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Top 10 DIY Holiday Gift Ideas

DIY with InRoads hero image

There’s nothing better than a homemade gift for the holidays. Whether made for a friend or family member, or even yourself, it’s the thought that counts not how much you spend. And by DIYing seasonal décor with items you already have, or thrift store finds, you’ll never worry about overspending for the holidays.

Salt & Pepper Wine Stoppers

Salt and Pepper Wine Covers
Photo courtesy of Cridland Photography

Salt and pepper shaker sets are so cute. But let’s face it, there are a lot of them out there and in most cases aren’t even used.  So why not upcycle them for holiday entertaining as wine stoppers.  With some all-purpose glue and a couple of new tapered wine corks, these cutie patooties that once seasoned food are now holiday season gifts.

– Blank bottle corks
– Salt & pepper shakers
– E6000 glue

How To:
1. Apply glue to the top of the cork and the bottom of the shaker.
2. Press together and hold until semi-dry.
3. Dry completely before using.

Wood Lath Wreath

wreath made of lath pieces
Photo courtesy of Shannon Quimby

If you’ve ever remodeled an old home (pre-1950’s), you’re familiar with lath. These narrow strips of wood nailed to a home’s framing, once provided a base for plaster walls. With a little imagination, some elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint, what once was trashed can be DIYed into a treasured wreath that can be a gift that lasts for years to come. Best of all, you can find lath at any local hardware store.

– Red spray paint
– Hot glue gun and glue sticks
– Miter saw (commonly known as a chop saw)
– Measuring stick
– Protective eyewear
– Mason jar
– Drop cloth
– Pencil
– Ribbon or twine

How To:
1. Set the miter saw at to a 45° angle cut. When cutting lath, make sure each end cut is parallel. Meaning, if you cut one end at a 45° angle, cut the other end in the same direction.
3. Here is the breakdown of lengths of lath. There are a total of 25 pieces: (4) 2′, (2) 18″, (2) 16″, (2) 14″, (2) 12″, (2) 10″, (2) 8″, (2) 6″, (2) 4″, and (2) 3″.
4. Place the mason jar on a table. This will act as the hole of the wreath as you’re gluing pieces together.
5. Starting with two of longest pieces, place flat, one on one side of the jar and the other on the other side of the jar. Make sure two of the ends are slightly pointing towards each other and the opposite ends are farther away from each other.
7. Glue the second longest pair on top of the first two in a crisscross, repeating step 5’s pattern.
8. Continue gluing the pattern pairs, longest to shortest, but always slightly overlapping each pair to fill in any gaps. Let the glue dry.
9. Spray paint the wreath red and let dry.
10. Hang it with a decorative ribbon or twine and enjoy. Great for indoors or out.
11. Optional: Spray paint different colors to use all year round.

Painted Pinecones

pinecones panted green and n white pots
Photo courtesy of Shannon Quimby

Some of the most versatile holiday decorations that don’t cost a thing, other than time (and a walk in the park) are pinecones. They come in all shapes and sizes and can easily be crafted into festive gifts. This DIY project only needs a few paint colors of your favorite greens, a glue gun and small flowerpots painted white. Bring one, or two or three as a holiday party host gift. Guaranteed to be a perfect season’s greeting.

– Flowerpot
– Pinecone
– Green paint
– White paint
– Two 1” paintbrushes
– Small plastic cup or throw away container
– Glue gun and glue stick

How To:
1. Clean pinecone and paint the pinecone green. No need to paint the bottom of it because it will be hidden inside the flowerpot.
2. A simple way to let it dry without all the mess is to stand it up in a small plastic cup or throw away container.
4. Paint the flowerpot white and let dry. You might need two coats.
5. Set the pinecone inside the flowerpot and drip glue inside the flowerpot’s edge and around
the outer edge of the pinecone. In some case, the pinecone will sit inside the flowerpot and
won’t need any glue.
6. Recommended: paint more than one in different shades of green and group them together.

Wood Block Candlesticks

red candles in wood block candlesticks
Photo courtesy of Cridland Photography

Playing with blocks never gets old. A grownup DIY twist is using wood blocks as table centerpieces. Stacked together, with different sizes of rectangles, these blocks will create a cozy and charming atmosphere for family gatherings. All from something so simply made, inspired by childhood toys.

– Miter Saw
– Safety goggles
– Scrap Wood 4×4 blocks
– Votive candles
– Tapered candles
– Glass votive candle holders
– Drill
– Wood Boring 13/16” spade bit for tapered candlesticks
– Rags
– Paste Wax, clear coat

How To:
1. With the miter saw, cut up wood block in various heights and widths. The blocks shown are between 6”-10” high and are 3”-31/2” thick. Be sure to wear safety goggles.
2. With a clean dry rag, rub the paste wax onto all sides of each block.
3. With another clean rag, wipe off excess wax and let dry.
4. Place blocks on the table and add a votive candle holder on top of each block.
5. Place candle inside votive holder.

1. Find the top center of the block and drill a hole approximately ¾” deep.
2. Insert tapered candlestick in hole.

Caution: Never leave lit candles unattended

Upcycled Charcuterie Boards

Upcycled wood charcuterie board
Photo courtesy of Shannon Quimby

Charcuterie boards are so popular right now. But, instead of dropping a ton of dough on one, why not recycle and freshen up an old cutting board that has a neck or handle? Section off an end or two, whichever you prefer with painter’s tape and paint with a neutral color of paint. Two coats might be needed. To modernize it wrap leather lace around the handle or through a hole to hang it up on display. A wonderful gift repurposed with a purpose.

– Wood board
– Leather lace
– 150 grit sandpaper
– Painter’s tape
– Paint paintbrush
– Rags
– Pencil
– Ruler
– Leather scissors
– Mineral oil

How To:
These DIY steps relate to using a wood board with a cut out handle.

1. Sand board and wipe dust off with rag.
2. Measure, mark, and tape off the section of the board that you want to paint.
3. Paint the designate section. Two coats might be needed. Let dry and remove tape.
4. Drop a dollop of mineral oil on board and with rag, rub oil covering the whole board. Wipe excess oil off board.
5. Cut approximately 2′ of leather lace. Lay one end (short end) of the leather lace on the board in the opposite direction of wrapping it.
6. Form a loop/bend at one opening of the handle and secure it by pinching it with your thumb and finger. Leaving a small amount of the lace’s short end exposed and start wrapping the long end of the lace around the handle and the short end of the lace, eventually covering the short end but leaving the loop exposed also.
7. Make sure when wrapping to pull taunt on lace as you wrap the handle. Thread the long end of lace through the loop.
8. Pull the short end of the lace until the loop is at the top edge of the wrap but still hidden.
9. Trim the tail of the short end and the excess of the long end if needed.

Festive Paint Cans

Paper wrapped paint cans for x-mas decorations
Photo courtesy of Cridland Photography

For the crafters in your life, why not change up your gift packaging? Buy new paint cans (small and large) and custom decorate them for themed holidays. With an endless supply of stickers, bows, gift tags, wrapping paper and colored tissue, this simple DIY can showcase your creative style and the perfect way to wrap a gift.

– Empty paint cans, gallon and quart sizes
– Packages of color dots
– Gift Tags
– Large gift bows
– Small gift bows
– Wrapping paper
– Decorative gift tape
– Tissue
– Decorative Stickers

How To:
When decorating your paint cans there is no wrong way to do it. The trick to color-coordination is to use the same supplies in different patterns and styles.
1. Apply gift tape in various ways, horizontal, and vertical to create original designs.
2. Attach a name tag with a color dot.
3. Add stickers and dots all around the can or just in front, your choice.
4. Line the inside of the can with tissue.

Wood Scrap Wreath

wreath made of scrap wood blocks and pinecones
Photo courtesy of Shannon Quimby

This earthy and whimsical wreath, made with scrap wood and a little help from Mother Nature, is perfect to welcome in the gift-giving season. Start with a sturdy wood craft ring and two layers of small pieces of wood glued together. Next, lightly spray paint it off white and accent with miniature pinecones and bark or improvise with whatever craft supplies you have on hand. Its unique and natural look will take you well into the new year.

– Miter saw
– 1’x4′ piece of scrap wood
– 150 grit sandpaper
– 12” wood floral craft ring
– Wood glue
– White spray paint
– Glue gun and glue sticks
– Small pinecones
– Small pieces of tree bark
– Scissors
– Stapler
– Twine

How To:
1. With the miter saw, cut up the 1’x4′ wood piece into 30-40 blocks of squares and rectangles. Various sizes ranging from 1”x 1.5” to 2”x 3”.
2. Place a variety of blocks around the craft ring, turning each one slightly in a different direction. Once you like their placement, glue them in place with the wood glue.
3. Repeating step two, overlap a second layer of blocks on top of the first layer of blocks and let dry.
4. Spray paint the wreath, making sure some of the wood shows through and let dry.
5. Hold the wreath up and rotate it around to determine which is top and bottom, your preference.
6. Flip the wreath over and glue and staple a loop of twine onto the top, center, back of the craft ring. Let dry.
7. On the bottom left front corner of the wreath, glue (with glue gun) small pieces of tree bark and various sizes of pines cones on top of the wood blocks.

Silver Candlesticks

silver candlesticks with blue taper candles
Photo courtesy of Shannon Quimby

Spray painting is one of the quickest ways to upcycle something. Buying second-hand is one of the cheapest ways to afford a long list of gifts you need to buy. And if you’ve ever opened your cupboard that stores décor accents or walked down a thrift store isle that displays the same thing, you’ll have to agree, there’s no shortage of candlesticks. So, grab a bunch, spray paint them a metallic silver (or any holiday color of choice) and re-gift them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

– Variety of mismatched brass plated candlesticks
– Metallic spray paint, color sliver
– Drop cloth
– Blue tapered candles

How To:
1. Clean candlesticks making sure there is no grease or old candle wax remaining. Paint will not stick to wax.
2. In a ventilated area, preferably outside, lay drop cloth down and set the candlesticks on top of it. Shake the spray paint can for a couple minutes allowing the ball inside to rattle around.
3. Hold can 10” from candlesticks and spray in a sweeping motion all around the candlestick.
5. Apply multiple thin coats to help avoid drips and runs. Let dry.
7. Add candles once the candlesticks are completely dry.

Stocking Post

wooden post with hooks to hold up stockings without using a mantel
Photo courtesy of Shannon Quimby

It’s a Christmas tradition to hang stockings from the fireplace mantel, but what if you don’t have one? A clever DIY gift for someone who’s “mantel-less” is to build an alternative solution. A 4”x4” post, 3 ½’ tall with a square base that’s slightly larger and topped with a post cap and garments hooks on each side. And after the holidays are over and stockings packed for next year, use the post to hang coats, hats and whatever else needs a home to hang.

– 3’6” tall cedar 4”x4” post
– 4”x4′ flat top cedar post cap
– 10”x10”x2” cedar wood base
– Wood glue
– Drill with 9/32” and 1 1⁄4” drill bit
– Phillips head drill bit
– 5/16” washer
– 5/16” x 3” hex lag screw
– 5/16” socket wrench
– Wood wax and polish
– Rag
– Ruler
– Pencil
– Four garment hooks with screws
– Stockings

How To:
1. Measure, mark, and drill a hole halfway through the bottom center of the square base with the 1 1⁄4” drill bit.
2. Measure and mark the center of one end of the post and predrill a hole using the 9/32” drill bit.
3. Center the post on top of the square base. Draw around all four sides, creating a square on the square base. Flip both up-side-down so the square base is balancing on top of the post.
5. Remove square base, apply glue to the end of the post and place the square base back on top of it, lining up the penciled square you made.
6. With 9/32” drill bit, drill in center of the bigger hole that was drilled in the bottom of the square base into the predrilled hole in the center of the post.
7. Thread washer through the hex lag screw. Using a socket wrench, secure the square base to the post.
8. Flip right side up and glue the post cap to the top of the post. Let dry.
9. Rub wood wax/polish, covering all wood. Let wax/polish sit for 15-20 minutes then buff off any excess.
10. Measure and mark a dot, 6” down and center, from the top of the post cap on each side of the post.
11. Place a garment hook over a dot you made on one side and drill into place.
12. Repeat step 11 on remaining three sides.
13. Hang stockings and celebrate the holidays.

Burnt Out Light Bulb Wreath

wreath made of painted lightblubs
Photo courtesy of Cridland Photography

Light bulbs burn out all the time. Instead of tossing them out, save them to make this sustainable DIY wreath. It’s a gift to the environment and a great conversation icebreaker when family and friends come to town for the holidays. A DIY idea bonus: repaint it a different hue to color coordinate with other celebrations.

– 12″ round white styrofoam
– Needle nose pliers
– 22 gauge green floral wire
– 2 cans of bright red gloss spray paint
– Burnt out light bulbs (approximately 56 bulbs)
– Duct tape
– Drop cloth
– Old bucket

How To:
1. Using the needle nose pliers, cut two pieces of wire approximately 8-10″ long for each light bulb.
2. Wrap one strand of wire around the base of the light bulb leaving just enough length to twist it together. Point the remaining wire straight down from the light bulb.
3. Repeat with the other strand of wire, wrapping it around the base and twisting it on the other side. The light bulb should look like it has two wire prongs dangling from it.
4. Poke both wires through the top of the styrofoam until they poke out from the bottom. Pull and twist the two strands of wire together making sure the end of the light bulb is touching the styrofoam. This will secure the bulb to the styrofoam.
5. Working your way around the styrofoam, secure and cover it with light bulbs.
6. With duct tape, tape over all the twisted wire that is on the back of the wreath form.
7. Center the wreath on top of a bucket and spray paint the entire thing. Let it dry, turn it upside down and spray until all the lightbulbs are covered in paint. Let fully dry.