Siren’s Guide to DIY Gifts

I have never been a huge DIY girl. I was just not born with that “crafty” gene that so many girls seem to come with. I have a DIY board on Pinterest, but there you’re more likely to see a pin on redesigning your resume than one on how to make your own tea cozy (I’m not even sure what that is).  I don’t own a glue gun, I barely own a sewing kit, and I just this year found out that Modge Podge is an actual thing, and not just a phrase used to politely describe clutter. HOWEVER, even a craft-challenged girl like me will admit that around the holidays there is a certain glowing temptation in the idea of homemade gifts. I acknowledge that there is something special about a gift that someone made with their own hands with you in mind. Plus there is a major financial incentive in making presents rather than purchasing them. So, in an effort to improve my craft skills and save some buck, here is a list of homemade presents that even a craft-clueless siren like me can manage.

1. Homemade bitters – For the cocktail queen (or king) in your life. Bitters can add life to average cocktails, and pizzazz to soda and sparkling water.


2. Hot chocolate on a stick – If you are looking for a gift that you can make in bulk, this is a great one. It’s also a nice departure from the premade mixes that are often given as gifts this time of year.


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3. Body scrub – There are a lot of different recipes for body scrubs out there, but this one stands out to me. It looks lovely and it smells like heaven!


4. Homemade candles – You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to make candles your own candles. This link provides the basic technique, but once you have it mastered you can easily put your own spin on it. I’ve used mason jars, tea cups, even terracotta pots! Just make sure that whatever container you’re using is heat-safe.

Tip – Don’t even bother buying the blocks of “candle-making wax” at craft stores. They are overpriced and completely unnecessary. Buy white or ivory votive candles in bulk (scented if you’re feeling lazy), and cut into pieces with a sharp kitchen knife. Make sure that you remove the wicks and any metal anchors before melting down.


5. Citrus Salt – The recipe stands out because it lets you make a long-lasting foodstuff without the burden of canning or special sealing.


6. Red Pepper Jelly – My mouth is watering just thinking about this. I recommend packaging a jar of this in a basket with a fabulous sharp cheddar and box of assorted crackers.


7. Grenadine – I’m itching to try this. I love this present for someone who loves entertaining. Give in a fancy glass bottle with the recipe attached along with a few cocktail suggestions.

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8. DIY Glittery Ornaments – This couldn’t be easier, and they’ll think of you every time they decorate the tree.


9. Painted Glasswares – Mix together food coloring and Modge Podge and apply to any clear glassware item. I’ve used this on candle holders, wine glasses, mason jars….. It creates a matte, transparent, stained-glass effect that looks really beautiful.

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10. Infused Oils and Vinegar – Make several kinds, package in mini bottles, and bundle a sampling for each person.

Happy crafting!

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