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Meaningful Gift Ideas

Marble Painted Cards

Marbled Paper--Food Colouring

Marbled Paper--Oil Paints

Flower Fold Card

Snowflake Card

Crystal Painting Card

Melted Crayon Art Card

Paper Gift Bags

Easy-Sew Fabric Gift Bag

Re-usable Gift Tags
Pillowcase Gift Bags

Decoupage Photo Box

Cookie Tube
Recycled Dry-Erase Gift Tags
Easy Homemade Gift Ideas
Easy Homemade Ornaments
Gifts for Pets
Recipes for Holiday Entertaining
Food Recipes
Nutcracker Themed Party Ideas
Reducing Party Waste
Also see  Concoctions for Gift Ideas for Kids


Herbology for Plant-Related Gift Ideas and Projects

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Wrapping it All Up

Warning: Although these projects are intended to be made by children, some may require the use of a stove, microwave, sewing machine or other equipment or materials that might require help. Please check with an adult before starting any project you find on this site.

Marble Painted Holiday Cards

shallow plastic containers such as styrofoam, aluminum or plastic trays in which you can fit your sheet to be marble painted (you can cut your sheet in half if necessary)
small plastic tubs for coating the marbles in paint
several marbles
tempera paint
card stock paper of your choice of colour for the main card
construction or copy paper you will marble paint
school or white glue
any embellishments you may choose

Place your sheet of paper into the tray. Spoon some tempera paint into a tub and roll the marble around in it until it is well coated. Use the spoon to place the marble on the sheet in the tray. Roll the marble around to make a web-like pattern (makes great tree garland effects!). Let dry slightly, then repeat with another colour as desires. Once the paint is dry, cut out marble painted sheet into the shape(s) you wish. Cut the sheet of cardstock in half to create two card blanks. Fold each into cards and glue the marbled paper into place. Add any embellishments desired. We added a gold mini-bow to the top of tree-shaped marbled cut-outs to form a star.

Marbled Paper makes great stationery, bookmarks and of course, cards. To make a card, fold your cardstock in half and marble the front only, or marble a thin sheet of paper and cut to size, then glue to the front of the card. To make a bookmark, use cardstock or other heavy paper, cut to shape after marbling and punch a hole in the top. String a tassle through the top to finish it off.

Below are two different marbling methods. Be sure to protect your clothing whichever method you choose!

Marbled Paper--Food Colouring

liquid laundry starch
various colours of liquid food colouring
large shallow pan or tub
tools: hair picks, large forks, etc. to create patterns
blank paper--copy paper weight works well, as does card stock

Protect your work surface. Fill the pan about 1" deep with liquid starch. Drip food colouring randomly over top and use the tools to swirl a pattern on the surface. Be careful not to mix it too much or you will end up with a greyish sludge. Gently lay a piece of paper on the surface patting it to ensure the entire surface makes contact. Remove the paper and let set face-up for a couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes, rinse the paper in cold water to remove excess starch, then let dry completely.

Marbled Paper--Oil Paint

various colours of oil paint
large shallow pan or tub filled about 1" deep with water
tools: hair picks, large forks, etc. to create patterns *Note: the oil paint will not wash off the tools or pan without the use of paint thinner, so plan accordingly
blank paper--copy paper weight works well, as does card stock
rubber gloves

Protect all work surfaces. Add a few drops of various colours of oil paint to the surface of the water. Use the tools to spread the paint into an interesting pattern, but be careful not to stir it so much that you create a muddy sludge. Wearing gloves, gently lay a sheet of paper on the surface of the paint. Remove from the pan and lay face-up to dry. Repeat with another sheet of paper, adding more paint and swirling as needed.

Flower Fold Card

self-fold card            flower fold card

heavy paper, such as construction paper or card stock
markers, pencil crayons, stickers etc. for decorating

To make this card, first draw a light square inthe centre of your paper. Next, find the centre of one side, then use the compass to draw a semicircle from one corner to the other. Repeat for the other sides. Cut out your card shape. Write your message inside and decorate as desired. To fold the card, lightly score the inner square with the scissors using the ruler as a guide, then fold in one side at a time overlapping each as you go.

Snowflake Card

white copy paper, or white, silver or iridescent wrapping paper, about 10 cm square or round
dark coloured cardstock
glue stick or school glue
optional: white silver or irisdescent glitter

Fold the white paper in half, then into thirds again. When unfolded, you should have six sections just like a real snowflake. Refold, and plan a symmetrical pattern of cuts on either side. Be sure not to cut straight through to the other side or you will end up with confetti. cut out the pattern and unfold.

Cut out cardstock and fold to desired size. Glue the snowflake onto the card, and decorate with glitter if desired.

Crystal Painting Card

painting with crystals

heat-safe container
1/4 cup hot water
table salt
dark coloured construction paper or card stock
fine paint brush or cotton swab

Fold the construction paper or cardstock into desired card shape. Add 3 Tablespoons of salt to the hot water and stir until dissolved. Continue adding salt a little at a time, stirring constantly unitl no more salt will dissolve. Microwave on high for about 20 seconds, then stir again. Paint the salt mixture onto the card in desired shape or pattern and let dry. Repeat if desired.

You can do the same thing using epsom salts instead of table salt. The epsom salt crystals turned out finer and whiter for us than the table salt crystals.

Melted Crayon Art Card

hotplate crayon art cart

an assortment of old, peeled crayons
copy paper or paper of similar weight
glue stick
small hotplate

This requires adult supervision. Cut and fold a card out of the cardstock.

Cut a piece of white paper to fit as you would like on the front of your card stock. Choose your crayons and pattern and place your paper on the hotplate. Turn on the heat and test until the crayon melts a bit as you write. You may wish to use a test paper for this part. Once it has heated, turn it off and continue colouring on the paper. The colours will flow and blend. Once you have finished, let the wax set, then glue to the cardstock.

With appropriate adult instructions and supervision, we've been able to do this safely with kids as young as 4. Be careful to turn off the hotplate once it has heated enough to melt the wax.

Paper Gift Bag

small tray for spreading out paint (old pie plates or clean styrofoam food trays work well)
tempera paint
cookie cutters of suitable shape
paper lunch bag
a length of ribbon or yarn about 12" or 30 cm long
a single hole punch

Fold over the top of your lunch bag and punch two holes, about 3 cm apart at the top centre of the bag. Decide whether you want the flap on the front or back of the bag. Press your choice of cookie cutter shape into the paint and stamp the shape onto the bag. Repeat using various shapes and or colours (being careful to wash the cutters before changing colours), as desired. Let dry, then insert gift and thread ribbon or yarn through the holes and tie into a bow. You may wish to decorate both sides, but be sure to let the first side dry before painting the second side.

Easy-Sew Gift Bags

fabric that is twice as wide plus 6 cm and 1.5 times as long as you wish your finished bag to be
sewing machine
matching thread
ribbon, the width of the fabric plus 4 cm

Fold the fabric right sides together so that the crease is vertical. Pin (if desired), and sew together from the fold along the bottom, turning at the corner and continuing up the outer edge. Finish seam 4 cm from the top edge. Clip corners.

Press outer seam back, then fold the top down 1.5 cm. Press folded edge.

Sew top edge 1 cm from fold. Tie a knot in each end of the ribbon and thread through top seam. Turn bag inside out and press entire bag if necessary. Fill with your gift and tie the ribbon ends together in a bow.

Re-usable Gift Tags

a plain plastic lid, such as found on juice crystals, hot chocolate, coffee, cottage cheese or margarine containers
a single hole punch
a dry erase marker
a permanent marker
optional: a short piece of string or ribbon for attaching the tag

Cut out a rectangular (or other shape of your choice) piece from the lid. Use a hole punch to make a hole in one end. On the front, use the permanent marker to write "To" and "From" in appropriate places. If using ribbon or string, thread it through the hole and tie it in place. Use the dry erase marker to fill in the names of the giver and recipient.
To reuse the tag, simply wipe off the names and fill in new ones as needed.

Pillowcase Gift Bags

inexpensive cotton or cotton blend pillowcase (try a dollar store)
fabric, tempera or acrylic craft paint (acrylic paints work best on fabric when mixed with a fabric medium)
about 36" of ribbon or yarn for drawstring
your choice of paint applicators
a sheet of newspaper folded to the size of your pillowcase
optional: masking tap
               freezer paper
               fabric markers
               sequins, rickrack, pom poms, tiny bells, scraps of felt etc.

Decide on how you wish to decorate your gift bag. Try stamping a pattern using sponge shapes, thick fun foam cut into interesting patterns, or vegetable stamps. Or paint a suitable scene. You can use masking tape or iron-on freezer paper to keep areas clear from paint for snow scenes etc., then peel them off when the paint is dry.
When you have decided on your design, slip the newspaper inside the pillowcase to ensure the paint won't seep through to the other side. Now paint your design, and let it dry. Tempera paint will set on cotton fabric if ironed once dry.
Once your design is dry, carefully pull a few stitches from the seam at the top of the bag. Tie a knot in your ribbon or yarn, and feed it through the seam along the top of the bag. A pencil or knitting needle can help with this part. Once both ends of the ribbon or yarn are through the seam hole, hand stitch a few stitches around the holes to secure them and keep the threads you loosened from unravelling. Now it is ready to be used to close your bag. Simply fill your gift bag and tie the ribbon or yarn in a bow.

Decoupage Photo Box

paper mache photo box

This wrapping also serves as the gift itself and is sure to be treasured by every grandparent.

assorted photos and access to a photocopier OR digital photos and a printer
a shoebox
decoupage medium: try paper mache paste or use non-toxic wallpaper paste or a commercial decoupage medium
optional: acrylic varnish

First make photocopies of your chosen photos. Don't be shy about cropping, enlarging and shrinking the images. We use black and white copies, but colour can also be effective. Make enough copies that you will have enough material, when trimmed, to cover both the box and lid. If you print your photos from digital images, try increasing the contrast first. Try a test page to be sure that the ink/toner won't run when the paper mache paste is applied.
Cut out and trim your paper prints.

Mix your chosen decoupage medium, and coat your copies one at a time and apply to the box. Overlap the images slightly. Continue until the box is covered, being sure to cover the rim of the box, then repeat with the lid. Let dry, then apply an extra thin coat of your medium to the entire project. Let dry, then if desired, add a coat of acrylic varnish.

Once dry, fill with photos of the previous year and tie with a colourful ribbon and bow.

Decorated Cookie Tube

decorated cookie tubes

This handy little tube re-uses a cardboard chip tube to safely package stacks of round cookies, such as these spiral cookies (made without the lollipop sticks). You can also use these for narrower bottles (flavoured oils and vinegars, or narrow wine bottles) or small posters or calendars.

    an empty cylindrical chip tube
    wrapping paper
    white glue (school glue works well)
    optional: ribbon or bow for the top

First, rinse a washcloth in hot water, then add a little dish soap and wring out. Use this to wipe out the chip container throughly, repeating several times to be sure it is clean. Now measure the height and circumference of your container and add about 1/2" to the circumference to allow for averlapping edges. Ours were 9" tall and 10" around, but the size may vary slightly. Use these measurements to mark a rectangle on the back of your wrapping paper, and cut out the rectangle. On the inside vertical edge, draw a thin line of glue along the back of the wrapping paper. Attach this edge to the tube and wrap the rest of the paper around the tube (this is easiest done with the tube lying on its side). Now draw a line of glue as before on the other vertical edge of the paper and lap it over the first glued edge. Add a ribbon or bow to the top of the lid and fill with cookies or other treats.

Recycled Dry-Erase Gift Tags

These re-purposed tags are also reusable by wiping off as you would wipe off any whiteboard. The hole makes them a perfect match with the fabric gift bags above.

plain plastic drink crystal lids of various colours (such as those found on powdered iced tea, Gatorade, hot chocolate, cans of coffee, nuts, etc.)
dry-erase markers
a single hole-punch
optional: a permanent marker, stickers and/or glitter glue and/or coloured permanent markers for decorating

Cut out a shape (circle, rectangle or other) from the lid. Use the hole punch to make a hole near the top of the shape. Thread one of the ties from your gift bag through the hole before tying the gift bag closed. Use a dry-erase marker to write on the tag details. If you wish, you can use a permanent marker to write "To" and "From" on the tag, and just use the dry erase markers to fill in the details.
To make tags for boxes or other gifts without ties, skip the hole punching step and tape it directly to the gift, or use a short piece of ribbon threaded through the hole and tied and tape. tie or use a sticker to attach it to the gift.