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Ask An Expert: DIY Gift Ideas

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Many people believe that getting a hand-made gift from a loved one is precious, something truly special to be cherished. Not perfect? Doesn't matter! The object itself doesn't mean as much as the thought and time put into making it. A hand-crafted gift can capture the essence of a person in a way that off-the-shelf items can't. Rebekah Cooksey, a DIY-er and VP of Education and Projects for the Michaels stores, says crafters will see four big trends this season - monograms, typography and quotes, repurposing, and unique wrapping and packaging.

Rebekah Cooksey
11260 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 479-1293

Michaels Vice President of Education and Projects, Rebekah Cooksey oversees educational programming and classes available in all Michaels stores. She works with her team to develop on-trend and seasonal craft projects featured on the website. Cooksey encourages a DIY gift - it can show someone how much you care from greeting cards and paper-crafted tree ornaments to glitter jar candles, wreaths and beaded jewelry. It's time to get inspired for the holiday season with Cooksey's DIY-er craft tips.

Prioritize your recipients

Be realistic as to how much time is available relative to how many gifts you want to give. Save the special or rather time-intensive handmade gifts for special people. There are many thoughtful items that can be crafted in a reasonable time. Finding the right project also means taking into consideration the estimated time of completion. Think about creating easy holiday greeting cards from the project archives at including the glitter menorah card or a fringe Merry Christmas card.

Keep your skill level in mind

You don't have to be an expert crafter to make a special, hand-crafted item. labels projects ranging from "beginners" or "no experience necessary" to "advanced." Making a gift (think photo frame, journal or shadow box) with a meaningful quote, a favorite song verse or a memorable line from a book can create a gift with deeper meaning. Personalize holiday ornaments or reusable farmers' market bags with monograms for a special touch.

Do your research

DIY-ers find their inspiration from several different places. Spend time online browsing websites for inspiration and ideas. Pinterest is a great resource. We also refer customers to check out YouTube how-to videos. You can generally find how-to instructions for the project right there. Many of them will have photographs of each step so you can see the process of creation. See inspiration from around your home too - use magazines, everyday items and a visit to the flea market.

Related: Make DIY Tree Ornaments With Tips From Celebrity Interior Designer

Read the instructions

Before choosing the project, read the instructions. If you can't visualize the steps you need to complete the project, it may not be a good choice for you. It's okay to keep looking. For many DIY-ers, they find inspiration from ready-made items that they then simply copy with a tweak here or there to make it their own without a traditional set of instructions. Just be sure to think through your project.

Keep calm and make a list

The last thing crafters want to feel is overwhelmed. So, once you have decided on your project, it's time to get organized. To work efficiently, first make a list of the supplies you will need. Don't plan on shopping and creating all in one day so you don't rush the outcome of the handmade gift. Decide where you will shop for the supplies. Finally, scout your work space and get right into making something truly unique and thoughtful.

Related: Get Crafty: LA's Best Craft Shops

Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at

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