Easy gift idea: Homemade craft kit

Need a cheap, easy idea for a fun gift? Try making a homemade craft kit.

If you’re searching for an easy, cheap gift idea, many people—especially children—would love a homemade craft kit. You can usually make this with things you find around the house, but if you have to purchase supplies you shouldn’t have to venture any farther than the dollar store.

Start with a container for your craft kit. Maybe you have a bucket you could use, or a pretty box. A simple recycled Kleenex box, or any box from the grocery store, would work, too. A shoebox is the perfect size. You could even decorate the box, or provide materials to decorate it for the recipient such as stickers.

Now comes the fun part: filling up your box! Be as creative as you like as you select various ink pens, pencils, crayons, and other implements for drawing and coloring. Oil pastels aren’t as expensive as many would think and make a great, unexpected gift. Markers, paints, and other pigmented mediums work well, too.

Recycled materials such as straws, toilet paper tubes, and extra buttons from your garments all come in handy when making crafts. Anything extra you have around the house, from necklaces you no longer want to cotton balls (which make excellent pom poms in a pinch), are great additions to your craft box. Popsicle sticks are another staple! You can collect them as you eat them or buy a cheap package at the store.

Make sure to add something to hold projects together. Tape works, but some sort of glue—whether school glue, tacky glue, or a glue stick—is much more versatile. Glitter glue will likely earn you a giant grin of thanks. You can also include stampers for paint by gluing string on squares of cardboard in the shapes of letters or pictures. You can also make sponge stamp shapes by cutting your cleaning sponges into hearts, stars, or other fun shapes.

Scissors are another essential component to your craft kit gift, as is something to use as a base—like recycled paper. If you’re creating a small box, feel free to cut the paper to fit, or to roll it up and secure it with a rubber band. Rubber bands are great for crafts, too—as are paper clips.

For an extra special treat, include a coupon in the package for some craft time with you! Nothing beats the gift of time, especially when you’re covered in glitter. Of course, some real coupons to a store like JoAnn’s or another hobby center would be great, too. You can print some good ones just by following that link.

The Complete Book of Retro Crafts: Collecting, Displaying and Making Crafts of the Past

Retro is making a big comeback in decorating circles and it’s never been an easier time to find classic crafts. Yard sales and second hand shops are filled to the brim with crafts, pottery and decorations from the 50’s on up.

The Complete Book of Retro Crafts: Collecting, Displaying and Making Crafts of the Past is an amazing resource for anyone looking to get that Donna Reed look without spending a fortune. If you are missing the crafts and decorations from your childhood and just want to mimic some of your favorite television shows, this book can help you not only find, but determine what is fake from what is real.

As retro comes back into style, companies are beginning to create new versions of crafts in the old style. People think they are buying the real thing, but instead are buying an artificially aged copy. If you can’t find that perfect 60’s craft of your dreams, then this book will help you make it. If it’s a particular type of frame or purse, then The Complete Book of Retro Crafts: Collecting, Displaying and Making Crafts of the Past can help you. It won’t be vintage, but everyone else doesn’t have to know that.

You’ll be surprised at the finds that are out there within your town or with a quick search of the Internet. You could be one eBay purchase away from completely your collection or finding that next collectible treasure.


Craft Inc: The Ultimate Guide To Turning Your Hobby Into A Successful Business

For many people, crafting starts out as a simple hobby. They are bored and need a creative outlet for their energies. They decide to do something they always wanted such as flower arranging, beading, jewelry making, etc.

You don’t know how to do it very good, but over time you become an expert. People begin to treasure your homemade gifts and some even ask you to make some for them or relatives as gifts. They even offer to pay you for them.

This plants the seed of entrepreneurship in your head. You think that maybe, just maybe, you can make a living out of your craft hobby. Craft Inc: The Ultimate Guide To Turning Your Hobby Into A Successful Business if you’re blue print for turning a hobby into a reputable and legal business.

It gives you tips and tricks on how to find the best and least expensive supplies, advertising and getting your name out and how to use online stores and social media to become a crafting sensation. Everything you need to become a success is in this book. Meg Mateo Ilasco is a successful entrepreneur is herself and interviewed several other crafting successes as a way to give you all the tools you need to become a success.

Once you read this book, it may make you think twice about starting a business or at least slow it down until you’re ready. The last thing you want to do is try to start a business unprepared. You can also read this book and realize that turning your hobby into a business was long overdue.


The Big-Ass Book of Crafts

Have you ever wished there was one book out there that had all your craft and home ideas within its pages? Well look no further with The Big-Ass Book of Crafts. This book is like Martha Stewart on crack and has everything that you need for your home.

The book features a variety of areas from outdoorsy ideas to make your backyard look fresh and cool to ways to create fun and innovative picture frames for your photos. For a long time, I was stuck looking at and buying several different books for all the ideas I was looking for.

I would find one book that had great holiday ideas and another that had crafty ideas on a budget. Sometimes it could take hours just sifting through book after book to find the one craft projects I needed. With The Big-Ass Book of Crafts you can put all those books away, heck throw them in the trash, because this is your on stop shop for all things crafty. It doesn’t matter if you are new to crafting to an old pro, this book has the ideas you’ve been looking for. Do you need a fun and inventive way to decorate your table lamp or to make some of those cool outdoor lanterns?

You won’t find a better book out there for crafting on all levels. If there is a category of craft you want to learn about, odds are this book has it in spades. You’ve won’t want to ever put it down again.

175 Easy-To-Do-Easter Crafts

Valentine's Day is behind us, and many crafters have turned their sights towards Easter. I know, I know. We haven't even made our way past St. Patrick's Day, but with all the adorable kid-friendly projects available for the bunny-loving holiday, it's certainly not to early to gather the kiddies around the table and start making some little decorations together.


If you're not quite ready to start making Easter crafts with your children, you should at least peak ahead to decide what you'd like to make together. It gives you some advanced notice to collect any materials you need, and let's face it, start begging your family and friends to collect toilet paper rolls and other reusable essentials that normally get discarded, like milk jugs and cereal boxes.

There are a large number of holiday craft books available, but my family has fallen in love with the 175 Easy-to-Do series of kid-friendly craft project books. Each book is settled around a theme from everyday crafts to Christmas and Halloween. And, of course, they have a 175 Easy-to-Do Easter Crafts available as well.


I really like this book—and really the whole series—because it has so many adorable ideas to choose from and they're simple enough that my boys can really get into them without needing my assistance very often. The projects are also relatively inexpensive to make and often require craft supplies that most crafty families already have on hand.


If you're looking for some cute spring and Easter crafts to do with your children, this book is a great place to start. I also highly recommend the series for other kid-friendly craft projects to keep them creative all year round.

Big Book of Beautiful Beads

Last week we talked about beading jewelry, but what if you want to take it further. Beautiful beads, whether they're made from stones, gems, glass or crystal, can add a whole new dimension to pillows, curtains, handbags and all kinds of décor. And when you choose the right beads and techniques anything can go from ordinary to stunning.


I was looking over some of my wife's craft books while she was working on a piece of jewelry and I came across Kp Books Big Book of Beautiful Beads: Over 100 Beading Projects You Can Make. As I leafed through, I found a good number of jewelry pieces, from necklaces to earrings, but there were other pieces that were just amazing.

One of the most impressive sections was the French-Beaded Flowers. They were stand alone pieces of full sized flowers, from bloom to stem, all done with bead work. I'm not sure that they'd really complement the style of our home, but for those who love sparkly centerpieces, these projects would be showstoppers.


Along with the individual projects, the book also does a great job of explaining standard techniques that can be used throughout your beading projects. It has a nice selection of simple pieces for beginners but also mixes in many stunning pieces that would make it a great book for intermediate and skilled beading fans, too.


If you are into bead work or would like to learn how to add some sparkly, but classy, style to your existing décor, the Big Book of Beautiful Beads is worthy of adding to your collection. There are lots of projects to keep your creativity going for quite some time.

Teach Yourself Visually: Jewelry Making and Beading

Have you ever been to a store and were totally dazzled by all the intricately designed beaded jewelry, fallen in love with a piece and then nearly been knocked off your feet by the sticker price? Or have you seen a piece and loved the design, but one little thing like a key pendant or the color just didn't suit you. You don't have to settle for outrageous prices or pieces of jewelry that just don't quite fit your taste. You can always learn how to make it yourself!


Making beautiful beaded jewelry does take some skill, after all, there is a bit more to a high quality, interesting, exciting piece than just stringing beads. But, once you get the basic skills down and learn how to choose and work with the right materials, the sky is the absolute limit. If you've ever perused the beading aisles of a hobby store, you know that there are virtually endless possibilities. You just have to know how to put them together.

In Chris Fanchetti Michaels' guide Teach Yourself Visually: Jewelry Making and Beading, she lays out all the essentials to making high quality jewelry of your own. With a thorough combination of detailed instructions and pictures, she shows you how to use the tools of the trade and materials to make some of the best accessories, perfectly suited to your taste.


If you're a beginner at beading and jewelry work, you should check Teach Yourself Visually out. You'll have everything you need to know to get started at building a jewelry box full of gorgeous handmade pieces.

Toilet Paper Crafts For Holidays and Special Occasions

When you think of craft materials, any number of mediums and embellishments can spring to mind. There are the standard bases, like cloth, felt, and cardboard. And of course, when thinking of embellishments, sequins, pipe cleaners and ribbon jump into your head. But, how often do you start feeling crafty and think--gee, I feel like making art with my toilet paper today? I'll bet you dollars to dimes that this doesn't happen on a regular basis.


Well, unless you're Linda Wright. She's the author of Toilet Paper Crafts for Holidays and Special Occasions. When I saw the book on sale I thought the concept was special indeed. How could you possibly decorate with toilet paper outside of tossing rolls into your teammate's tree during homecoming week?

After taking a closer look at the book, however, I have to admit I was eating my words—or thoughts as the case may be. Within its pages are 60 fun, and surprisingly elegant crafts in the book and you'd be hard pressed to find a flaw in their designs. From simple Halloween ghosts and spooky skull masks for El Dia de Los Muertos to gorgeous wreaths worthy of Easter or Christmas, this book has some amazing ideas.


If you're into alternative craft materials, you have to look into this book. It's surprising how beautiful Wright's pieces are considering what they're made of and what it's for. I haven't tried any of the crafts myself, but I'm sincerely tempted, just to see how difficult it is to work with good, old-fashioned TP.

One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects

Whenever we're out shopping, my wife always wanders off to the craft department. One of the bins she always checks out are the fabric scraps where she finds a yard of corduroy here and a polka dot cotton print there. She likes to get a variety of fabrics because she uses them for pictures on her blog, but as you know, those odd yards of fabric start to add up. There are a few simple fabrics and patterns that she likes to reuse, but generally the others sit until she winds up selling them at a yard sale or donating them.

It seemed like a waste to me, not just in money but in craft potential. I figured there had to be something she could do with that fabric, rather than letting it sit or giving it away. So, I was looking around and I found the book, One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins, on Amazon.com. It's full of different sewing and craft projects that are designed specifically to use one yard of fabric or less.

What impressed me about the book is the versatility of the projects and the time they spend explaining basic techniques for those new to sewing—like my wife. Along with patterns and pictures, there are also explanations of various, useful stitches and techniques that make it easy for newbies to get their bearings and really enjoy the book.

The projects run the gamut from clothing to pet beds and toys to handbags. When my wife received the book in the mail she went nuts. She's used a couple of the apron patterns and lined the backs of the kids' toy room shelves. It was definitely worth the $9.99 I invested and she's making good use of the fabric she's collected.

Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Pillowcase

One of my wife's resolutions for the year is to redecorate the house as inexpensively as possible. Since having children, many of our household decorations have been put into storage for safe keeping, didn't survive the toddler phase or just aren't our taste anymore. Still, our budget is incredibly tight, so we won't be hiring a decorator or going on shopping sprees in department and home improvement stores. Luckily for me, I married a woman who appreciates the challenge of thrifty shopping and repurposing the old into something spectacularly new, fresh and modern.

In her quest to find ways to freshen up our home without going into debt, she's been collecting ideas from her friends, the Internet and a variety of books on making old things new and exciting again. One of the books she recently picked up was Suzanne J.E. Tourtillott's Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Pillowcase.

I have to admit, I had my doubts about the book before it came, because seriously, how much can one do with a simple pillowcase? But, I'm man enough to admit that I was wrong, and the number of cool uses for old pillowcases blew my mind a little bit.

Tourtillott's book has tons of great ideas from handbags and dresses for little girls to aprons and sturdy towels. And seeing as we've accumulated a ridiculous number of various pillowcases over the 15 years we've been together—including several hand-embroidered ones that were wedding gifts and never used, I'm anxious to see how my wife puts the book to use.

I know that my wife's challenge to herself will bring the home a more cozy, fun feel, and I look forward to seeing how she does it. But, I have a feeling our library is going to grow exponentially over the year and we're going to be looking for a few extra bookcases this year, too.