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50 Cheapest DIY Gifts That Only Look Expensive


We love making DIY gifts for Christmas but learned that even making things can add up to a major expense. I thought by making handmade gifts last year that I would be saving a ton of money and was I ever surprised to learn, when I totaled up my receipts, that I had spent almost as much making things as I would have to buy them. Now, this surely does have to be the case, I think. This year, I went looking for some cheap DIY gifts and was thrilled to find some awesome ideas that could be made on a budget. From cool dollar store crafts to easy ideas you can make from things you already have, we just love these incredible homemade presents. Check out the easy to follow step by step tutorials and get busy making!

1. Gold Leaf Paper Mache Bowls

So, I think this might be my favorite DIY to date.  It’s just so practical and pretty! A few friends and I decided we would get together once a month for an all day craft day.  Just to create pretty things, simply for the sake of creating.  Weather it be something we wear, or something for our homes, decorations for the holidays, or even little somethings for our babies. I tend to get wrapped up in projects for other people that I fail to do all the projects I want to do for myself!  And although one day a month doesn’t sound like much, at least it is one day I can count on! Not to mention, it’s just a good excuse for girl time!  This DIY was our first of many to come.

We’ve been dying to try out gold leaf for a while now.  And we thought these paper mache bowls would be a perfect application.  Our intent was to use them as jewelry dishes.  Here is what you’ll need to create the shell…

Cheap DIY Gifts and Inexpensive Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas for People on A Budget - Gold Leaf Paper Mache Bowls - To Make These Cool Presents Instead of Buying for the Holidays - Easy and Low Cost Gifts for Mom, Dad, Friends and Family - Quick Dollar Store Crafts and Projects for Xmas Gift Giving Parties - Step by Step Tutorials and Instructions http://diyjoy.com/cheap-holiday-gift-ideas-to-make
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ONE –  To create your bowl forms, you’ll need to start with balloons.  I bought a couple of packages in different sizes so that not all my bowls were the same.  I used 5″,  9″, and 12″ balloons.

TWO – Cut up your newspaper into small strips.  Using your foam brush, adhere the newspaper to your balloon using the mod podge.  Be generous!  The more layers, the thicker the bowl.  (My first attempt was too thin so I had to go back and layer on more.  Apply more than you think!)

THREE – Place your balloons upside down (or right side up, whichever way you want to look at it) inside paper cups and let them dry overnight.

FOUR –  Once dry, pop your balloon and remove the latex.  What you will have left is a bowl mold with imperfect edges.  Just use scissors to trim it down to the depth you want.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  I think the irregular shape is what makes these unique!

Paint your bowls entirely white (or any color of your choice).  It may take a few coats. Let it dry.

I wanted my bowls to have a polka dot pattern within the gold leaf.  If you want this look too, buy a pack of sticker dots and stick them down in a pattern on the inside of your bowl.

After your dots have adhered, brush on Gold Leaf Adhesive all over the inside, over the stickers.  Make sure to use the adhesive sparingly and don’t leave puddles, otherwise, the gold leaf will turn into a sticky mess!

Now for the fun part….carefully place your sheets of Gold Leaf all over the inside of the bowl, securing it to the adhesive.  The overlap is fine.  I used a soft paint brush to adhere the leaf and brush off any excess. This was definitely the trickiest part of the project.  I found that the less adhesive I used, the smoother the finish.  If you notice on the photo above, after I applied the leaf, I could still see the outlines of my sticker dots.  One by one, I went through and carefully removed each dot sticker, leaving the white paint underneath to show through.  The dots weren’t perfect, but the more I did, the easier it got!  The last step is to seal your bowls with Gold Leaf Sealer!

I hope you all have fun with this project!  Let me know if you try it out!  It takes some time, but hopefully, you’ll love your bowls as much as I do!

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