14 DIY Gifts You Can Make in a Weekend
There’s nothing more satisfying than giving a gift you made yourself. Treat friends and family to one of these unique DIY gifts and everyone will be delighted.
Season’s Greetings Spice Rack
This spice rack will keep your favorite 18 seasonings on ready alert. It’s quick and fun to make and, using our dimensions, will fit inside a standard kitchen cabinet. You’ll need:
- an 11-1/2- and a 7-1/4-in.-dia. wood disc
- 9-in. lazy Susan hardware
- four 1-5/8- x 5/8-in. dowels for legs
- one 5-1/4-in. x 5/8-in. dowel handle
- a 1-7/8-in. Forstner drill bit
- a 5/8-in. spade or brad point drill bit
- a 1-1/2-in. wood ball or other knob.
With a pencil and a protractor, divide the larger disc into 30-degree wedges to create 12 center lines for the bottle indents. Center and trace the smaller disc on top of the larger disc. Next, with a drill press, drill 3/8-in.-deep holes on the 12 center lines with the 1-7/8-in. Forstner bit, spacing them between the disc’s outer edge and the traced circle. Next, divide the smaller disc into 60-degree wedges and drill six more 3/8-in.-deep holes with the Forstner bit.
Drill four 5/8-in.-dia. 1/2-in.-deep holes on the large disc?inside the traced circle?then use 5/8-in. dowel centers to transfer the hole locations to the underside of the small disc. Drill four 1/2-in.-deep holes on the underside of the small disc and a 1/2-in.-deep hole in the center of the top for the dowel handle. Glue in the dowels to join the discs, and glue in the handle. We drilled a wood ball for a handle knob, but a screw-on ceramic knob also provides a comfortable, attractive grip.
Apply a finish to match your cabinets, then center and screw the lazy Susan bearing under the large disc and play spin the bottle.
Surprise your friends and family with easy-to-make photo sculptures. Your favorite folks will ‘pop’ from your photos when you use this easy technique.
Here’s how: Apply photo mount adhesive to pieces of 1/4-in. hardwood plywood, firmly press on the photos to be sculpted, then cut out the figures with a scroll saw. Make some wood bases from scrap wood and glue on the sculptured photos with Special-T cyanoacrylate glue (about $11). This glue will tightly bond the sculpture’s bottom edge to the base, so you won’t need to fiddle with notches or screws.
Hints for great-looking sculptures:
- Use a sharp No. 2 or No. 4 ‘skip tooth’ blade (about $24).
- Change blades when the sawn ‘paper edge’ appears slightly ragged.
- Select a medium or high speed and feed the work at a slow rate, pressing the wood firmly on the table as you saw.
- When choosing photos to sculpt, look for clearly outlined subjects so it’s easy to follow the cutting line. Hair or clothing that blends into the background is difficult to cut.
If you’re buying for a homeowner, you can’t go wrong with these inexpensive, easy-to-find tools:
- Beloved by contractors, the ‘4-in-1’ screwdriver is one tool everyone should own. It has tips to fit large and small Phillips and slotted screws.
- Spring clamps are meant for woodworking, but anyone who has fewer than three hands will find them useful. And you can never have too many.
- Super-bright halogen work lights are great for auto repair, painting, remodeling and a dozen other tasks. They are available in several sizes and styles.
Photo Collage Tray
Why leave your favorite photos of winter fun stashed away in albums? Display them in your home for all to enjoy. A white wood tray provides the perfect backdrop for snowy snapshots of loved ones. We used a tray with an acrylic piece to cover these black-andwhite photos. Wintry stickers accent the arrangement with splashes of color.
Give a Pot of Blooming Tulips
How about tulips under the Christmas tree this year? You don’t have to wait till spring to enjoy the refreshing color of hardy bulbs like tulips, daffodils and crocuses. By ‘forcing’ bulbs, you can have them bloom at any time during the year. Here’s how.
Fill clay pots with a light soil mix and plant the bulbs so the tip is just above the soil sur- face. Mix in a tablespoon of bonemeal in each pot as a fer- tilizer and lightly water. Set the pots in a place that’s dark and cool, approximately 40 degrees F, for 12 to 14 weeks. Once small shoots start to emerge, bring the pots out to a shaded spot for a day or two. Gradually give the plants more light and warmth. First keep them in a location where the temperature is 55 to 60 degrees F and the light is bright but indirect.
Once the plants are green and about 5 in. tall, move them to a sunny window to start their bloom. The temperature, amount of light and type of bulb will affect how long it takes for the bulbs to bloom. But it usually takes three to five weeks for the plants to show their color once they’re brought out into the light.
Simple Step Stool
- One 8-ft. 1×8 clear hardwood board (actual width is 7-1/4 in. and actual thickness is 3/4 in.). Oak is a good choice because it’s readily available at home centers.
- One 4-ft. 1×3 hardwood board (actual width is 2-1/2 in. and actual thickness is 3/4 in.).
Cut the 8-ft. board into:
- Two 22-in. riser boards
- Two 11-in. riser boards
- One 14-in. step board
- One 14-in. seat board
You’ll use 94 in. of the 96-in. board, so make practice cuts on a scrap board first to check the angle and length of cut. Don’t cut the 3-ft. 1×3 board until you’ve dry-assembled the step, seat and risers and measured for a perfect fit.
To create two risers, join the 11-in. boards to the 22-in. boards with No. 20 biscuits and glue. Let dry 30 minutes, then lay the step and seat across and mark for two No. 20 biscuits at each joint. Dry-assemble the step, seat and risers with biscuits, then cut and snugly fit the crosspieces. Mark the riser-to-crosspiece joint and cut slots for No. 0 biscuits. Glue and firmly clamp the step, seat and crosspieces to the risers. Check for square and let dry 30 minutes, then cut out the 4-1/2 in. diameter arc on the bottom of the risers to create the legs. Finish-sand and apply your favorite finish. This project is designed for use on hard-surface flooring only?not carpeting. We’ve got plans for lots of different simple stools, like this one that you make using your jigsaw.
Easy Knife Block
To build one, you only need a 3/4-in. x 8-in. x 4-ft. hardwood board and a 6-in. x 6-1/2-in. piece of 1/4-in. hardwood plywood to match.
Begin by cutting off a 10-in. length of the board and setting it aside. Rip the remaining 38-in. board to 6 in. wide and cut five evenly spaced saw kerfs 5/8 in. deep along one face. Crosscut the slotted board into four 9-in. pieces and glue them into a block, being careful not to slop glue into the saw kerfs (you can clean them out with a knife before the glue dries). Saw a 15-degree angle on one end and screw the plywood piece under the angled end of the block.
Cut the 6-1/2-in. x 3-in. lid from the leftover board, and slice the remaining piece into 1/4-in.-thick pieces for the sides and end of the box. Glue them around the plywood floor. Cut a rabbet on three sides of the lid so it fits snugly on the box and drill a 5/8-in. hole for a finger pull. Then just add a finish and you’ve got a beautiful, useful gift. If you don’t have time to make a gift this year, consider offering to do something for the person. You could offer to sharpen their knives! Here’s how.
Indoor Hopscotch Mat
Blustery days don’t have to be boring for kids if you make them this super-easy hopscotch mat. All you need is a 10-ft. utility runner with a nonskid back, duct tape, number stencils and spray paint. Home centers sell utility runners by the foot. Number stencils come in a variety of type styles and sizes at art supply and craft stores.
The toughest part is getting the 10 boxes measured evenly. Our 10-ft. runner is 3 ft. wide, so each box is 12 in. long and 18 in. wide. Cut and place the duct tape where you want it and press it down firmly (Photo 1). Then tape each number in the center of its box (Photo 2). Mask off the areas around the numbers when you spray the paint onto the stencils. Let it dry overnight. Use beanbags, Koosh balls (shown), stuffed animals or other soft toys instead of stones so you don’t scratch wood floors or other inside surfaces. When everyone’s done playing, roll up the mat and store it for next time. If you’re thinking that the kids in your life need a place to store toys more than more toys, check out this project. These bins hold toys, sports gear and much more!
Yuletide Yarn Tree
Bright Idea: Want more options for trimming your yarn trees? Attach buttons, yarn or ribbon bows, beads, small silk flowers or pinecones, silver or gold charms, tiny tree ornaments or even costume jewelry.