places like Lowes, Menards, Home Depot, etc.). First step is to trace the tiles on the back of your scrapbook paper and cut out the square. Paint a layer of Mod Podge on the tile, and then lay down the scrapbook paper. Then put another layer of Mod Podge on top. Wait for that layer to dry, and then apply one more layer of Mod Podge. Spray three layers of the spray acrylic sealer. Next, cut out a square of cork and apply it to the bottom of the coaster with your hot glue gun. And that’s it! Wrap them up with some twine or ribbon, and gift away!

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    Which of these do you think you’ll be making this season? What other ideas would you add to this list? Share with us in the comments below!

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