Unique homemade gifts, are a great way to give personality to any of your gifts. Your gift recipient knows that you have spent the time and effort into making them these creative homemade gifts, and will appreciate it.
But if you are stuck on what to make, and don't have much money, then here are a couple of inexpensive homemade gifts, that will be original works of art when they are done.
For this project, you will need:
Wooden shape. You can get these precut light weight wooden pieces at your local craft store or many times the local hardware store sells them too. You will find them in bins, and they are not usually much money. They will sometimes sell them in packages of ten, but you can usually buy one at a time, in different sizes. (I used a 1.5 inch diameter one, and it was not completely flat, it was more concave which gave it depth and interest) You can also find these online.
acrylic paints and brushes - if you wish to paint a scene or design on your piece
or copies of pictures you wish to decoupage, if you are not big on painting. Both work well.
Drill (to drill a small hole in the piece so as to thread onto a cord)
Cord with closures etc (for the necklace part) I got this at the dollar store and took off the cheap pendant that they had on it, it was a much cheaper way to get the leather cord or chain. Check out the kids section of the dollar store, they sell all kinds of jewelry with a bit of a cheap plastic pendant but many times the chain or cord is good quality, just discard the plastic pendant and use the cord. Make sure the clasp works well etc.
Triple thick glaze (hardware store, but for sure hobby shop) This is thicker than normal varnish. It is worth the purchase of this. It is usually in a small bottle and not too much money.
Take your wooden piece. As you can see by the one in my picture example, I used a slightly concave wooden disc I found in bins at the craft store. It was about 1.5 inches in diameter.
If you purchased this shape, it should already be sanded, but it doesn't hurt to make sure it is really smooth with a quick sand. Get rid of all sanding dust etc off your piece.
Drill the hole the size needed to fit the cord through, being careful not to drill to close to the edge.
Paint your scene (I used acrylic paints for mine) or glue on your designs from paper or photocopies or whatever you wish to decoupage. A hint here, is to keep the paper fairly thin, it makes it easier to have a smooth surface afterwards. You can also use pictures from napkins and thin wrapping paper works well as decoupage.
If you are using the decoupage idea, then you don't have to buy decoupage medium, you can simply use watered down white glue. Glue your pictures on the piece, making sure to push out any bubbles. (put glue on the piece, and on the paper this helps secure it and get rid of air bubbles) then let dry. Then paint a coat of your watered down glue over top and let dry.
Whether you have chosen to paint free hand on your wooden piece, or to use decoupage, let your piece dry.
Then take your triple thick glaze (I used one by DecoArt in a 4 oz. container) The reason you should use this, is that it is very glossy and really gives the look of porcelain. It give the piece depth, as if you have put on lots of layers of varnish, with no brush marks. It is a diamond non yellowing clear finish. It really looks like a fired glazed finish.
You can use a brush with this, or you can dip it right in the container, as long as you can put it somewhere to dry. You will need to feed it on a string or something to let it dry on both sides. Make sure and put something in the hole to keep it open, you don't want the glaze finish drying over the hole you drilled.
Once it has dried to a good hard finish, you can handle it, usually 24 hours. But follow the directions on the container. There are many brands out there and they may have different drying times.
Then feed your piece onto the cord, and you are done! You can sign the back of your creative homemade gift with permanent marker if you want.
You can also make earrings following the same directions above. Both would make great mothers day homemade gifts too! You can find different shapes as well. But for the earrings, you will need to find the hooks etc, depending on whether she has pierced or non pierced ears. You could paint each one the same, or decoupage or what ever creative idea you could do on wood.
The nice thing about these pre-cut wooden shapes, is that they are light weight, and yet once you use the triple thick glaze, they look like professionally done pieces of jewelry.
If this is for Mothers Day, then what a keepsake this would be. A child can create these as well as a professional artist. Your imagination is your limit.
Creating great homemade gifts, is a great way to have your money go further, and in these trying times right now, it doesn't hurt to give your imagination a workout instead of your credit card. It is easy to just run to the store and find something and whip out a credit card, but it takes some thought, time and effort to create unique homemade gifts.
So, if you have a special birthday, Mothers Day, or just a "I am thinking of you" day, then why not create something a little different. I am sure they will like it.