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

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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. more
  • Steven S. 1 day ago
    Posted Saturday, May 14, 2022
  • Barbara W. 1 day ago
    Shall we do a party review from Friday the 13th? Picture this:
    First of all, Recyclebank decided to provide All the meat for the party (due to a lack of other rewards). As you come into the park-like area there is a large rectangular covered open area with a blue roof. Inside on the back edge are 2 large food tables with blue tablecloths. It's filled with a variety of freshly grilled meats, brisket, ribs, hamburgers, etc. A large assortment of covered dishes was brought by all the ladies. Love that potato salad! coleslaw, baked beans, and all the garnishes for the burgers.
    To the right is a dessert table, in the center is a watermelon carved into a basket filled with ice-cold pieces, bordered with big chunks of pineapple and strawberries. There are cakes, pies, banana bread, brownies, and ice cream. I even saw some chocolate-covered pretzel rods!
    On the left is Javier in a bright-colored Hawaiian shirt manning the bar and soft drinks. In the very center is an appetizer table with cheeses, salsa, guacamole, dip, and an assortment of crackers. All in one big area!
    Off to the right of the food serving area is Felix in a big white chief's hat with his crew grilling up a storm, Give them a shout out! Then off to the Left of the food area, is Randy as the DJ with all kinds of music, and Steven his helper.
    Walking back a little further are 2 HUGE Pergolas with a fountain between them.
    The one closest to Randy/DJ was set up as a dance floor with yellow streames on the poles. The other was a relaxation area with comfy furniture. That's where I was in the zero gravity lawn chair. Scattered around under shady trees were picnic tables. They had blue glass vases with colorful flowers in the center of each.
    • Barbara W. 1 day ago
      The activities: About halfway through the afternoon the bot showed up! John was running security and kicked him out on his rusty can. The crowd roared and clapped, then John was awarded the Get-out of Basement Free card. The couple from Arizona won the dance contest, Randy had some of his famous artwork framed for prizes. I saw someone up in the tree peeking down on all of must have been tommy. We left him a goody bag at the base of the tree. Felix and the crew began to sing and entertain us. Everyone had a good time talking, laughing, and dancing. The food and drinks were great but the company was the BEST!
    • Barbara W. 1 day ago
      Anyone want to add some funnies that happened at the party?
    • Debra D. 1 day ago
      Barbra, you are a great writer! I really feel like I was there at the party! I ran the dance area and was fun to see Katja and you winning the Limbo Dance! Did not know YOU COULD GO SO LOW! lol...
    • Peg P. 1 day ago
      It was a dispel the superstition party. We all did the limbo under a ladder, petted a black cat someone brought and cracked old mirrors and made mosiacs out of them. The weather was beautiful all day and everyone left a message on Recyclebank that they got home safely!
    • John J. 21 hours ago
      Lol. And Barbara W/B wins the creative writing contest.
      Although it sounds like we're all working. I guess the guests are from the mysterious other Recyclebank site comment group.
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  • Katja Z. 2 months ago
    Okay here is some good news.
    I got my rewards from probably October.
    I still had enough points to request 3 coupons for a free gallon of Country Fresh milk from Hollywood Market.
    I got the 3 coupons in today's mail.
    Now they still owe me for November and December and 1 coupon each for January, February and March.

    I never heard anything from either of the 2 people I contacted.

    But the fact that I have received my rewards from one of the months that I requested 3 coupons is very hopeful.

    Don't give up!!
  • Barbara W. 2 months ago
    I should not be surprised that its a 404 Day, March 9th , crummy memories
  • Katja Z. 2 months ago
    Posted Wednesday March 9th 2022.

    It's a 404 day.

    I did receive the 5 points for the Daily Pledge.

    Nighty night!!
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