Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Homemade Gifts For Kids

There are many blogs with wonderful homemade gift ideas right now. Coming up with homemade gifts that your kids will like might be a little more difficult. I have a couple of ideas that worked for me in the past. They were well-received and enjoyed for quite some time.

The first is a chalkboard place mat with chalk holder:
- Start with a slightly stiff plastic or vinyl place mat. If it's smooth, you will need to sand it slightly. Coat sanded/rough side evenly with spray chalkboard paint - you might need 2 or 3 coats. When it's dry, treat the coated area by rubbing evenly with chalk, then completely erasing.
- For the holder, get a small clay pot and spray outside evenly with 2-3 coats of chalkboard paint. Inside the pot, you can put several pieces of chalk and an eraser or a piece of felt to erase with.

Next is a t-shirt pillow:
- Get a t-shirt (whatever size you prefer). Cut off some of the bottom to make more of a square shape.
- Decorate the t-shirt with fabric paint or markers or stamps to personalize it for the recipient, or even easier - buy a t-shirt with a popular sports team or character - no decorating required! Make sure to wash the t-shirt before sewing up.
- Turn shirt inside out and sew up bottom and sleeves (I actually did this by hand a few years ago as I don't have a sewing machine). Flip t-shirt right side out and stuff completely with fiber fill (available at craft stores). Then carefully sew up the collar.

Here are a couple more ideas that you could put together by finding items in thrift stores:

Young girls tea party set: Find teapots, teacups, cookbooks, tablecloth, napkins, aprons, and hats.

Boys will be boys set: Find masks, swords, shields, toy guns, light sabers, camouflage clothing, walkie talkies, and spy gear.

Another fun idea is to make your own board game.
- Make up a game that's personalized for your family with a homemade board, cards, and game pieces. You could even "borrow" pieces from unused games in your house. The kids would have a blast playing a new game that Mom & Dad made up. Better yet - give them a game you made up and blank supplies for them to create their own and you'll all have 2 new games to play! Here's a link to ideas on creating your own board game.

I hope you find these ideas helpful during this thrifty Christmas season. For more tips and ideas, stop by Works-For-Me-Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.


  1. Well aren't you miss craftiness! I actually have a blank board game and pieces ready to be created. It's a time thing right now! Ah, someday.
    Those were great ideas though my friend.

  2. It's always good to have some cheap gift ideas. It's so hard to get something for everyone. Thanks for the suggestions! Lisa~

  3. Those are great ideas!

    Homemade playdough is another cheap, fun gift for kids.

  4. I love the chalk board placemat idea. My grandson would love that, as well as my niece. Then they could sit at the table and write or draw while staying out of the way while cooking around hot grease and oils. I really do like that thought. I will have to see if I can find those items and make a couple for Christmas...thanks for the idea!

  5. Great ideas. I'll have to think of a board game idea. It would be fun to have something personalized.

  6. Lisa, what cool ideas! I used to make up board games when I was younger, maybe I should give it a whirl again! :)

    Oh, and I finally saw the award you gave me - thank you so much! I will posting about it on Saturday!

  7. I'm planning to make chalk board candles to giveaway- I saw them in a magazine and thought- I can do that! But I was wondering about using the paint on material. I might try what you've suggested. Thanks.

  8. Hi Lisa, Great ideas for thrifty gifts! These are probably appreciated and are as much fun as those that cost much more! Thanks for sharing! :) ~Rhonda

  9. Thanks for the great gift ideas, Lisa. I loved the one about making a t-shirt pillow. This year I'm making a t-shirt quilt for my son for Christmas, with his marching band t-shirts. Having no idea what I'm doing ;) I just googled "t-shirt quilts" and tried my best to follow the directions. I think it will be a neat keepsake. Now maybe I need to start thinking about pillows :)

  10. I LOVE the chalkboard placemat idea...thank you! Now I found the perfect gift for two little ones on my list!


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