Homemade Gift for Men: Hot Sauce Bar

The following is a post from contributing writer Jami.

hot-sauce-bar-gift

Sometimes finding appropriate gifts for the men in your life is difficult, and being able to make a gift for men? Well, that’s downright hard. There just aren’t a lot of easy, inexpensive, DIY things men would enjoy.

I’ve got a homemade gift for men idea that meets all these criteria, and it’s just plain fun: a collection of hot sauces presented in a simple, scrap wood box complete with a personalized label. They get to sample various flavors and heat indexes, and you get to come off as brilliant. It’s a win-win.

Homemade Gift for Men: Hot Sauce Bar

Supplies Needed

  • Scrap wood (our example used about 32 inches of 1×3’s for sides and 30 inches of 1×2’s for bottom)
  • Hand saw or miter saw
  • Nails & hammer or nail gun (or even drill and screwdriver for screws)
  • Sand paper
  • Two metal handles (preferably reused) and screws to attach
  • Two upholstery tacks or thumb tacks to coordinate with handles
  • 4-6 varieties of hot sauces
  • shredded paper (I shredded brown kraft paper in our office shredder- newspaper would be good, too)

Hot Sauce Bar Box

Instructions:

  1. To make the rustic box, cut the scrap 1×3’s into two 10-inch long sides and two 6-inch ends. This is rustic, so you can decide to have your ends longer than the sides, like the example, or shorter and have the sides go the whole way across. It’s up to you.
  2. Nail or screw the shorter end pieces to the sides, being careful to keep everything as square as possible.
  3. Cut bottom piece (s) to fit – either three 1×2’s like the example, or a solid scrap piece of plywood, and attach to sides.
  4. Sand all edges to get rid of splinters and roughness.
  5. Attach handles to each side.
  6. Print out a label (use the example pictured or create your own) on heavy-weight paper and cut to fit one long side.
  7. Attach label with upholstery/thumb tacks.
  8. Fill the box with shredded paper and four to six different hot sauces.

hot sauces for gift

For the sauces, choose varying degrees of hotness and also ethnicity–Asian, Hispanic, Cajun, etc. for a fun variety. Don’t forget to look at places like the dollar store and World Market  for different, inexpensive sauces.

We’ve given a few of our relatives this unique gift and they’ve always been a big hit. So much so that they will tell us later all the different things they used the hot sauces for and which they liked best. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.

What gifts have you found that men enjoy?

More posts from Jami

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Holiday Book Page Banner

The following is a post from contributing writer Jami.

How to make a Holiday Book Page Banner

Did you know that in about 15 minutes – and using things you may already have – you can create a simple banner for any holiday or season that not only looks awesome, but will make people think you are a decorating queen?

Seriously, when people see your holiday book page banner, they will comment and mention all the time you must’ve spent on your decor. And you can just smile and say, “thank you,” all the while knowing you spent less time than it would take to drive to a store and buy something. Something that would probably be way cheesier at that.

Book page banners are my go-to decorating favorite because they can be made up so quickly, are easy to customize to say anything, and fit with any decor no matter the season or holiday. They can be as simple as you like, or fancied up with lace, glitter, burlap or other fabric. They are even something that kids can help with, too.

For examples, I’m sharing with you two recent simple banners I’ve made – the Thanksgiving holiday banner pictured above and the fall seasonal banner below:

fall-book-page-banner

So, if you’ve got a few minutes and the supplies below, how about impressing your family and friends and use a book page banner to decorate for the holidays?

Supplies Needed

  • Old book pages (mine were 5 1/2″ x 8″ and a bit yellowed from age)
  • Ruler, pencil & scissors
  • Alphabet stencil (or large enough stickers)
  • Sharpie or other fine-tipped marker
  • Hole punch
  • Jute twine or ribbon
book-page-banner-steps

 

Instructions

  1. Draw a triangle on one book page by finding the center at the bottom of the page with a ruler, marking it, and then using the ruler to draw a line from the center point out towards each top corner of the page. Cut this triangle out (it will be your template).
  2. Lay the first triangle on top of 2 or 3 stacked pages and cut out more triangles. Repeat until you have enough for each letter of your desired banner.
  3. Trace a letter with a pencil on each triangle using a stencil. Repeat for all letters needed.
  4. Use sharpie or other marker to fill in traced letter. If using a permanent marker, be sure to have a scrap piece of paper under the triangle to catch any marker bleed-through.
  5. Punch two holes in the top of each triangle, about an inch in from each corner and about 3/4″ down from the top.
  6. Cut a piece of twine (or ribbon) long enough to hang where you’d like it and thread the triangles onto the twine.
  7. Use push pins or small nails to hold banner in place (if using on a wall temporarily, like a birthday banner).  Tape works, as well.

There you have it. Can you think of ways to customize this idea? You can even move beyond book pages by using maps, children’s books, or any number of papers. Sky’s the limit, so have fun!

More posts from Jami

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Stenciled Marble Coasters

The following is a post from Jami.

stenciled-marble-coasters

Making stenciled marble coasters has got to be one of the quickest, easiest, and yet most elegant gifts out there. They make an awesome wedding gift and also would be terrific as a hostess gift, a thank you for a friend, or Christmas gifts for your extended family.

And at $0.45 to $0.55 per tile plus the one-time cost of the stencil, a bit of paint and sealer, it’s hard to think of a less expensive gift of this caliber.

stenciled-marble-coasters-ticking

The other nice thing about these is that because they are basically black and white they go with any decor. And using stencils with classic motifs will make these coasters look just as good in a traditional cottage as they would in a mid-century modern house.

coaster-supplies

Supplies Needed

  • 4 x 4 inch unsealed marble tiles (these are the rough ones, not the smooth type)
  • black acrylic paint
  • reusable stencil with a design or monogram that fits within the 4 x 4 inch tile (found at craft stores – use a 40%-off coupon for this)
  • small stencil brush
  • matte or satin clear coat sealer
  • small pieces of black felt for the coaster bottom (alternately, you can buy self-stick felt pieces for the coaster protectors, OR buy more felt and cover the entire bottom with felt)
  • hot glue gun or adhesive to attach felt

stenciled-coaster-steps

Instructions

1. Lay the stencil on the tile and dab a bit of paint on the stencil brush. Use a paper towel to blot the brush onto – stenciling is more of a dry-brush technique, so you don’t want a lot of paint on the brush.

2. Using an up-and-down motion, apply the paint to the marble through the stencil. Tapping the brush up and down instead of the typical back-and-forth motion of regular painting helps the paint stay within the edges of the stencil without seeping underneath.

3. Carefully lift the stencil and set the tile aside to dry. Repeat with remaining tiles using the same or different stencils for each tile.

sanded marble coaster

4. After the tiles have dried, an optional step is to sand the surface with a sanding block (or a piece of fine sanding paper). You can see the difference above: the tile on the left has not been sanded, the one on the right has. I prefer the distressed look of the sanded tile and feel it goes with the rough marble, but either way is fine.
marble coaster steps-5-6

5. Spray the tiles with a coat of the clear sealer in your choice of matte or satin. I find one coat is enough for protecting the stencil, but you can add more coats if you wish.

6. Cut small pieces of black felt and use a glue gun to attach to each corner on the back of the tile. Alternately, cut a piece to cover the entire back of the tile and glue into place.

stenciled marble coaster gift

To package for gift-giving, stack the coasters and wrap in black ribbon. Stamp a simple gift tag with the appropriate sentiment – congratulations, thank you, happy birthday, or Merry Christmas – and it’s ready for a bag or a box.

More fun DIY projects:

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Make a Rug

The following is a post from contributing writer Jami.


homemade rug

Do you need a small to medium-sized rug but you:

  • can’t find one to fit your decor?
  • can’t find one that’s the right price?
  • can’t find one that doesn’t look cheap (since it is the right price)?
  • can’t stand to shop for rugs (that would be me…boring)?
Well, guess what? You can easily (really!!) make your own rugs using basic materials and entry-level sewing skills. In fact, you could even use fabric glue to make this a no-sew project if you’d like.

And this project takes less than an hour, start to finish. Quick and easy? Oh, yeah.

How to Make a Rug

Supplies Needed

  • Upholstery-weight, canvas, outdoor, or other sturdy 54″ wide fabric. Sizes: 2-1/2 to 3 yards yields 2 long runners; 2-2/3 yards roughly equals a 5×8 foot rug; 1 yard will produce an entry-sized rug. You can get a custom-sized rug by measuring the area you need and buying enough fabric to cover the area. To save money, look for upholstery remnants, bargain bins, or leftovers from other projects.
  • Decorative fringe. It can be any length you’d like and should coordinate with your fabric. Buy enough to cover the ends of the size rug you’ve decided upon. The fringe pictured in my example rug is fairly long at 6-1/2 inches and is vintage – I pulled it off an old chair. So think about using salvaged items to lessen the cost and create a unique product.
  • Sewing machine and thread OR fabric glue.
  • Rug pad. Sized to fit just inside your finished rug.

Instructions

Homemade-rug-edge

1. Cut your fabric to desired size and turn over the long edges two times towards the wrong side to create a seam to hide the raw edge. Iron in place.

2. Sew ironed edges using a heavy-duty needle and a long stitch (3.5). Remember to lock your seam in place by back-tacking the ends (sewing a few stitches, then sewing backwards a few stitches before going forwards again). Alternatively, you can use fabric glue to secure edges.

Homemade-rug-fringe

3. Turn raw edges of the short rug ends towards the back and sew (or glue) in place (no need to sew a concealed-edge seam, as the raw edges will be covered by the fringe and the smaller seam will create less bulk). Measure fringe for short edges.

4. Cut fringe. Fringes unravel, so care is needed in cutting: carefully cut through the middle of one fringe, cutting off one actual fringe, but leaving threads and a complete fringe at the end.

5. Use a zig-zag stitch (or a product like Fray-Check) to seal the end of the fringe to keep it from unraveling. Complete all fringe ends the same way.

6. Place fringe (the tape part) under one sewn short end and sew (or glue) in place, following the line of the seam stitching, again locking the seam at both ends.

homemade rug-fringe

7. Attach fringe to the other end of the rug in the same way.

Homemade Rug

8. Cut a rug pad to fit just inside the rug measurements so it doesn’t show.

All that’s left is to set it in place and enjoy your new rug.

And watch the faces of folks when you say, “I made that.”

More fun DIY projects:

More posts from Jami

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.