Simple gifts done interestingly


A combination of three images using the Pixlr editor.

Jacob Fox, Staff

The creation of the internet has led to the creation of many “do it yourself” (DIY) videos, which often require viewers to make additional purchases. What many people don’t know is that there are versions of these crafts that use common household items. These crafts make perfect gifts, and since it is often trial and error, now is the perfect time to start. So here are three DIY gifts that can be, mostly, done at home. The main tools you will need are a pair of scissors, a roll of tape and access to any type of printer.
Cups are an overused gifts, yet are still lazily dished out year after year. People often try to get “creative” by finding cups to satisfy the inner nerd in the gift’s recipient, resulting in a less than unique item. However the best way to paint a picture is with a picture, which can be easily transferred onto ceramic mugs.
For this particular craft your only purchase will be a blank ceramic mug, most likely a white one. First you must scale your image to the mug and print it onto a piece of printer paper, making sure to digitally flip the image for the purpose of the transfer. Next you want to tape all four sides of the image to the mug, making sure that it flat against the surface. Next you will want to allow an electric iron to heat up.
Finally you will smooth the image down for about five minutes using the iron, usually until the image’s back side is brown. Gently lift up a corner to see if it is working, and carefully remove the paper if it seems to have finished. This makes a fantastic gift for coffee addicts and casual drinkers alike.
Clothing is often considered to be a cheap gift, with size and availability being a potential risk. However when you design the shirt you control these factors, and better yet the process, it is something special. To do this craft you will likely have to make more purchases.
You will need a blank shirt and dark or light fabric transfer paper, choosing the paper based on the shirt’s color. Like the mug, you will need to properly size the image and flip it, this time printing the image on the blank side of the transfer paper. Once again you will need to tape the image securely to the shirt.
When ready you will repeat the ironing procedure, though the paper will probably not give away the transfer’s progress. In this case you should use extreme caution, and avoid washing it for several hours to allow the picture to set. Once the image is soaked in, it should last and will be as permanent as the memories it will create.
The final project is more complex and will require some different materials. However its largest requirement is plenty of time. If you have modge podge (a glue and water mixture) at your disposal you can skip the first step, but if you have glue and water instead you must follow it.
This first step is to mix one cup of glue and 1/3 cups of water to create a modge podge solution. Next you will want to find a raw piece of wood that is large, flat and sturdy. Then you will scale yet another image, flipping it again. Luckily you not have to have any special piece of paper, and can print onto printer paper. This is where things become quite different from the last two projects, so you will want to apply extreme care to the steps.
Images created by inkjet printers must be placed in the image in a oven that is preheated to 200 degrees, allowing it to bake for 20 minutes. Before continuing you should allow the oven to cool, and then preheat it to 175 degrees. You will use a sponge brush to cover the front of the image with the solution. Afterwards you will place the image firmly onto the wood, using a two dimensional object to flatten it. At this point you must return it to the oven for about an hour. Finally you will need a cup of water. Then you will need to dampen you finger, and gently rub the paper away. Avoid getting the wood wet or smearing it so that you, and your image, are set.
As you can see there is some interesting things you can do with one image. Unfortunately a slight mistake can result in a failure, and the wood transfer is especially easy to ruin. In the end though you will feel confident that your mug, shirt or wood transfers will be as special as the person you give them to.