Hand-made Gifts

Hand-made gifts are still a wonderful holiday idea. The DIY (do-it-yourself) spirit is alive and strong! For those who like to make their own gifts there are lots of options.

Whether it is a birthday, an anniversary or even a national holiday, the number one thing on everyone's mind is: what on earth am I going to give this year?

Most of us when trying to figure out our hand-made gift idea first think of how much money we have or want to spend and then what that money can buy.

Yet a few of us out there start to see all sorts of possibilities of what we can make to give our special someone(s) that is sure to be cherished more than a store-bought item.

Making home-made gifts is a great idea even for teens and children.

Here are some ideas of crafts and gifts you might consider as gifts.

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If you’re looking for a pennywise DIY (Do it yourself) way to ease the burden of gift-giving, making a hand-made gift may be the perfect idea for you. One really nice aspect is that there are lots of choices of projects to choose among and many of them take less money than time and love. You may have a favourite already. Even if you do, sometimes it’s fun to try something new.

Here are just a few suggestions:

1.Needlework. People who do needlework are good with their hands and enjoy having something to do while relaxing or watching TV. They're probably already experts at making use of hand-made gifts.

If you haven't tried this before, pick up a small inexpensive kit before you indulge in more pricey and difficult patterns.

There are many ways needle workers enjoy sewing, embroidery, tatting, beadwork, or other such needle arts.

Depending on the occasion, they may choose something small, such as sewing napkins, aprons, and potholders or cross-stitching a magnet or a small, simple picture or a key-chain.

For occasions that require a bit more, embroidering a larger picture or sewing a cherished item like a handbag, dress, pillow or bath robe are great holiday gift ideas.

2. Knit and Crochet. The next crafters are those who knit or crochet. Holiday hand crafted gifts that are quick and inexpensive would include, but are not limited to, winter hats, scarves, gloves and/or mittens. But you can also make place mats, kitchen dish cloths and even purses (think 2 place mats sewn together with a strap)

Can you believe it one of my sons wanted to make gifts for Christmas when he was 9 or 10 years old? (He’s still very handy with his hands but does mechanics and woodworking now)I taught him a simple double crochet pattern and he made scarves for all the men in the family. He did it in two weeks! So this is something even children can do for their grandmas and grandpas and friends.

A more intimate gift would be a sweater, poncho or slippers but these, of course, would take longer to do and your investment would be larger.

However, for those who have the time and want to give a larger gift, afghans may be the way to go. With all the different ways one can incorporate color, texture, and different designs into their afghans, this holiday gift idea is sure to be cherished for many years.

For speed I prefer one that is made in long strips or one piece to cut down on the sewing at the end, but others enjoy making lots of granny squares and then sewing them all together at the end. That’s especially handy for people who like to take a little project in their purse where ever they go.

Vanna White, well known from the TV game show, Wheel of Fortune, makes many hand-made gifts, usually crocheted afghans for gifts from what I've heard. She recommends if you have a lot of hand crafted gifts to make that you consider Lap rugs. A lap rug is just a small afghan blanket.

Two reasons to consider that might make choosing this smaller size project worth considering. One, of course, is that it’s faster to do. If time is of the essence or you have a lot to make, this will make getting them all done possible.

The other consideration is, whether you have a lot of gifts to make or not, is that you might prefer to choose more expensive yarn and make a really luxurious lap rug. So you might want to weigh in the balance size of project and quality and cost of yarn.

I had a friend who used to buy up old sweaters, take them apart, and re-make them into small rugs for gifts. Perfect for bedside or hanging on the wall. One year she made a very large coiled and braided rug with all the wool yarn she had collected and re-dyed. It was magnificent – but she didn’t give it away! Very thrifty way to find quality yarn but not so easy nowadays to find wool sweaters.

3. Beadwork. Many people good with their hands like to bead necklaces, earrings and other jewelery items. These hand-made gifts can be made for special occasions like weddings or proms to co-ordinate with a special dress or outfit.

There are wonderful variations of beads available in craft stores at every price point. Or you might like to recycle and scout out second hand stores for old necklaces to take apart and re-use.

The options are endless. Get ideas for hand-made gifts from magazines. Check out your local thrift store for old magazines where you can find instruction for different beading techniques to get yourself going.

4. Scrap booking. This popular hobby leaves a person open to many options for very appreciated hand-made gifts.

Make whole albums or individual pages for birthday, Christmas and wedding gifts.

Another idea if you are a scrap booker is to put together a kit for someone else to learn your hobby.

Check out discount or dollar stores for real deals on scrap booking materials as they can get very pricey.

5. Woodworking. Besides the needlework arts which are often considered more on the feminine side (but many men do them, too), there are also those love love working with wood. You can lots of ideas at your local or craft stores like Michaels who have project made and ready to be painted or decorated in your own unique way.

Some examples of hand crafted gifts they may come up with are small picture frames, carving a small statue of something their friend or family member would be quite fond of, such as fish, birds or even a caricature of themselves.

That same son of mine has made wooden chests (not too big) and bird feeders as gifts.

Larger projects for holiday gift ideas would be creating a headboard for a child's bed, a jewelry box, or even a spice rack for the cooking enthusiast.

7. Painting. One last hand crafted gifts hobby that many people have is the painting arts. These arts include such things as oil and water-based canvas paintings but also consider smaller items like calendars and journals. .

Having an art piece creating by an endearing friend is sure to be passed down in the family, and the painting will always be worth much more than any mere price tag due to the love put into it.

Even the art work of young children can be framed for gifts that are sure to be cherished.

And painting doesn't have to stand on it's own - as many an artist has shown. Using coloured tissue paper and other found items can greatly embellish hand-painted cards or other gifts.

8. Air Brushing. Yet another painting art would be airbrushing. A still hot holiday gift idea is airbrushed T-shirts, and when one is created by someone you know, it feels just a little better when wearing it.

If you had to purchase the equipment and paint, it would still be pennywise if you used it a lot. Who knows, maybe you would end up with a new business!

9. Fabric Art. You can buy fabric paints to adorn many clothing items, including a T-shirts. One year my pre-school children and I painted large leaves and used them to make prints on plain white T-shirts (the really inexpensive ones)for Christmas gifts.

The children were 5 years, 4 years and 2 years so my expectations were of a "cute" gift from the grandchildren. Imagine my delight at the quality of the work! Everyone was enchanted - and many people said 'you should make these to sell'!

Hmmm...child labor at its best! (now they're all grown up - and still love to use their multiple talents in many creative ways.)

Decorating T-shirts and other clothing is easier now than ever with ready-made t-shirts , aprons and bags and the use of a computer to design and print your own designs.

Best Pennywise Tip: Go for it! Taking the time to craft a hand-made gift for another person will always beat out anything that is merely bought. You’ll reap a personal reward from making it and the person it’s made for will receive more than just a gift – your love will always travel with it.

It may not always appear that way at first, but over time the gifts that leave the most lasting impression are those made by hand by someone who loved us enough to share themselves and their talents.

There are many ways to hand-made gifts. When you find your favorite hobby, you'll have something you can do for years.

Oh, yes, it's a great way to save money on gifts, too!

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