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Homemade Gifts for the Holiday Season

One of the biggest worries with the holiday season is having enough money to buy gifts for your family and friends. The current unemployment rate increased .04 percent to an overall 8.6 percent total in November. If you’re one of the many Americans struggling with money issues due to unemployment, why don’t you try making your gifts this year?

Making homemade gifts items is a great stress reliever from lines at the cash register, driving around crowded parking lots, and low checking balances.

“I’ve been making mirrors for the past thirty years and every time I make them, people are just memorized by them,” said carpenter and professional mirror artist, John Hacker. “When I give them as gifts, they are usually the favorite gift because they are personalized. People seem to love anything with their name on it. I learned from a professional from a craft store. I asked them how those mirrors were designed and then they scheduled an appointment for me with the professional.”

Here are some homemade holiday gift ideas:

Love Knot Blankets (The knots on the blanket are tied together with love.)

Materials Need: 2 Pieces of Fleece Fabric of the Same Size//Scissors//Tape or Clips

  1. Buy two different pieces of fleece fabric of the same size.
  2. Place them together with one on top of the other.
  3. Prevent movement by taping the two pieces of fabric together.
  4. Fold the outsides of the fabric into the center. All four sides should be the same length whether it is four inches or more, so the knots are consistently the same length.
  5. Cut slits throughout the folds that are folded towards the inside of the center.
  6. Tie the slits of the two fabrics together. This will hold the two pieces of fabric together.

Mirror Etching

Materials Need: Mirror//Contact Paper//Exacto-Knife//Pencil//Armor Etching Cream//Cold Water//Paint Brush// CAUTION: Tools are sharp

  1. Start with a mirror of any size.
  2. Clean the mirror. Cleaning it will prevent streaks or smudges to the design.
  3. Cover the mirror with contact paper.
  4. Make sure there are no bumps or bubbles in the paper in order to make the design crisp and clean.
  5. When it is fully covered, draw your design on the mirror.
  6. Shade in what you want cut out.
  7. Cut out your drawing with your exacto-knife, so the mirror now shows through the paper.
  8. Cover the visible mirror pieces with Armor Etching Cream with a paint brush. Armor Etching Cream eats away at the mirror to make the design white and visible on the mirror. Athicker layer of cream on the mirror will make the design look brighter.
  9. Let the cream stay on the mirror for five minutes.
  10. Rinse the mirror under cold water to clean off the cream.
  11. Peel off the contact paper from the mirror.
  12. Clean the mirror.

Watch this video to see a step on cutting out the contact paper for your mirror etching.


Wood Burning Art

Materials Need: Dry Piece of Wood (without Varnish)//Wood Burning Pen//Pencil//EXTRA: Oil Colored Pencils// CAUTION: Extremely Hot

  1. Start with a dry piece of wood. The wood should not have varnish on it. The varnish will make it difficult to create the design. If it burns from the tool, it will make the burn bubble.
  2. Draw your design on the dry piece of wood with a pencil.
  3. Screw in the tool attachment into the top of the handle of wood burning tool.
  4. Plug in the wood burning tool to an outlet.
  5. Wait for the tool to heat up. BE CAREFUL! The tool gets extremely hot, so handle with care.
  6. Slowly trace your design with the hot wood burning tool.
  7. Once it is traced, fill in your design by slowly going back and forth with the tool to make the design evenly burned.
  8. To add color, lightly fill in the design with the wood burning tool. Then color in the image with oil colored pencils.

By: Thomas Sullivan


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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.