There are a lot of things that we just assume we have to buy at the store, but if you stop for a minute and look at the product, you may be surprised at how easy it is to make at home. These homemade options often function better, costs less money, and are better for the environment. Plus they make great gifts. Over the past few years, I’ve been on a journey to get back to my roots and make more things at home instead of buying them in the store. Here are some ideas to get started on a homemade journey and get your gift closet re-stocked.
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Easy Homemade Gift Options
Homemade Air Fresheners
Air fresheners are a great place to get started making things at home. With just 3 simple ingredients, you can create air fresheners. I have been saving spray bottles when they run out of the store-bought cleaners so I have a few ready to start. Simply add water, rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of essential oils, and you are set for your first air freshener.
- Spray Bottle
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Essential Oils
- Fill the spray bottle about 3/4 full with water
- Add several teaspoons of isopropyl alcohol (The alcohol helps the water droplets evaporate quicker in the air when you spray.)
- Add approximately 20-30 drops of the essential oil of your choice
- Shake well and spray in your home as often as you like
If you want to create a homemade spray cleaner, then follow the same steps for your air freshener but add 1-2 TBS of liquid dish detergent. Then use the very same as your air freshener.
If you do much baking, then you probably have vanilla extract in your cabinet. Up until recently, I didn’t realize that there was a difference between imitation and real vanilla. Imitation vanilla is much cheaper when you buy it in the store, but is filled with extra coloring, preservatives, and added ingredients to give the flavor. However, if you want to cook with real vanilla, it is a very simple process to make your own.
We found that the best place to buy vanilla beans is Amazon. Simply cut open the beans, cover with vodka, and store them for several months in a dark, cool cabinet. Periodically, take out the jar and shake and then let it sit for a few more weeks.
Making homemade vanilla does traditionally require vodka so not all people will be comfortable purchasing a bottle for your homemade vanilla. I was given a bottle so I could make a batch of vanilla.
After months of waiting, I had enough homemade vanilla to fill several small 2 oz amber colored jars for gifts.
Alpaca Dryer Balls
If you know someone who has alpacas, then ask to buy some of the alpaca fiber thirds. This excess fiber is cheap and make great dryer balls. Plus they make a realy fun gift when packaged up in a wooden box or pretty fabric bag.
Make homemade salve with just a few simple ingredients. It may seem intimidating to make your own salve but this is a super simple entry level homesteading craft.
What are some things you make at home instead of purchasing them at the store? I’d love to hear your favorite simple homemade products that you use for yourself and share as gifts!