Last week I continued the series I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas with some tips about making gifts that use photos. Today I would like to switch gears only slightly and offer a few ideas for gifts using general arts and crafts. If you’re like me and love using all sorts of arts and crafts, then you will undoubtedly know that there are endless options when it comes to creating homemade gifts. In the same way, so many options can often be a little overwhelming, especially if you don’t feel particularly creative. So let’s brainstorm together and get started making homemade gifts using arts and crafts.
Brainstorming arts and crafts gift ideas
Since there are so many gifts you can make using such materials, I thought a list would be best to get our creative minds rolling. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Make an ornament
- Draw a picture
- Paint a picture
- Make paper-mâché
- Sew something
- Knit a sweater
- Crochet a scarf
- Make a fleece blanket
- Sculpt something
- Make pottery
- Decorate a picture frame
- Carve wood
- Make a candle
- Do a cross-stitch
- Make jewelry
An example of a homemade gift using arts and crafts
I have used a number of the above examples of crafty gifts in past holidays, but one I have used with a considerable amount of success is homemade jewelry, or more specifically, beaded necklaces. Homemade beaded necklaces make excellent gifts, mostly for women, and have a very special quality to them. On top of that, they are actually quite easy and fun to make! I’d like to offer a simple step-by-step process below so you too can make your own beaded necklace.
- Step 1: Purchase your supplies. You will need the following to make a beaded necklace: beads (any you choose!), necklace wire or string, 2 end clasps, 2 crimper beads, a needle-nose pliers, and a scissors. You don’t even need to go to a specialty beading store to get beads these days. In fact, even though I like to explore bead stores, I often buy inexpensive beads from stores like Walmart. Another option to make the process less complicated is to buy a necklace set that includes everything you need except the scissors and pliers. In that case, however, you have limited options for choosing the design since it is chosen for you.
- Step 2: Choose your necklace length and cut your wire/string. It is important to cut your necklace length a few inches longer than you desire, so you have some extra room to work with for stringing your clasps or in case you make a mistake. I make necklaces using wire and my favorite length is just longer than a choker (about 13-15 inches). So in my case I would cut the wire to the length of about 17-21 inches to start with.
- Step 3: Attach a clasp to one end of the wire/string. First take one of your two crimper beads and string it onto your wire/string. Next follow that with one of your two clasps (it doesn’t matter which one). Loop the end of the wire/string back through the crimper bead and pull tightly. You want to leave about an inch of wire/string sticking out past the crimper bead. Once you have it correctly positioned, take your pliers and squeeze the crimper bead tightly until the wire cannot move anymore through the bead. You have now clasped one end of your necklace.
- Step 4: Make a plan for your necklace design. It’s best to simply create a pattern you will stick with throughout the beading process. Be sure to consider the length of your necklace when choosing your pattern.
- Step 5: Bead your necklace. Carefully string the beads according to your pattern. In the beginning, you will be placing beads through a little of your extra wire/string that is sticking out of your crimper bead. You may also choose to cut this piece off. Once you reach the end of the wire/string, leave about an inch or two of room for the final clasp.
- Step 6: Attach the closing clasp to finish your necklace. Using the same process as in step 3, simply take your second crimper bead and slide it next to the last bead on your wire/string. Then add the other clasp. String the wire/string through the crimper bead and any nearby beads, being careful to pull it tightly so as not to leave any slack. Then, as before, take your pliers and squeeze the crimper bead until it is flat. Cut off any extra wire/string sticking out and you have finished your necklace!
Homemade arts and crafts gift ideas from around the web
Several blogs are participating in a great series called Holidays By Hand and so far there have been wonderful ideas for homemade gifts using arts and crafts:
Don’t forget to ask Google too! Here are just a couple of ideas I found in a search today:
- All Things Frugal has a great list of Christmas ornament ideas.
- Check out these instructions on how to make your own no-sew fleece blanket.
Have you ever made homemade gifts using arts and crafts? Feel free to share any ideas here.
Coming up next week
Next week we will switch gears a bit and talk about homemade gift ideas using plants!