Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Save money on Christmas gifts by making your own-

This year I’m making most of the Christmas gifts I’m giving. I’m doing this for two reasons: to spend less money, and because I think homemade gifts can be better than store-bought (if done right).

For example, I think that Ugly Dolls are really cute, and I wanted to get one for my 2 year old cousin. Then I realized that even the “Little” dolls were $10 each. I did some searching and found this pattern for a DIY Monster Doll, and I am happy to report that the materials were less than $1, and I spent less than  4 hours on the project. (I am an abnormally slow sewer.)  For the body material I used part of a neon green sweatshirt from my fabric scrap box (free), and for the features I bought felt pieces at Michael’s for 5/$1, and I used only about ¼ of two of the sheets (about $0.05 worth). I also already had white thread, and the other sewing supplies I needed. For the stuffing I bought a (new with tags on it) ugly throw pillow at a Lawrence thrift store for $0.25 and cut it open and used maybe ¼ of the poly-fill. 

I am really pleased with how it came out, and I think it will be extra-special because I made it just for her (using colors she likes, etc.)

Obviously, a Monster Doll may not be the right gift for everyone on your list. I’m making some other gifts this year as well, but I’m hesitant to write about them here, lest I ruin the surprises! What I can offer is this list of my hand-picked favorite DIY gift ideas. 

A DIY Christmas: 34 Great Homemade Gifts You Can Make - from Get Rich Slowly (I like the Secret Hollow Book, Stationary Sets, and Teacup Candles. Also my family has done the Family Cookbook before and it was a lot of fun! These can all be made from things you already have, or cheap thrift-store treasures.)

16 Cheap Homemade Christmas Gift Giving [To-Make] from Tip Junkie (I like the Make Up Roll Up Bag, Hot/Cold Therapy Sacks, and the various Etched Glass items.)

DIY Christmas Gifts that Don't Suck from yes and yes (I like the Finger Puppets, Cat & Dog Treats, Silhouette Portraits, and Wool Mittens.)

And don't forget there are lots of books with DIY gift ideas at the Lawrence Public Library! For inexpensive materials, check out my list of Lawrence, KS thrift and bargain stores. And don't forget your frugal wrapping- ideas here. 


  1. I made the exact same ugly doll out of red fabric for my Grand Daughter over the weekend. Now I'm making felt food to stock her play fridge that she'll be getting for Christmas. I'm having so much fun making donuts and cookies, and making as big a mess as baking them in the kitchen

  2. That's awesome Carolyn! Aren't the monsters just the cutest little fellas? Good idea about the felt play food, too.

  3. I love that you bought a pillow at a thrift store for stuffing. Great idea!

  4. I know I read that idea somewhere, but I read so many craft blogs and books I can't remember where exactly. But yeah! Polyfill can be expensive.

  5. I'm normally a I'm using up scrap batting. You can use any cotton cut into small pieces in the place of Polyfill, It works just as well.


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