As I mentioned a bunch of times in the past few months, I really wanted the kids to make homemade gifts this year. I had several reasons: to be more thoughtful about the people we're giving to, to do crafts and be creative with my kids, and to be more frugal. Lots of good reasons, lots of good intentions.
This was really hard! I felt rushed, even though we started well before Thanksgiving. We still ended up finishing things Monday afternoon to get in the mail ASAP. As with most art projects, it takes me 10 times longer to set up and clean up than it does for them to really do the project! They enjoyed most of it, but I found myself feeling very stressed most of the time. Some of the projects came out really, really nice, and others look like a 6-year-old made them (but they're not going to that 6yo's parent, so will it be as well-received?). I also had a hard time prepping enough projects for 3 kids x 5 recipients so there weren't duplicates. We used many of the projects I listed on my Gifts Kids Can Really Make board on Pinterest. Here's the results:
Washi Tape Crafts
I introduced my kids to the fun of Washi Tape (Japanese paper tape in fun colors and designs). It's so easy to use, perfect for adding to everything–frames, cards, paper projects, etc. One of the girls made bookmarks with different designs. One decorated jumbo clothespins for her uncles to display on their desks at work, clipping a photo of the kids in it. She also made a set of note cards for my sister using different designs and patterns. Since Washi Tape is so easy to pick up and reapply if you lay it down wrong, it was a great medium for my 6-year-olds, and I helped with cutting when necessary.
This is one of my favorite gifts! One of my daughters made a playlist of all the songs she thought her baby cousins should know–classics like I've Been Working on the Railroad, her favorites from the Beatles, and a few Raffi songs and lullabies. She decorated an insert for the CD case and I printed out a playlist to glue inside.
Another simple craft is decorating a $1 glass plate from the Dollar Tree with glass enamel paint. One of my girls painted a special holiday plate for her aunt. Since we painted on the back, it's safe to put cookies and other goodies on the plate. Needs to be handwashed.
Anyone can make a plain mug special with a Sharpie, then set it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (inspired by A Beautiful Mess). You can also use a ceramic plate (like Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons). My son chose this project because one of his aunts is a tea/coffee fan.
Spice Sugar Scrub
My son wasn't as into the crafts as my daughters, so we went with a science-y type of gift next. He read the recipe and concocted this Spice Sugar Scrub from MoneySavingMom, and we packaged it in recycled baby food jars with a pretty label.
So I learned a lot, and I will definitely do it a little differently next year. I'd love to hear your experiences on how you make homemade gifts work for you.
Did you make any homemade gifts this season?