Handmade gifts are a wonderful option for Christmas, whether you are on a budget, aiming for a personal touch, or want to gift something one-of-a-kind. Handmade gifts are also extremely satisfying to make and allow you to explore your creativity. This month, CAE looks at some of our favourite creative gift ideas.
Homemade treats make wonderful Christmas gifts, either as the main event or a thoughtful take-home present for parties or social occasions in the lead-up to Christmas. Half the fun is sourcing cute jars to put your treats in and finding materials to decorate them with, such as ribbons, hessian, handmade tags and stickers. Preserves are an obvious choice – think jams, chutneys, spreads, stewed fruit and pickled vegetables – but don’t be afraid to get creative. Make your own bliss balls or layer the ingredients for a yummy cookie or cupcake. All the recipient needs to do is add a liquid – like water, milk or oil – and voila!
Learn the art of preserving fruits and vegetables with one of our Pickling & Preserving: Pickles, Jams & Chutney courses, or get some ideas for the kind of delicious cakes you could create in a jar with our Basic Cake Making class.
Working with natural materials and shaping nature with your hands is a hugely satisfying way to create handmade gifts. Woodworking is also a very adaptable hobby – you can start small and simple with picture frames, boxes, or chopping blocks, and gradually tackle more complex projects as your skills advance. Bowls and crockery, furniture, bookends, carvings and children’s toys are just some of the items you can create. To source your timber, keep an eye on Gumtree and the offcuts section at Bunnings, or buy some reclaimed timber from demolition yards. Half the fun is experimenting with different textures, grains and types of wood.
Learn the basics of woodworking with one of our Intro to Woodworking or Picture Framing short courses or branch out (haha) into other natural materials with our How to Build a Traditional Wood Fired Oven class.
We all know how easy it is to keep photos on our phones or social media, but a photobook can be a keepsake of beautiful memories. Be imaginative with the themes for your photobook. Perhaps you want to capture your family history via every single pet. Perhaps you have spent a few months travelling with friends and want to gift them a memento of special moments and destinations. You can add quotes, anecdotes, poems and design elements that enhance your photos and make your photobook a work of art.
Skip overpriced or generic home décor and create your own handmade gifts for those you love. There are so many materials and textures you can work with to create artisanal pieces, such as lampshades, throw rugs, sculptures, or cushion covers with pockets for that ever-elusive remote! Go wild and build a book table out of old encyclopaedias. Create simple but unique coasters and placemats, or explore candle, soap and terrarium making. Best of all, you can cater your creations to the style of the person receiving them, ensuring a truly personal touch.
Handmade jewellery is a versatile gift; perfect for a stocking stuffer, a little extra to accompany a main gift, or even as a Secret Santa present. You can incorporate a huge variety of materials into handmade jewellery and half the fun is perusing the craft store aisles considering the creative possibilities! For example, press dried plants, flowers and shells into resin for nature-themed earrings, pendants and bangles, use the ends of decorative cutlery to create silver jewellery, or create imaginative tiny figures out of clay. You can create pieces catered to individuals, or develop a theme that represents your style. Who knows, it might even turn into a little side job!