In our home, handmade gifts are a priority. I encourage, er demand, creativity in gift giving rather than mindless spending. The result has been an interesting mix of flops and fun. But the common denominator is that it has all been memorable.
Homemade gifts for the men in your life can be a tricky. While a mom may wear a homemade necklace to the store, a man most likely will not be caught sporting a knitting attempt anywhere, especially if that man is a 16 year old brother. Consider these homemade gift ideas to suggest to your younger children, or make yourself.
Football Pillow. Guys can the sit on this flat pillow on the cold bleachers, or use as a save-their-spot in the living room during a big game. You will need brown vinyl and a piece of high density foam from a fabric store. Have the child cut a football shape from the foam and then trace the football shape two times on the sheet of brown vinyl. Hot glue the two pieces around the foam and hold in place with clothspins until dry. Cut strips of white tape to make the decorative laces.
Alternately, you can make a football, tennis ball, golf ball, hockey puck or baseball.
Throw Blanket. Do not succumb to the store-bought snuggie, kids of any age can make a cozy customized blanket with two pieces of fleece. Head to the fabric store to find a pattern that would work the best for the man they are making the gift for; pro sports teams, college teams, military, plaid, cars or favorite colors are just a few possibilities. A large fabric warehouse will be sure to have a style for each person in your family.
All you need to do is cut two pieces of fabric the size you desire and stack on top of each other and then cut two or three-inch long strips a 1/2-inch wide. Tie the strands together to hold the two pieces of fleece together.
Fleece iPod Scarf. Along the same line as the throw blanket, you can make a fleece scarf with a pocket to hold an iPod, great for guys who are never far from their tunes. Choose fleece and then cut two scarf lengths. Cut the strips and then tie together to hold. Cut a small piece of fleece for the pocket and use a blanket stitch to sew three sides on the inside of the scarf.
Photo Baseball. A unique gift for a guy who loves baseball is a special ball complete with a photo of themselves playing the sport, or a photo of the child if the gift is for their dad. You will need a baseball, T-shirt, tape, computer with inkjet printer and a sheet of T-shirt transfer sheet. If you have an old baseball that you can tear apart use that to make the pattern. If not, lay a piece of computer paper over the ball to make templates. Trace one of the baseball patterns on a piece of T-shirt fabric and cut out. Scan the photo you would like to use and then transfer to a piece of T-shirt fabric. Tape the fabric down and then sew in place with red embroidery thread to secure it to the ball.
Manly Gift Wrap. Use a scanner to copy sports cards. Layer baseball, football or basketball cards over newspaper sports stat pages or lay them end to end. Make color copies and use to wrap gifts. Instead of using ribbon, tie a bow with rubber bands or shoelaces.