One popular adage when it comes to gift giving is: it’s the thought that counts. And we couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing more heartfelt than a handmade gift, and that’s why we have come up with three DIY stocking stuffer ideas that are sure to bring a smile to your giftee’s face.
1. Ice Cream Ball Photo Holder
- 2 – 2 1/2″ Wood doll head (from Michaels)
- Sheet of felt
- Acrylic paint
- Paint brush
- Pair of wire cutters
- Pair of round nose pliers
- Thick aluminum wire – 12 gauge from Michaels
- 3/32″ drill bit (from Home Hardware) – not pictured
- Hand held drill (can be rented from the Toronto Tool Library) – not pictured
- White glue – not pictured
The wooden doll head comes with a predrilled hole in the bottom, but it doesn’t extend all the way to the top, so this is where a a small amount of drilling is needed. You can purchase a small handheld drill from Home Hardware or Canadian Tire for about $40 or if you don’t want to own one, it can be rented from the Toronto Tool Library as well.
With a drill, and a 3/32″ drill bit – the size is important as it impacts the wire you use later on – drill through the top of the wooden ball. We would also recommend clamping the ball onto your work surface to minimize the general fiddly-ness.
Once drilled, it’s time to paint! Choose a colour that reflects your giftee’s favourite ice cream flavour and cover the whole ball. It might take 2 – 3 layers of paint to really give it a solid colour all over. We also painted a drippy white chocolate sauce over the top of the ball with some sprinkles, so feel free to really get creative here.
Once your ball is painted, it’s time to form the photo holder itself. We’re using 12 gauge aluminum wire, as that best fits into the size of the hole we drilled into the wooden ball. Using your wire cutters, snip about 8″ (20 cm) of the wire.
Then using the round nose pliers, gently curl one end of the wire into a curlicue shape. If you don’t have these pliers, you can carefully do this using your hands. The curls may not be as round, but the aluminum wire itself is soft enough to work with bare hands.
Insert the wire holder into the hole you drilled in the wood ball. If the wire is a bit loose, dab on a little white glue to the wire bottom and that should hold it in place.
Finally, cut out a little squiggly shape from the felt sheet (it should match the paint colour on the wood ball), and glue it onto the bottom of the ice cream ball with some white glue.
2. Soy Wax Candles
- Glue gun
- Small cups or bowls for holding the candles
- A small bottle of fragrance oil – we used a bottle of vanilla scent from Michaels
- Wooden candle wicks
- Soy wax flakes – we found some at Herbs & Nutrition (north west corner of Bathurst and Bloor)
First use a glue gun and attach the wooden candle wicks to the bottom of each candle holder.
Next, set up a double boiler system by placing a large glass or metal bowl over top of a smaller saucepan filled halfway with water. Then put both on top of your stove and turn the heat on to maximum. We’re boiling the water, which will in turn heat up the contents within the bowl on top.
Pour all the soy wax flakes into the glass bowl. The amount you use depends on how many candles you’re pouring and how big the containers are. Have a little extra on the side in case you underestimate.
Heat the soy flakes until they have all dissolved into liquid form – a bit of stirring may be required.
Add in your fragrance oil and mix well. The amount you use depends on how strong you want the candles to smell. We tipped in about 15 mL for 6 small candles… and they’re smelling pretty good 🙂
Carefully pour the melted wax into your candle holders. Remember that this concoction is super hot, so handle with care. There will also be some condensation on the bottom of your bowl, so wipe that away before you start pouring.
There you have it!
3. Personalized Gingerbread Keyrings
- Polymer clay in white, red, brown, and ochre yellow
- Two pairs of flat nose pliers
- Metal letter charms
- Small cookie cutters (optional) – not pictured
- Saran wrap/plastic food wrap (optional) – not pictured
First things first, we mixed together some ochre yellow and brown polymer clay to get a colour resembling gingerbread cookies. It ended up taking up 3 parts ochre clay and 1 part brown clay in the end.
Once you have blended to clay evenly, roll it into a ball, and then flatten this ball into a disc about 0.5 cm (1/4″) thick. This can be done with a rolling pin, or just a flat object like a book.
At this stage you can choose to form the clay gingerbread cookies freehand, or go the easier route and use cookie cutters. We would recommend using plastic food wrap if you’re using cookie cutters, so that you don’t get any of the clay stuck in the nooks and crannies. This would also save you the trouble of washing them later.
After pressing the cookie cutter into the disc, carefully remove the cutter and the plastic wrap. Then gently remove the clay around the cutout and poke a small hole on the top where the keychain will be attached.
Using small bits of the white and red polymer clay, add on little bits of trim and decor as you would a real gingerbread cookie. Get creative 🙂
Once you have finished decorating your cookie(s), bake them in an oven according to package instructions. You can use a traditional oven or a toaster oven since the temperature needed isn’t very high.
Once they have been baked, it’s time to attach these clay cookies to the keychains. Keychains can be purchased at Arton Beads, Michaels, or any other jewelry and craft supply store. Carefully open one of the rings with a pair of flat nose pliers, and attach it through the hole that you made earlier at the top of the cookie.
Do the same to attach the metal letter charms. These charms can represent the giftee’s initial, their pet’s name, or anything else that’s personal to them.
All together now…
If you decide to give any of these stocking stuffers a try, we would love to see the result! Tag us on Instagram (@demetres) or share with us on Facebook, and make sure to check back next week for more winter goodness.