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7 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Make From Thrift-Store Finds 5

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Gift cards aren’t the only last-minute presents you can give. Check out these thrifty gift ideas to keep your friends and families smiling.

If you still have a few last-minute people on your gift list, but can’t bear the thought of going to the mall (and it’s too late to order online), I’ve got a suggestion: Head to your local thrift store, or comb through your house, instead, and see if you can scrape up the materials to make these quick and easy projects. Bonus: Many of these are also great host gifts, so keep them in mind if you’re heading to a New Year’s party!

1. Personalized Wine Glasses: Raid the thrift store for some plain wine glasses, and get ready to decorate! You can pick up some etching cream at a craft store to make custom-made, etched wine glasses, or grab a permanent marker at home and draw right on the glasses. Freehand a design or use stencils — you can go as simple as initials, or make an elaborate (and festive!) design.

2. Mug Cozies: Use some old, colorful wool sweaters to make these cute cozies, perfect for making it more comfortable to hold a metal travel mug or a glass mason jar when the holidays keep you on the move. These cozies are also great to keep in your backpack or handbag to use at coffee shops, in place of disposable coffee sleeves.

3. Picture Frame Tray: An ornate picture frame, a couple of drawer handles, and a coat of paint is just about all it takes to make a pretty tray, perfect for serving up a cup of tea and a plate of cookies. Make it extra personal by using a photo of you and your gift recipient in the frame so it doubles as a memento.

4. Valet Tray: A smaller picture frame and a square of suede or other soft fabric can be made into a valet tray for the dresser to corral jewelry, keys, change, cufflinks, and other odds and ends. If you’re feeling especially generous, you could give both trays together as a matching set!

5. T-Shirt Superhero Cape: Old t-shirts, preferably ones with no printing on the back, can be easily transformed into a superhero cape for a kid who loves playing dress-up and saving the planet. Just use an iron-on patch or stitch a superhero logo or their initial on the back!

6. Chalkboard Mugs: Plain white mugs and a stripe of chalkboard paint make the most expressive ways to enjoy one’s morning coffee. If you’re good at freehand painting, you can even paint the chalkboard paint in the shape of a thought bubble.

7. Record Album Bowl: It seems like every thrift store has a section of old records. Find a funky album that fits the taste of your recipient to turn into a decorative bowl that makes a fun conversation piece.


Have you used thrift-store bargains to make a gift? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan

I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same.

  • Bev P. 15 days ago
    Old sweaters can be unraveled for yarn and donate the yarn to charities that crochet and knit for charity. Googled and too many to list here. Lion Yarn had great list on their site.
  • Deirdre B. 15 days ago
    terrific ideas!
  • tommy b. 15 days ago
  • Lucy S. 15 days ago
    Men's neckties: weave 'em (basket weave) and use to cover chair or stool seat.
  • WANDA S. 2 months ago
    Right now is the best time to go right after Christmas, now people are cleaning out their closets and drawers to make room for the new stuff that they just received for Christmas..some even the things that they didn't want ..I have found some great brand new things with the tags still on them, so sad in a way that some people don't even get a gift and others just drop them off at the Salvation Army.
    • Gina L. 1 month ago
      What is truly more sad/crazy is shopping at local of the thrift/drop off store. My niece recently told me she purposely stopped by a Goodwill in a great neighborhood knowing there would be great finds. If only the affluent would take the time to give off to neighborhoods less fortunate. Or, the donation stores would share the wealth between locals.
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