Wrapper’s Delight: A Guide to Beautifying Your Gifts the DIY Way

On Christmas morning, after we’ve opened up our presents and after my dog has sufficiently torn the wrapping paper into the tiniest pieces possible, we get out this massive garbage bag and throw away all the paper that spent weeks just hanging out under the tree. And every year, I can’t help but think about how wasteful it is. When you think about it, wrapping paper isn’t much more than really expensive toilet paper (and I hate buying toilet paper). I mean, what else do we throw away as soon as we use it?

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This year, though, I’m not buying any wrapping paper. I’ve got all kinds of stuff around my house that’s going to be thrown away anyway, so why not use that? With a little bit of tape and some string, any package can look pretty. Wrapping presents creatively doesn’t even have to be a big thing, either. Choose a theme, wrap them all the same and change a decoration here or there. We’ve got three guides — one for boxes, one for paper and one for decorations — that’ll convince you to kick the wrapping paper habit once and for all.

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Make a Rad Magnetic Tie Clip

It’s a well-known fact that making presents for people makes the world a better place. Not only are you taking time to create the perfect gift for your mother, brother, or girlfriend, you’re making sure there’s one fewer person at the mall and lessening the chance that someone will get trampled to death by the shopping masses. If you’ve got a little extra time and want to use your very own hands to show someone you love them, this is just the miniseries for you.


Hello crafts people and non-crafts people alike! Today we’re starting with something easy: glue.

Inspiration via tiemags.com

Inspiration via tiemags.com

I saw these cute little tie clips and immediately wanted to get them for everyone. Turns out, they’re $30 a piece! There was no way I was spending that much money on a tiny bit of metal. Instead, I got the materials and made one myself.

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Although these little guys are called tie clips, there’s no reason you can’t wear them on your lapel, placket, or anywhere else.

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Burn Some Beautiful Spoons (Then Spice Up Your Life)

Do you know someone who loves to cook or wants to learn? There’s no such thing as too many spoons. You can use a wood burner to transform cheap spoons into beautiful art things that might just be too pretty to use. That’s nothing a little inspiration can’t fix. Encourage them to use their new tools by making a spice mix or two. Whether you’re crafting for a seasoned cook or a novice, chances are they would enjoy a new flavor in their armory. We’ve got five spice mixtures that can be easily incorporated into a snack or a full-blown feast.

Inspiration

Inspiration

You will need:

  • A Woodburning Pen
  • Wood or bamboo spoons or other cooking utensils
  • An extra spoon – To practice on the same kind of wood you’ll be using
  1. Sketch out some ideas. Keep it simple; a woodburner can be kind of unwieldy. Don’t forget that you’ve got the whole spoon (including the tiny little tip at the end of the handle) to work with. You might want to stay away from the actual spoon if you’re worried about food being hard to wash out or you might not. It’s your call. Go for lines, animals, words, swirlies, or whatever you’re best at doodling.
  2. Practice your plans on the extra spoon.
  3. Take a deep breath, you’re ready for the main event. You can either draw on the spoon with a pencil to give yourself some guidance or dive right in.

Spice Mixtures

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European and Latin American spices are typically easy to find in any grocery store. For spices that aren’t used as often in those cuisines, stay far away from places like Whole Foods – you’ll find them there, but they’ll cost you a fortune. Instead, head to a Middle Eastern (for sumac) or Indian (for turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, mango, black salt, and ajwain) grocery store. Indian store especially tend to sell large bags for much more affordable prices, which is great if you’re making a spice mix for more than one person. They’re also usually fresher because the typical customers at a cuisine-specific grocery are more likely to buy foods that would sit for ages at a generic grocery. Not to mention: you’re supporting a member of your community by shopping at a local store.

Adobo
6 T Salt
6 T Granulated Garlic
4 T Oregano
2 T Black Pepper
2 T Turmeric
2 T Onion Powder
Uses: Anything and everything

Chaat Masala
3 T cumin
1 T coriander seeds
1½ t fennel seeds
4 T mango/amchur powder
3 T black salt/kala namak
1½ t black pepper
1½ t ginger powder
1 t mint
1 t tumeric
1½ tsps ajwain/carom seeds
Toast and crush the mixture in a mortar and pestle/pilón or grind it up in a (well-cleaned) coffee grinder
Uses: Sev puri, add to fries, salads, and mangoes

Herbs de Provence
5 T dried thyme
3 T dried savory
2 T dried marjoram
5 T dried rosemary
1½ T dried lavender flowers
Uses: Add to omelettes, pizzas, popcorn, vegetables

Za’atar
2 T Thyme
1 T toasted sesame seeds
2 t ground sumac
½ t salt
Crush the mixture in a mortar and pestle/pilón or grind it up in a (well-cleaned) coffee grinder
Uses: Pita chips, add to olive oil for dipping bread, add to popcorn

Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 T ground cinnamon
4 t ground ginger
1 t ground cloves
1 t ground allspice
1 t ground mace
1 t ground nutmeg
Uses: Hot buttered rum, add to pancake batter, winter vegetables (anything orange), vanilla ice cream

Grow a Family Tree

Are you in close proximity to several family members at this very moment? Perhaps for the whole week? This is a great time to talk to relatives about where you all came from. Then take that info, work some homespun magic, and turn it into a beautiful, meaningful piece of art.

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This is a Holdup: Make Your Own Suspenders

Maybe you’ve caught yourself staring longingly at the expensive pairs at Urban Outfitters or American Apparel, maybe you dig the JBeals look, or maybe you’re just looking for something new, but I think we both know that it’s high time you get your own pair of suspenders.

Suspenders — which are apparently called braces by British people — are slick little babies that make pretty much any outfit look just that much better. With jeans and a t-shirt? Obviously. Over a button down? Hello! Clipped onto a high-waisted skirt? Why not?

Today I’m going to teach you how to make suspenders for yourself. It’s the first in a few installments I’m going to be writing on DIY clothes because sometimes that’s what has to happen: you have to do it yourself. When it comes to girls who like “menswear,” it can be hard to find what you’re looking for. I know that lots of times I get frustrated when I go shopping because they don’t have what I want, and if they do it’s priced outrageously. There’s really no good reason why you should have to spend twice as much for the women’s version of the exactly same shirt that’s sitting over in the men’s department but isn’t quite made to fit your body. So we’re going to do something about that. This is mutiny: arts and crafts style.

If you have no idea what you’re doing, don’t worry! We’re starting small. Grab a friend to help you with measurements, pull on a pair of pants, and you’re ready to go.

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Sew a Wearable Guitar

It’s a well-known fact that making presents for people makes the world a better place. Not only are you taking time to create the perfect gift for your mom, brother, or girlfriend, you’re making sure there’s one fewer person at the mall and lessening the chance that someone will get trampled to death by the shopping masses. If you’ve got a little extra time and want to use your very own hands to show someone you love them, this is just the miniseries for you.


I saw this tiny child on the Internet one day and nearly died. How cute are they? I decided that my two-year-old cousin definitely needs a shirt like this so that she can pretend to play the guitar like her mom and dad. Love this sweatshirt but missing a baby in your life? Don’t worry, you can make it for anyone from 0 to 1,000 years old.

inspiration

inspiration

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