Unsure what to get friends or family this year? These DIY gift ideas will ensure your present has a memorable personal touch
1. Flower frame
Framing dried flowers into a simple frame is a great budget-friendly gift idea.
+ Pick flowers in the morning when they have just opened. Immediately after cutting, plunge stems into cold water and recut underwater and at an angle. Leave in water to absorb as much moisture as possible.
+ Cut off blooms for pressing. If you have a flower press, place a sheet of cardboard and then a sheet of blotting paper on base. Arrange flowers on top, leaving 5mm between each. Cover with another sheet of paper, followed by cardboard. Add the top part of the press and tighten. If you don’t have a press, heavy books will work. Leave in a cool, dry place for a week, then replace paper if necessary. Leave for 2-3 more weeks.
+ Place and frame flowers. I used a double-sided frame I bought overseas; if you can’t find a similar one, buy 2 cheap frames and replace the backing in one frame with the glass from the other (check that the second pane will fit into the frame safely before buying).
2. Cocktail recipe
Try gifting a summer cocktail recipe this Christmas along side a bottle of spirits. It’s a thoughtful and affordable alternative to hitting the shops.
+ A bottle of spirits is always an appreciated gift as we embrace the silly season.
+ Bulk out the gift with our lovely illustrated cocktail recipes. Download and print out our cocktail recipe book here.
+ These five gin recipes packaged with a bottle of gin, mixers and a few garnishes would make a great gift.
+ For mixers, East Imperial tonics or Fentimans tonic are my personal faves. Schweppes or a freshly made SodaStream batch will also work perfectly. For something different, try ginger beer.
+ Lemons, limes, pomegranate, passionfruit and blood orange will give your beverage some flair. However, using seasonal fruit will keep costs down, and muddled berries certainly create a sweetly refreshing summer drop.
+ Garnishes could be herbs such as basil or rosemary, or something more substantial like cucumber or celery. Include a packet of pink peppercorns – great with citrus-based drinks – too, if you like.
3. Cushion cover
Don’t throw out last season’s knitwear! Here’s how you can DIY a cushion cover out of that cosy woollen jumper in six easy steps.
4. Herb garden
This herb garden not only looks good but is extremely useful at the same time. You can make it personal by filling with herbs you know the recipient loves!
+ Buy a terracotta pot with a base tray. Mine was $19.98 from Bunnings. Using masking tape, mark off areas you wish to paint and paint them; we created a scallop pattern.
+ Paint tray to match. Once dry, carefully remove masking tape.
+ Plant 3 herbs, evenly spaced, in pot. Top with potting mix. Water well.
5. Joy jar
A holiday gift jar filled with tiny presents for kids will create hours of fun throughout the summer. See how you can create this stocking filler here.
A holiday gift jar filled with tiny presents will give them hours of fun throughout the summer. Look for a jar with a wide top (we got ours from Kmart) then get collecting. Keep an eye out in the supermarket, $2 shop, toy store and op-shop and build up a treasure trove of intriguing treats. If you have time, wrap up a few items for an extra boost of anticipation.
6. Japanese inspired hanging Kokedama
If your recipient is a nature lover, they’ll definitely be appreciate of a hanging Kokedama that you’ve created yourself. Plus, its super fun to make.
7. Linen tea towels
Handmade Linen tea towels are not only a useful everyday item, they also look gorgeous hanging in the kitchen.
+ Cut linen into 48cm squares, then hem with a sewing machine so you have 45cm squares, forming your napkins.
+ Mix chosen fabric dye in a bowl with hot water.
+ Wet napkins in water, then dip about a third into dye.
+ After 15 minutes, push napkin another 5cm into bowl, to create a lighter shading.
+ After 5 minutes, dip napkin slightly deeper for 1 minute then rinse napkins until water runs clear and machine wash before use.
8. Handmade plant pot
This chunky woolen plant pot will take your greenery gift to the next level, adding texture and style.
+ Cut 3 x 3.3m lengths of chunky wool.
+ At one end, tie ends with embroidery thread in a matching colour.
+ Plait wool and secure ends with same thread. Trim off excess wool.
+ Use a hot glue gun to glue one end to bottom edge of pot (ours was 14cm x 14cm.)
+ Wind plait round pot then secure with glue; try to start and finish coil on same side of pot.
+ Place a potted plant (still in its pot) inside plaited pot; remove potted plant to water.
Check out our compilation of DIY decoration ideas, if you’d like to continue the DIY mood!
Photography by: Wendy Fenwick, Larnie Nicolson, Melanie Jenkins/bauersyndication.com.au