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DIY Christmas Gifts

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Making Christmas gifts

Step by step instructions on making candles and body scrub with Etsy crafter Cate Holst.

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Give the same-ol' sweater and socks routine the sack and go DIY this Christmas. DIY gifts are thoughtful, fresh and uniquely you. Also, with around two-thirds of Aussies worried about the cost of gifts this year, they're more affordable. Not to mention they're a perfect opportunity to release your inner child while making a grown up quality gift.

Easy to make presents include: biscuits, soap, sauces, calendars, scrubs, recipe books, and art. But let's start with everybody's favourite: chocolate!

Truffles

The taste of love ... homemade biscuits are a perfect present.

The taste of love ... homemade biscuits are a perfect present. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Truffles are chocolate that's been given a makeover from casual to classy. They're far more impressive than your run-of-the-mill block or box of choccies, they're easy to make, and wrapped in a cellophane bag or presented in a tin box with a personalised tag, they're a great gift for any chocoholic or gourmand.

Truffles can be flavoured with just about anything. Experiment with your favourite liqueur, reduced fruit juices, and spices and essences to produce a signature treat.

Click here for recipe

Gingerbread

Delight the senses and evoke the taste of Christmas with a little gingerbread. You can also get creative with the cookie cutters and decorations to inject a little extra Christmas cheer.

Click here for recipe

Soap

Want to make something other than a Christmas cake? Get creative and make a cake of soap. You can make a bunch of bars in one go for useful, sweet smelling gifts. You'll need:

Boiling pot

Molding trays

Mixing boil

Wooden Spoon

Electric Mixing Wand

Wax Paper (required if using a wooden molding tray to prevent soap from sticking when hardened)

Rubber / cooking gloves

Plus ingredients.

Green Organics takes you through the process step-by-step.

Recipe booklet

Lifestyle doyenne, Martha Stewart suggests making a personalised booklet of your favourite recipes, accompanied by a sweet sample, for a gift that will be appreciated for years. The personalised presentation adds to its appeal. Here's how.

Create your own calendar

You can buy a blank calendar (Kikki-K does a smart, plain one for $19.95) and then personalise it with your own photos, drawings, messages or prints. A simple idea that lasts throughout the year.

Coconut oil scrub

Inexpensive, but still luxururious. A beautiful body scrub is great for guys and girls and you can scent it any way you like!

Here's what you'll need:

• salt or sugar

• oil - organic extra virgin coconut oil is great, but you can use any type of oil

• essential oils if you choose

• a bowl

• a spoon

• a glass jar to store the scrub

About Beauty takes you through the process, step-by-step.

There's no need for DIY gifts to be daggy either. Punchy packaging tips include:

•  Martha Stewart suggests using brightly-coloured cardboard postage tubes for packaging biscuits or using a CD envelope as an oversized cookie gift sleeve. For more of Martha's tips www.marthastewart.com

•  Use plain butcher paper to wrap up gifts and adorn them with your own properly professional looking paper snowflakes. Click here for a how-to.

• Recycled glass jars are an affordable, cute way to package up sauces, scrubs or even truffles. Simply tie a bow around the neck of the jar and hand write the recipe on a tag. www.etsy.com has a good selection of smart looking tags and  stickers.

• A simple glassine bag wrapped in ribbon is a sweet way to present soap. Find out how to pretty it up here.

•  Try prettying up a take away container or popcorn box. Curbly.com shows how.

What do you think makes a great DIY gift?

5 comments

  • Good idea these DYI gifts: For some years I've made Christmas cakes or portions thereof for rels, friends etc. Fun if not cheap. My tip is to use a good recipe without skimping on dried/ glace fruit ingredients, and to inject some good quality brandy or liqueur with a syringe after cooking, then leave to mature for a few weeks. Far better than any bought cake.

    Commenter
    RDS
    Date and time
    December 07, 2011, 8:40AM
    • I like to give little herb pots... maybe mint, parsley and some basil.

      Commenter
      sparker
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 07, 2011, 10:24AM
      • DIY gifts are always a great idea. Recipients know you have gone to some trouble, especially when they realise you've done the work yourself.
        There are heaps of magazines in the newsagents that cover all sorts of crafts, as well as loads of great recipe books.
        Maybe over the holidays readers might like to take up a relaxing hobby? People who work with their heads most of the day would benefit greatly from taking up something creative. It is fabulous making stuff. I learned patchwork and quilting this year and have enjoyed every minute of it. Imagine next Christmas presenting a few loved ones with a new cover for their beds?
        I loved sparker's idea of pots of herbs, but some of us end up accidently murdering our gifts. With bikkies and stuff, you need to know the recipient well enough regarding likes and dislikes as well as intolerances, or worse, allergies.
        However, whatever it is, enjoy making it. For those with families, get the kids to help.

        Commenter
        ... and so this is Christmas
        Location
        somewhere in the middle of nowhere
        Date and time
        December 07, 2011, 1:36PM
        • Personally, I love getting home-made gifts. I prefer them much, much more than store bought gifts; they are more thoughtful on the whole, and I dislike having much money spent on me to be honest.

          The best gifts are one you can use- for example, food such as biscuits, preserves etc.

          Though I am quite partial to books; however, these are often on the pricey side!

          Commenter
          Thephoenixhasrisen
          Date and time
          December 07, 2011, 5:57PM
          • I made hazlenut praline chocolate truffles last year for friends and colleagues and everyone LOVED them. They couldn't believe I had made them, so much better than spending $20-$30 on a present.

            Commenter
            Nicola
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            December 07, 2011, 8:06PM
            Comments are now closed
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