If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for inexpensive ways to give a unique gift. I have come across these ideas that are both fun for you to make and fun for the recipient to receive.
We’ll start with the classic pet rock. Yes, this idea may sound like child’s play as it is generally seen as something for children, but hear me out. Your inner child will thank you. How would you like to receive a pet rock? With it’s cute, googly eyes and low maintence (no mainenance), it is the perfect pet for just about anybody. This option is also extremely cost effective. Rocks are free – they’re everywhere. You’ve probably got some lounging around outside with untapped potential. You can do as much with this or as little as you like. You can have just a plain rock, eyes, no eyes, painted design, an outfit, glitter, etc. You might also consider making a home for the pet rock – get creative with a small can, terrarium, shoe box, or maybe a bowl. I am sure that whoever you gift this to will have a smiling heart.
Next there are homemade coasters made from tiles. You can take a couple different routes with this. If you’re creative, you can maybe paint a design on the tiles. And if not, we have the sharpie technique. What you’ll do is round up some colored sharpies of your choice (I do not recommend black or the metallic sharpies) and you’ll scribble different colors all over the tile until it looks like a toddler spend a couples hours going over it. Then you’ll take some acetone or rubbing alchohol and use a spritz bottle to spray the tiles. A custom marble design will unfold before your eyes. You’ll let the tiles dry for a day or so. After either painting a design on your tiles or using the sharpie method, you’ll need to go over it with a sealant. I use ______________. After spraying, let this dry for another day or so. Next you’ll need some felt or cork to hot glue onto the bottom 4 corners of your tiles to prevent scraping. Do this and your coasters will be ready for use. Tie them together with ribbon or twine for added flair.
Another of my favorite gift ideas is homemade soap. Keep in mind that this option is the most pricey of the bunch. As a novice soapmaker, I use the Melt and Pour method for soapmaking (which really isn’t making soap but customizing it), so it is very easy and quick to do. What you’ll need is a soap mold, soap base, food scale, add-ins for your soap (colors, scents, dried herbs, spices, etc.), a sturdy knife, microwave, microwave safe bowl, spatula/spoon for stirring, optional rubbing alchohol in a spray bottle, and measuring spoons. The basic process for making melt and pour soap is as follows:
- Using the food scale, measure out the amount of soap base you’ll need. I calculate this by taking the volume of each well (3.5 oz) and multiplying it by how many bars I’m going to make. So if I’m making 6 bars, I will multiply 6 by 3.5 to get a total of 21 oz that I need to measure out. When you purchase your soap mold, it should tell you the volume of the bars that the mold will produce.
- Chop up the soap base into cubes. It doesn’t have to be exact. Just small enough to ensure easier melting.
- Measure out your add-ins. A general rule of thumb in soapmaking is to keep your add-ins at 2 tbsp total per pound of base. For example, I like to add honey and cinnamon into my base. I would do one tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp of cinnamon.
- Melt the soap in the microwave. I’m sure you could melt it over the stove if you have that kind of patience, but I definitely don’t. So I use the microwave. I start by setting it for 1 minute and 30 seconds. I will microwave for 30 seconds and then stir, and then check and stir the melting base every 20 seconds after that until the soap base is evenly melted.
- Stir in the add-ins.
- Pour your soap mixture into the mold. You can spray the soap with rubbing alchohol to get rid of the bubbles, if you’d like to. It should take a couple hours for it to fully set.
- Pop your soap out of the mold and there you go!
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