3 DIY Holiday Gifts Made from Thrifted Knitwear

 

3-DIY-GIFTS

Talk about thrifty gifts—I’ve got three ideas for you today that will turn out tons of cozy holiday presents for just about anyone on your list! As an entrepreneurial leader, environmental pioneer and social innovator in the “reduce, reuse, repurpose” practice, Goodwill is all about keeping things out of the landfill. So, we love to see shoppers work on projects like the ones we’ll share today which showcase a few of the many possible outcomes of repurposed knitwear. If you need to make a little bit go a long way this holiday season, this is the post for you…

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Image via tarynwhiteaker.com

Those who celebrate Christmas know that the stocking is an important piece of decor and tradition. Every season we hang our stockings by the chimney with care, so at some point it will be time for new ones. That’s where these stunningly simple drop cloth and sweater stockings from Taryn Whiteaker come into play. With such inexpensive supplies, she must have been able to stitch up this whole set for only a matter of dollars. Even if you can’t think of anyone who needs a new stocking, wouldn’t this be a beautiful substitute for a front door wreath if it were stuffed with greenery? Or, in a smaller size, the perfect topper for a gift? Or a napkin and silverware holder on a Christmas table setting? Just think about the people on your shopping list this year and how this project could work for them.

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Image via etsy.com

For a slightly more neutral holiday gift, we have these sweater ornaments shared by Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, Inc. (Toledo) on their Pinterest page. They would look incredible on a green Christmas tree, but could also bring whimsy to a less Christmas-y display. I can see them piled high in a large hurricane jar for a wintery centerpiece or scattered across a frosty-looking entryway table display to mimic snowballs. They still have a snug holiday feel to them without appearing over-the-top Christmas-y. I bet in one weekend afternoon you could whip out a bunch of these! Just cover up any thrifted ornament and secure in place with glue. If you’re worried that your sweater will unravel when cut, you can draw the pieces you’ll need on the sweater first then use a zig-zag stitch all around those markings before you slice into it. This should keep the weave together so you can get its placement just right on the ornament before the glue sets.

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Image via bo-bedre.no

And here’s one last way to repurpose an old sweater: mug cozies! Even someone who doesn’t celebrate any holidays (but still made it on your to-gift list) would be able to use one of these. You could knit your own from thrifted yarn like the cozies in this picture shared by Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (Madison) on their All Things Christmas Pinterest board. Or, you could use more sweater scraps to make them. If your knit isn’t felted, employ that same zig-zag stitch trick and fold ribbon or bias tape around the edges to further secure it. You could even add buttons to accommodate different-sized mugs if you feel like getting fancy!

So, basically, it IS possible for you to create custom gifts for everyone on your list even just from a knitted sweater or scarf! While you’re at it, any leftover threads of yarn could become tassels for the stockings. Let your imagination run wild and feel great that because your gifts are crafted from second-hand supplies, they’re making a positive impact on the Earth this holiday season.

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How to Age Books with Tea and Tights

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Yes, you read that title right! It turns out that it’s really easy to make thrifted tights into spooky spider webs and for tea to stain the pages of a secondhand book creating the perfect antique appearance. These two projects partnered with our tips for aging the outside of Goodwill books will give your library a complete facelift just in time for Halloween. One thing that I love about creating custom decor from Goodwill finds is that they look more authentic than the plastic props you’ll find in chain stores. The other benefit to updating thrifted purchases is that since Goodwill donations are the beginning of job creation, when you support our stores you’re helping people within your community find employment. So, without further ado, let’s jump into these projects, shall we?

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Project 1: Turning White Tights into a Spider Web

Materials
White tights or nylons
Scissors
A microplane or food grater (optional)

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This project is so incredibly easy that I don’t even think I need to write out the steps! All you need to do is use scissors and/or a microplane/kitchen grater to put runs into the tights. Then with your fingers, stretch the runs so the fabric separates into web-like threads. Keep snipping, grating, and pulling until you like the way your web looks. I found it helpful to have the books I was decorating right nearby as I made the web so I could stretch it into place as I went. Since there’s so much elasticity in tights, it’s really easy to stretch them around items so they stay in place without tape or tacks.

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Project 2: Tea-staining Book Pages

You may have tea-stained paper before, but the process of doing it for bound books is a little different because you can’t bake the pages to dry or completely cover them with tea (that would dampen the binding and make it hard to properly dry every page). Thankfully, the way that books age usually shows a darkening of the page edges while the inner portion stays lighter. This is easy to replicate with tea! Here’s how:

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Materials
A book to age
Two large stacks of books to stabilize the tea-stained book as it dries
A heat-safe dish that is longer than the height of the book
2 cups of boiling water
4 tea bags (not herbal—I used Earl Grey)
A fan
A paintbrush (optional)
A kettle

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Step 1: Put the kettle on to boil the water. While that heats, build two stacks of books with the dish between them. The stacks need to be tall enough that the book can hang from it to dry (scroll down to see the picture of drying if necessary). Set the fan up so it blows on the area between the two stacks.

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Step 2: Place the tea bags into your dish and pour the boiling water over it. Let that steep for ten minutes.

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Step 3: Carefully remove the tea bags and set aside. Open the book holding both covers in one hand so the pages hang down. Dip the long edge of the pages only (not the cover or binding) into the tea. You can dip it in several times or hold it in the tea for a few seconds. Then pull it out of the tea and hold it above the dish for a few moments to let the tea drip off.

Step 4: Turn the book upright over the container and use the paintbrush or a tea bag to brush tea onto the top edges of the pages. Start on the corner that is already tea-stained then brush softly in toward the binding so the tea stain will fade slightly as it gets closer to the spine. Avoid getting the binding and cover wet. Then turn the book again and do this same brushing technique on the bottom edges of the pages.

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Step 5: If your book is still dripping, set it up to dry by placing its front and back covers between the two stacks with the container still underneath. If it’s not dripping, feel free to move the container so the stacks can be moved closer together. Turn on the fan to help the book dry. As it dries, the tea stain will darken.

Step 6: Wait for an hour then turn the book around so the other short side of the pages is closer to the fan.

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Step 7: Wait for a half-hour while that side dries then you can remove your book from the piles and stand it upright with the pages fanned slightly to finish drying. At this point, the edges of every page should be perfectly browned just as an old book is! Each page will also gain a well-read crinkle/warp so they appear to have been leafed through again and again over the years.

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And that’s it! Your spell-binding aged books are ready for display this Halloween season. You could use these to decorate around your candy dish on All Hallows’ Eve or as a centerpiece on your October dining table. We’d love to see your creativity if you decide to try these projects yourself!

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Five Tips For Making The Perfect Cutoff Denim Shorts

Jean ShortsHave you ever ruined a pair of jeans trying to make the perfect cutoff shorts? You’re not alone. To never fail at this super simple DIY project, we are sharing five tips that are sure to guide you in the right “I-want-those-denim-shorts” direction.

  1. Buy a pair of jeans two sizes too big.

Next time you hit up your favorite Goodwill store, try looking for a pair of jeans that are around two sizes too big, the extra room will create the most flattering and loosely lived-in pair of cutoffs.

  1.  Measure the inseam.

It’s key to measure the inseam of your denim to determine your best length. You typically want to leave about 3” at the inseam, but you can go longer or shorter depending on what works on you. This is where most DIY disasters happen; you quickly chop your jeans without keeping in mind that the inseam needs to be a smidge longer to create a natural and appropriate angled look. So remember: determine the length of your inseam and then cut at angle to make the outer seams a bit shorter.

  1. Draw your desired hemline with chalk.

It may be tempting to just hack away, but once you’ve figured out your ideal length, use a piece of chalk to draw a guideline for a foolproof even and not-too-long-not-too-short hemline.

  1. Create the perfect fray.

Once you are happy with the length of your shorts, it’s time to focus on the fray. This process is simple; all you need to do is run a pair of pinking shears at the edge of your shorts. Voilà: you now have an effortless, perfectly unraveled frayed edge.

  1. Wash and dry before wearing.

Finally, you want to make sure to wash and dry your cool new cutoffs before wearing them. This last step will ensure that your shorts have that covetable vintage vibe.

Create a Unique Halloween Costume at Goodwill

Looking for a unique and affordable Halloween costume? Visit one of our Goodwill locations! You’ll find everything you need to create an awesome, one-of-a-kind look.

Here are some easy costumes you can create with items from your local Goodwill. Find the store nearest you by visiting www.mariongoodwill.org.

Witch costume image - for template blog

Witch: Grab a black dress and black pointed hat. Wear tights and black shoes. We love the subtle pink detail in this dress and the purple tights. Who says you have to wear all black? Accessorize with a broom, cape or cauldron.

Pirate costume image - for template blog

Pirate: Pair a white button-down shirt with black pants and black vest or suit jacket with the sleeves removed. Add a sash around your waist, a seaworthy hat and pirate makeup to complete the costume. Bonus points if you wear a pair of leather boots to complete the look!

Baseball costume image - for template blog

Baseball Player: Find a pair of sweatpants or baseball pants. Add a baseball-style shirt or the shirt of your favorite baseball team. Finish with baseball cap, bat or glove.

By purchasing items at Goodwill, you’ll save on your Halloween costumes and be able to use those clothes again once Halloween is over. You can also feel good knowing that your purchase will help provide job training and community services to people looking for work in the communities we serve.

Independence Day DIY Ideas

Independence Day

Independence Day is the perfect holiday. There’s sunshine, good food and we get to be patriotic as we celebrate our country. Whether you’re throwing a barbecue or just having a few friends over for some Fourth of July fun, how you decorate will set the mood. Here are some easy DIY ideas for how to make your party as patriotic as it can be.

American Flag Mason Jars
Mason Jars

All this requires is three mason jars and some red, white, and blue paint. Paint your first mason jar all blue and then add white stars to it after the first coat has dried. To complete your flag, paint the other two jars with alternating red and white stripes. This decoration is functional too. You can put utensils or flowers in them.

Paper Fireworks

Paper Fireworks

Fireworks are one of the best parts of Fourth of July celebrations, and you can have them in your own home. Not the real thing of course, but you can make paper fireworks to hang up on your wall. First, get some scrapbook paper from your local craft store or Goodwill (red, white, and blue of course). You can cut the paper in any size you want, but we wouldn’t go smaller than 4 inches because it will be harder to fold. Then fold the papers back and forth like an accordion and once you’re done, staple the folded paper in the middle. Now all you have to do is fan out the folds and you have whirling, multicolored fireworks to hang up around the party. Another idea is to upcycle toilet paper tubes for some fun décor!

Patriotic Goodie Bags
Paper Bag 2

This is another functional decoration, and its super simple to make, not to mention cheap. You’ll need brown paper lunch bags and red, white, and blue crafting tape. Once you have all that just put some tape on the bottom of the bags in alternating patterns. You can fill these bags with cookies, chips, or even red, white, and blue confetti. Lay them out around your party or hand them out as party favors. Any way you use them, they’ll be a cute decoration.

DYI Clothing Projects
Jean Shorts

We’ve all seen the pics of denim jeans from Goodwill cut off and made into shorts. Well, let’s take those Goodwill finds a bit further and add some designs with bleach. It’s such an easy and fun project for those times over the summer when you hear, “I’m bored, what should I do?”
Watch this video for step by step directions:

Another fun shorts idea – You will need shorts, red, white, and blue fabric paint and a star stencil. Use stencil to make stars and paint around them with blue, then paint stripes! Voilà!

Flag Shorts

For additional ideas visit our Pinterest page at: http://www.pinterest.com/mariongoodwill/fourth-of-july

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