DIY Crafty Christmas Present Ideas

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Photo Pillows

Spark a trip down memory lane with an old family photo and cool printer-friendly fabric. To begin, scan and upload the photo to your computer, then place the image in an 8 1/2″ x 11″ Microsoft Word document. Adjust the image as desired, leaving a half-inch border around it for seam allowance. Print onto an ink-jet fabric sheet ($9.99 for five 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets; amazon.com). If necessary, trim the fabric, then cut a same-size piece of backing fabric, like linen or broadcloth.

Pin the two pieces of fabric together, right sides facing. Stitch around the pillow along the seam allowance, leaving a four-inch-wide opening on one side. Use small scissors to clip the corners, then turn the pillow right side out. Push out the corners, iron out any wrinkles, and stuff the pillow with loose fiberfill stuffing ($4.33 for one pound; amazon.com) before

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Postcards, matchbooks, and coins tell the stories of our travels, but back home these trinkets tend to get lost in a junk drawer. Instead, give vacation souvenirs—as well as snapshots—a more fitting home with this project adapted from Paper + Craft ($19.95; Chronicle).

Step 1: To source the geographical shape of your travel destination, type its name (Hawaii, Africa, Manhattan, etc.) and the word silhouette into Google. Print out a resulting image and use a copier to resize it to fit on the lid of a small white box
($.99 each, 4½”W x 6″L x 4½”H; containerstore.com for stores).

Step 2: Cut out the silhouette, then trace it onto the prettiest section of a colorful map of your destination.

Step 3: Next, cut the shape out of the map and use a glue stick to paste it onto the box’s lid.

Step 4: Finish by affixing a label on the lid and writing in the location and dates of your journey.

(Download the labels shown at left from chroniclebooks.com/papercraft).

Animal Tote Craft

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Here’s how to turn a $4 canvas bag (joann.com) into a cute woodland-themed carryall:

Step 1: Print the animal template of your choice from the list below and cut out. Using our photo as a guide, pick a mix of fabrics and place your template’s pieces on the fabrics; trace and cut out.

Step 2: Next, trace the template’s pieces onto iron-on adhesive ($3.99 per yard-long roll; joann.com) and cut inside the lines so the adhesive shapes are slightly smaller than the fabric ones. Following the package instructions, iron adhesive to the back of fabric.

Step 3: Remove the adhesive’s backing. Working pattern side up, center the animal’s fabric body on the bag and iron in place. Follow with the other pieces of the animal, again using our photo for guidance. Finish by sewing on button eyes for the owl and squirrel.

Templates:

Squirrel

Deer

Owl

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Cinnamon Stick Candles

Add an aromatic touch to plain votives with cinnamon sticks, and fill your home with a scent reminiscent of freshly baked apple pie. Using a hot-glue gun, adhere sticks (McCormick’s are just the right height) to glass. Then encircle with ribbon. Display in a kitchen window or on your holiday table. Tip: Clean up any wax drippings immediately, while they’re still warm and pliable and lift up easily

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Cinnamon Stick Candles

Add an aromatic touch to plain votives with cinnamon sticks, and fill your home with a scent reminiscent of freshly baked apple pie. Using a hot-glue gun, adhere sticks (McCormick’s are just the right height) to glass. Then encircle with ribbon. Display in a kitchen window or on your holiday table. Tip: Clean up any wax drippings immediately, while they’re still warm and pliable and lift up easily

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Hurricane Candles

Place three hurricanes on newspaper in a well-ventilated area. With a grease pencil, mark where you’ll be placing the doilies to ensure even spacing. Put the doilies facedown on the newspaper, spray lightly with spray mount, and press to the glass, smoothing as you go. Once dry, set the hurricanes securely on the stairs or arrange on a table and insert the pillar candles. To decorate votives, trim the doilies to size, spray with spray mount, and adhere to glass. For variation, use doilies in different sizes. Tip: The number of hours a pillar candle burns before the wick is buried is usually equal to the pillar’s diameter. (These four-inch-wide candles burned for four hours.) To resurface the wick, score the candle’s circumference with a knife.

Candlelight can instantly transform any room into a cozy and inviting space. But as with any open flame, caution is necessary. For your safety, remember never to leave candles unattended, around playing children or pets, or near a draft.

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Egg Cups As Candle Holders

Scour your pantry, flea markets, and antiques shops for items that would make containers for candles — teacups, sugar bowls, jelly jars, or sake cups. Choose pieces solid enough to withstand hot wax. These egg cups were found on eBay. While many candles are made of paraffin, cleaner-burning options (think: green, plus fewer soot marks on the ceiling) include soy — a vegetable wax that burns longer — and beeswax, which emits a natural honey scent. Most waxes adhere well to porcelain, ceramic, and glass containers. To make clear candles, use gel wax in glass.
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How to Make Candles

You’ll need wax, wicks, putty, a pencil, and a candy thermometer, all of which can be found at a craft store such as Michaels. Wax is sold in blocks, sheets, and shavings, to be melted on a stove or in a microwave.
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Pouring the Wax

Wrap one end of the wick around a pencil. Set pencil on egg cup, suspending the wick. With putty, secure wick’s metal clip to bottom of cup. In a double boiler, melt wax according to package directions; use a candy thermometer to gauge temperature. Pour wax in cup; allow to fully cool. Trim wick to 1/4 inch.

Berry Wreath

Instead of buying a holiday wreath for a friend, make one out of berries and rose hips.
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A few minutes and a few tools are all it takes to weave magic you’ll enjoy all winter long.
YOUR MATERIALS
Tallow berries (ask your florist to order them or purchase a simulated version), rose hips (wear gloves and watch for thorns!), pepperberries, two grapevine wreath frames of different sizes (here you see a 6-inch frame and a 12-inch frame), a spool of florist’s wire, wire cutters, your choice of ribbon for a bow.
VARIATIONS
Sweet gum seedpods, poppy seedpods, love-in-a-mist pods, dried celosia flowers. When it comes to wreaths, whatever you can rescue from the garden or field is fair game for your creation. Create an ode to a single berry (Carolyn has a fondness for tallow berry) or combine ingredients (try pepperberries and rose hips). Carolyn’s preference for a base is, hands down, a round grapevine form, which gives the finished wreath a slightly uneven and thus natural texture, heft, and depth. Hang halo within halo for an added dimension. Then remember: It’s safest to showcase dried wreaths indoors.

Download printable instructions here!


 

 

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