Save the holidays and your bank account: DIY gifts

While it may be better to give than to receive, gift-giving during the holiday season can be stressful and expensive. Fortunately, there are many easy, homemade present options that will leave students and their wallets happy.

  1. Canvas Totes   From after-school practices to overnighters, totes are durable enough and large enough to carry anything necessary. Making the bag is simple- it only requires the canvas material, a lightweight lining, straps, and basic sewing skills. You can also just purchase a pre-made canvas tote. However, they don’t make the most exciting present unless you take the time to decorate them. There are plenty of ways to add personality to the bag, including iron-ons, stenciling, gems, extra fabric, and gel paint. Fortunately, all of these embellishments can be purchased at any craft store.
  2. Candles or Lip Balms    Both of these have similar construction, and actually aren’t that hard to make. There are numerous ways to make candles and lip balm, so it’s easy to be creative and personalize them. The basic instructions for candles involve pouring wax heated with a double boiler into molds, although the linked website offers alternative tolls to keep the cost down. For lip balms, the site given suggests melting and mix a blend of beeswax, coconut oil, lanolin, vitamin E, honey, and peppermint. Try using a combination of dyes, scents, and flavors to spice up the gift.
  3. Clothes with Transfer Paper   Iron-On transfer paper can be found at almost any craft supply store and is simple to use.  As the name implies, it allows the buyer to transfer any computer design onto any fabric surface. It works great for making personalized spirit wear or outfits for themed occasions.  All that’s needed for this project is the transfer paper, the fabric the design will go on, an iron, and a computer to print the graphic.
  4. Jewelry  Ever since the days of childhood friendship bracelets, jewelry has been a popular choice for do-it-yourself gifts. It’s important to keep the person in mind and stick with pieces they’ll actually want to wear; just because it’s homemade doesn’t mean it needs to look homemade. Luckily, it’s easy to dress up jewelry with classy beads and materials like wire or silk thread. For something similar to the bracelet above, the craft would need the various beads, a leather cord, scissors, beading thread and needle, and possibly glue and wire. From there, the bracelet just involves a specific threading pattern, which can be explained in the step-by-step process.
  5. Watermark Tee   This is a really unique idea that’s simpler than it appears. Choose a favorite quote, song verse, or picture, and draw it out in glue on a white shirt. Then, dye the shirt, allow it to dry, and wash. The result is a decorative shirt that looks store-bought.
  6. Baking   It might sound lame, but honestly, who doesn’t love holiday food? If they’re paired with another small gift or packaged with an interesting plate/basket, baked goods can be the perfect way to spread the holiday cheer. There are millions of recipes out there, so it should be easy to find at least one recipe friends and family will enjoy.

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