It’s the holiday party season again, and that means stocking up on gifts for all of your favorite hostesses. If you’re stuck in a gift-giving rut or just can’t stand to give another bottle of wine, give do-it-yourself gifts a shot.
“You can’t spend any amount of money for what a thoughtful DIY gift is worth,” says KariAnne Wood, creator of the decorating blog Thistlewood Farms and fabric line Simply Eclectic. “In this busy holiday season, sometimes it’s nice to press the pause button on buying and take a moment to honor a person with a handmade gift.
While Pinterest has no shortage of ideas, many of the projects are better suited for professional artisans than everyday folk. Here are three ideas that are both thoughtful and truly beginner-friendly:
1. DOTTED SHARPIE MUG FROM DESIGNER TRAPPED IN A LAWYER’S BODY
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Want to make a gift that’s one-of-a-kind and personalized? Tasha Agruso, DIY and home decor blogger at Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body, has the perfect project: a coffee mug monogrammed with little Sharpie maker dots. You’ll need a white mug, Sharpie paint markers in whichever colors you like, craft stickers with the letter of your choosing and an oven. (You can also erase any mistakes with a Q-tip and nail polish remover.)
Just put the letter sticker on the mug and make dots around the sticker. Make sure to go from the sticker edge outward, making your dots lighter as you go. You can use one color or multiple — whichever you think your hostess would like the best. Let it dry, remove the sticker and bake the mug in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit so it can be washable. There are also many different design ideas on her site, as well as a video tutorial of the project.
Agruso considers this a great project — providing a big bang for such a small amount of effort. And it will be worth it when you see them unwrap it.
“What would you rather receive?” Agruso asks. “A unique, handmade gift or a bottle of wine that you could easily purchase yourself at the store?”
2. THE COMMEMORATIVE HOME PILLOW FROM THISTLEWOOD FARMS
Wood considers this the perfect gift for “the person who has everything.” Whether it’s a family lake house or a newlywed’s first home, everyone has a nostalgic place they cherish. Find a picture of it, add a fun watercolor effect and transfer it onto a throw pillow for a perfect commemorative gift. The project only takes about 45 minutes from beginning to end and requires just a few supplies: an iron, a digital picture, a free or inexpensive photo-editing app such as Waterlogue, photo-transfer paper you can find at any craft store and a throw pillow case. (Wood likes the super-cheap ones at Ikea.)
Simply follow the instructions on the app and the transfer paper, iron it onto the case and let it cool. The project’s ease factor is almost a present in itself, says Wood.
3. WINDOWSILL HERB GARDEN FROM LITTLE FARMSTEAD
Many hostesses are either foodies or chefs. This gift will thrill both. Julie Thomas of the Little Farmstead blog likes giving her friends and family this perfect shabby-chic gift: an herb garden in vintage metal cans. She pots a range of herbs in copper canisters (although silver soup cans work well too), poking holes at the bottom and adding gravel for drainage. She suggests filling the bottom quarter of the can with gravel, adding potting soil and the herbs, and then leaving a 2-inch opening at the top for water.
Finish it off with some rustic packaging by tying a piece of twine around each can and adding a hand-written gift tag to it.
Those looking to take this project to the next level can check out Thomas’ instructions for creating little plant markers for each with vintage silverware, a mallet, a hammer steel punches and a Sharpie.