8 Ridiculously Simple (And Cheap) Christmas Crafts You Still Have Time to Make
If you’re a procrastinator like me and still have a few (or several) people to shop for by tomorrow, you probably use procrastination to avoid painful emotions brought on by the most wonderful time of the year. Instead of shopping for friends and relatives throughout the year, you like to wait until the 22nd or 23rd to finally get your act together and then pull an all-nighter (or extreme shopping adventure) to get everything done so you can feel like a badass on Christmas morning instead of, well… just an ass.
We can talk more about your seasonal self-gaslighting later. For now, let’s dive right into some fun, easy and affordable handmade gifts that won’t break the bank, or get you that look usually reserved for handmade birthday cards and elementary school art projects.
Confession time. I can’t draw or cut a straight line. I’m shockingly competent in a lot of ways, but anything that involves hand-eye coordination is pretty much a no-go for me. So if I say a craft is an easy DIY, it’s probably something the average seven-year-old can manage. With that being said, I tried to evaluate simplicity based on both the amount of time the craft takes and its complexity. So don’t slide in my comments with your complaints!
I’m taking compliments only between now and 2020.
This is by far the easiest thing I’ve ever found on Pinterest. This cost me $8 to make and took about 25 minutes to put together. Here’s what I used to make it:
Here’s what it looked like after I glued the jars down:
I cut open the pillow and took the entire pillow form out. It really looks like a cloud!
I took cotton candy size handfuls of the fluff and glued it to the tray. Before long, it was starting to look like a real cloud. The only problem was that I didn’t plan for how I was going to open the jars without ruining the lamp. Fortunately, I had some white ribbon left from an old project, so I glued it to the lids and used it as a ‘string guide’.
Closing the cloud was a little tricky because I needed to be sure the ribbon could still be accessed easily. I ended up gluing big chunks of fluff to each side but leaving an opening down the center that can be smooshed together with your hands. Here’s the final result:
It looked pretty cool even without the lights, but the full effect in a dark room is striking. I’m probably going to give this lamp to my bestie and make another one for myself — after New Years!
My only struggle with this craft is how many times I burned the tips of my fingers with hot glue while making them. But again, that’s probably more of a hand-eye thing than a reflection on the actual difficulty level of the craft. I kept burning myself and stopping, so this took me almost a half hour to make all four. Here’s what I used:
This cost me $6 because I found the belt at Goodwill and had a lot of twine already. Word to the wise: don’t. sleep. Goodwill.
I made a set of glasses to go with the coasters, but they were kind of difficult so they will appear much later in the list. In the meanwhile, look how cute they are together:
I think this coaster and glasses set will make a great gift for my guy cousins. I’m going to give them each two glasses and two coasters. For a full set of four glasses and four coasters, it will run you around $15.
Remember what I was saying about some of the easier crafts taking longer? This was one of them. This took about two hours from start to finish, but a lot of it was wait time. I had to dye the fake dirt (pine shavings) black and wait for it to mostly dry, then I had to glue it down and wait for that to dry. Once my ‘soil’ was set, assembly took maybe ten minutes. Here’s what I used:
So I went a little nuts on this one. I had never made a terrarium before and in my mind, the glass dish was bigger.
This Birdcage though!
I got this lovely little cage aux folles at Goodwill for just one dollar. Altogether, this was definitely the most expensive thing I made, coming in at a whopping $17. I wanted a cool stand for the terrarium, so I upcycled an old barstool using decorative pebbles and some CDs. I’m happy with the overall result:
I’ve had this barstool for years. I never use it because I always feel like it’s going to collapse if anyone other than a six-year-old sits on it. Here’s what it looked like before the resurrection:
Pretty sad, right?
Here’s what it looks like now, without the terrarium to distract from its beauty:
You’re looking at $7 and about 30 minutes of effort. The hardest part of doing crafts with CD’s is cutting the CDs. You have to warm them up enough to be able to cut them easily. The best way is to boil them, but I’m lazy so I microwaved hot water to boiling and dipped them for two minutes before I cut them. I’m pretty sure this made cutting the CDs far more difficult than it had to be. If you boil your CDs first, this should only take 15–20 minutes.
This was by far my favorite craft of the day. Aside from the ‘lipstick’ error I made(I also have issues coloring inside the lines), it came out exactly like I envisioned.
From the moment I saw this gorgeous melanated Barbie in Family Dollar, I knew she was coming home with me. I’m tempted to keep this one for myself, but I’ll probably end up giving it to my Aunt, who adores dolls to a scary degree. Here’s what I used to make this lovely lady:
The lace dress was another Goodwill steal. This dress cost me $5 and I can probably get 10 or more craft projects out of all that lace. The wings were Christmas ornaments that only cost $1. Altogether, this was the second most expensive craft at $16. The doll originally had blue shoes, so I used some metallic nail polish to make them blue and silver. Check out this full body shot that shows off the shoes:
I’m going to name her Mariangela, because it sounds Black as hell and also means ‘rebel angel.’ Seems apropos, no?
I made this for a couple I know that loves classical music. I lucked up on a Puccini three disk set at Goodwill, so I just needed something to go with it. Here’s what I used to create the picture frame decor:
The gorgeous wood frame is also courtesy of Goodwill. Actually, the only things in the above photo I actually bought were the dress, the picture frame, and the CD set. Altogether it cost me $8, but if I had to buy the index cards, tulle, and bling, it would have cost $4 more.
This is not the easiest thing to put together, not going to lie. Whenever you work with picture frames, you have to be careful about how much room you have between the base and the glass. Technically, this decoration was a little too thick for the frame, but I made it work anyway.
Pro tip: Use a yellow marker to sketch before you go back in with a black sharpie. I’m bad at drawing music notes so I’m glad I drew everything in yellow first.
I’m also bad at drawing letters, so I used yellow markers and graph paper to create the stencil for this gift:
CD crafts are the bane of my existence. This took over an hour, four large glue sticks, and a lot of prep work. Here’s what I started with:
Because the manilla folder and the graph paper was mine, I only had to buy black paint, a felt doormat from DollarTree and some CDs. I ended up using 10 CDs that I purchased at Family Dollar for $6.25. The paint was $2, bringing our grand total to $8.25.
After I cut out the letters, I painted them black, which really helps to achieve the mosaic effect on the finished product. I glued my black letters to the mat first, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but I will likely do the mosaic part first if I ever try this again. Hot glue clings to felt like an insecure boyfriend.
Last but not least, these glasses that I thought would be the easiest craft were actually the hardest.
Also, I’m not exactly thrilled with how the final product came out. I did two glasses with a waterproof paint pen and two with nail polish. Here’s everything I used:
These glasses were $1 each at Goodwill. The tape was the most expensive part of this craft, it ran me $6!
VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t cut corners on painting tape. Just get this one:
Even with the clean release tape, I needed to be more conscientious with my paintbrush to get a polished final product. Either way, this is a big step up from drinking Virginia Black from red Solo cups. Hopefully, my cousins will agree.
Which of these last-minute gift ideas will you try your hand at? Be sure to let me know if you use any of these last-minute Christmas gift crafts in the comments below.