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DIY holiday gifts any broke student can afford

Ashley Berger/Collegian

The winter may be the season of giving, but purchasing gifts for every loved one isn’t always manageable on a college student’s budget. Although funds may be excruciatingly minimal, that doesn’t have to affect the quality of a holiday gift. Do-it-yourself projects may be the route to sanity this holiday season.

Scrapbook Paper iPhone Cover

Since the iPhone is arguably the greatest invention since sliced bread, it needs sturdy protection. A crafty, homemade cover is the best way to avoid damage while adding a personalized touch. Store-bought covers are often expensive and generic, so please parents, siblings, friends, and significant others by creating a gift based on their interests.

To start, purchase a clear iPhone cover online through a cheap seller such as eBay. Websites often offer greater discounts if you order in bulk, so making homemade phone covers for every gift recipient may be the best route.

Once the blank covers have arrived, trace any pattern of choice on a small rectangle of scrapbook paper, which can be purchased from any craft store. For a more textured look, cheap fabric can be inserted in the case as well. Use clear tape to attach the completed pattern paper or fabric to the inside of the cover. This gift also allows the recipient to switch out the backings whenever he or she chooses, making it even more thoughtful.

Reindeer Christmas Tree Ornaments

Remember being 5 years old and spending hours at school making decorative ornaments as gifts for family members? Despite the fact that you are no longer a child, family members still love to receive these types of crafty, thoughtful presents. This thrifty idea can be made of many otherwise useless materials found lying around the house.

To create a reindeer ornament out of burnt out light bulbs, simply spray the bulbs with beige or brown spray paint. Draw on a Rudolph-inspired face complete with big eyes and a red nose. Take some felt or fabric and cut out a hat to make any tree’s new friend look like the ornament is about to take off for the North Pole. Then attach a looped string to the hat so that the ornament can hang.  Have a little extra time? Make nine reindeers for a set that will bring joy into any home while pleasing family members or friends.

T-Shirt Pillows

Does a sibling or friend share the love of the same band or high school sport? Many students are guilty of harboring a mound of old T-shirts underneath their beds that they no longer know what to do with. Instead of spending money on a trendy pillow from Brookstone, make a T-shirt pillow and put those old rags to use!

Begin by cutting the torso of the shirt into a square. Flip the torso inside out and sew the backing around three sides of the rectangular piece of fabric. Flip it inside out again so it is facing the correct way, then stuff it with batting. Sew the final side shut for the completed personalized T-shirt pillow.

Chalkboard Wine Glasses

There is a fairly simple and inexpensive way to make these gorgeous and classy gifts. To start, purchase plain wine glasses at any local dollar or affordable store. Place painter’s tape around the top rim of the glass to ensure a flawless finish without dangerous chemical ingestion. Use Krylon Chalkboard Aerosol Spray Paint to spray the glass. Once the paint dries, remove the painter’s tape. The chalkboard paint allows the glass to be decorated and re-decorated with chalk for any occasion. When presenting the gift, use holiday-colored chalks to get the recipient in the spirit.

Wine Cork Key chains

This personalized idea is a simple way to recycle old wine corks. Print out or draw a picture or design on a piece of decorative paper and cut it out to be the same size as the wine cork. Insert a screw eye into the cork to attach a key ring to it. On the other end of the cork, push a nail through a decorative bead to further accessorize the key chain with some bling. Give this unique gift with a bottle of the receiver’s favorite wine.

Ashley Berger can be reached at aberger@student.umass.edu.

 

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