The holiday season is still around, brimming with reminders at every store we go. All the sales and decorations might make a lot of your children excited when you’re out shopping with them but maybe they’re a tad too hectic for you to truly enjoy the holiday spirit. In that case, there are ways to soothe this holiday stress. You can do your shopping online or you can make your own gifts.
In case you’re doing the latter, there are many DIY projects that are lengthy and awesome enough to be as good as retail gifts. Here’s a small selection of such DIY gifts.
Touchscreen technology in the kitchen to view recipes and check emails? That sounds like you need to buy a new tablet of sorts, but that’s not the case. The Instructable calls for regular PC parts that you can get from your old computers, like a an Intel Atom N270, 2GB of RAM, etc. along with a 17” touchscreen USB kit that you can get from eBay and runs for $70, though there are cheaper 12″ kits.
With such a processor, this beautiful system is meant to be for light tasks, such as web-browsing. On the software side, this PC uses Windows 7, as you can see in the picture, with the Rainmeter theme Omnimo, which aims to bring the WIndows Phone 7 experience to a Windows 7 desktop. For full instructions, visit Instructables.
So the touchscreen kit and Windows 7 (if you don’t have a copy already) doesn’t exactly make this a very cheap gift, but it will definitely be a very memorable one for your spouse at least. Not only that, it will leave guests really impressed. If you want to make something smaller but following the direction of this system, you could also try creating digital picture frames.
This neat project not only organizes spices and condiments, it also adds a touch of sophistication to any kitchen. Magnets are applied to the bottoms of clear-top tins with epoxy paste. Then each tin is labeled and affixed to some metal or magnetic surface. Here’s another way to present a spice rack.
The popular video game has transcended digital platforms and has made its way into toys of all shapes and forms. If your child has a soft spot for this game, you can make some really great Angry Birds figures using polymer clay, an inexpensive and non-toxic moldable material that can be baked into hardness. If you make enough characters, your child could even have his or her entire little army of pigs and birds.
If your child isn’t obsessed with propelling birds, here’s an idea – a coloring book. This Instructables teaches you how to make black and white coloring pages from your own photos with photo-manipulation software. You don’t even have to use Photoshop if you don’t have it since the instructions actually indicate how to create the coloring pages using Pixlr, a web-based image editor that focuses on speed and features.
A bunch of coloring pages might not be enough for a present, you say. Well, if you want to go further, there are many tutorials that teach you how to bind a bunch of sheets into your own book. A warning: Some Instructables, like this and this, require sewing, but there’s also this tutorial that doesn’t mention sewing at all. With or without sewn parts, the end result could look just like any other retail item.
This cool stool was made originally for Valentine’s Day, but it can really suit any other holiday. I mean, who doesn’t need a multipurpose stool for his or her feet? And the coolest part is that this stool is completely eco-friendly as it requires recycled box cardboard.
You’ll also need some white paint and paper mache paste, which consists of a mixture of glue and water (or alternatively, flour and water). There are recipes that you can look up for the exact quantities. The stool parts should have a minimum of 3 layers of cardboard to ensure it’s sturdy enough.
For more instructions, click here.
There are many cool DIY gadgets that we’ve discussed previously here. One of the mentioned projects is this epic USB drive with a DIY touch, which you can further upgrade by loading it with lots of office-friendly and open-source portable applications. Beauty and brains, packed in a neat little flash drive. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Do you have any ultra cool DIY projects that could serve as cheap holiday gifts? Let us know in the comments!