The holidays are a time spent with family and friends but they can also be expensive. Instead of breaking the bank to get shiny new gifts for everyone on your list, have a crafty Christmas. We’ve picked out some of our favorite DIY gifts for the holidays that your family and friends will love!
Bath, Beauty and Body Gifts:
Make Your Own Soaps!
A House in the Hills has an outrageously yummy tutorial for Grapefruit and Lavender Soap and Coconut and Mint Soap that you have to try! The step by step instructions make it easy for anyone to follow, even if you have never made soap before.
Ingredients and Supplies:
- zest of 1 grapefruit
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lavender
- 3 tablespoons coconut flakes
- 8-10 chopped fresh sage leaves
- 15-20 drops peppermint essential oil
- 15-20 drops lavender essential oil
- 1lb bag shea butter
- soap mold
Method for Soap Base:
- Rinse soap molds to ensure they are free of any residue. Let dry and place on baking sheet to make transporting them later easier.
- Check to make sure baking sheet fits in freezer, choose a smaller sheet if it doesn’t!
- Melt soap base according to package instructions (we used the shea butter listed above).
- For stove top melting use a double boiler system by filling a large pot with water and putting a smaller pot inside of it.
- Once water has boiled, place shea butter in smaller pot and turn heat to low/simmer. Cover and heat.
- Stir every few minutes until shea butter is completely melted.
- While soap is melting gather grapefruit zest, lavender, chopped sage, coconut flakes, peppermint oil and lavender oil.
Method for Grapefruit and Lavender Soap:
- Once soap base has melted let sit for a couple of minutes.
- Pour out 1 cup of soap base into measuring cup.
- Add grapefruit zest, lavender and 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil to measuring cup, stirring frequently so ingredients don’t settle to the bottom.
- Pour into 3-4 soap molds.
- Use spatula to ensure even distribution of lavender and grapefruit zest.
- Rinse measuring cup.
Method for Coconut and Mint Soap:
- Pour remaining soap base into measuring cup and add coconut flakes, chopped sage leaves, and 15-20 drops of peppermint oil stirring frequently.
- Pour into 3-4 soap molds.
- Use spatula to ensure even distribution of coconut flakes and sage leaves.
- Let sit for 1 hour then place in freezer for 1 hour.
- Soaps should pop out of mold easily with use of a knife to cut around edges.
Make Your Own Mint Sugar Scrub!
Another one of our favorite beauty gifts comes from Love Grows Wild and gives you step by step instructions on how to make your own Mint Sugar Scrub. This project only takes 5 minutes of prep and 5 minutes to complete which makes it even better! Plus it is an inexpensive gift to make.
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1½ – 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
- 1 drop green food coloring
- Place coconut oil in a bowl and microwave on HIGH 15-25 seconds until softened.
- Start by adding 1½ cups sugar to the oil, along with the peppermint extract and green food coloring. Mix until ingredients are well combined and food coloring is evenly distributed. If mixture is too wet, add another ½ cup sugar until scrub is to desired consistency.
- Spoon scrub into air-tight containers (such as a mason jar) and decorate with twine or ribbon.
Make Your Own Bath Bombs!
- 300g Sodium Bicarbonate
- 100g Citric Acid
- 10ml of almond oil
- Water in a spray bottle
- Dried petals
- Coloring (suitable for use in cosmetics)
- Scent – (suitable for use in cosmetics)
- plastic cup
- mixing bowl
- food prep gloves
Method One – for making one color and fragrance only (Makes 5-6 round 2 inch bombs):
Do not touch your eyes when making this, have a big bowl of soapy water ready so you/kids can wash hands when you need to. Gloves are handy to discourage this or if you have cuts in the skin, as citric acid can sting.
- Mix the sodium bicarb and citric acid in a bowl until thoroughly blended, sieving helps, although I forgot this bit and it still worked.
- Mix 10ml of oil, 20-60 drops of color and up to 40 drops of fragrance in a plastic cup.
- Add the smelly, colored oil to the sodium and citric acid mix. It may well fizz, so stir rapidly and blend with the back of a metal spoon, or get stuck in and use gloved hands to blend in the oil. This can take a bit of blending, but it is amazing how the color develops!
- Add your petals at this stage.
- Spray the mix with water, continuing to mix all the time, be cautious, you are aiming to get to only to the point where the mixture just holds together when lightly squeezed in your hand. It doesn’t want to be sticky.
- Press the mixture tightly into your mold and smooth it level. If you are using a two piece mold like in the picture below, you need to hold the two pieces together tightly and clip them together, you might need to give both sides a spritz of water to help them adhere.
- For silicone molds, just smooth over, or make a dome for a cupcake if you fancy! We also pressed petals into the top of some of the cupcake style bombs.
Home Décor Gifts:
Make Your Own Watercolor Mugs!
PoppyTalk has a tutorial to make beautiful watercolor mugs. They’re simple, elegant and pretty. For anybody on your list in need some of kitchen ware, or serious coffee drinkers, will love to add these mugs to their kitchen.
What you need:
- White Ceramic Mug
- Old or Disposable Bowl/Container
- Nail Polish
- Fill the bowl with warm water.
- Add a drop of nail polish to the water and let it spread out. You can also use a skewer to swirl the color around a bit to give it the effect you’d like.
- Dip your mug in the water.
- You can use nail polish remover to remove any excess nail polish on the bottom and inside of the mug or sections that got messed up.
- Carefully pat mug dry with paper towel.
- You can repeat with additional colors if you want.
- Once you’ve achieved the look you want, let it sit for at least two hours.
Make Your Own Tea Tin Candles!
- Metal tins (make sure they don’t leak by filling them with water first)
- candle wax (you can use old candles, basic candles or an assortment of waxes available at craft stores)
- candle wicks
- tin base for wicks
- double boiler
- wooden chopsticks or skewers
- a candle making handbook for more details and troubleshooting (Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts includes simple, basic instructions)
- If your wicks are not pre-waxed, you will want to coat them with a thin layer of wax. Melt a small amount of wax in the top section of the double boiler. Place the uncoated wicks in the wax, coat with wax and remove to harden.
- Prepare your tins by cleaning them. Add the tin base to the wicks and place inside the metal tins. Dabbing a bit of melted wax on the bottom of the wick tin base will help hold it in place. Use a skewer to stretch over the metal tin, then wrap the wicks around the skewer to hold in place.
- Melt your desired amount of wax. Different types of wax have different melting points. Wax will not boil, but it is extremely flammable. You will want to take every necessary safety precaution before melting the wax. I used basic scented candles and melted them down.
- Once melted, pour the wax into the vintage tins. If the top of the candle does not dry smoothly (especially around the wick), this could be a sign of air bubbles. Use a wooden skewer to poke down into the candle (when still soft) to release the air. Add melted wax to the top to create a smooth finish.
- Let the wax harden for about 24 hours. Trim excess wick and enjoy for yourself or as a gift!
Make Your Own Polaroid Coasters!
- 4×4 white ceramic tiles
- 3.5 x 5 photos
- Mod Podge
- Sponge brush
- Clear acrylic spray
- Small felt circles
How to do it:
- Once you have your photos printed and ready, you’ll need to trim them down to 3.25 x 3.75″, which means you’re shaving off 0.25″ height-wise and 1.25″ width-wise.
- Clean and dry your ceramic tile. I’ve also heard that “roughing up” your tile with some sandpaper helps the Mod Podge adhere better. I didn’t do this, but I did have some issues with slidey photos and my Mod Podge scraping off with little effort, so it’s probably a good idea.
- Using your sponge brush, paint a thin coat of Mod Podge on the back of your photo. Carefully place the photo on your ceramic tile, leaving about 1/4″ border around the top and two sides, and about 1″ border at the bottom.
- Smooth down the photo with a credit card or something similar, taking care not to let the photo slide around on the tile too much. Let dry.
- Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge with your sponge brush over the entire tile, photo included. Make sure you’re using even, straight brush strokes, since these will still be somewhat visible on the final product. The Mod Podge will look white when you paint it on, but it dries clear. Let dry for several hours.
- Tip: I know there’s a lot of “let dry” after each little step going on here, but I highly recommend doing this project with a lot of patience. My first couple attempts I got impatient and tried to keep layering Mod Podge or just slapping it over a not-dry photo before it was completely dry, and it always turned out badly for me. Moral of the story: don’t do this project with a deadline, and be prepared for some watch-grass-grow and watch-paint-dry style patience.
- Repeat step 5 two or three more times until you have a good strong coat on top of your photo. Let dry between each coat.
- When the Mod Podge is completely dry, spray the tile with a coat of your Clear Acrylic spray. This should remove the “tackiness” of the Mod Podge and make the coaster even more water resistant.
There you have it; try these easy DIY gifts for the holidays at home. We have picked out some of our favorite tutorials to help you have a crafty Christmas and make great gifts this holiday season. Get creative this holiday season and make fun, unique gifts instead of shopping at your big brand stores. Save money and create gifts with more meaning. Once you try these projects out, comment in the section below and let us know what you think! Enjoy!