How to avoid over-spending during the holidays? Make your own gifts. Gifts mean more when you've taken the time to make them yourself, and handmade gifts are green (as long as you use green materials). For links to step-by-step instructions for each of the items in our DIY gift guide, click below. (And if you've got a great DIY gift idea, let us know in the comments.)
Watch for gift guides this December from each of our Editors at AT: Chicago.
Easy Projects for Almost Anyone: • Make your own Linen Spray with this set of step-by-steps. All you need is a spray bottle, filtered water, essential oil, and a little bit of vodka (yep, that's right...vodka). • A Pushpin Canvas Board custom-made for a friend. This popular project was based on West Elm's pushpin canvas board and published on AT: Chicago back in August. We also posted readers' images of their completed project...take a look for inspiration. • Make Fabric Art using these instructions posted on AT: Chicago and More Ways to Waste Time. All you need is fabric, canvas stretchers, and a staple gun.
For People Who Like to Sew or Knit: • A set of reusable grocery bags. There are a lot of variations on this project to be found around the Web. This post and this post from AT: Chicago both have good links to knit and sewn versions. Be sure to check the comments for other great links. • Tea Towels: These are some of the easiest items to sew, since you only need to stitch the edges. We like Martha Stewart's suggestion to monogram them. For inspiration, check out the Top Ten list of Dish Towels from AT: San Francisco. • Make a one-of-a-kind pillow using vintage scarves. Heather posted step-by-step instructions back in October.
For People Who Love Paper: • DIY books are some of the best gifts you can give. Put together a family history or a portfolio of family photos, and your gift will be treasured forever. This post gives instructions and links to self-publishing website Blurb. • Make your own set of stationery and envelopes. Dress up a basic set of stationery with stamps, lace tape, or round labels (see how we used round labels to create monograms here). Use this set of how-to instructions from Etsy Labs to learn to make envelopes. If you want to give handmade, but don't want to make it yourself: • Renegade Handmade: A great little shop from the founders of the Renegade Craft Fair. • Etsy: The go-to site for all things handmade. • Indie Finds: Includes links to 150 independent designers. All links to images included in post links except for tea towels (Amazon UK), Reusable Grocery Bags (Envirosax), and Envelopes (Paper Source).