Friday, November 28, 2014 · 4:38 a.m.
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Before all you crazies head out next Friday before morning light, I want you to realize you don’t have to go into the dangerous madness. I will be the first to confess that I have been out in the madness before. It’s a rush and it's terrifying all at the same time. Really, is it necessary to trample someone for a new television? I think not. These days, it has to be a really good deal for me to venture out on Black Friday.

Like a lot of other people, the holiday season is my favorite time of the year. My favorite part about all of it is not the decorating or the food or even the gifts I get, but the gifts I give. I have so much fun searching or making the perfect gift for everyone on my list. Now, we all know some DIY gifts can look a bit too "homemade." Some of you know exactly what I mean. When I give a gift to someone, I don’t exactly want it to look like my 18-month-old made it. I want it to look like it was purchased at a quaint little shop from a struggling artist who put her heart into every inch of the gift. This quaint little shop is also known as my craft room and can easily be your kitchen table. Here are five DIY gift ideas that are thoughtful, pretty simple to make and won’t break the bank; so you can stay home on Black Friday and not risk your health.

Decorative trays (below)
Have you visited the Target Dollar Spot? Typically, there isn’t a trip to Target that doesn’t result in a purchase from the Dollar Spot for me. I picked up these adorable little trays there for a whopping $1. I used a Sharpie paint pen to add all the gold detailing. All three trays went from cute to fabulous in less than 15 minutes. I think these would be perfect to pair with a necklace or some body lotion as a gift. (And while you are at the Dollar Spot, be on the lookout for stocking stuffers. It’s a great place to find them.) Get the full DIY on the trays here.

I found these trays in the Target Dollar Spot. A Sharpie paint pen spruced them up. (Photo: Jenna LaFevor)
This easy-to-change photo display can be filled with fun quotes or special photographs. (Photo: Jenna LaFevor)

Easy-change photo display (right)
I created this photo display from an old frame I purchased at The Insyde Outsyde Shop. It didn’t come with a back or glass. I picked up clearance wood at Home Depot (at the back of the lumber section), cut it to fit inside the frame, then wrapped it in batting and fabric. I added glittery clothespins to hold the photos.

During Christmas, I switch out the photos with our previous Christmas cards. You could give this to someone with humorous quotes, as I have in mine right now, or put special photos in it. See the full post on the easy-change photo display here.

Monogrammed tissue box cover (right)
I am the kind of person who believes that almost everything needs a monogram. It's just the Southern gal in me, I guess. Furthermore, I believe that anything with a monogram makes a fabulous gift. I picked up this tissue box cover at Goodwill. It was previously adorned with mallards, which were covered up with spray paint. I cut out an "L" in various fonts to personalize the cover and used tape to add a little extra "something." The entire DIY on this little gem is here.

Everything is better with a monogram. (Photo: Jenna LaFevor)

Fabric-covered message board (below)
This gift idea can be customized for anyone. Get a bulletin board—you can use an old one or buy a new one—and wrap it in fabric. For a kid, you could go with their favorite superhero or princess. Know someone who loves gardening? Go with a floral print. A big sports fan? Deck it out in fabric with their favorite team’s logo. 

I customized mine even more with gold animal pushpins and corner brackets. See the full tutorial on the fabric-covered message board here.

Monogrammed tray (below)
Out of all these gift ideas, this one will require the most time and is a little more difficult. However, it’s not that expensive and totally worth the added effort. I’ve made two of these monogrammed trays. One I made completely out of scrap wood I had lying around in my garage, and this one I made half out of the scrap wood and half out of new wood I purchased. Either way, it's pretty cheap for a gift like this. To make this tray, I used MDF cut into a rectangle on the bottom and scrap wood pieces for the sides. It is held together with mostly glue and a couple finish nails. I spray painted it and made the monogram by printing letters out on my computer, tracing them onto cardstock and then cutting those out. I used Mod Podge to adhere them to the tray and as a protective coat. Get all the steps on making the tray here.

This fabric-covered message board can easily be tailored to fit anyone's tastes. (Photo: Jenna LaFevor)
This monogrammed tray takes a little bit of time to make, but it's a very special gift. (Photo: Jenna LaFevor)

Want more? You may find more gift inspiration here

Jenna LaFevor rants on at Rain on a Tin Roof about DIY projects, junk décor, thrifty finds, crafty creations and other decorating dilemmas. She went to UTC, where she got a teaching degree that now collects dust. When she isn’t trying to keep her kid from climbing out of the circus ring or making sure her husband’s shirts are taken to the dry cleaners so she gets out of ironing, she can be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. But if you’re buying, she’ll have a cosmopolitan. You can email her at rainonatinroof01@aol.com; or you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @raintinroofblog or at her blog. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees. 

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