Some people can’t wait to start browsing the shops for Christmas presents, some even starting as early as January to maximise their money.
Others however feel a twinge of panic as Yuletide draws closer, the image of a dwindling bank balance flashing before their eyes.
Many tend to think that you have to be a creative genius to actually make a present for someone, when nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve put together a list of five great crafty ideas to help keep your bank account out of the festive red…
1. A cookie kit that’ll cost you crumbs
Putting together a cookie making kit is a doddle.
Start off with a glass jam jar big enough to store things in (mason jars are very cheap on eBay).
Find a cookie recipe and put together the dry ingredients needed for them. Measure the ingredients out and wrap them up in sweet wrappers or little squares of cloth. Layer the ingredients in the jar with the first ingredients needed on top.
Now, remember the recipe? Copy the recipe from the website or type it out from the book and then put it in an old fashioned font such as Blackadder or Edwardian script on Word. Print it out to about a quarter of the size of an A4 piece of paper and cut it to size.
Take a little saucer and fill it halfway with cold coffee. Place the cut out of the recipe on the coffee and swirl it around until it’s completely covered, then place it on a dry surface that won’t stain. Don’t leave the paper in there too long or it’ll go soggy! If it’s taking a while to dry, you can help it along with a hairdryer.
Once dry, you’ll see that you’ve created what looks like parchment. You can then put a ribbon through one corner of the slip of paper and tie it to the jar. Ta-daaah!
2. Make your own greeting cards
Making your own cards is a not just a great money-saver – you also rule out the embarrassment of sending the same card as someone else! You’ll get better with practice and can apply your skills to every other card occasion too.
There are lots of card-making instructions to be found on the web but you can start by making a habit of saving up your favourite cards for the pictures and buy cheap craft paper from any stationery store. The secret is to coordinate the colours: match a red Santa with greens and golds, or match a snowman with blues and silvers.
3. Mirror image
This idea is great if you’re buying present for a teenage girl. Pick up a cheap mirror (you can get beautiful mirrors for cheap in charity shops) and some glass paint and fine detail brushes (you can buy these cheaply online or at any craft shop).
Open up Word on your computer and find a really pretty font. Once you’ve found the right one write something to make the recipient feel good every time they see it, such as “gorgeous” or “beautiful”. Print it and cut the letters out so you have a stencil in the sheet of paper.
Take the paper and place it over the top of the mirror face. Paint over the letters with your glass paint in whatever colour you like. Once the letters are dry, you can go over the outlines with black glass paint or glitter glass paint. Jazz it up with some pretty rhinestones or butterfly stickers. Keep a cotton swab handy to dab away smudges.
4. Homemade handwarmers
We all know someone who has ice blocks for hands (that’s me in our house). Take some soft material like felt, wool or cashmere and cut into four rectangles, all a good three inches (ten centimetres) longer and wider than your hand. Split into pairs and sew them on three sides so they look like little pillows.
You can buy ceramic pie weights for cheap. They’re small, heat resistant pebbles traditionally used for padding out pie crusts (too costly? You can also use rice). Fill up the pillows you made with the pie weights or rice and stitch each of them shut.
Now, you can warm up your coat pockets and your fingers by bunging these cute handwarmers in the microwave for a couple of minutes (mind you don’t get them too hot). No more chilly fingers!
5. A secret place
This is a fun gift idea for bookworms or for people who like to squirrel things away. Take an old leather-bound book (once again, charities can be counted on for a whole array of dusty tomes) Here’s a great video that’ll show you how to do it step by step.
Have you got any crafty Christmas tips to share? Tell us about them in the comments!