Time to start your handcrafted gifts

NOW is the perfect time to get started if you want to make gifts this year! I love to attend art and craft shows during the holiday season – I always get really inspired and go home all fired up to make holiday gifts. But by then it’s really too late and I tell myself that next year I’ll start early.

Sock Creature photo courtesy of Gus and Ollie

This is the year I’m starting early! Imagine how much fun it will be to work on art/craft projects without feeling like you have to hurry to finish them in time. Now imagine December arriving and you have a lovely stash of delightful handcrafted gifts all ready to be wrapped and given (and imagine yourself relaxing by the fire, sipping mulled wine and wearing a satisfied expression)!

Making gifts can be as simple or as complicated as you choose. Some projects require hours of work while others can be the product of a fun afternoon. And some gifts can be made in batches, such as notecards or handmade soaps. You can also streamline your process when you are making multiples of the same item.

The library has an excellent collection of Arts & Crafts books to help you find the right gifts to make for any occasion. Here are some of my favorites:

View complete list

Knitted Gloves photo courtesy of Subrishta

While it might be too time-consuming to make an entire quilt or knit a sweater, you could use those techniques on a smaller scale. You can quilt a table-runner or wall hanging. You can knit a hat or a pair of gloves. Likewise, it might seem just too much to create a framed embroidery, but you could add a few embroidery stitches to a purchased baby bib or hand towel and – voilà – a lovely personalized gift!

Notecards created at a recent library workshop.

Or you could learn a new skill and apply it in different ways. For example, simple print-making techniques can be used on paper or fabric – and you can often use materials you already have to make the prints. At a recent library program we used bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and folded index cards to create prints. Hint: a simple design can be repeated for maximum effect. Try printmaking using index cards.

Handcrafted Button Tree

Making handcrafted gifts is even better when you can use materials you already have or would otherwise throw away or recycle. If you get your kids involved, you’ll be teaching them to be thoughtful gift-givers and good stewards of the earth. Partnerless socks can have new lives as sock creatures and random mismatched buttons can be made into adorable little button trees. No need to go out and buy expensive fancy art and craft supplies!


Jill Mickel

Jill Mickel is a Public Services Specialist and a member of the Arts and Crafts team. Her passions are art and community, and she believes that art is for everyone! When she is not at the library or working in her studio, she can be found gardening, cooking, reading, or bird-watching.