Category Archives: Homemade Madness

Making all the things… Part Two.

Back again after an interlude of extreme involvement in the art of forging metal into pretty shiny things. I am not sure why I am utterly entranced by this process but it makes me feel as though I have come home. Perhaps it’s the fact that all the problems that arise are so easily fixed with a reapplication of heat or a polish here and there. Whatever the reason, I am basking in the sheer joy of turning sheet metal and wire into pendants and bracelets.

Of course, not every will want pendants or bracelets for the holidays so I am back with another handmade gift suggestion list. Last time we focused on college age people, so let’s look at tweens and teens this time around.

Easy Sharpie Tie Dye


I love the look of tie dye but I have always been intimidated by the actual process of it. After some savvy internet research I discovered a simple way to create tie dye decor.

For gift giving the possibilities are vast. You could purchase small canvas bags and create personalized tie dyed lunch bags for your kids. Go bigger and you’ve got overnight bags, beach bags, sport totes, etc.

You can certainly make gorgeous shirts for not a whole lot of money with this technique. Hanes has a crazy sale going on and their shirts are soft, durable, and come in light colors that would be easy to tie dye over. You could even check out their sweat pants sale and tie dye up some super comfy lounge wear for the cold holiday season.

Finally, make some small zippered coin purses/dice bags/make-up bags with tie dye decor for a cool stocking stuffer.

DIY Bleach Design

Image from By Hand London

On the opposite end of the DIY shirt spectrum we have bleach. A good friend of mine taught me this technique and it’s fairly simple. You choose a stencil, leaf, shape, etc, that you like. Lay a dark shirt flat on cardboard and place the stencil on it where you want the negative of the shape to be on the shirt. Spray with a bleach spray and toss in the laundry to rinse. You may want to scrunch the fabric around the shape or stencil to get a more even look.

If you want to take this idea to the next level and add additional materials, like fabric paint, the folks over at By Hand London have posted a DIY Galaxy Shirt idea.

Once again, Hanes is a great resource for well made and comfortable shirts, this time in a variety of dark colors, to assist you in making your teen or tween (or anyone really) a well made hand decorated shirt worth wearing.

Duct tape is your new best friend

Source: JoAnn Fabrics. 

You can do nearly anything with Duct Tape. As we are approaching Halloween I felt a DIY Halloween Candy Bag was a good image example for duct tape madness. Before you dive in I suggest a visit to for their basic duct tape fabric tutorial video. You don’t have to master making sheets of duct tape to make a project, but you do if you want to make a duct tape project easy.

A few ideas for gifting with Duct Tape:

Source: Duck Brand

Make a Duct Tape necklace as a cool stocking stuffer, or assemble the necessary parts for said necklace, slip them into a small gift box with several small rolls of colorful duct tape and printed out directions and gift your teen/tween with a duct tape necklace kit.

Owl Tote Step Out Final
Source: Duck Brand

You can go a little bigger and create this stunning Owl tote bag. (Remember, it’s a sew free project!)

If you are looking for a fun gift for your technology lover (That doesn’t cost a small fortune) try your hand at a DIY tablet cover.

Source: The Craft Train

Does your tween or teen have a younger sibling? They can make these charming Duct Tape and sponge boats for the bathtub and gift them with something they made themselves, in addition to a great deal of bath-time fun.

I could do several months worth of blog posts on the power of duct tape. I strongly suggest you check out the Duct Brand websites craft section or just google “duct tape diy” and your browser will be filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas ranging from fashion accessories to waterproof beach totes to wedding dresses.

Friendship Bracelets: Fun and Easy Accessories 


Whether you are making them for your teen or giving your teen handmade gift ideas, the friendship bracelet is a time honored gift. Once again I’ll turn your attention to They have assembled 19 different styles of bracelet for your imagination to feast upon.

DIY Sites of Interest

The world of DIY is vast and there are so many people putting together lists of ideas for your holiday crafting. Here are a few of the sites I have found the most useful.

  • Boys often get the short end of the DIY stick. DIY Projects for Teens has a post devoted to them. From splash bomb trebuchets to skateboard shelves these project ideas are sure to delight your kiddo.
  • Moms and Crafters have a number of good DIY posts for both boys and girls, with one focusing on teens.
  • Craft Forest is filled to the brim with great DIY ideas, including the good old standby – the marshmallow shooter. However, they peg the meter of coolness with a DIY Lightsaber tutorial!

There’s more to come! Younger kiddos are next. I hope you enjoy some of these project ideas and have fun getting started on your handmade holiday!

Making all the things…(Part 1)

It’s that time of year again! The air turns colder, the leaves start to crinkle, and my urge to MAKE ALL THE THINGS comes out of it’s summer hibernation.

This year we are doing handmade gifts for most of our family so I am getting started early with my research. I have college age kiddos and grade school kiddos, high school kiddos and full grown kiddos. Luckily the internet is vast and the possibilities are endless. It’s important to find gifts that people will like, that can be made inexpensively, and that are useful in some way.

Of course one person’s useful is another person’s WTF? so it’s equally important to know your audience. For example, monogrammed coasters might seem like a useful thing to make but do your friends even have coffee tables that require coasters?

I’m starting with my college peeps. This year, there are a lot of them.

College Age DIY Gifts –

  1. The Secret Book Safe – Keep your tiniest secrets hidden here, or at least your cash when you’re throwing a party for your fellow students. basic-25
  2. Study Carrel – You can’t make everyone else leave the room, but you can kind of make your own room.
  3. Managing to sleep in a room with another person can be a challenge. A sleep away kit can make all the difference. A homemade eye mask can make it seem like you are home sweet home. A small homemade fleece pillow filled with lavender, a solid set of earplugs, and your softest pillow case combine to create a cozy sleeping environment where ever you actually are. 1009-Photo-101-3_b
  4. An office in a box gifts your student with all the study necessities. Post-it’s, pencil lead, bookmarks, paperclips, highlighters, and more! Header
  5. A no-sew fleece blanket gives your student something soft to cuddle up in when they are tired and homesick.
  6. A Mason-Jar Sewing Kit is an essential gift for someone moving out on their own. After all, your sewing stuff is staying with you, so it’s not like they can just run in and grab it.
  7. Sick Day Cold Kit – Being sick away from home is the first time you really understand how much being a grown up sucks. Ease their pain a little. In a large mason jar place:
    1.  4 Emergency-C Packets.
    2.  A handful of cough drops.
    3.  A handful of throat lozenges.
    4.  2 packets of Throat Coat tea.
    5.  2 packets of Peppermint tea.
    6.  4 honey sticks.
    7.  A travel size tissue pack.
    8.  Lip balm.
    9.  Travel size menthol rub.
    10.  4 Nyquil Liquigels.
    11.  4 Dayquil Liquigels.
    12.  2 Advil packets.
    13. Chicken Soup packet.
    14. 2 saltine cracker packets.
    15. Quarters for the soda machine.
  8. Magnetic Message Boards let roommates communicate with each other and avoid awkward moments.

There are more. The internet is full of laundry kits, first aid kits, coffee lover kits, etc. Really, if you can think of it, you can turn it into a gift for someone in college.