Homemade Holiday Gift Crafting for the Writer! 

Hi y’all! I’m Kelsie. You may know me on Instagram as Kay Elle. I am a self-proclaimed writer, creative, lover, avid reader, mother, journal collector, and educator. I live in Texas with the coolest seven-year-old daughter I could ever ask for!

I’m sure we all know the struggle of not only holiday gift giving, but holiday budgeting as well! As a recent college graduate and a single mother, I know the feeling of waking up a week before Christmas and realizing you’ve got a lot to do, but not a lot of time or money on your hands.

I’ve recently discovered a very crafty and creative side, so I decided… why the hell not make gifts this year. Not only did I make gifts for friends and family members, but I also posted on my Facebook page and sold personalized poems to friends. So, I’d like to show you the very simple way to put together some wall art or a tabletop piece.

What You'll Need:

- Piece of wood with wall hanger on back OR a primed Stretched Canvas. You can find these at Target, Walmart, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc…

- Acrylic Paint and Paintbrushes, Crafting acrylic paint for wood/ artist quality acrylic for canvas. Walmart has a great, inexpensive selection of both!

- Word Processor and Printer. Laser printers work better than inkjet, but you can do this with either!

- Cardstock. Michaels and Hobby Lobby have the BEST variety!

- Plain printer paper

- Paper trimmer (Ruler and scissors work too). I recommend Fiskars or Cricut brand

- Mod Podge glue

- Mod Podge spray sealer

- Trinkets/ stencils/ accessories of choice.  Amazon and Hobby Lobby will become your BFF

Let's Get Started! 

First, you should choose what words you want to put onto the wood. This helps me in choosing a color scheme! I always like to choose colors to create an image that connects to the words. I went with:

 “You could be the sunrise and the sunset- and still, I’ve never get enough of you.”

I have an array of paint colors, but I always end up mixing them to create something new! So I went with a teal color first. Paint one layer and let it dry. Always be sure to go with the grain when you’re painting. Going against the grain will cause clumping and the paint won’t stick properly to the surface. You can leave it at one layer of paint, but I did two this time to get rid of the wood texture.

While my second layer of paint dried, I went ahead and printed off my quote. Using Microsoft Word, I played around with different font types and sizes. Don’t be scared to go bold or use a font you never use! It’s more fun sometimes. Before printing onto the cardstock, I print onto a plain sheet of printer paper just to check measurements. I’m glad I did this time because my fonts were WAY too large for by 8” by 8” piece of wood! I went back into Word, played around some more, and found the perfect sizing! Previously I mentioned that laser works better than inkjet printers, but please don’t let this stop you if you are using ink!

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Moving back to the wood- I wanted to add some more color, so I used pink, orange, purple, red, and blue (sunset colors) and dabbed them onto the wood. I was very gentle and used minimal paint because I didn’t want it to look too blotchy. Here you can also use stencils or paint your own picture! The sky is the limit!

While that dried I went to cutting the cardstock. The wood is 8” by 8” so I decided on my quote taking up about 6” by 6”. The Cricut paper trimmer I use has a ruler, which is a godsend! I try to get the margins on all sides as even as possible, but don’t fret if they’re off a little! Your friends and family will be so entranced by the thoughtful gift that they won’t even notice (and if they do notice, just keep the gift for yourself. We need to take more care of ourselves anyways lol).

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OKAY so by now all paint should be dry. Paper should be cut! Now you need Mod Podge glue and a foam paintbrush. You need to coat a thick layer of Mod Podge onto the surface. At first, I put the glue directly onto the paper and it was a BIG disaster, so please take heed when I advise you to put glue onto the wood and NOT the paper! I would also advise to cover more area than what your paper takes up, to ensure the edges stick. Once you’ve got the glue on, gently start laying the paper down, starting at the bottom edge of the paper! Slowly lay it down until you get to the top edge. Once you’ve laid it down, make sure it’s level, and then set a piece of plain paper over it. Use your hands to press the paper down. Then you can use a credit card to get out any air bubbles. The plain paper is there to protect the ink on the cardstock, so although it seems silly, be sure to use the plain paper until your quote is perfectly positioned. Let this dry for about 5 minutes.

After the cardstock is glued to the wood, use the Mod Podge glue as a sealant on top of the cardstock and remaining wood surface. Mod Podge has a Gloss finish or a Matte finish, so just use whichever fits you! Allow this to dry for another 5 minutes.

You can now decorate with trinkets, accessories, flowers, shells, bottle caps, guitar picks, glitter, etc… I usually frame the edges with accessories, but it’s definitely not necessary! I recommend hot glue or Tacky Glue (in clear) if you use these extras.  

The final task is to spray the Mod Podge sealant onto the entire surface. Be sure to hold the can about 10 inches away from the surface! This should also dry for about 5 minutes before you wrap up the gift or hang it on your own wall.

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The Final Product:

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I really hope this has been useful and given you some ideas for future holiday gifts. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’m sure the special someone in your life would really appreciate a handmade gift.

On my work, I use my own quotes and poems. Don’t be scared to venture out though! Find work on Instagram or Google, use scriptures, song lyrics, or create your own quotes!

Thank you so much for reading!

Click the button below to check me out Instagram! You can contact me for personalized poems, handmade gifts, or just to say hi!

- contributed by Kelsie Bass, 2017


a huge thank you to Kelsie for contributing such an incredible article on homemade gifting! if you decide to try your hand at this craft, let us see! tag us on IG as we'd love to see your final product! 

if you are interested in being a contributor like Kelsie was, click the contact button below to send me a message. please be sure to include the idea for your article as well as your IG handle! 

love & light, 

e l e v e n