Getting crafty

As Christmas draws near, many find themselves scrambling for gift ideas. Stuffed full of Thanksgiving dinner, you wake up the next morning realizing you have a lot of shopping to get done with little time to do it in. And just thinking about going to the department stores packed earmuff to earmuff does not sound like the ideal shopping experience for you.

A lot of people have gone to giving gift cards. It is quick and easy, but not a very meaningful gift, if that is what you would like to go for this year. How can you give meaningful gifts to your friends and family? Maybe try DIY (do it yourself) gifts this year.

DIY crafty Christmas projects may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy crafts and making things yourself, a homemade gift can mean much more to those you give them to than that tie or pair of slippers you were thinking about buying.

You should remember, though, when thinking of going the crafty route, craft projects, depending on the type you want to make, also take some time to create and could end up costing you more money when it’s all said and done. So, keep to your budget and know exactly what you are looking for before you enter the craft store. Also keep an eye out for sales and coupons, as there are many to take advantage of this time of the year.

For the past several years, I have made many presents for those on my Christmas list. Last year seemed to have a theme. Most of my homemade gifts were made using wine corks. It’s amazing how many different things you can make out of the corks when you get a little creative.

Some of the cork gifts I made were cooking trivets, different sized coasters, colorful tree ornaments and even a paper towel holder. The ornaments were very easy and quick to make, but the other items took a little more time to cut and assemble.

These items were relatively cheap to make. All of the corks I got from friends and I had a lot of the other items already on hand that I needed to make the gifts.

Cork coasters

Flat sheet of think cork

10-15 wine corks (depending on size of

coaster you want to make)

Glue gun and glue

Exacto knife, or other sharp knife

Sand paper

Draw the shape of the coaster you want to make onto the thin cork, then cut the shap out with scissors.

Place the wine corks on top of the flat cork to align them how you want them to look before cutting. Glue the corks down to the base.

After the glue cools and hardens, use the knife to cut the corks around the base shape. Use sand paper to smooth the edges.

Make sure to have something under your project area so you don’t cut your counters or table.

Cork trivet

About 30 wine corks, cut in half

Glue gun and glue


Sand paper

Cut corks in half, as smooth and straight as possible. Sand down corks to make them all even. Depending on the thickness of the ribbon you want to use, you will want to cut the corks to the same thickness.

Assemble corks in the shape you would like to make the trivet then glue each one together until all corks are glued together in the desired shape.

Glue ribbon around the edge of the trivet to give it a little color.

Cork ornaments

Wine corks

Thin wire


Feed thin wire down through the center of the wine cork leaving enough wire at the top to make a loop. You can add beads to the loop and the wire at the top of the cork and also at the wire at the bottom of the cork. Twist the bottom of the wire to hold beads in place. You can twist the wire to make a design on the bottom of your ornament.

Another homemade gift I made a few years ago were lighted mason jars. I filled mason jars with a string of lights and small ornaments, which made for nice lighted Christmas decorations.

Lighted mason jars

Mason jar

Small strand of lights (white or multi-colored)

Small Christmas ornaments


Piece of material


Glue gun and glue

Fill the mason jar with lights, keeping the plug end out of the top of the jar, long enough to plug into an outlet. Start to fill the rest of the jar with ornaments and tinsel. Close the top of the jar using the material and tie ribbon around the top. Use glue under the material on the jar to make sure it is secure. Plug in and enjoy!

When my youngest nephew was born, I made him a monogram wall picture out of crayons. These are really cute for young children. I had the crayons lying around, so it was pretty cheap to make, too.

Crayon monogram picture

Large box of crayons

Piece of cardstock (whatever color you want your background to be)


Sharp knife

Shadow box

Print out the letter that you would like and use it as a pattern for your monogram. Cut all the crayons and place them on the printed out letter before gluing them down, to make sure they look the way you want them to. Transfer your letter pattern to your background cardstock and glue the crayons down to it. Let sit for a few hours until the glue is dried completely. Glue cardstock to back of a shadow box.

Sequined ornaments

Styrofoam balls


Straight pins



Draw lines on your styrofoam ball if you would like to follow a pattern with your sequins.

Put straight pins down the center of the sequins and push into ball. Continue this until you have achieved the desired look of your Christmas ornament.

You can add beads to your ornament as well, fastening them to the ball with the straight pins.

Cut a small length of ribbon to use as the hanger and use a longer pin to fasten it to the ball. Remove the pin and add a touch of glue to the tip of the pin and insert it back into the ball. This will help hold the hanger in place. Let dry completely before hanging.

If you aren’t crafty or don’t have much time to put something together, but still want to give something homemade, try making some trail mix or homemade cookies. It’s all in the presentation.

You may already have cookies made, now just put them in a bakery box (you can get these at a craft store). Then decorate the box with some cloth ribbon and a big bow, and maybe a homemade tag, and glue a tiny ornament to the top.

Gather some trail mix ingredients and combine them into a mason jar, topped with some festive fabric and a bow.

There are so many DIY projects you could try for your Christmas gifts this year. Search the Internet for the right ones for you and start creating!

I’m sure the recipient of your homemade gifts will be thankful for the thought and time you put into them.

Reppert is the lifestyle and education editor at the Sun-Gazette.