2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Makers
Is there an artist on your gift list? Are you a maker looking for suggestions for your own Santa list? Out of ideas for gifts to make yourself? Sometimes it’s hard to know what to give a creative person, but we can help!
Gifts for Artists
Our contributors test tools and supplies in real-world studios, so we selected a list of our favorites from their many awesome suggestions.
Make design tracing easier with a light box. Whether transfering appliqué, embroidery or art quilt designs, the old school technique of taping your pattern and overlay to a window gets old fast. The Artograph LightPad offers several sizes and really streamlined the template-making process for Painted Hills Art Quilt.
Kumihimo is a fun, portable fiber art that is easy to learn, but results in intricate-looking projects. How to Do Kumihimo with Beads is a great introduction to the craft. Kumihimo braids can become jewelry or embellish wearables and fiber art. So make gift shopping easy with a Professional Kumihimo Kit. Just add cord and findings!
A sketch book is the jumping-off point for many artists, including Sue Bleiweiss. There are lots of ways to use a sketch book, but Sue starts with black and white pencil drawings that she sometimes fills with color. The sketch book gives Sue a place to play with composition and scale before cutting the fabric for her art quilts.
“I have too much thread,” said no fiber artist ever! If you know someone (maybe yourself!) who likes to make embroidered gifts like tablet covers, you might want to expand their library of cotton floss. And any friend who embroiders will always welcome more thread, especially if it’s Valdani 3-Strand Hand-Dyed Floss. The colorfast hand-dyed thread gives beautiful color variations to your work, making each piece unique.
Carol Ziogas devotes her professional life to Japanese textiles, including the embroidery art of Sashiko. She has even taught in Japan! Get in on the Sashiko resurgence with a Sashiko Embroidery Complete Set that includes everything a beginner needs to get started. This is a grown-up craft that kids can succeed at, too.
Do you know a quilter who is also a bird lover? Joan Ford, one of Create Whimsy’s Spotlight artists, offers a block-of-the-month program called The Flock from the Hummingbird Highway. Kits contain precision laser cut 100% cotton fabric pieces, including pre-fused, precision-cut appliqué pieces.
Much of Anna Katrina Gibson’s work begins with a drawing, and sometimes drawing completes the work. Anna takes her drawing tools with her almost everywhere to be ready when inspiration strikes. A Sketching and Drawing Pencils Set is a compact kit in a zippered case that keeps drawing tools organized.
Color is key to any artist’s work, and good references abound. Some that we especially like:
Handmade Gifts to Give
Do you like to put your personal artistic touch on gifts you give? So do we! Create Whimsy is full of projects just waiting for your unique twist to remind the recipients of you. Here are some projects you can start now and then have them ready for your holiday gatherings.
Charming Mug Rugs and Wine Coasters go together fast, so you can make a bunch to have ready for planned gifts and for last-minutes hostess gifts. If you start with a Charm Pack, a collection of fabrics already cut into 5-inch squares, you can just start sewing and make even more!
For the sweet little one on your list, an embroidered Forest Friends Soft Toy might just become a favorite sidekick. The instructions are excellent, so you can start a collection with Gracie, the soft kitty.
A jelly roll rug can reflect the personality of the giver or receiver, depending on your fabric choices. It all begins with a “jelly roll” (a collection of 2 ½-inch fabric strips) and knowing How to Make a Jelly Roll Rug with this step-by-step tutorial. With a Two Pattern Bundle, you can make both oval and rectangular rugs.
Need a gift for a sewing friend? Every stitcher needs a needle case, and the detailed how-to instructions in this Create Whimsy post walk you through every step. Selected a fabric with the recipient in mind so you can really personalize this gift. Prolific stitchers need several needle cases so they can keep track of machine needles, appliqué needles, embroidery needles, etc. Kam Snaps create colorful and secure closures.
So many workplaces require ID badges at all times, but you if you don’t have to use the company-issued lanyard, a Custom ID Badge Holder makes a great handmade gift. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to personalizing the badge holder in the machine embroidery hoop . (I used my Bernina), but you can keep it simple with a tailored look. It’s also a great little bag for essentials. When I’m not using mine for Create Whimsy events, it holds my ID, a car key, phone, earbuds and my gym membership card to reduce the baggage I carry to workouts. Maybe this is just the excuse you need to get that embroidery machine!
The Handy Heart Potholder is a great gift to make for any cook. The original pattern by Eva Holen provides clear directions. InsulBright insulated batting along with a layer of regular cotton batting provides even more heat protection.
Tassel Earrings are on trend and easy-to-make wearable gifts. You can make your own tassels in any color, length or fullness to suit the wearer. I made these tassels with hand dyed perle cotton to go with the hand dyed fabric. So just get started with some fabric and interfacing scraps to make earrings that cannot be purchased anywhere!
Experienced beadweavers can make Gemstone Embellished Right Angle Weave Bracelets to present as elegant gifts. Finding the perfect combination of seed beads and semi-precious gemstones for each bracelet is half the fun! Or, if you’re pressed for time, you can order these and other pieces directly from Flying Goat Studio.
And let’s not forget our furry friends and the new toys they will collect over the holidays! A DIY Dog Toy Basket will keep even more balls and stuffies and tug toys corralled in one place. Heavy fusible interfacing like Fast2Fuse will keep the basket’s shape stable. Then maybe you can teach your dog to put the boys back in the basket. Good luck with that!
For the Artist Who Has Everything
And where would art be without the just-for-fun factor? The Unemployed Philosophers Guild offers fun, artist-inspired studio accents that might be just the thing to get over those creative blocks and bring the creative spirit out of hiding! So this is where fans of Frida Kahlo, for example, will find dolls, sticky notes, mugs and more. Inspired by many? Then keep artists from Matisse to Mondrian nearby with a porcelain tea cup that features 65 inspiring artists. So many creative heroes and sheroes abound!
Want even more ideas? Learn about more of our favorites in the Create Whimsy Shop!