Easy Do-it-Yourself Gifts

With the Christmas season vastly approaching it is a staple of the holiday to exchange gifts with friends and family. This can be very expensive and stressful. With the majority of high school students not having a job, which can be hard to balance with classes and homework, an affordable alternative is making your own gifts! Although they probably won’t be quite as expensive, many people prefer to get a handmade gift that somebody worked on instead of a bought gift. It’s a symbolism of how much a person cares that they are willing to spend their time on you. Below is a list of a large selection of easy gifts…depending on your skill set.

Sewing Gifts

- Mittens Made from a Sweater: The first on this list are mittens made from an old sweater. Up cycling is becoming more and more popular and it is much better then buying new. If you have an old sweater or go to a thrift store, you can easily make a pair of mittens!

Step 1: First you must make a pattern out of either a mitten you own or by tracing your hand onto a piece of paper. Make sure to add 2-3cm for seam allowance.

Step 2: Pick the part of the sweater you would like to make into the mittens. Make sure that they are lined up straight, you don’t want a crooked mitten! Using the bottom of the sweater is best, making a clean trim around the wrists of the mitten.

Step 3: It’s time to start cutting the mitten out of the sweater. Make sure to add the seam allowance and extra space you want before you cut.

Step 4: With the good sides facing in, sew with a similar colour yarn all the way around the rim. Although it will be harder, it is possible to use a sewing machine. Flip inside out, tie together with some ribbon and wrap!

- Potholder: Although it may not be as attractive of a gift for the younger generation, potholders are a very popular gift amongst parents, grandparents and other adults.

Step 1: First you have to pick a fabric. You will need two 10” squares, they can be the same or different pattern, one will be the inner lining, one will be the outer lining. If you choose you can also add extra microwave safe lining to stiffen it and expel heat.

Step 2: Sew evenly along all the edges with the good sides facing in. If you have a microwave safe lining you can also insert that now.

Step 3: Close up the open edge by folding the raw fabric in. There will be a small seam showing, but that is okay.

Step 4: Wrap it nicely and your done!

- Face Masks: Of course, masks are very popular and needed right now. This is a great gift for anyone because they are guaranteed to use them. For this gift you will need fabric, elastic, and the mask we got for school. Both of the raw materials, are things you can get at any craft store, you don’t need much of either.

Step 1: Using the school mask as a pattern, fold the mask in half, using a fabric marker or pencil trace the design onto your fabric, don’t forget seam allowance! You will need two of each side of the mask. (Two of the right side, Two of the Left.)

Step 2: Sew the inner edge where the curve is, good sides facing in, repeat this for all four of the pieces. Next, connect the two pieces by sewing them at the top and bottom, the good sides still facing in.

Step 3: Leaving space at the top and bottom of the sides, sew the middle of each side closed. At the top and bottom insert the elastic, one side on each. Use whichever length you would like.

Step 4: Cut any loose threads and make any changes you would like.

- Hand Warmers: As the Winter approaches it is more necessary than ever to get warm and cozy. One way of helping others do this is to gift them handmade reusable hand warmers. Being quite easy to make, you just need fabric and rice!

Step 1: Cut out two squares out of your choice of fabric and sew along the edges. You can choose to have the seam on the inside or outside. Make sure to leave one side open.

Step 2: Using the one open side, fill you hand warmer halfway with rice. This is what will be heated.

Step 3: Close the last side and Enjoy!

Knitting Gifts

- Cup Cozies: If you know how to knit, this is one of the most basic gifts you can make, and it is always a hot comfortable!

Step 1: Picking your colour of yarn, begin to knit your first line, this will be the height of your cozy.

Step 2: Find a cup you would like to use and measure around the bottom of the cup; this is how long you want it to be. Use the bottom so it is not loose at the bottom but stretches over to the top.

Step 3: After you’ve knitted your strip, knit together the two sides using a needle and yarn.

Step 4: Your done! Enjoy your gift giving!

- Scarf: A scarf is one of the easiest gifts to make if you have knitting skills and is proven to always be useful! Using only a little bit of yarn and a couple of knitting needles.

Step 1 (and the only step): Knit a long strip, then if you like you can cut some strings of yarn and knot them onto the end to make a design at the ends.

Clay and Sculpting

- Clay Earrings: Currently a very hot fashion trend are clay earrings. They may have been popping up on your Pinterest boards, or seen dangling from others ears, they are a must have for the holiday season! These items are completely customizable, and it is almost completely up to your own creativity.

Step 1: First you must gather your materials: you need clay, polymer clay is the best as it is light weight, but any clay will work, plasticine works fine as well. You will also need earring hooks, you can find them at most dollar stores, along with the clay.

Step 2: Rolling the clay out, cut your clay into whichever shape you like. You can also do designs on top of the clay before you cut.

Different designs:

Marbled effect: for this you will need to choose two different colour clays, and you need to have a little more of one colour than the other. Mix them together until they are almost completely mixed, or until it looks how you like it. This only works if you have enough clay; you need about a marble size piece of each. Finally punch a hole at the top and bake in the oven as per the instructions on the packaging of your clay. It may also be air dry, nevertheless this hole is needed to put the hook through.

Rainbow: Picking the colours you like, roll them into tubes and cut so they are about 1.75cm long. Decide which colour you would like as the outside and into descending order into the middle. Make each tube is a little smaller than the next. Finally place them all together and curve until they form the shape of a rainbow. Cut of the ends so they are even.

Cobbled effect: Grabbing two colours, decide on a base colour. Roll this colour out, not completely, and leave it. Next you want to take small, irregular pieces of your second colour and place them on top of your first colour. Rolling it out again, make sure your new pieces are flat onto the earring. Cut into your desired shape and voila!

- Tea Plate: As the weather gets colder more and more people begin to drink warm beverages, including tea. After your done steeping your tea, you need a place to put it down which is where the tea plate comes in. All you have to do is shape your plate and coat it with any sort of polish if you wish, but it is not necessary. This should be hand-washed, and if the person decides to put the tea bag back into their drink once they remove it, make sure to get food safe coating.

Written by Eva Ramsay

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