10 Mistakes when crafting gifts

With the holidays coming up, many people are looking to craft thoughtful gifts rather than purchase items from a store.

Unfortunately, some projects – like knitting a sweater or making soap – may be more than you bargained for. Here are a few common mistakes people make when crafting gifts, and suggestions on how to make your handmade items useful and awesome.

Not paying attention to time constraints

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Some crafted gifts take a lot longer than others. Don’t overextend your time commitment to handmade gifts. Instead of knitting a sweater for everyone on your list, just make a few for the recipients who would most appreciate one.

Crafting for yourself, not your loved one

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Don’t make something because you want to make it (even though that might be more fun). Make something that your friend or loved one will really adore and will be able to use, and save personal projects for after the holidays.

Crafting for someone who won’t appreciate it

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Not everyone appreciates handmade, crafted gifts. If your giftee is also a crafter, it’s a good bet that they’ll appreciate your efforts. If they have admired a purse you’ve made in the past, they might like one too. If they prefer store-bought gifts, however, stick to the aisles instead.

Not making an effort on presentation

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Instead of knitting a pair of socks and wrapping them up as is, or tossing your handcrafted soap into a box and calling it a day, consider adding a handmade gift tag, use or wash instructions, or pretty tissue paper. Just because it’s handmade doesn’t mean the gift can’t look like it came from a boutique.

Underestimating the cost involved

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A couple yards of fabric may not initially seem expensive – especially if you use coupons – but costs can and will quickly pile up, particularly for those who don’t craft regularly and need to buy a lot of supplies. If you need to purchase a whole setup to churn out a bunch of gifts, consider changing your plans.

Not perfecting your craft beforehand

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While crafted gifts are, by definition, handmade, it’s best to gain some level of competence before making something that you expect someone to wear, use, or eat. This doesn’t mean your cardigan has to be flawless, but beginners might want to wait until the next holiday season to show off those skills.

Not storing edible gifts properly

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There is nothing worse than handing off a gift that is supposed to be delicious but has instead gone foul. If you’re canning, do it right. If you’re making decadent brownies, make sure they’re sealed properly and freshly baked. If you’re making hot cocoa mix to hand out, make sure the jars are properly sealed as well.

Not considering your giftee’s allergies

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For food gifts, you should always ask about food allergies or diet restrictions, such as abstaining from gluten. Giving someone an improper food gift is not only wasteful if the recipient can’t eat it, but it can also be dangerous. There are also people who are allergic to certain fibers or materials, so be mindful when making a friend something to wear.

Not considering your giftee’s home decor

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It can be loads of fun to make a wall hanging or small sculpture for your loved one. However, if they prefer mid-century modern and you make a shabby chic piece of art, your gift probably won’t see the light of day.

Crafting for someone who didn’t like the last one

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If you made a friend or loved one something special last holiday season, but never received feedback on your homemade bath bomb or customized photo frame (or you didn’t see them using, displaying, or wearing your gift in photos or in person), give them a store-bought gift this time around.

Crafting holiday gifts can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a huge time commitment and expense (and some people simply won’t appreciate the hard work that goes into a handmade gift). With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to give a great gift this holiday season, handmade or not. For all of your crafting needs, visit Kijiji’s hobbies and crafts listings.

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