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Last Minute DIY Christmas Presents For Under $5 Each

Updated on December 23, 2015
  1. Personalized Mugs

    What you need: Mug, Oil Based Paint Sharpie, Oven

    What’s the deal: So let’s say its Christmas Eve, you get to your Aunt’s house, and oh crap. You forgot your second cousin, twice removed was coming. Have no fear! Run out to Kmart, Target, Walmart, The Dollar Store, wherever, and get however many plain white mugs. Just make sure to pick up an oil paint based Sharpie (or other brand of oil paint based paint pen).

    What to do: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. As that's warming up, draw whatever you want on the mug. If you don't feel confident your drawing skills are up to par, then just write a motivational saying, something cute and funny, the receiver’s initials, or even just ‘I hate mornings’. A moderate artist could handle a snowman, snowflake pattern, or cartoon penguin. If you want to tackle something a little more challenging, try a t-rex drinking coffee, a far side type cartoon with clever caption, or even Santa and his reindeer flying through a starry night. Of course, bubble lettered initials with polka dots would work too. Put in oven for 30 minutes, then turn oven off and let cool slowly in the oven. This could take a couple hours, so leaving over night (once the oven is off) is perfectly fine. For $10 and an hour, you can make 7 of these.

    $1.43 each @ 7

    2. Personalized Note Cards and Envelopes

    What you need: Packet of blank note cards with envelopes , Water colors, Paint brush

    What's the deal: We all have that person who we want to get something nice and mature for; a present for the real adult in your life. What seems more adult and mature than writing letters? You can get blank note cards (heavy paper cut up works too, just remember to buy envelopes to fit) at Michaels, 50 for $9.99, a basic watercolor kit for the same, and a watercolor paint brush for $1.99. For this project, quality of paint and brush is not so important. Beginner level supplies and skills is totally fine.

    What to do: Get your water colors set up so you can paint on the front side of the card. While you can do any design, if you are not artistically inclined, I would suggest alternating colors and sizes of lines, squiggles, or circles. You could start by making a thick yellow line in the upper left quadrant and bottom right quadrant. Next make a thinner teal line to the right of each yellow line, and purple lines varying in shade and thickness to the left of the yellow to the end of the quadrant. Finish the quadrant with a bright blue after the teal. For the bottom left and top right quadrant, rearrange the colors and lines, but stick to a similar design. Play around with colors and shapes, make each note card unique! Google Monet for inspiration. Pick a small part of one of his pieces to mimick. Get creative and have fun! Spend $22, and have 50 of these. Give ten to five different people, for $4.40 per person. Done in 2 hours (drying included).

    $0.44 each @ 50

    3. Specialty Holiday Drink Kit

    What you need: Vodka, Candy canes, Hot Chocolate Mix, Container

    What’s the deal: Now that the second cousins and Aunt Ida are taken care of, how about your friends and coworkers? Here’s a great gift they can use on New Year’s Eve… if they can wait that long. For 750 ml of vodka, you need 12 candy canes. It would help to have a food processor, funnel, a fine mesh strainer, and cute container, but don’t go out and buy any of this! You can get around this all!

    What to do: Break candy canes into a food processor and press start ( or a zip-up plastic bag (or in between paper towels) and seal. Using a hammer, mug, heavy handle of a spatula, anything heavy and easy to manipulate, start crushing the candy cane). However you get there, you want the candy cane to be as fine as possible. Pour candy cane powder into vodka bottle. Shake to mix and continue to shake/stir every once in awhile for an hour. If there are any candy pieces left, strain into mesh strainer (if you don’t have this and don’t want to get one, you can very slowly pour out the liquid while watching for pieces). Pour liquid into whatever containers you want to send them off in. You can find cute mason jars at the dollar store. Package them with some hot chocolate mix, and instructions to add the candy cane vodka into the hot chocolate! YUM! Spend $20 and you can have 5 sets of these (you could go cheaper for cheaper vodka, or more sets if you want to give them a couple shots each). Done in an hour and a half.

    $4 each @ 5

    There you go. Spend about $50 and a few hours, and you can have about 20 unique, thoughtful, and tasteful Christmas presents, all ready for Christmas morning. Now who said the holidays were stressful?


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