I am terrible at crafty things, so the focus here is on easy, cool-looking things you might actually make. I tried to find things that involve buying very few supplies and that you might really give someone as a gift. No pipe-cleaners, pom-poms, googly eyes, or Styrofoam balls here. Everything on this list, with a little fancy tissue paper and a gift box, could be a cool Christmas present or the wrapping for one.
Reuse Magazines to:
1. Fold an awesome envelope out of a magazine page.
2. Sculpt a paper mache bowl. If your friend has a favorite brand, you could collect magazine ads and make a cool bowl. If that brand is a candy, fill the bowl with the candy and you’re really killing it.
3. Make a fancy gift bow. These are adorable. Good way to get your kids working as Santa’s elves.
4. Make a cool trash can. I love the meta-ness of storing your trash in trash, although this trash can is clearly for people cleaner than me.
5. Design a necklace or other jewelry. I think this would look best with a whole bunch of the coils together in sort of a cluster.
Reuse wine bottles to:
6. Make tiki torches (I think the blue bottle ones look the coolest).
7. Make these “love” vases… or have them say whatever you want. (Lesson: spraypaint + bottle = anything you want).
8. Build an entire Buddhist temple. (Okay, don’t. But someone actually did).
9. Paint chalkboard vases.
Reuse Crayons to:
10. Make new crayons in whatever shapes you like. If you get good at this, you can make them swirly or layered.
11. Save yourself $50 on a cool gift and try to figure out how to make crayon rings.
12. Mold crayon pops. If you don’t have the fancy molds, melt the crayons on the stove and pour them into a mold. Also, don’t rule out the cuteness of sticking lollypop sticks in the crayon shapes and making cute crayon “lollypops”.
13. Melt muffin tin crayons. I’m going to go ahead and say that making these in the colors of the nine planets would be pretty rad.
14. Save $60 (what?) and make this crayon vase.
Reuse towels to:
15. Knot a custom-fitted bathmat.
16. Make re-usable Swiffer covers and keep the re-using going!
17. Sew a poolside robe (or leave off the straps and just have an easy-to-keep-on towel for in the house or dorm).
Reuse T-shirts to:
18. Sew a reusable shopping or grocery bag.
19. Make a breathable produce bag.
20. Craft a quilt. (Cliché? Yes! Awesome? Still yes!)
21. Stitch a pillow. (Same? Same!)
22. Make a journal cover, which would be a great way to use a concert T that you’ll never wear again.
23. Create a dress.
24. Make a long-ish skirt.
25. Wear a wedding dress. I wouldn’t wear this as a wedding dress, but I would definitely wear it as a dress.
26. Braid this adorable braided bracelet. This is about my skill speed.
27. Make some cute headbands. I have a friend who would love these but unfortunately also reads this blog. I guess now she’ll know one of her Christmas presents was free.
28. Sew a ruffled shrug, if you are MUCH better at sewing than I am.
29. Braid a belt.
30. Make an adorable scarf for grown-up ladies.
31. Make an adorable ruffle-y scarf for non-grown-up ladies.
32. Crochet a crocheted rug. For me, this sounds impossible. But if you know how to crochet, it’s supposed to be easy.
Reuse Plastic Grocery or Shopping Bags to:
33. Make a dog leash. Extra cool if your friend (or dog?) has a favorite store.
34. Braid a jump rope. Maybe not a great gift, but could be a good way to keep kids busy for a few hours with very few supplies.
35. Iron some fused plastic tote bags (these are surprisingly adorable).
36. Make a purse or grocery tote. Once again, you need to know how to crochet for this one. My mom made me one and I still use it 5 years later as a beach bag. Love.
Reuse Glass Jars to:
37. Bake pies in them. Tiny pies. Swoon.
38. Bake cupcakes in them.
39. Cook up baked and frosted cupcakes in them. Will someone make me these?
40. Make popovers in jars.
41. Mix up sticky toffee pudding in jars.
42. Bottle your own flavor-infused vodka.
43. Make your own Sun Jar. (neat!)
44. Bottle a vacation, wedding, birthday, former home, city, or anything else in these “vacation memory jars”.
45. Bottle a personalized candy mix for a friend, or fancy-up a collection of smaller jars with individual candy choices for a beautiful and delicious gift.
46. Create a beautiful fabric-wrapped vase (in winter, fill with an arrangement of sticks or evergreen branches from the yard).
47. Make this awesome twig-wrapped “Branch Vase”.
48. Make hanging lanterns.
49. Pastel (or any other color) paint those things into awork of storage art.
50. Design a storage space-saver for the desk. Am I the only one who thinks this could be a great spice rack concept?
51. Light the night with an oil lamp.
52. Make a magnetized spice rack for the fridge. Dry herbs from your garden if you want to get really snazzy.
Reuse Plastic Bottles to:
53. Make a really cool vase display.
54. Roll beads.
55. Keep those kids busy and make a loom.
Reuse Cereal Boxes to:
56. Fold book covers for school (I can’t find a tutorial for this, but we used to do it and then cover them completely with clear packing tape. Looked cool and actually lasted all year.)
57. Mail a gift. Just put a white office label on the front to address it. Looks very cool when it comes in the mail.
58. Hold your magazines (wine boxes work great for this too).
59. Make a custom (and surprisingly fancy-looking) gift box.
60. Organize your desk. They can be fancy like these, or you can have a Trix-themed desk. Which one is cooler? You decide.
61. Cut postcards.
62. Send the best gift ever. I once got a box of Lucky Charms in the mail for my birthday. When I opened it, the (sealed) bag inside was all marshmallows, no cereal. I’m sure my friend was eating cereal bits for months, but it was awesome.
Reuse Neckties to:
63. Lace up in a corset-style belt.
64. Buckle up an easy D-ring belt.
65. If you can figure out how, make a beautiful gown orwedding dress.
66. Store your change in a coin purse.
67. Make a purse.
68. Make a pretty headband for a little girl.
69. Or make a pretty headband for yourself!
70. Sew a stylish strap for your camera.
71. Create a dog collar for your pooch.
72. Make a camera or ipod pouch.
73. Be someone’s valentine with a heart-shaped necktie pin.
74. Model a long skirt.
75. Rock a short skirt.
Reuse Pencils to:
76. Make this adorable colored-pencil vase.
77. Okay, you’ll never be able to make these. But this is some cool art made from pencils.
78. Roll some cool beads for the crafter in your life. I think these would look cool made from regular yellow pencils in a stack of bracelets.
Reuse Lightbulbs to:
79. Create a tiny terrarium.
80. Grow a greenhouse.
81. Set a lightbulb-shaped wall hook from concrete. Cool.
82. Make a pair of lamps. Don’t pay $650, which I what I just saw them selling for online.
83. Make a standing vase.
84. Hang a hanging vase. I think these would be cute strung with colored Christmas bulbs at the holidays, with just one small flower in each.
85. Fill a miniature aquarium.
Reuse tins to:
86. Plant vases out of tea tins (Lesson: any set of matching tins makes good storage for anything.)
87. Make a guitar (that you can actually play) out of an Altoids tin.
88. Fill a portable watercolors kit in an Altoids or similar tin. (You can also make a lip gloss or eye shadow kit in the same way, mix powder shadow with a little Vaseline for cream shadow).
89. Get really fancy and try your hand at copper etching. Now I kind of want to do this.
90. Make an external battery pack for your ipod. Whoa.
91. Fill it with cookies. We’re not all electrical geniuses, okay?
Reuse Books to:
92. Make a planter (remember to line it with plastic). I kind of love these.
93. Super-secretly stash your stuff.
94. Design a book wreath. I love this.
95. Alright, you aren’t going to make these. I have no idea how you would start. But here’s some very cool book art.
96. Make a Kindle case. How meta of you.
97. Craft a handbag out of a copy of someone’s favorite book.
98. Get your books to float (because the invisible bookshelf is made out of books).
99. Didn’t like the book wreath? How about this one! What a sweet gift if made from the pages of someone’s favorite book.
100. Roll some story beads. I can imagine these would be a lovely gift made from a wedding invitation or other sentimental document as well.
101. Leave the poor book alone and spruce it up with one a free downloaded personalized bookplate.
There’s some cool stuff in there. Get to steppin’.