Bicycle-frame lunch bag
By Trystan L. Bass
The holiday clock is ticking down. The malls are jammed. Your wallet is feeling light. But you still have people on your gift list. Don't despair! If you have a couple hours, you can gather a few recycled materials, make one trip to a craft store or grocery store, and whip up something unique and stylish to give as gifts.
Handmade gifts are often more eco-friendly because they require less packaging and plastics and produce less pollution when created. You can reuse materials, which reduces garbage. And, of course, handmade gifts are more personal than mass-produced junk from big-box retailers.
Check out these nifty projects. Most don't require special skills or tools, and many use stuff that's probably sitting around your house.
- Bicycle-frame lunch bag -- Sew a practical lunch bag for biking to work.
- Cardboard cat chaise -- Cut out a bed for your feline friends.
- Computer key thumbtacks -- Recycle a broken keyboard into useful thumbtacks.
- Dali clock -- Melt a vinyl record and make a surrealist clock.
- Decorated clothespins -- Make laundry-time fun with colorful clothespins.
- Frameless photo cube -- Print and fold photos into an elegant display.
- Fridge tin pen holder -- Decorate a gum tin to hold pens on the refrigerator.
- Guitar picks from a gift or credit card -- Cut old cards into useful musical tools.
- Laptop lapdesk -- Build a comfy, portable desk for working on a laptop.
- Literary clock -- Turn an old book into a charming clock.
- Novel sketchbook -- Convert an old book into a fancy sketchbook.
- Paint-chip notebooks -- Turn multicolor paint samples into handy notepads.
- Printed cloth napkins -- Silk-screen or stamp elegant designs onto reusable cloth napkins.
- Travel pillow cover -- Sew a soft, stylish cover for a standard travel pillow.
- Vintage book purse -- Recycle a book or binder into a funky purse.
- Wine charms -- String beads onto wire for fancy charms at the next party.
- Wooden candle holder -- Shape a piece of wood into a sleek votive holder.
Need more ideas? TreeHugger has a great list of do-it-yourself ideas including a no-sew fleece blanket, a lamp made from a dried gourd, recipe booklets, ribbon belts, and hot pepper oil.
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