(Credit: Shutterstock)

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Do-it-yourself holiday gifts used to require little more than glitter, glue and some really good clean-up supplies. Today’s DIY’ers are a new breed of imaginative, budget-savvy thinkers, able to fuse interesting materials with unique concepts and create astonishing works of art. If you’re looking for an easy way to let your creative self shine through and give beautiful gifts in the process, these DIY gift projects are a great place to start.


Photo Word Blocks
Use this craft to fashion decorative names or sayings for a dresser or the mantel.
You’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Papier Mache Letter Blocks
  • Printed Pages from Books, Magazines or Newspapers
  • Patterned Paper
  • Photographs Printed on Copy Paper
  • Tacky Spray Glue or Mod Podge

Lay the patterned paper or printed pages onto the letter blocks, trace and cut out. Glue onto the letter blocks, let dry. Cut out the photos and arrange on the paper-covered blocks in an interesting pattern and glue on. Experiment with interesting patterns and colors. Consider using a foreign language newspaper, sonnets re-printed from your favorite poetry book, recipes or other themed background.


Cinnamon Stick Candles
This easy-to-make, scented creation will infuse any room with holiday ambiance. Suggest using as a centerpiece.
You’ll need:

  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Wide Dripless Candles of Varying Height, Any Color
  • Rubber Bands
  • Color-Coordinated Ribbon or Twine

Snap a rubber band around the middle of each candle. Slip cinnamon sticks under the rubber band, until the candle’s outside is covered in a full circle. Use the twine or ribbon to cover the rubber band. Use the different candle heights to create an interesting, eye-catching display, and make sure to never leave lit candles in a room unattended.


Holiday Body Butter
Use essential oils reminiscent of the holiday, like ginger, jasmine, peppermint or juniper berry, in this ultra-rich, all-natural indulgence.
You’ll need:

  • One Cup Coconut Oil
  • Essential Oil, 5 – 10 Drops, Based on Personal Preference
  • One Cup Cocoa Butter

Heat the coconut oil and cocoa butter on low to medium heat in a sauce pan, stirring often until completely liquefied, around five minutes. Place in bowl and refrigerate overnight or until solid. Add the essential oil and whip with a hand-held mixer on high, until the consistency becomes similar to whipped cream. Place in an attractive jar and store at room temperature.


Family Photo Wreath
A lovely way to grace anyone’s front door, you’ll want to make one of these one-of-a-kind wreaths for yourself, too.
You’ll need:

  • Styrofoam Wreath Form
  • Photographs
  • Decorative Brad Fasteners and Coordinated Cardstock Paper
  • Decorative Buttons or Other Add-Ons
  • Ribbon
  • Thumb Tacks or Straight Pins
  • Assorted-Shape Stencils
  • Adhesive such as Tacky Spray Glue or Mod Podge
  • Scallop or Assorted-Edged Scissors and Straight-Edge Scissor

Cut out the photographs in shapes, such as circles and stars. Glue onto cardstock and use scallop-edge scissor to create eye-catching edges. Wrap the entire wreath form in ribbon, tightly covering the entire surface. Use pins to hold the ribbon in place. Start positioning the photos around the wreath and attach with pins. Use the ribbon, buttons, brads or add-ons of your choice for extra decoration. This wreath works beautifully in Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa colors.


Peppermint Body Scrub
A delicious way to unwind after the holiday, this body scrub will be appreciated by both men and women.
You’ll need:

  • One Cup Coconut Oil
  • One Cup Raw Sugar
  • Two Teaspoons Peppermint Oil Extract
  • Tiny Pinch of Red Food Coloring (optional)

Microwave the coconut oil for around 25-30 seconds or until liquefied. Add the other ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until you get the consistency and color you like. The more oil you use, the more emollient your body scrub will be. The more sugar, the coarser it will be, which makes for an effective exfoliant. Spoon into mason jars and decorate with a stripped ribbon and peppermint stick.


Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.