Cheap Gift Ideas!

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If you’re like me, you hate spending money on pointless, expensive gifts. I think it’s wasteful to spend money on someone just to be able to cross their name off of some list. Where’s the thoughtfulness in that?? And who has money to blow like that? Not I! If I’m going to spend money on a gift, it’s got to be special and personal.

So, last week this idea came to me: Get an old, ugly-but-still-potentially-cute bucket from the thrift store for super cheap, and then paint it……and stuff it full of my favorite crafting supplies…..and ship it off to my crafty friend, Kristen. This is the same girl who spray painted all the door knobs in her house. HA! So, yeah, she would appreciate something like this…. She’s hitting the big 4-0 next week (oh–and did I mention that she invited a whole rack of chicks to HAWAII to celebrate with her??? Um, yeah–I’M LEAVING FOR HAWAII NEXT WEEK! More on that later [!!!!!!!!]). So she deserves something special!

Anyhow, if you’ve got someone creative and crafty in your life who you’re a bit STUMPED with what to give them–something that won’t cost a lot of money, but still be thoughtful–you should consider a “DIY Craft Pack“:



So I hit up the thrift store (surprise, surprise) and found this cute, but a bit too dingy “vintage-y” bucket for $1.90. But it was perfect! I wanted something that would look fabulous with paint. And it was just the right size for all the crafting supplies that I wanted to stuff inside!




Here’s the BEFORE and AFTER of the bucket, painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint, and hand-written “CREATIVITY” quotes for inspiration!


And here’s what it looked like with some goodies inside! Everything from Mod Podge and paint brushes… a hand-held stencil cutter and stamps with an ink pad!



Here’s what I did………

I used Annie Sloan chalk paint, because it’s fabulous (but expensive–thankfully I had some on-hand!). I used Aubusson Blue, which I absolutely love because of the rich color. I painted this $5.00 thrift store kid’s desk in this Aubusson Blue, and fell in love with it. I also used Duck Egg for this “DIY Craft Pack” project, which is the same color I used for the ombre “Dumpster Desk” that I found next to a dumpster. These are two of my favorite colors and they look great together!!





I have to point out brushes: USE QUALITY BRUSHES!! I tried using this scraggly-looking brush here on the left, because it was smaller and I thought it would be helpful in this project. WRONG. The bristles were horrible and uneven. So I whipped out my Purdy paint brushes, although it was large. Those things are the BEST!!! Highly recommended.


Okay, so now I was ready to reallllly jump into this project. Oh– but wait. I had to sip a lil’ something. (Oh, don’t act like you don’t like to sip while craftin’….. LOL). It’s fun! :)


So after painting the body, I had to do something about those black, worn handles. It was time for the Rub ‘n Buff . It’s great for adding some metallic color to accents (think: handles, knobs, anything to be highlighted). It goes on so smoothly with their finger, or with an old cloth, and you buff it out to a shine. Here, I used cut up pieces of baby receiving blankets (TIP: baby receiving blankets make GREAT crafting towels, not to mention homemade cloth baby wipes!)


I also used the Rub n Buff on the inside. Didn’t like the black….. Then I taped off the raised edges to rub those….

I also made sure to finish off the bottom of the bucket. Can you imagine the embarrassment if someone turns over a painted item and it’s crappy underneath?! Oh, the HORROR!

The Rub n’ Buff turned out great, and I love how the boring black and dingy inside and handles are now sparkling!

And here’s something fun– when you’re giving a gift, add a secret message that the gift-ee may discover later! :)


I also made sure to wax it with a soft cloth (again, a baby receiving blanket! LOL). Can you tell the difference in the waxed area versus non-waxed?



Did you notice the writing on the basket? I wanted this “DIY Craft Pack” to be “CREATIVITY” themed, so I found some awesome quotes on creativity, and hand-wrote those with cool chalk ink markers. Those markers work on regular chalkboard paint as well as Annie Sloan chalk paint, which I didn’t realize until this project!

Here are the quotes I used on the “DIY Craft Pack”:





Here are some of the fun things I put into the “DIY Craft Pack.” These are all my favorite products, and some things I would like to try myself!

1. I think I’ve said already how much I love Rub n’ Buff. ‘Nuff said, right? Definitely include it in your “DIY Craft Pack”!

2. Mod Podge  is the greatest invention since sliced bread! I mod podged a bookshelf using scrapbooking paper and it’s amazing how easy it was. Check out Mod Podge Rocks for a whole bunch of crafting ideas you can do with Mod Podge. I also include a brayer. If you’re going to give Mod Podge, be sure to include a brayer to smooth out the bubbles of what they’ll be gluing down.

3. I absolutely adore wood stamps and ink pads! I think they’re a lot of fun when making homemade greeting cards, and I’ve used them on some of my furniture make-overs, too.

4. Now THIS is something I would love to try: a stencil cutter! Who wouldn’t love to create their own stencils? There are even DIY versions of ways to make your own stencils at home, using Exacto knives and slide projector sheets. But I wanted to include this in my friend’s “DIY Craft Pack.” Be sure to pick up the blank stencil sheets. And use coupons, especially from Hobby Lobby!

Some other things I included in the “DIY Craft Pack” was a jar of plaster of paris, and pasted a decorate top (using scrapbooking paper glued on), and I attached a pretty, decorative paper cut-out recipe for how to make your own chalk paint (because, after all, Annie Sloan chalk paint is EXPENSIVE at nearly $40 for a quart!).


Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of the finished “DIY chalk paint” set after attaching the cute recipe! Oh, well…….(GIFT TIP: If your gift-ee lives locally, consider including in your “DIY Craft Pack” a quart, or sample, of your favorite paint, along with the pretty jar of plaster of paris. I couldn’t include a quart of paint in my gift because it’s illegal to mail paint. Grrrr…..)

Oh, and consider including DIY books! If you’re like me, you love having these as a reference and for getting some ideas! I included this in Kristen’s “DIY Craft Pack,” as well! I hope she’s inspired :)


So there you go, folks! A really thoughtful, inexpensive way to make someone’s day when you give them such a cool gift. And I bet each time they use their pack of crafting supplies, they’ll think of you :)

Here’s a couple last looks:


So what are some of the things you guys would include in a “DIY Craft Pack”? I like this idea so much that I’m going to find more creative people in my life, just so I can do it all over again :)

Oh, and as for COST, I think this cost about $60….? Not TOO much, but very personalized and THOUGHTFUL, which makes me happy, because I know it’s going to make my friend happy! :)


About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 36-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (19)

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  1. It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Love this upcycled project! I hope you don’t mind if I share it in my favorites round up post from the DIY Gift Ideas link party.

  3. Kelly R says:

    This is a wonderful DIY Project. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Nancy says:

    I really love this. If someone gave this to me, I would be seriously excited. You are very creative.

  5. Nancy says:

    BTW, love the blog. I am a new sunscriber.

  6. Oh my gosh I love it! That is a fantastic idea and I too like to sip a little something while crafting :) I would love to get this as a gift thanks for posting!

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    I will be waiting for your next write ups thanks once again.

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