DIY gifts you can give for the holidays
By Mikaela Delos Santos, Staff Writer
Can you believe it? The holidays are coming up, which means it’s finally that time of year when we write a list, check it twice and figure out what to give all the special people in our lives. Unfortunately, the joy of crowded night markets and Christmas shopping at malls with Mariah Carey playing in the background won’t be the same this year. Online shopping is a feasible option, but where’s the fun in that?
With that in mind, what would be better and more meaningful than making your own gifts to give your loved ones this year?
If you are on a budget, below are five crafts under $5 to $10 you can make as gifts this holiday season.
If you have nail polish bottles lying around in your vanity somewhere, you can use them for more than just dazzling up your nails — you can create beautiful, marbled mugs for the holidays. All you need is nail polish, toothpicks, mugs and a container.
Depending on the look you’re going for, I recommend getting solid-coloured mugs with no designs on them. You can find such mugs at your local dollar store, or if you have time (and luck) to find the perfect mug, you can give your nearest thrift store a try.
First, fill your container with some hot water, and make sure it’s one you’re willing to part with, as it’s about to get messy. The hot water will help your nail polish spread out and set nicely. Take your nail polish and put a drop or two into the hot water. You can also try several different colours in one go. When you are satisfied with the colour combinations you have, swirl it around with a toothpick to create the “marbled” effect. Dip your mug into the water with the nail polish and let it dry overnight.
Keep in mind that your mugs will not be microwave-safe or dishwasher-safe after doing so.
Are you looking for something cozy and comfortable to give to your friends or family?
What’s fun about making homemade candles is that you can get creative with the container, scent and colours! All you will need is candle wax, candle wicks, a container, fragrance oils (optional), colouring (optional) and some skewers or popsicle sticks. You can find all of these at your local craft store.
Personally for a container, I like using empty glass jars I save from pasta sauces because it’s cute, unique and sustainable. In fact, I like using them for a lot of other things. Other options are cute mugs or teacups you might find from thrift stores — you can even use your marbled mugs if you’d like!
To make these, start with putting your wick in your container. To keep it in place, tie the wick around your skewer or popsicle stick. Heat up your wax as per the instructions and add your colouring and fragrance of choice. Pour your wax into the cups and let it cool overnight.
Photo tile coasters
Want to give your sentimental loved one the gift of some cute memories?
This gift is perfect for grandparents or your parents — and just under $10! All you need are 4in x 4in tiles, 4in x 4in photos, scissors, Mod Podge, a foam brush, foam sheets, a hot glue gun and a clear sealant spray. Most of these you will find at your local craft store and you can find the tiles at your local hardware store.
Print out some photos using regular printer paper and cut them out. Coat your tiles with some Mod Podge and press your photo on the tile and let dry. Add another coat, brushing both vertically and horizontally with your foam brush. Let it dry — add more coats if you feel it is necessary.
When it is fully dry, cut out 4in x 4in foam squares to place at the back of your coasters. This is to prevent scraping on tables when you use it. Use your glue gun to stick it to the tile so it stays in place. As the last step, spray your tile coasters with a clear sealant to make sure they last. Let it dry and your gift is ready to be wrapped!
Are you the baker of the friend group or family, but don’t have the time to make it all?
This one is pretty easy and, most importantly, not time-consuming — perfect for those who are looking to manage their time with all the holiday fuss. All you need is a big enough jar for your recipe and the other ingredients can likely be found in your kitchen.
The recipe you would want to share with your loved ones is up to you if you’re willing to part with your secrets! Preferably, give them your specialty. Other ideas also include brownies, cakes and cookies.
Gather all your dry ingredients and pour them into the jar as a mix — if your recipe needs perishable ingredients added, don’t fret! Your giftee should be able to get these on their own. Create some tags that include instructions and what additional ingredients they need to add, attach it to a ribbon and tie it around your jar for an easy and thoughtful gift!
Looking for something fun to give the kids?
If I were still a kid, I would definitely want this for the holidays. In fact, I still want it now in my adulthood. Gone are the days when we’d scavenge through mom’s closet of sheets and blankets. Here’s what you need: a large flat sheet, a flashlight, some clamps, rope and a bag to hold your kit.
Put everything in the bag and make a cute label that tells them what it is. You can even add some snacks or board games. This is something your kid, nephew, niece or younger sibling would definitely adore and remember. And you can easily find all of this at your local craft and hardware stores.
The holidays can be daunting, but they don’t have to be. Hopefully, these ideas will help you with the demand and stress of finding the perfect gift for your loved ones. Whatever it may be, just always remember it’s the thought that counts.