November 17, 2012

Hand-Made Gift Ideas: Bookmarks and Wine Charms

Because Christmas songs have been playing in the stores and on the radio since last Christmas, so why wait until now to get in the mood? And although Hanukkah and Kwanzaa (or New Years??) songs aren't popular in stores around here, the season can be creeping up to you right before your eyes! I, for one, prefer to make the majority of my gifts [in the summer when I actually have time], and many have been wrapped and shoved in my closet long before my summer APUSH homework was done. Since many of you now might be frantically compiling (or consciously avoiding to write) your lists of stuff to buy your friends/families/bosses/self when you hit the mall at 4am this Friday, I thought I could provide some other craft ideas that requires more time than $$$. And on this special shopping day of the year, you could even just sleep in!!

Because I'm sure most people aren't willing to spend time knitting sweaters for each one of their besties (trust me, I'm not either), all of these project ideas took me less than two hours for me to make. The longer projects can also be done while multitasking: spending time with family, watching movies or TV, or in the car (please not while you're behind the wheel). So hit your local craft store, and get to it!

Most people enjoy reading, and most people prefer not to dog-ear the page they stopped at. I've never met anyone who complained of having too many bookmarks, and they really don't take that long.

Time: 10-15 minutes max for each bookmark.

What you'll need: paper (card stock, scrapbook paper, or construction paper), hole-punch, ribbon, clear nail polish, scissors, and decorating tools: markers, colored pencils, stencils, sharpies, glitter, sharpies, blo-pens, stamps, calligraphy supplies, glitter glue, stickers, dried leaves or flowers, and adhesive wax paper in some cases.

How-To: Simply cut pieces of paper no more than 8"x3" and no less than 4"x1" and decorate them however you wish. After, cut a hole about 0.5" from the top in the center and put a ribbon through using a Girth Hitch or Strap Hitch knot (for a how-to, go to If it is curling ribbon, then curl it using a scissors, if it is satin or some other kind of fabric ribbon, go over the edges with clear nail polish to prevent future fraying. 
Techniques Used: Blow-Art pens, Glitter Glue, Stamps,
 Curling Ribbon, Flower Stencil
A batch of bookmarks with different designs
and colors with the same techniques.
Wine Charms
For family and friends who enjoy hosting wine-tasting parties or can never remember which wine glass is theirs, this gift is a great one. Wine charms can be rediculously expensive at places like BevMo, and it costs almost nothing to make them. Wine charms usually come in sets of 4-8, so you could give a loved one one set of four one year and another set of four the next year to complete a set. 

Time: 5-10 minutes for each wine charm.

What You'll Need: 1" metal rings (not sure of their technical name but purchasable at any craft store like Michaels or Jo-Ann), assorted beads, pliers

How-To: Simply straighten the ring with the pliers so you can string some beads on. String some beads on (symmetry or just one bead is good). Then with the pliers, bend the edge of the metal ring up so that it can securely close into the loop. If it is your first time, try it around a (plastic/unbreakable) wine glass to see if it looks good. 

Happy Crafting! 

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