Make a handmade present for the deserving guys in your life. We’ve all heard it before, but it bears repeating: Handmade gifts are the best kind. Here are some do-it-yourself ideas. Please chime in in the Comments if you’ve got more ideas!
A music mix
At the beginning of 2009, I gathered up some favorite songs and put together a mix CD for my friends. A good mix can be an amazing gift. Songs have the ability to bring out emotion, and by arranging the songs just so, you’re essentially an emotional puppeteer! Of course, you don’t want to swerve wildly all over the musical map, but I think people are often too conservative when making a mix. Don’t get caught up in genre segregation. Just remember: Transitions are key. Listen to the end of one song and the beginning of the next to see if they work well next to each other.
More inspiration: Angelica Amesquita wrote a fantastic mix tutorial in CRAFT, Volume 10 (Available in the Maker Shed). Finally, to house the CD, fold an origami CD case and decorate it. Don’t forget to write out the track list. Done!
Here are the tracks off the mix I made, which I called, “2009: Year of the Ox:”
1. Fidelity – Regina Spektor
2. All the Money or the Simple Life Honey – The Dandy Warhols
3. Mellotron 1 – Apples in Stereo
4. The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff
5. Electric Feel – MGMT
6. 1234 – Feist
7. Silver Lining – Rilo Kiley
8. Amsterdam – Peter Bjorn and John
9. Underwater (You and Me) – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
10. Mirando – Ratatat
11. Blind – Hercules and Love Affair
12. Mi Viejo – Ratatat
13. Lights & Music – Cut Copy
14. I’m Good, I’m Gone – Lykke Li
15. Since We Last Spoke – RJD2
16. Vocoder Ba Ba – Apples in Stereo
17. Fake Palindromes – Andrew Bird
18. King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1 – Neutral Milk Hotel
For those that crochet, consider making a yarmulke for the Jewish guy on your gift list. Purl Bee has a nice tutorial. If you’re a knitter, try this handsome yarmulke from Yarnaholic.
Boys like cookies! Habeas Brûlée has a deliciously interesting looking recipe for Cardamom Almond and Black Pepper Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies. Not everyone likes cardamom though, so you might go with something more traditional if your guy isn’t too adventurous in the kitchen. If you want to give something a bit healthier, you could make this delicious granola from Homegrown Happy! I made it a couple of weeks ago and it’s really sensational. If you make granola, find an attractive jar to house it in, and tie a ribbon around it.
Many people have a portable mp3 player. Help keep the screen free of scratches by making a nice case. beauty that moves has a tutorial for an attractive and simple one that employs the blanket stitch.
Duct tape wallet
“Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.”
Maybe so. I’m not sure who said that, but they may very well be right. Duct tape is amazing, there’s no doubt about it. Not only can it serve to bind, but it can also become the material you’re wanting to bind and shape. A duct tape wallet is a fun, fairly easy gift to give someone, and you can use an array of tape colors to personalize it. MAKE has a really helpful video tutorial. I love the look of this Tetris wallet.
Roll-up cloth case for tools
You may be familiar with the roll-up cases for storing a collection of knitting needles. Well, you can make something just as useful for tools! A collection of wrenches or chisels would fit nicely in a fabric roll-up case. Knitting Iris made one for her guy’s collection of chisels. Craftstylish has a nice tutorial for a wrench roll-up cloth organizer.
Wrapping your gift
There’s always the traditional gift wrap paper on a roll, but think about trying something different. You can make your own paper using a brown paper bag and a stamp. My dad likes to use old nautical charts to wrap the present, and then he usually does a triple tie-up with plain white cotton twine.