7 Creative Father’s Day Gift Ideas

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.

Father’s Day is coming up in a few weeks and I’ve had gift ideas on the brain.  While giving my dad or husband a new shirt or tools is nice and useful, sometimes I like to try and be a little more creative and unique.  So I’ve done some thinking and asking and have put together a list of eight gifts you might not have considered or even known about until this post.  I hope they give you some ideas or at least a jumping off point for a gift for the guys in your life.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

Shipped Sentiments
I was on Instagram a few weeks ago when an account called Shipped Sentiments liked one of my pictures.  I was curious what they were all about so I clicked on over and found the cutest thing!  Shipped Sentiments is all about curating a themed box of fun items and then shipping it out.  They have over 15 options ranging from a Just For Him box to a Sympathy box to a Sunshine Happy Day box (with all items being yellow).  They sent me a Just For Him box and I know my husband will love it when he gets it on Father’s Day.  You can also request a custom box!  See more about what’s included and pricing for each box by clicking HERE.

Price range: $20-$35

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.

Sketch of Life (custom drawings)
Becca  has the cutest little online shop called Sketch of Life, which is, you guessed it: sketches.  All her sketches are custom and come in sizes ranging from 5×7 to 11×14.  This would be a great gift to give the dad/husband/grandpa in your life because you can choose everything about it and Becca will make it come to life.  You can choose one large sketch, caricatures or doodles and could include funny memories, quotes from kids/grandkids or anything else that would make it special.  You can find more information on sizes and pricing by clicking HERE.

Price range: $20-$125 (discounts available for extra hand drawn copies)

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.

Audio Book Subscription
The average person spends 26 minutes commuting to work each day.  Double that and you have 52 minutes of commuting time each day.  If you travel around for your job, that time increases.  When my husband started a new job that was a minimum 30 minute commute each way, I suggested he listen to audio books as a way to pass the time.  He isn’t a fast reader but by listening to books, he was making it through about one book every week or two.  My dad is a self-employed electrician so he is always traveling to different places all around the valley, and sometimes out of state, to work.  You can bet he listens to audio books.

Check out each of the following audio book subscriptions to see if one would appeal to your guy:

Audible – Free 30 day trial available, then monthly subscription
Deseret Bookshelf Plus – Free 30 day trial available, then monthly or yearly subscription

Price range: $5-$99 (dependent on type of subscription)

Personalized Metal Wallet Insert (with custom saying)
A couple of years ago for Christmas, I stumbled on this darling Etsy shop called O Jolie Designs.  One of their listings was for a metal wallet insert, which is the shape and size of a credit card so it fits in a wallet, but is completely personalized.  I bought one for my husband and put a little note on it from our kids.  He keeps it in his wallet now but will often leave it with the kids when he has to go out of town as a reminder that he loves and misses him.  This would be such a cute gift to give to your husband/dad/grandpa and the customization makes it perfect.  You can find out more about it by clicking HERE.

Price range: $15-$24

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.

Guys Night Out
When was the last time your guy had a night out with his friends?  If it’s been a while, consider helping him put together a guys night out (or in).  Time spent with their friends can help improve their mood and relieve stress.  You could suggest they watch a sporting event at your place or encourage them to get tickets to a local game, concert or other group activity.

Price range: Varies (depends on activity)
 
Grill Masters Club 
Does your guy like grilling?  Trying out new rubs and sauces?  Then the Grill Masters Club subscription box would be a great gift!  Each month they send out a new box with rubs, sauces, tips, tricks and recipes for grilling.  Make grilling more fun with a cool new guy’s subscription box he can receive for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months.  You can find out more about it by clicking HERE.

Price range: $27.95-$32.95 per month (depends on subscription length)

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.


Car Wash Kit, Car Wash Gift Card or Detailing
A couple of years ago, my mom gave my husband a gift card with a handful of car washes on it.  My husband doesn’t usually have a lot of time to wash our cars so this was great because a car wash is way faster than doing it himself, plus they have vacuums there.  Another option would be to put together a car wash kit with microfiber cloths, dash wipes and leather conditioner in a bucket.  Or maybe they have a nice car that could use a good, thorough cleaning and detailing.  Look into what your local car wash locations have to offer and you can take it from there.

Price range: Varies

I hope this list gave you some new ideas!  For more great gift ideas, check out my gift guide for men.

What are you giving for Father’s Day?

Affordable Toys for Toddlers

Affordable Toys for Toddlers (ages 2-5)

During the next four months, we’ll be celebrating Christmas and both of my kids’ birthdays.  This means that we have to budget well for gifts and be selective in what we choose to bring into our home.  In addition, we want good quality toys that aren’t going to break the bank.  I’ve always prided myself on being a bargain shopper and Christmas and birthday gifts are no exception.  Just last week I saved $15 on a present for my son by shopping around, which turned something over-budget into something affordable.  I always give myself a good pat on the back when that happens. *wink*

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’d much rather spend a couple of extra dollars on something that is better made and longer lasting.  Kids are hard on toys so this is important to me as a parent.  Today, I want to share with you my picks for affordable toddler toys from The Baby Cubby.  One of the things I love most about their toys is that they are unique and durable as well as affordable.  Most of their toys are for boys or girls (with the exception of a few).  The toys I’m showing below are for 2-5 year old range.  (Click on the link below the picture to see more information.)

*This post is sponsored by The Baby Cubby.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Affordable Toys for Toddlers (ages 2-5)
Affordable Toys for Toddlers (ages 2-5)

Affordable Toys for Toddlers (ages 2-5)

Affordable Toys for Toddlers (ages 2-5)

Affordable Toys for Toddlers (ages 2-5)
Zoobrella Umbrella (3 styles)  |  Hedgehog Backpack (4 styles)

Affordable Toys for Toddlers (ages 2-5)
Baby Primers (30 classics)

What makes The Baby Cubby different?
So if you’re anything like me, you’ve been on tons of websites for baby/toddler/kid stuff searching for great products at a great price.  We all like to get the best bang for our buck!  But it’s also nice to know that where you’re shopping values more than just your money.  At The Baby Cubby, their team is made up of parents just like you who want the best products for their kids.  They want to support you through parenthood with helpful resources and encouragement.  (And don’t we all need a little bit of that? *wink*)  You can read a little more about them HERE.

Besides great products, they also offer price matching (even on Amazon prices) and free shipping on orders over $49 (which isn’t hard to do, believe me!).  If you are local, they are located about 10-15 minutes south of Provo and about 25 minutes north of Salt Lake in Lindon.  You can find directions HERE.

My Experience with The Baby Cubby
I recently placed an order with them for some Christmas gifts for my kids (the makeup set, a book, bath pipes and bath cogs).  Ordering was easy and I could see shipping costs, a breakdown of each item, tax, etc prior to placing my order.  Earlier this week, I got a call from their customer service about one of the items being out of stock and they wanted to know what I wanted done with the order.  I called them back and briefly explained the reason I was calling.  The girl I spoke to happened to be the same one who had called me and she knew exactly what I was talking about and handled my call quickly and efficiently (which is huge because no one wants to be on the phone with customer service forever when they have kids).  I cannot wait to get these items and give them for Christmas this year.  I have no doubt I’ll be a repeat customer.

I hope this post gave you some ideas of what to give the toddler in your life!  Happy shopping!

Gift Guide: Women

Fun, out of the box gift guide for women!

Last year around this time, I did a couple of pretty extensive gift guides: one for parents/grandparents and one for men.  But I didn’t quite have time to put together one for women.  As a woman, you might think that I would have a pretty good idea of what women want when it comes to gifts, but to be completely honest, I usually have a really hard time telling my husband (or anyone else) what I want for Christmas or my birthday.  Am I the only one with this problem?

So, I turned to my friends and asked them what they wanted and I have to say that I agree with most of these!  My hope with this list is that you’ll be able to give a gift that’s a little outside the box.  Whether you are buying for you mother, mother-in-law, sister, daughter, friend or spouse, there are some great choices here.  I’ve divided it up into categories the following categories: beauty, little luxuries, services, experiences and creative.

This post contains affiliate links which if you click on a make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Beauty
Manicure/Pedicure: This is an awesome option for almost all ages.  You could turn this into a group thing with friends or family members or even a mother-daughter(s) date.  There are a lot of deals on Groupon and other deal sites.

Bath Bombs: I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually tried a bath bomb before but I hear they are amazing!  If the woman you are giving a gift to loves relaxing in the bath, then this is a good option.

Spa Voucher: Women love to be pampered and spas are a great place to be pampered.  You could even take this gift a step further and schedule it out for them so they don’t have to remember to set the appointment themselves.  Check out Groupon for local deals.

All Inclusive Photo Shoot: Women also love to feel pretty.  Consider an all inclusive photo shoot where they get their make up and hair done and then have some nice pictures taken of them.

A Relaxing Night In: This gift will look different to different women, so think about how your giftee likes to relax at home.  This could mean a nice bubble bath (with a bath bomb!) and reading a book.  It might be a girly movie.  For me, I love having a stretch of time where I can work on crafts uninterrupted for a few hours while my husband watches the kids.

Jewelry: This is a great gift because it’s so flexible depending on who you’re giving it to and their personal taste.  For grandmothers, it might be a necklace, bracelet or keychain with their grandkids names on it.  Same thing for mothers and the names of their children.  You could look into designing a custom piece and getting it specially made.

Little Luxuries
A Nap: When my friend suggested this one, I laughed out loud because it’s so true!  Getting time to take a nap is one of the best gifts you can give a mother.  As a husband, maybe you can commit to watching the kids each Sunday so your wife can take a nap.  If you are an older child, you could entertain your younger siblings for an hour while your mom takes an uninterrupted nap.  It might sound a little silly at first, but sleep is a wonderful gift.

Pretty Office Supplies: There is something about having pretty office supplies that just make work a little more enjoyable.  Sometimes women worry so much about being practical that they don’t want to spend the extra dollar or two for something basic like a notebook or pen.  Instead of plain manila folders, get ones with a pattern or uplifting words.

Candles: Mmmm…have you ever walked into a room and smelled something that just made you smile?  Candles are another one of those “little luxuries” that are nice to have around.

Fun Planner: For years, I’ve used a basic planner to keep track of my daily tasks, appointments and activities.  It might have a cute cover but the inside is simple and not much to look at.  When I attended Pinners Conference at the beginning of this month, I attended a class on The Happy Planner.  It is basically a planner that you can use for planning (obviously) but also to commemorate things, almost like a scrapbook.  I love to craft, but don’t always have the time do it.  This planner is both pretty and practical, which I love.

Services
Maid Service: Friends, this is seriously one of the best gift ideas ever.  As a stay-at-home mom, I spend a lot of time cleaning and straightening and it feels like I’m never done.  Plus, there are those tasks that I just don’t like to do so I avoid them until they absolutely have to be done.  This is where the gift of maid service comes in, because you can just pay someone to do those things for you, while you do something else you’d much rather do.

Babysitting: Almost every year for my birthday, my mom gives me a restaurant gift card and a promise of babysitting.  If you know someone who needs a little break from their beautiful children to go on a date, run errands by themselves or go to an event or conference, then this is a perfect gift.

Experiences
Gift Certificate to Try Something New: I love learning new skills but I don’t necessarily want to try and learn them by myself.  Going to a class is a great way to get exposure to something new without having to buy all the supplies or try to find the answers on the internet.  There are a ton of classes in almost every area you can think of.  Is there something your mother, wife, friend or sister has said they want to try out?  See if you can find a class for it.  Some of the classes I thought would be fun are an art class, zumba, glass blowing, ring making, kick boxing and cooking class.  Again, Groupon is a great place to find these types of classes.

A Day/Night Out: This could be a date night where you do something a little more extravagant or a girls weekend in the city.  Experiences and making memories are wonderful and lasting gifts.

Tickets to a Concert or Conference: When I went to Pinners Conference earlier this month, I was cashing in my birthday gift that I’d asked my husband for a couple of months ago.  Gifts don’t have to provide instant gratification and some of the best gifts are those where you have to build up the anticipation.

Creative
Silhouette machine, Designer Edition or any one of the kits: I’ve mentioned this many times before, but I LOVE my Silhouette Cameo machine.  I use it all the time and it’s been a great investment for me.  This is a little pricier of a gift so it would be a good group gift to give.  If the woman you’re gifting already has one, you can buy a gift card to upgrade to the Designer Edition or Designer Edition PLUS, a gift card to the Silhouette online store or even one of the many kits they have (heat transfer vinyl, vinyl, rhinestone, fabric ink, glass etching).

Journal: Having a journal to write down thoughts or feelings or lists is something I always have nearby.  You can make your own (check out my tutorial for mod podge notebooks) or buy one with a fun print or cute quote on it.  Pair it with some fun pens.

Adult Coloring Book and Markers or Pencils: I have a couple of these myself and they are so fun to be able to pull out when I just need a break or when my kids want me to color with them.  There are so many awesome ones to choose from: Harry Potter, Disney, Mandalas and the list goes on.  A nicer set of markers or colored pencils would go great with this gift.

Handlettering Workbook: Another class I attended at Pinners Conference was an introduction to handlettering.  It came with an awesome workbook that I could take home and practice my writing.  I’ve always admired pretty handwriting and so this is a really fun one.  I bought this workbook HERE and this is the marker I use HERE.

I hope you got some inspiration from this gift guide for the women in your life.  What are you favorite gifts to give and receive?

Mod Podge Notebook

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

If you are anything like me, you like notebooks.  Big, small, patterned, solid.  I’ve got them scattered around my house and at least three in my diaper bag.  You never know when you’re going to need to make a note or a list.  I’m also one of those people who really likes to write things down and I still have a daily planner.  (My husband buys me a new one every year at Christmas.)

And while deep down I know the purpose of a notebook is just to write things down, another part of me just loves pretty notebooks.  However, I don’t like spending an extra couple dollars just to have a pretty print or a cute quote on the front.  Do you feel the same?

So to make my notebooks cuter, I take advantage of my scrapbook paper fetish and use up some of it on an inexpensive notebook.  I’m sure you’ve seen the composition notebooks at the store.  I found mine at the local dollar store (Dollar Tree).  The front isn’t all that cute and they have these formulas and all sorts of random information on the inside covers that I don’t find useful or pretty.  So I just cover them up and personalize them.   

To make your own notebook, you will need the following:

  • composition notebook
  • mod podge
  • foam brush
  • scissors or paper trimmer
  • 12×12 scrapbook paper
  • vinyl (optional)
  • embellishments (optional)

The first step is to find the scrapbook paper you want to use.  If you’re doing this with a big group, I’d recommend either having everyone bring their own paper or to buy a big pad of 12×12 paper that has coordinating patterns and colors to take some of the guesswork out of it.  (I generally stick to 2-3 pieces of patterned paper.)  Decide which paper you want to use for your main pattern and which will be your accent for the binding.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Cut the main paper in half so you have (2) 6×12 pieces.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Lay the paper on the front of the notebook so there is about 1/2″ overhang on the far right side.  Crease the top and sides so you can see about where to place the paper once you get the mod podge on the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Using a foam brush, spread the mod podge out on the front of the notebook only covering the area that the 6×12 will cover.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Place the 6×12 paper on top of the notebook.  Be sure to smooth out the bubbles, working from the middle outward.  I have a little plastic tool I use, but you could also use a credit card/gift card to smooth it out.

From here you can do one of two things: 1) cut off the extra paper around the edges, or 2) fold the extra paper around the sides and mod podge it to the inside of the notebook.  I prefer the second option because I think it gives a cleaner look.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Once the front is finished, repeat on the back cover of the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

For the binding, you will need to take the second paper you chose and fold it around the binding, making sure to overlap the main paper by about 1/4-1/2″.  Crease or mark the paper, then trim it to size.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Brush the mod podge on the back of the notebook binding and the front of the notebook.  Then place the binding of the notebook on the paper first, then roll it onto the front.  This will help you center it.  Then mod podge the back of the notebook and fold the paper onto the back.  Again, make sure to press out the bubbles.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Trim the overhanging paper on the top and bottom of the binding using scissors.  It’s easier to trim it if you open up the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

If the inside of your notebook has random formulas and grammar rules like mine did, you can cover those up by mod podging some plain white (or coordinating) cardstock onto the inside.  Easy peasy.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

From here, you can be done if you like how it looks, or you can add more embellishments.

I thought it looked a little plain so I just cut out a couple of words from vinyl using my Silhouette and I think it added just the right touch.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

These would make great gifts for family or friends to use as journal or to-do list notebooks.  Another cute idea is to use it as a notebook to pass back and forth between you and your child, writing letters or notes to each other.  You could make these for a craft night with your friends or local church group or even a girls camp craft.  Super easy and super inexpensive.

What would you use your notebook for?

14 Meaningful Gifts for Mother’s Day

Let’s face it: Mother’s Day gifts can be so hard to come up with!  You want to give something meaningful.  You want to be thoughtful.  You want them to like it.  (And not just because it’s from you, but because you want them to really like what you give them.)  I feel like some years, the right gift is obvious.  You see it, or you think of it and it’s a no-brainer.  But most years, at least for me, it isn’t like that.  Heck, I can’t even tell my husband what I want for Christmas or my birthday most of the time!  So I’ve taken some time to think about some Mother’s Day gift ideas that your mom (or maybe you) would like to receive.  Or possibly one of the items you see will help you think of something else that she’d like.

Scrapbook (Traditional or Digital):  Making a scrapbook today is so much easier and faster than it used to be.  With websites and apps, like Chatbook or Shutterfly, all you really need to do is upload your photos, drop them into a template (or design it from scratch) and send it in to be published.  And if you decide to go the traditional route using printed pictures, there are pre-made scrapbooks that you can buy if making one from scratch seems daunting or too time consuming.  (I’ve seen them at JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby.)

Personalized Mug/Clothing/Kitchen Towel:  Going along with the personalization theme, you can also purchase almost anything with kids and/or grandkids names or images on them.  I’ve seen mugs, shirts, kitchen towels, keychains and various other items.  If you have a certain item you want personalized, check out Etsy and see what is available.  I’d be surprised if you didn’t find something.

Gift Certificate for Massage or Mani/Pedi:  If your mom is the kind that likes massages, manicures and/or pedicures, why not look into purchasing a gift certificate for her at her favorite spa?  There are always good deals on Groupon, Living Social and Amazon Local for any of these items.  The gift of a relaxing day (or at least a few hours) is something I think most women will appreciate.

Image from O Jolie Designs

Personalized/Custom Jewelry:  One year, my sister, step-sister and I pitched in and got my step-mom a necklace with all of the grandkids’ names and birthstone on it.  It was a personal gift and a beautiful way for her to keep her grandkids close.  Plus, we can always add to it as more kids come along.  We purchased ours from one of my favorite Etsy shops for hand stamped jewelry and keepsakes called O Jolie Designs.

Service: Perform an act of service, such as weeding the garden or cleaning out the garage.  You could do it as a surprise or together and use it as an opportunity to talk and bond.

Plan an Activity and Create a Memory:  Last year for Mother’s Day, we took my mom out to the aquarium and spent a few hours with her.  It was special because we were able to create a memory from it and take pictures to remember it.  Maybe your mom likes going on hikes or to the ballet.  Think of an activity you could do together, whether it’s just the two of you, all the siblings, just girls or extended family, and go make some memories.

Accessories for Hobby:  If your mom has a hobby, there is probably something you could buy to go along with it.  Golfing?  New gloves or clubs.  Biking?  A comfy seat or biking shoes.  Cooking?  That new pan or gadget she’s been looking at.  There are so many options that there’s no way I could even begin to list them all, but if your mom has a hobby, there’s probably something she could use to supplement it.

Flowers/Potted Plant:  I know many ladies who like to receive flowers or potted plants as gifts.  You could include a bouquet of her favorite flowers with another gift or have some flowers or a potted plant as the gift itself.

Chocolates or a Favorite Treat:  I know it’s cliche, but there’s a reason it is: lots of women like chocolate.  And I’m not talking a Hershey’s bar.  I’m talking about the really good stuff that you buy from a chocolate store that melts in your mouth.  If chocolates aren’t her thing, buy her favorite treat.  Maybe it’s something that’s hard to find or has special meaning.

Home/Office Decor:  There have been years here and there that I’ve bought or made decor for my mom or step-mom to display.  I know their styles so it hasn’t been difficult to find something I think they’d like.

Book, Journal or Notebook:  For as long as I can remember, my mom has always had a stack of books next to her bed.  She loves reading and has some favorite authors and genres, so finding a book she would like is generally not too difficult.  Along those lines, you could also purchase a journal or notebook for her to keep handy and write her thoughts down.

Poem or Letter:  You could find a poem that describes your mom or how you feel about her, or you could write one yourself.  I’ve done both and each have been received with tears and hugs.  I’ve also written a thank you letter expressing my love and gratitude for them.  If you’re looking for a way to get your mom crying, or at the least a little misty-eyed, go for this option. *wink*

Something made by the Grandkids:  I’ve seen some cute ideas on Pinterest where you have your child draw or paint a picture and you take a picture of them making it.  Then you include both the picture they made and the picture of them in a frame (check out this one).  There are also lots of other ideas involving hand prints/foot prints of each grandchild (like this one here).

Printable Fill-in-the-Blank about Mom/Grandma:  Another fun Pinterest find and so easy and cute.  Grab one of the many free fill-in-the-blank printables for moms/grandmas (like this one) and have your kids finish the sentence.  Then you could put them together in a notebook or with the gift that you give to her.  I love these kind of gifts because there are always a few tears and some laughter involved as they are read.

I hope this list gave you an idea or two or at least got your wheels turning!

What are some of your favorite items to give or receive?

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

From the time my daughter was old enough to need something to entertain her during church, I’ve had a church bag put together that we can grab and go on Sundays.  Of course, the contents change periodically to keep her interested and we’ve had to add more items since my son is also in need of distraction during church.  Mostly we have crayons, paper and books along with a couple of small cars.

Recently I was at the store and spotted some darling animal lacing cards that I thought would be perfect to throw in the church bag to shake things up a bit.  The next Sunday, they were a hit and I decided to see if I could make some lacing cards that were more church themed.  (Of course this same tutorial applies for any theme you want.)

To make your own lacing cards, follow these steps:
First you’ll need to find some clip art for the images you want.  I searched for ‘free bible stories clip art’ and came up with a ton of options.  One image caught my eye and took me to an entire website of free clip art in almost any category you could imagine: nature, language arts, science, sports, fairy tales and the list goes on.  (Keep in mind that this site allows free use of its images as long as you don’t try and profit from it.)

Save the image to your computer by right clicking and selecting ‘save image as…’.  This will allow you to choose where you want to save the file.

Once you have all your images, place the images in a word file and resize the images and adjust the margins if desired.  I wanted to fit two images per 8.5×11 page and they each ended up being between 4-6″ wide/tall.

Print your images on cardstock.  (I used white.)

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Use a pencil to trace a border around the image, about 1/2″.  Make sure you’re not trying to be too detailed.  Cut out the images and erase any remaining pencil marks.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Punch holes around the image, spacing every 1/2-1″.  This is totally a personal preference.  Just make sure not to get too close to the edge of your border.  Mine varied a little per card.  You can use a regular hole punch to make the holes.  (I have a Crop-A-Dile, which allows me to punch 3/16″ or 1/8″ holes.)  This step gave my forearm and hand a major workout!  I made a total of 12 lacing cards and each card had at least 30 holes.  You do the math.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Laminate each lacing card.  I did a hard laminate which is stiffer and stronger so combined with the cardstock, the cards should be pretty durable.  I don’t have a laminater, so I took my cards to a local genealogy store that does it for pretty inexpensive (I paid $4 for 7ft).

Cut a border around each card, making sure not to get too close to the edge.  Repunch the holes on each card.  (*Note: You could wait to punch the holes until this step instead of doing it twice but I wanted to make it a little easier on myself since I’d have to punch through hard laminate and cardstock if I had waited.  In addition, by using my Crop-A-Dile, I was actually able to punch a slightly smaller hole within each original hole, preserving the strength of the lamination around each original hole.  Overkill?  Maybe.  But I’d like these to last as long as possible.)

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

For the lacing, I found a pack of 8 pairs of shoelaces at my local dollar store (Dollar Tree).  Not quite enough for each card to have it’s own, but I don’t expect all 12 to be used at the same time. *wink*

My daughter was so excited to try out the new lacing cards!  I wasn’t even done punching the first one (the second time around) and she was already pulling out the laces and waiting for the card when I finished.  She laced three or four of them before I told her I needed to put them away until Sunday.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

As for me, I really love the way they turned out!  The clip art is darling and overall it was a fairly inexpensive project, costing me less than $10 (if you include the cost of paper and ink which I already had on hand).  These lacing cards would make a great birthday gift, stocking stuffer, church bag activity, for long car trips or something to keep in your diaper bag while you’re out and about.

I hope you have fun making your own!

DIY Sharpie Mug

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

When the first DIY Sharpie mugs started popping up on the internet, I couldn’t believe that I could make whatever design I wanted to on a mug with just Sharpies!  Oh the ideas!  Oh the gifts!  Oh the…disappointment when I realized it wasn’t quite that simple.  But not to worry, it’s still simple enough if you follow my instructions.  I’ve done the research for you so you don’t have to!

Here are a few important tips I discovered:

  • You cannot use regular old Sharpies and expect it to stay on the mug.  If you want the design to be permanent, you have to use oil-based Sharpies, which are $3-$4 each.  
  • The type of mug (ceramic, porcelain, stoneware, etc) you use doesn’t matter and neither does the color.  You can use white, black or any other color you want. 
  • You need to bake the mugs in the oven and let them cool down.  
  • I highly recommend hand washing the mugs rather than sticking them in the dishwasher.

If you keep these things in mind when gathering your materials and designing your cool new mug, you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

Now for the tutorial…

Supplies needed:

  • mug(s)
  • oil-based Sharpies, in any color
  • rubbing alcohol
  • Q-tips and cotton balls
  • pencil and paper (optional)
  • masking tape (optional)

First, you’ll need to find your mug(s).  I went to Walmart and got mine for less than $2.  (There might be some cool ones at your local thrift store too, but I didn’t have time to look at ours.)  Bring them home, wash and let them dry.  (You do not want them to be wet at all, otherwise the paint won’t stick to the mug, since it is oil-based and water and oil don’t play well together.)  If you want to make sure they are extra clean, use some rubbing alcohol.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

Then, you will need to lightly sketch out your design/words.  I pulled out a piece of paper to practice on first so I could get my design and the spacing the way I wanted.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

After it is how you want, you transfer the design to the mug.  I recommend using a pencil since it’s easy to write over with the Sharpie and will rub off with your finger or a Q-tip.  You can also use the masking tape to help you write straight lines, create geometric shapes, etc.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

If you make a mistake, just grab your rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip or cotton ball (depending on the size of the mistake) and wipe it off.  Good as new!  I included an example so you could see that it really does work.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)! 

Once your mug is decorated to your liking, clean off any smudges with the rubbing alcohol and set it somewhere safe and dry for 72 hours.  That’s right.  Wait 3 days before baking your mug.  This allows the paint to set.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

After the 72 hours have passed, put the mug in the cold oven at 425 degrees for one hour.  (I put my mug on a small pan so I didn’t have to worry about it falling over.)  At the end of one hour turn off the oven, leave the mug in the oven to cool completely.

The reason this step is important is because when you allow the mug to heat up gradually with the oven, you will avoid cracking.  A good time to do this would be in the evening so that you can just let the mug cool overnight and not worry if you’re pulling it out too soon.

After baking my mug, I noticed that the red color came out a little darker than before.  This worked out great for me since it matched the inside of the mug.  I would expect that most, if not all, colors will come out a little darker after the mug has been baked so take that into account when you are choosing your color.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

I love how my mug came out!  Actually, it’s not my mug anymore.  I sent it off as a birthday gift to a dear friend who lives far away in North Carolina.  So now it has a new home and I have an excuse to make another fun mug!

These mugs are really the way to go if you’re looking for a simple, cute, inexpensive gift.  You could give these as wedding gifts, bridesmaid gifts, house warming gifts, birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, Christmas gifts…the list goes on and on!

*Note: These mugs need to be hand-washed.  Do not put them in the dishwasher, or you risk damaging your design.

Have you made Sharpie mugs before?  Do you have any other tips that I didn’t include?