Last minute, free gifts: Found objects

Need something for a last minute gift exchange, white elephant or budget-friendly? Here are some ideas.

While I wouldn’t recommend these for the “entire” present, these can be nice additions to presents if you are feeling guilty about buying used presents. (What? They were in great condition!)

Found Object Pins

These are probably going to be on the silly side. But if you have a person on your list who loves kitsch, than this is a great idea!

Sorry for the awful quality of this photo…I snapped it on my way out the door in our dark house

You can buy pin backs in the craft section. For a dollar or two, you get about a hundred.

Find things in your house, hot glue on. Ideas:

  • Fake flowers.
  • Acorns made from real acorn caps with a colored pompom hot glued on the inside.
  • A snowman made from a twist tie (arms) and two “fish bowl” stones. Add eyes, nose, mouth and buttons with a sharpie.
  • A pretty necklace pendant or large ring.
  • Magnets.
  • Felt flowers (Click to see DIY tutorial)

If I would have had time, I would have sculpted something out of Sculpey clay and baked it in my convection oven. This is the most versatile idea for pins.

Ribbon headband

A really simple, yet really pretty headband. The first one I made was too small, so the second one I made using grosgrain ribbon and secured it using a hot glue gun. Here’s the tutorial I used, from The Beauty Department, perhaps the prettiest blog, ever.

Paper Roses

You can get paperbacks for free from many used bookstores (my new favorite is 2nd & Charles!) or libraries. Or buy a used one, or use one of your own if you aren’t that attached to it or if it’s falling apart anyway.

I found this idea on Pinterest. A single rose took me about half an hour, but that’s because I was also baking cookies and repetitively preventing Little Champ from pulling the Christmas tree down on top of himself.

By itself, these are really beautiful and a great addition to a present. I tried to make a brooch out of the one I made, but the bottom wasn’t flat enough (hence making the found object pins instead). Make a bouquet of paper roses, and you don’t need to buy or make anything else.

Use books or sheet music. I’d like to experiment with scrapbook paper or, even better, old maps someday.

Click the image below for the tutorial.

My first one was a bit wonky, but my second one turned out all right! Here’s mine:

Other ideas

If you have a good stock in your pantry, try making dry soup mixes, tea mixes, dressing mixes, or cookie mixes, pour into a mason jar, decorate with fabric, ribbon, or paper, and include the recipe instructions.

For recipes, click the links below.

Italian dressing mix, from my blog

Dry Soup Mixes on

Other Dry Mixes from



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