Simple Gifts to Make Yourself

Simple Gifts to Make Yourself

By Brenda Hyde

Gifts should reflect how you feel about the person. This doesn't mean you should have to spend a lot of money. Often the handmade gift shows how much you care and is treasured more by the person, than a storebought gift. Here are some simple gifts you can create for birthdays, holiday gifts or other special occasions.

Gardening Gloves

Buy nice canvas gardening gloves, usually in a plain cream/white color. Use acrylic craft paint to stencil on a a flower pot, leaves or flowers. You may sponge paint the gloves also and near the wrist put the person's name on the glove. For a Grandma or Mom you could use "Grandma's Garden", and let the kids draw little flowers freehand with the craft paint.

Glass Hostess Gifts

Buy a clear glass pitcher and cups or glasses, or a nice bowl. If you watch specials you can often find them as low as $5.00-$10.00. You can also add cork coasters to the set. You will need an acrylic enamal paint made to use on glass. I have found asking at the craft store is the easiest way to find the correct paint! You will need plastic plates for palettes, and household sponges.

First Step: Cut one to three shapes from your sponges; good choices are stars, hearts, diamonds, a simple flower shape or any shape that is easy to cut out. The size depends on how large your glass item is; 1-2 inches should be good.

Second Step: Your paint can be varied, such as three different primary colors, or one color such as gold for a festive touch, or an earth tone for a country look. Spread each color on a plate. Using a different sponge for each sponge. Dip sponge into paint, making sure it's coated but blotting if it's runny. Press the sponge carefully onto the glass. Keep the paint at least 1/2 inch away from the top of the cups or glasses. If you are using coasters paint one design in the middle of the coaster top. Let Dry.

Third Step: Heat-set paint as directed on label for dishwasher use.

Tote Bags

One year I gave each woman in my family a personalized tote bag, and they still have them! This is an easy and fun craft. It can be as elaborate or simple as you wish. This would also be a great theme gift with your gardening gloves above if you use a gardening stencil. Place gloves, handmade soap, one or two gardening tools, garden markers and a nail brush in the bag with a gift tag attached. Easy! Whether you do this, or give the tote bag alone it's a nice personalized gift.

Painting: Choose your tote bag. This time of year they are often on sale at craft stores. The cream colored bags are the best for decorating with paints. Prewash and dry the bag; and I would iron to make sure it's nice and smooth. Stenciling is an easy way to decorate the bag. Choose your stencil, and the colors you wish to use. Use a paint made for fabric stenciling, and a good stencil brush. Be sure to dab the brush, and blot on paper towel or you will get smearing on your design. Allow to dry for ten days to be sure it is set. Attach instructions for hand washing in cool water and mild soap.

Other Methods: Vintage buttons, combined with embroidery can make an elegant bag. Create a design such as a heart by securely sewing on pretty buttons in a heart shape. In the middle embroidery the persons name. You can do this on one or both sides. Several other things that can be used to decorate the bags are: sewing a decorative pocket on each side of the bag; using an applique process with scrap country fabrics you have on hand; or finally visit your fabric store and choose fancy trims that you attach and create designs on the tote bag.

Decorated Clay Pots

Your imagination can run wild with decorated clay pots. You can give them empty, fill with gardening themed gifts, or give with a lovely plant already in the pot. You can even put herbs, and other culinary items, in the pot as a "gift basket" then wrap with cellephane, and raffia. They are easy to create.

You will need:

Clay flowerpots

1" foam brush


fine-point brush

gesso or acrylic paint

assorted craft paints

assorted seed catalogs pictures or magazine pictures

Decoupage Finish

Step One:Brush a coat of gesso or primer paint on the surface of the flower pot. Let dry.

Step Two: Paint the pot a solid color or create stripes or bands. You can paint the top of the pot a different color or use dots, stripes, zig zags etc. to decorate. Let each color dry before adding another. While the paint dries thumb through your catalogs or magazine and cut out flowers to decoupage.

Step Three: Arrange cutouts and lightly mark positions with a pencil. Place each cutout on a paper plate and brush with the decoupage finish on the back of your cutout. Lift by edges and press in place on pot, smooothing down to eliminate air bubbles. Wipe off excess finish with a damp paper towel.

Step Four: Continue with all of your cutouts, and you may add accents like leaves and more background around the cutouts iwth paint. Seal with one or two coats of the decoupage finish.

Handmade gifts will be treasured by your friends and family. Use your imagination to come up with themes that fit the personality of the person you are giving the gift to. Take your time and have fun!


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