Homemade Christmas Gifts 2015…

Here’s a round up of my homemade Christmas gifts this year for the kids.

Cannon – Noah’s Ark animals
This has been an idea a long time in the making and I’m only semi-disappointed with myself that I didn’t get the ark made in time. Another year…another homemade gift. This year, he got the animals; 12 sets, 24 in total. Based on a set by Holztiger – a company from Germany which I talked about here.
Homemade Gift: Wooden Noah's ark Set
Homemade Gift: Wooden Noah's ark Set
Homemade Gift: Wooden Noah's ark Set
My patio was a disaster for far too long. This was a labor of love and I was counting my lucky stars that I had all my fingers in tact when I finished. Scroll saws can be a little intimidating! They’re made of 1″ hard maple which was a little difficult to cut out but they’ll be much more durable than making them out of pine. I spent many weeks watching Survivor and painting all the animals with basic craft paint (all of which was left over from a homemade gift last year, the nativity puzzle). I finished them off with a couple layers of clear coat and called it good.
Homemade Gift: Wooden Noah's ark Set
Homemade Gift: Wooden Noah's ark Set
They turned out better than I expected and I’m pretty much in love with them. So is Cannon.
Homemade Gift: Wooden Noah's ark Set
Homemade Gift: Wooden Noah's ark Set


Bennett – Wooden Robots
I found these darling robots (Ollibots) at Caravanshoppe.com. These require absolutely no skills. I purchased the digital file which gave me the artwork (printed them at staples) and all the instructions as well as the part numbers to buy from an online hobby store for all the wood pieces (precut).
Homemade Gift: Wooden robots, Ollibots, from the Caravanshoppe.com
They suggested different options of attaching the pieces together – I went with low-profile industrial strength Velcro from Amazon and it’s worked like a dream.

Homemade Gift: Wooden robots, Ollibots, from the Caravanshoppe.com
Homemade Gift: Wooden robots, Ollibots, from the Caravanshoppe.com

You can mix and match to your heart’s content – and Bennett has!
Homemade Gift: Wooden robots, Ollibots, from the Caravanshoppe.com

Hunter – Lego Print
Check out Hunter’s Lego artwork gift on a previous post.
Homemade Christmas Gift; Lego Wall Art

Hallie – Fancy circle skirt
I’m realizing the older my kids get the more creative I have to get with their homemade gift. It’s much easier when they’re younger!

Hallie was in need of some skirts. Typically, I’m able to find something at a store that fits her just right but we’ve had some trouble lately. She getting taller and she has a fairly skinny waist. We couldn’t find a skirt long enough with a small enough waist. I turned to danamadeit.com and followed her circle skirt pattern. It was so easy, I made one for her to wear before Christmas and surprised her with another on Christmas morning. I’m tempted to make one in my size.

Homemade Gift: Girls circle skirt
Homemade Gift: Girls circle skirt
Homemade Gift: Girls circle skirt
I’m ready to start brainstorming this year’s gifts. (aside from Cannon’s ark which has already made the list!)

Check out more homemade gifts from previous years:
Homemade Gift Paper RollHomemade Gift: T-Shirt QuiltHomemade Gift: Wooden Nativity PuzzleHomemade Gift: Bean BagsHomemade Gift: Gospel ABC BookHomemade Gift: Canvas QuoteHomemade Gift: Wooden Super HeroesHomemade Gift: Kids Apron
Homemade Gift: Photo Book

Lego Wall Art

My homemade Christmas gifts come in all shapes and sizes. I had the idea for Hunter’s homemade Christmas gift almost 6 months ago. I was working to redo his room and after I got the furniture and bedding placed I knew I wanted a picture hanging between his beds. Almost immediately the thought came to me to take a picture of his legos and hang it on the wall. The idea morphed into Lego wall art – making a quote out of his Legos and printing it for his wall.

I chose a short quote to make sure I could make it fit and look uniform. I spent an afternoon with his legos while he was at school and was done in no time.
Homemade Christmas Gift; Lego Wall Art

I made a 20×20 print and put it in an Ikea Ribba frame.

Christmas morning he opened it and gave me the exact reaction I was looking for. Excitement.
 Homemade Christmas Gift; Lego Wall Art

We promptly hung it in his room and it was just as I had envisioned many months ago. “It’s awesome mom, I didn’t know you could make words out of Legos!” Yes son you can, and it’s much easier than the instructions that take 300 steps to build a ship!
 Homemade Christmas Gift; Lego Wall Art

Want more Lego fun?

DIY Lego Costumes
Lego Birthday Party
Lego Valentine’s Box
Lego Magnets

Christmas craft…wood burning…

I purchased a wood burning tool a while ago (nothing fancy, just found it on Amazon) and now I’m burning everything. (And I only came close to burning myself once!) This little Christmas craft took less than 20 minutes from start to finish – and 3 of those minutes were waiting for the burning tool to heat up. And before you claim that your handwriting isn’t good or you can’t draw – these little snowflakes consist of straight lines. You can even draw the design on with pencil first if you’re really that unsure of yourself!
 Christmas craft using a wood burning tool
I found some birch wood cuts at Joanns; they vary anywhere from 1 1/2″ to 2 1/2″ circles. I used the burning tool with a simple small round tip and drew intersecting lines until they looked like snowflakes. Once the snowflakes were burned, I drilled a hole in them and tied them with jute. We used them as napkin rings for a dinner we had at the church recently and after that they made great ornaments for the tree. You could use them on gifts, make a garland out of them or even tie them around a glass jar. And all you have to do is burn straight lines. Easy peasy!
 Christmas craft using a wood burning tool
 Christmas craft using a wood burning tool
 Christmas craft using a wood burning tool
No wood is safe at our house now!

Wooden “Give Thanks” banner…

Several years ago I made a “Be Grateful” banner out of wood. I loved it so much but there was one small problem – I made it out of pine and that thing was heavy. It tore many Command strips off the wall! This year I reprised the project and made it out of thin underlayment – plywood.

I had Home Depot cut the plywood into strips and I used the miter saw to cut the triangles. Working with plywood like this can be a bit tricky and it leaves plenty of splinters. One side has a much nicer finish after the cutting process – I stained that side.
Wooden
Wooden
Wooden

The other side, which wasn’t so nice, got a couple coats of chalkboard paint.
Wooden
I debated how I should put the letters on: hand paint, vinyl letters, burning with a hand tool or a foam stamp. I went the easy route and what was readily available to me. I then carefully painted the edges with a metallic gold paint.
Wooden
Wooden
It hangs on the entertainment center with two small command strips and so far the weight hasn’t been a problem. Not only that but the wood tones look much better than the painted white “be grateful” banner I previously did.
Wooden
Wooden
You can see more details and a full tutorial at HowDoesShe.com.

Ikea Art Cart…

Our playroom was once littered with art supplies. I love that my kids like to create but finding broken crayons and glue without tops was driving me crazy. Every couple days, I would have the kids round up all the supplies and put them back in their place in the playroom. Just hours after cleaning, I would walk in and find art supplies everywhere. I realized it wasn’t really the older kids who were creating the mess – its the monster one year old we have running around that seems to make messes wherever goes. The only way to solve the problem was to remove the art supplies but make them very accessible.

Introducing the Ikea art cart that resides in my office closet.
Ikea Art Cart for craft supplies

I purchased a cart on wheels from Ikea. This allows the cart to be mobile and can travel to and from the playroom when needed.

Also from Ikea I purchased two sets of white magazine holders. These hold the coloring books, workbooks and clipboards. The clipboards were purchased for another project that I never completed and the kids kept sneaking them to color on. They are a staple on the art cart.
Ikea Art Cart for craft supplies

The bottom two layers are filled with quart-sized canning jars. Hallie meticulously sorted out all the supplies and organized them into different jars. Crayons, colored pencils, twistable pencils, twistable crayons, pencils and pens, scissors, markers, glue sticks, glue, whiteboard markers…and more. Everything they need for a art project or school assignment. Sometimes, they don’t need the whole cart and they leave it in the closet and take the jars they need. Hallie will take a jar to her room to color and return it later.
Ikea Art Cart for craft supplies
It’s been over 6 months and the supplies have remained relatively organized. There have been a few casualties including when the cart was left in the playroom by accident and a certain toddler dumped out the jars. But the kids have been great about making sure it gets put away since then.
Ikea Art Cart for craft supplies
The best part is anytime they’re looking for a supply – they know exactly where to look. It’s also easy to see what we’re running low on – which doesn’t happen to be gluesticks, we’ve got two jars full!

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