My children enjoy making a large number of the gifts they give each holiday season. With five children, though, December can simply fly by with all our other activities and plans. If you have this problem, too, I present a quick list of last minute gifts for kids to make. These are just a few of the things we’re playing around with this year; each year births and new batch of last minute gifts for kids to make.
For a whole year’s worth of DIY goals, projects and inspiration, be sure to check out our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. With 400 pages of homesteading information, written on four different levels of experience, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Yes, we even covered the kids.
Gifts for Kids to Make
Here are just a few ideas you can fiddle around with this year or file away to try next year. Bear in mind that three of these require some simple sewing skills; just an FYI as you’re planning your time.
Ornaments are a great gift when you’re creating a large number of gifts to give to multiple people. They can stand alone with a handmade tag or be tied on with a ribbon to some larger item like:
- a bottle of organic cider (for the whole foodie)
- a solar flashlight (for the prepper)
- a feed scoop (for the homesteader).
This year we’ve been making quite a few of our Rag Quilt Wreath ornaments and you can read how to make them here on Melissa K Norris’s site where we did a guest post tutorial.
Upcycled Sweater Sachets
Have an old, raggy sweater laying around that still has good sections left? Or maybe you just ripped a hole in your favorite one and you know that if it goes onto your mending pile, you’ll never see it again anyway?
Not to worry, upcycle that thing into sweet smelling sachets for dresser drawers. Or, you can turn them into ornaments simply by adding a loop to the top. This is a very easy process with basic sewing skills, I promise.
I have said before that I’m not very crafty – I go for easy and quick to finish.
Just a quick note on basic sewing skills. I’ve linked a few blog posts on basic stitches, but if you need some video tutorials, my friend Angi from Schneider Peeps created some for Skillshare. The kids and I use Skillshare a lot for art classes, especially, so I was glad to find that Angi was there teaching sewing! Click here for her classes.
Note: I don’t make an commission of of sharing this with you, I just really think it’s useful. Skillshare does have a subscription fee, though, FYI. A super great deal for all that content, but I wanted to let you know that upfront.
To prepare the pieces:
- Pick a shape – we did a heart here but you could do any shape.
- Cut a paper template and pin it onto the sweater that you’ve laid out flat. (This is step 1 in the photo below.) You’ll want to cut two layers of sweater, one for the front and one for the back of the sachet, so lay it out with that in mind.
- Using sharp scissors, cut a quarter inch out from your template, all around until you’ve completely cut it away from the sweater. that quarter inch will be your seam allowance.
- Turn the pieces so that they’re right sides are together and put a few pins in them to keep them still.
To sew the sachet:
- Using quilting thread (its a bit thicker than regular thread), go around the edge of the sachet, about a quarter inch in (that seam allowance you left). (Step 2 in the photo below.) Use a simple running or back stitch. Need to learn those stiches? Here’s a link.
- Leave about an inch open, with no seam sewn. Then, just to make sure the knit will hold together over time, I suggest you go back and sew a quick blanket stitch up and over the edges. Need to learn a blanket stitch? Here’s a link.
- Make sure you’ve knotted your ends and secured your hand-stitching.
- Then, turn the sachet right sides out so that you can stuff it with lavender or some other fragrant herb. You could use your favorite potpourri mix. To keep the organic material from sneaking through the knit, I suggest you cut a small square of muslin or cheesecloth and place the herbs inside.
- You can close your small packet with a knot or with a quick running stitch around the edges, drawing up the sides until they’re closed and knotting your thread.
- Place the packet inside the sachet and flatten in a bit by pressing with your fingers. If you’re making an ornament, you can fill in around the packet by stuffing the sachet with raw wool or quilt batting.
- To close up the hole, turn in the edges so that they point down, inside the sachet, about a quarter inch’s worth. You can pin it to keep it closed, if you like, but I usually just hold it as I sew. You’ll want to close the hole with a whipstitch. Need to learn a whipstitch? Here’s a link.
These make excellent gifts for the kids to make because they only require tape, toilet paper tubes, dryer lint/cotton rags and Christmas paper.
If you want to make several firestarters, gather your dryer lint over a few weeks, as well as your toilet paper tubes. If you have cotton rags, you may also use those but be careful not to use polyester or other synthetic material in anything you’re going to encourage people to burn. These man-made fabrics are really just glorified plastic.
- Stuff your tubes until they’re packed pretty tightly (Step 1 in the photo below).
- Cut some Christmas paper to fit the length of the tube, with a little extra, just in case.
- Place the tube on the edge of the paper and secure it to the paper with tape in the center (Step 2 in the photo).
- Roll it up until the tube is completely covered and finish with tape (Step 3 in the photo). You can leave the ends fluted like candy wrappers by leaving them long (step 4) and tying ribbon at each end of the tube.
Just an fyi, these babies catch fire quickly and burn for several minutes, depending on the materials used.
Label and Gift:
If you’d like to make these yourself, we’ve made a label for you to use – simply save and print. If you want to change the size, just go to PicMonkey.com and you can size it there for free or create your own.
Have fabric scraps laying around, even after making the rag quilt wreath ornaments? Make a patchwork Christmas Picture. These look really nice when put inside a standard picture frame, the most common sizes being 4×6 and 8×10.
Prepare the fabrics:
- Cut a scrap rectangle of a plain colored fabric; I suggest a cream or white so that the details of your following work can be easily seen. If you want to frame your completed piece, then cut this plain colored fabric 4×6 or 8×10, whichever frame size you’d like to uses. Bear in mind that a larger picture will require a bit more work, but the work is simple.
- Collect scraps of fabric in complementing colors – about five different fabrics.
- Turn them right sides together and iron them to help them lie flat while you cut them.
- Using a quarter and a nickel, trace with a pencil a round shape (Step 1 in the photo below). I like to have at least four circles in both sizes of each fabric so that I have a good variety from which to choose. Collect a few colored buttons, if you’d like to add those to your piece.
- You can create any holiday image but I like the ever popular Christmas tree. If you’re doing a tree, visualize a triangle in the center of your plain colored fabric while you place your fabric circles in various shapes to fill in that triangle image in your mind. Using rows, arrange the circles so that they form a kind of pyramid (Step 2 in the photo). Fill in with buttons or sequins, if you like.
- Use a pin to keep each circle in place. Or, you can just take a digital picture and keep referencing it while you sew.
Procedure for Sewing:
- Pick up your fabric triangle and using a simple cross stitch, secure your circles to your fabric in rows until each one is placed.
- You can use a scrap piece of fabric or a large button to represent the trunk (Step 3).
- Embroider the year at the very top, if you’d like.
- Run a hot iron over the piece once its finished but I like the dimension of slightly crumpled fabrics, especially once the picture is framed. Frame the finished piece with a matte or without.
Need it Done Even Quicker?
To make the whole thing go quicker, you can also use a hot glue gun to affix the fabric circles and buttons.
I fight with hot glue like a true BFF, as much as I love it. I get it everywhere it’s not supposed to be and I burn myself. Every. Time.
Besides, I like the look of the simple stitch in the center of each circle so I sew mine on. To each her own.
The Most Important Part
Don’t you or your kiddos stress over this, or any of these items. They’re meant to be fun and quick.
They don’t require expert hands to make them look great. Your child just needs love in their heart for the receiver of the gift, a few supplies and about an hour’s worth of time from start to finish.
If you need some extra help teaching basic crafting principles like sewing, don’t forget Craftsy! The ad below is the class my kids and I are currently working on. I’m very proud to report that I can now crochet a dish cloth – badly and not exactly squre. BUT, they’re made with love!
Homemade Whole Foods and Treats
I hope I don’t need to explain the great gift that homemade food can be. We all know how it feels to have a homemade pot of chicken soup with fresh, crusty bread. Or sweet treats made with wholesome ingredients and lots of affection.
“Homemade gifts are not cheap, but rather priceless and made with that which cannot be bought, love.”
I recently reviewed Kathie’s book and encourage you again to check it out. To get you motivated to break out your mixing bowls and whole foods ingredients, I’ll provide some links that will set your mouth to watering.
Traditional Petticoat Tail Shortbread – oh, how I love shortbread.
How about Sourdough Einkorn Hot Cross Buns – oh, no, they’re not just for Easter (think St. Lucia’s Day)!
Or, look what the Bread Geek did for her neighbors!
May God grant you patience and peace of mind as you juggle your family and those last minute gifts for kids to make!
Cover graphic gratefully attributed to Grahics Fairy.