Giving personalized gifts to friends
Here are a few ways to make gift giving to friends fun, personalized and inexpensive.
Year after year we try to expand our minds in the search for the perfect, unique gift. Christmas and birthdays demand this task from us. Most of us tend to buy gift certificates to make our lives easier. It is a simpler route to take but still impersonal and costly.
I decided this year to be creative and thought of a few ideas to ensure personalized gift giving. This year I am going to give picture frames, coffee mugs and tablecloths (with matching patterns) and blanket chests.
Firstly, I wanted to create aged looking picture frames; I did this using a crackle paint effect. I purchased some untreated, wood frames. Next, I bought two different (contrasting) colors of latex paint and gum arabic. Provided that your frames are clean and dry, start with your first coat of paint. (I used terra cotta and cobalt blue) using the latter first. Be sure to let the paint dry thoroughly. Next apply a coat of your mixed gum arabic to the painted surface. After that coat dries apply a coat of the contrasting latex, brush it on quickly and do not overlap. Once it is dry apply a varnish for a protective finish. This was fun and easy to do.
For the coffee mugs and matching table cloths; I purchased some plain, white cotton fabric and some white mugs. I used aerosol spray paint, two shades of green. Cut the fabric to the appropriate size and sew a small hem. Next, I take a stencil (I used a vine pattern) and tape it along the edges of the fabric. Lightly spray the fabric with the dark shade along the edges of the stencil. Repeat with the lighter shade when dry. Follow the same steps for the mugs. Except, the stencils will have to be cut down to the appropriate size and the rest of the mug should be covered to avoid over spray. I taped some paper to my down sized stencil to ensure the mug was covered.
Now for the blanket chest, I shopped around at garage sales, amazingly other peoples unwanted ‘junk’ was my new founded treasure. I purchased an old chest and a wooden box that resembled a crate. For the crate I picked up a piece of pinewood for the lid. Cut it to the required size and screwed some hinges on. For each box I washed them and sanded them lightly to ensure good painting quality. Then I took some of the terra-cotta paint I used for the picture frames and brought the chests to life. I used a four-inch paintbrush, normally used for staining. I wanted to use a rough edged brush to get the look I wanted. I mixed the terra-cotta paint with latex glaze (1/2 of each) and brushed it on, avoiding overlapping. I wanted to create a dry brushed look. Using the glaze creates more of a transparent look, the more glaze you use the more it creates the look. I changed the handles on each chest to some funky rod iron handles and they looked fantastic.
If you have the time to try these gift ideas, the people receiving the gifts will adore them, I guarantee it.