I believe that gifts mean more when they’re homemade, and therefore, I’m sharing our inexpensive gift ideas with you!
Since my Sign and Wine night with Angela, I’ve realized how simple it can be to make your own gifts. With some forethought, inspiration (hello Pinterest!) and some simple craft supplies, you can make gifts that your family and friends will treasure. Angela actually suggested this idea, so I have to give her proper credit. Thanks, Ange!
My husband and I still have a bunch of pallet wood kicking around since our DIY deck from the summer. We picked some of the best boards, trimmed and sanded them.
I bought a pack of adhesive vinyl sheets that I was going to use with my Cricut Cake because YouTube tells me I can use it for cutting vinyl, but they lied. It was a mess. Angela offered to cut stencils for me on her Cricut machine. Yay! That problem was solved!
We had a craft night and got to work. Poor Angela was a real trooper. She was feeling pretty crappy with morning sickness, and really wasn’t feeling crafty that evening, but she stuck it out and helped me get started.
The first step was painting the background colour on the boards. Black does NOT work well. At least, it didn’t for me. But I used black on three of the boards, and let the paint dry.
Next, I positioned the stencils to plan where I wanted the text. When I was happy with the placement, I peeled the backing off and stuck the stencils onto the painted board.
For my gifts, I chose a few different captions:
- Grandkids make life more grand
- Look what I made!
- Beer Garden
- Collect moments, not things
I chose my colours, using acrylic paints from the dollar store, painting two coats to make the colours as vibrant as possible, I let the pallet dry completely.
Then I carefully peeled the stencils off. This is where you will notice that the paint bleeds, depending on how smooth your boards are. You can touch up the bad areas, but you’ll be sanding the whole thing, and it won’t be as noticeable anyway.
For the boards I painted black, I had no choice but to touch them up. Instead of paint, I just used a black Sharpie and fixed them. It was cleaner than paint and more precise. The boards with the white background weren’t as bad, but I did use some white paint to touch them up.
Once completely dry, I lightly sanded the painted side to make the boards look a little worn. Then I sprayed a matte clear coating on all surfaces. This protects the paint and makes the boards wipable, just in case.
Adding the Hardware
My plan was to attach picture-hanging hardware on the back, with a rope or cord attached to each side, and attach mini clothespins to the cord, for hanging artwork and photos. I found some great mini-clothespins at the Dollar Tree, and picked up a few packages. Unfortunately, I should have grabbed more because when we went back to get some, the original ones we used were gone. Just like the tablecloth we used to make our patio pillows! When in doubt, buy extra from the dollar store – I’ve learned my lesson…
My husband helped with this by drilling a hole through each side, on a slant, and running jute cord through the holes, tying a sturdy knot and trimming any excess. The trick here is to keep the cord taut enough so it doesn’t hang too low, but making sure there is enough room for the clothespins to clip on.
These were the ones we had to get because the other ones were sold out:
We bought a picture-hanging hardware kit, and chose to use the double-hole sawtooth hardware for our projects. He attached these to the back of each board, and they were good to go.
As you can imagine, you don’t really want to just hand these over, so my husband brought cardboard home and made cardboard boxes for them.
I really like how they all turned out, but I think the ones with the white background turned out better.
If you’re making signs for outside, you don’t want to skip the sealant. Make sure all sides of your boards are sealed completely, front, back and sides to keep moisture out.
The gifts were all very well received, and because they were homemade, they meant more. Actually, a couple of the recipients asked if they were store-bought (not sure if they were just being nice or what… actually – hopefully it was genuine!)