Eleventh Day of Flat Broke Christmas: Get crafty

24 Nov

You don't have to have these kind of mad skills to make an awesomely creative Christmas present.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Flat Broke Blog gave to me: Eleven works of art!

Use the right side of your brain this Christmas, and you’ll steal all of someone’s heart.

Let’s face it, many of us don’t have the means to buy jewelry, home decor and artwork at any time — much less, a God-awful recession. These tend to be luxury items to the nth degree. But use an ounce of creativity, and you can give someone a gift that’s deeply personal, highly personalized and one you could never buy in a store.

Crafts aren’t just those big wooden snowmen country-style things you find in rural craft fairs, anymore. There are about a million different routes you could take with crafty gifts, and they don’t require much — or sometimes, any — artistic skills. You just really have to think outside the box and think about who is receiving gifts.


You can basically make any type of jewelry nowadays, but necklaces seem to be the crafters’ and wearers’ No. 1 choice. The fun thing about a homemade necklace is that they’re not just something that resembles 1960s love beads anymore. You can buy larger beads that resemble pricier items — or even beat pricier items in terms of being outright stunning.

Generally speaking, you can buy the smaller, less expensive beads in a large supply for dirt prices. After you get the beads, make sure you have some type of necklace fastner (You can generally buy these in a large supply on the cheap, too.) and then some fishing line (or something from the craft store that’s similar). Then, decide on a length, cut the line, tie a knot at the end and begin stringing. Make sure you leave room for the fasteners to be attached at each end. It’s really straightforward.

The good part about this is that one bag of beads, one bag of fasteners and one roll of fishing line can make multiple necklaces. With those three purchases, you could very well have gifts for Mom, Grandma, Cousin Jane, etc. One of my cousins made me one for Christmas one year while we were in junior high. It was bright, hippie-like colors I wore and still wear quite often. I still have it, though it is missing right now. I love it!

If beading isn’t your thing, there are still necklace medallions that shouldn’t be overlooked. Some of these are beautiful, trendy, unique or a mix of them all. I had been looking for a silver fleur de lis necklace for some time, and I finally managed to find the medallion piece at a craft store for $3. I attached a loop to it, put it on a five-dollar chain, and I was good to go. I have received numerous compliments on a necklace that cost $8.

Picture this

There are a billion ways you can go with pictures and framing.

Find pictures that matter to your recipient ā€” something awesome they did, their kids/grandkids, etc. — then get a photo quality printout. If you have access to a printer that will do that, great. If not, you can get printout from a digital camera for less than a dollar at a Wal-Mart and several other locations. Larger photo printouts do cost more. I would personally not get anything larger than a 4×6 or 5×7 if you’re trying to save money. Poster-size printouts can have insane price tags.

Then, go to a discount or dollar store and find a simple frame. I personally brought a 5×7 frame back from a yard sale just last week, and it set me back a buck. Be careful when frame hunting because some frames are made of very high-quality materials or are highly personalized. A high price tag comes with them.

If you have mad painting or photography skills, then please, put them to use. What would you rather have hanging on your wall? A picture of a barn you found at Wal-Mart or one your best friend painted just for you? Would you like a seascape you found in a bin somewhere or one your brother shot just for you while he was at the beach this past summer? Personally, I’d rather have something just meant for me and done by a person I know well. Find a low-priced frame, place your masterpiece in it and you have a totally awesome Christmas gift coming someone’s way. The only thing you have to consider here is someone’s home decor and tastes. You may love that graphic design you did of dragons eating people alive, but I’m sure your mom won’t.

Here’s another great idea for the music enthusiast in your life: Album frames. Most classic rock fans have an old LP they keep as a souvenir, even though they’re no longer played. Having the music as it was originally printed, in my mind, is a piece of history that should be placed on display. You can find these frames built to contain an LP cover and LP inside for about $10, like this one at Target.

Reader contribution!

I have to thank the lovely Von for this one šŸ™‚

Dollar Tree has retro dishtowels that can be used for artwork and pillow covers and you can give them separately with a vintage kitchen or bar piece. She gave one of her clients lemon and lime graphic dish towels, wrapped them around a bottle, included real lemons and limes and put it all in a bag. I thought this was sweet and cheap!

I’d be here all day and all night if I gave you all the possible craft ideas that you could make into a cheap, extremely creative Christmas present. The best thing for you to do is do an online search for cheap, easy crafts and find whatever works for you.

Keeping track:

One name draw and price limit

Two wads of cash

Three people asking me what Iā€™d like

Four gas cards

Five personal assistants

Six warm, cozy things

Seven cheap, fun board games

Eight tools

Nine bags of diapers

Ten anti-skanky products

Eleven homemade crafts…

Coming tomorrow: The 12th day of Flat Broke Christmas! The FINALE!


2 Responses to “Eleventh Day of Flat Broke Christmas: Get crafty”

  1. Mrs. Blogalot November 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    These are some really great tips for us flat broke folks!

    I love love love the LP frame one! My DJ (back in the 80’s day) husband still has 8000 records -yes the real ones- around the house. He will love this!!!!!

    • flatbrokegirl November 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

      I have one for my copy of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”, and I love it! I bought that album for about $2 at a flea market, and it’s in awesome shape, too šŸ™‚ That frame helps it stay in such shape.

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