Handmade Christmas Gifts

Put your heart into the gifts you give.
Traci Smith
November/December 2010
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Chester and Emma Frames: A great gift idea for the pet lovers on your list.
Nate Skow
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 As part of the joyous celebration of the birth of Christ, many people send well wishes to family and friends by way of Christmas cards. Many people also take part in another tradition of the Christmas holiday: the exchanging of gifts – a tradition believed to have begun in the United States in the early 1800s. 

Purchasing greeting cards and gifts can be expensive, so why not make your own? Besides saving money, another great thing about handmade cards and gifts is that you can create each one to suit the taste of its intended recipient. So, for scrapbookers and crafters, Christmas is not only a time of joy and peace on Earth, it’s also a time to get creative.  

By using scrapbooking techniques to make cards and crafts, you’ll not only be doing something you enjoy, you’ll also have the satisfaction of giving a gift or card from the heart. 

   

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards – and other types of greeting cards – can be made quickly and easily, and oftentimes with materials most scrapbookers have on hand. All you need is paper and embellishments, such as ribbon, brads, frames, stickers and rub-ons. You’ll also need a printer – or a thin black marker – to make the greeting for the inside of the card. 

For the SNOWMAN CARD, I chose two solid colors of cardstock and one patterned paper. I made the card’s base out of white cardstock, then added a layer of patterned paper, followed by a layer of red cardstock. I placed a puffy Christmas tree sticker in each corner, and added a snowman sticker and letters to spell out “Happy Holidays.” Next I typed up a greeting for the inside, printed it, cut it out and glued it to the inside. The project took less than 10 minutes.  

To make the SANTA CLAUS CARD, I used solid green cardstock for the base of the card, then added patterned paper to the front in a crooked position. I cut out a piece of green cardstock and glued it to the back of a cardstock frame for contrast, then attached the frame to the patterned paper. I wanted some depth to the card so I adhered the frame with puffy tape for a raised look, then placed the Santa sticker in the center. After printing out the inside greeting, I cut it out and glued it to the inside of the card. Another card done in less than 10 minutes. 

Don’t limit yourself to just stickers, though. Ribbon, rub-ons and eyelets are great for greeting cards. If preferred, instead of printing your greeting, you could also use a vellum quote or glitter pens. You could also design your cards digitally and print them out if you have a digital scrapbooking program and a printer. 

   

Photo Frames

Photo frames can often be purchased at craft stores for 50 percent off or at garage sales for less than $1, and they come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. The frames can then be decorated and converted into gifts for anyone on your list.  

Whether you choose to decorate the outside of the frame or just scrapbook a “page” to go inside the frame is up to you. Either way, decorated frames make great gifts. 

I made the BABY FRAME using an unfinished wooden frame. First, I took the backing out of the frame. (There was no glass in this frame, but if your frame has glass, always remove it before starting your project.) Since I didn’t want to cover the outside edges or the edges around the window with paper, I painted them with antique white acrylic paint and let it dry completely. Next I turned the frame upside down on the patterned paper and, with an X-acto knife, cut the paper to fit the frame, carefully cutting out the window area. Using wood glue, I glued the patterned paper to the frame, then added puffy animal stickers. Put the backing (as well as the glass) back on the frame, and you’ve got a great gift for parents or grandparents. With drying time, the frame took about 30 minutes. 

For the BIBLE VERSE FRAME, I wanted to do something digitally that would look professional. The project was simple and took only about 10 minutes to complete. I simply chose a Bible verse, then went online to a stock photography website and searched for an image to accompany the verse. After downloading the image, I opened it with my digital scrapbooking program and typed in the quote. Then I printed it, cut it out and placed it in a wooden frame. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that. You could also use a photo from a postcard or a calendar, if preferred, and scan it into your computer instead of using a stock photo. 

Using plain black frames with openings for three photos, I made the CHESTER and EMMA FRAMES. I scrapbooked “pages” incorporating the dogs’ names. On Emma’s frame, I used a punch to make the paw prints and bones, then taped black cardstock to the back. On Chester’s frame, I cut out a photo of him and glued it to the page. I added a background border to Emma’s photo and put it in the large opening of her frame, and used two close-up photos of Chester for the smaller openings of his frame. On the outside of the frames, I added embellishments using a hot glue gun. The project took about 10 minutes per frame. If you don’t have photos, just leave the photo slots empty and let the recipients add their favorite photos. 

   

Trivets and Tiles

You can turn plain, old or not-so-pretty trivets and tiles into beautiful works of art. Look for these items at garage sales or flea markets, where you can usually pick them up for next to nothing. They make great, inexpensive gifts. 

I made the MILITARY TRIVET with a friend (whose son is in the Army) in mind. I couldn’t find stickers and embellishments I really liked, so I decided to make my own by digitally scrapbooking a design. Once the design was complete, I printed it, cut it to the right size, and adhered it to the trivet with decoupage medium. After it was dry, I added a coat of decoupage medium to the entire front surface, and let it dry overnight. Not counting drying times, this project took about 15 minutes.  

For the LAB TILE, I used a small tile left from a remodeling project. I cut a piece of green cardstock a tiny bit smaller than the tile, and used decoupage medium to adhere the cardstock to the tile, leaving a small border of tile showing. Then I applied a coat of decoupage medium to the top surface to seal it, and let it dry completely. I cut the photo a bit smaller than the cardstock and adhered it so there was a small border of green behind the photo. To seal it entirely and to give the project a shiny appearance, I applied a thin layer of decoupage medium and let it dry. When everything was completely dry, I attached a clothespin to the back of the tile with a hot glue gun so the tile will stand and can be displayed on a table, shelf, bookcase or hutch. Because of the drying times, this project took a little longer, about 1 hour, but you can work on other projects while this one is drying. 

   

More Ideas

• Goodie Basket: Spray paint an old basket, fill it with cookies and candies, and wrap a ribbon around it. 

• Record Photo: Take a cracked or unwanted record (or a used CD) and print out an appropriate-sized photo. Cut the photo to fit, and glue it to the front of the record. Decoupage the entire surface and let dry completely. Add embellishments of your choice. Use a hot glue gun to glue a clothespin to the back so it can be displayed. 

• Cutting Board Calendar: Use a thin wooden cutting board and paint it (or leave it natural). With a computer and printer, make up calendar pages for each month of the year, adding artwork for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and other special days. Print out the pages and punch a hole in each of the top corners. Drill two holes in the cutting board where the pages will be attached. Use two long brads to attach the pages to the cutting board. 

   

Associate Editor Traci Smith often locks herself in the basement of her Osage County, Kansas, home, where she enjoys creating crafts for herself, friends and family. 


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