Is your Christmas shopping done? For once, I got a big chunk of mine done early. But I love to give homemade gifts too, especially as stocking stuffers. Let’s face it – custom is always a good idea! And if it’s also inexpensive, that’s even better. Today’s post is meant to give you some ideas of simple things you can make, often with scraps. They are all small enough to fit in a stocking. I’ll give you some tips on the HOW of making them, but this is primarily an ideas post, not a tutorials post. I’ll bet you’ll see some stocking stuffer ideas you haven’t thought of before.
Stocking Stuffer Idea #1: Nail art
I’m a HUGE nail art fan and love exploring all the latest trends. So, using my Silhouette to feed my habit is a natural fit. I’ve made nail art in 4 different ways with the help of my Silhouette. What’s fun is that some of these make a great stocking stuffer even for younger girls.
A vinyl decal is a small image you cut out and slap right on the nail, then add a top coat over. The mermaid tail on my ring finger is green vinyl.
This is a great way to use up very small scraps you might otherwise throw away. Keep these tips in mind:
- Cutting small takes practice. It works best with good quality material, good cut settings, a sharp blade, a new mat (it holds a small piece of vinyl best) and smart design choice.
- Start out with solid images without lots of thin parts.
- To learn more about cut settings, check out my Cut Doctor series and class on Terri Johnson Academy.
This is another great way to use up leftover vinyl scraps. You cut out a shape or pattern, remove the design itself, adhere the stencil to the nail, polish the blank space and remove the stencil. The mermaid scale design on my pointer finger was done with a stencil. Here are some tips:
- A simple curved shape is a good guide for French tips.
- I find it works easiest to use a make-up sponge to add the polish. This makes it much easier to get a clean image without the polish seeping under the edge of the vinyl.
- Here’s a bonus: your vinyl decal and vinyl stencil can be the same cut for a positive/negative design. Pull the design out to make a decal, use the background as a stencil. The negative of the mermaid tail below is an example.
Temporary tattoo paper can be used to create waterslide decals using Print and Cut. This is great for more detailed designs, phrases, etc. The “Let’s be mermaids” phrase on my middle finger is done this way.
Here’s how you do it:
- Add a small shape like a rounded rectangle close around the sides of the phrase or design.
- Group the phrase and shape and set to Cut Edge. That will ensure that the words or other designs will not cut.
- Be sure to mirror your image as you’ll be cutting from the wrong side.
- I recommend using the clear tattoo paper. You can get quite a few decals on a single page because they are so small.
- Paint your nails and let them dry.
- Remove the plastic cover that’s over the decal. There are a couple of ways to apply the decals. With either method, position the decal so that no part is hanging off the nail.
- One way to apply is to follow the directions on the package just as if you were putting it on the skin. Position the decal, cover with a wet washcloth for 30 seconds, remove the backing.
- The other way is to soak the decal in a small cup of water for a few seconds. You’ll know it’s soaked enough when the backing paper is saturated. Flip the decal onto the nail and slide off the backing paper. Work carefully – once it’s stuck down, you won’t be able to move it.
- Add a top coat and you’re good to go.
Nail stamping plates
If you’ve ever done nail stamping, you’ll be excited to hear that you can make your own plates. Not heard of nail stamping? Check YouTube! The mermaid and shell on my thumb and the waves on my pinkie are done this way.
Here are some tips for making nail stamping plates:
- I’ve used just thin aluminum pieces, but many types of metal will work.
- You apply vinyl as a stencil to the metal. This is small stuff, so, yep, scraps are great. I like the Silhouette stencil vinyl because it is sturdy and sticks very well. Here’s what it looks like prepped:
All the areas I don’t want etched are covered with the vinyl or painter’s tape.
- I used salt water etching with a car battery charger to etch the metal. Check out YouTube for hints on that. The trick is to get a good, deep etch.
Here’s another design from a stamping plate I made. It’s my son’s school and mascot.
Stocking Stuffer Idea #2: Floating locket charms
A floating charm locket is a see-through locket with a strong magnet clasp. You can fill it with charms in all kinds of designs to personalize it. For example, I have a charm that represents each of my kids: a music note for my daughter, a football for one son, a movie camera for the other son. But I’ve had a hard time finding one to represent my other daughter. We adopted her from Russia so I wanted a matryoshka doll.
These have to be small, so I thought for a long time to find a solution. It actually came to me when I was making something else from shrink plastic. I had small bits of room on the page and I HATE to waste anything, but I couldn’t add anything large. Then I had a brainstorm — fill the empty spaces with designs for floating locket charms. It worked great! I was able to make the matryoshka and many other charms as well. Time for my son’s football game? My locket not only has crystal stones with the school colors and the football, but also his school name, his number and his team logo. (I even cut a small plastic circle from acetate and applied the school name in vinyl for a background). Can you see the Cameo machine and blade, as well as my Smart Silhouette logo?
If you know someone with a locket like this, think of some ways you can make custom charms as a stocking stuffer. I have a few more ideas for using shrink plastic as well. Keep reading!
Stocking Stuffer Idea #3: Jewelry
There are SO many ways to make jewelry on your Silhouette and it makes a great stocking stuffer. Here are just a few ideas:
The Cameo 3 and Curio can actually tool and cut leather. Yep, you read that right! Cindy Pope, a fellow All Things Silhouette instructor, is the guru on this. She uses a Curio because of the precision of the base – it goes back into the machine right back in the same spot every time. The Cameo 3, Curio and Portrait 2 are able to use the deep cut blade and have a 2mm clearance (compared to 1mm for the other machines). This makes it easier to use thicker materials like leather. Even if you don’t want to get into tooling real leather, cutting Silhouette’s faux leather is a great option.
I’ve had lots of fun this year making leather earrings so the ladies in my family will each get a pair as a stocking stuffer. I’ve got a post all about it here.
Looking for a stocking stuffer for guys or someone who doesn’t wear earrings? You can do a key fob instead.
No, you can’t really cut wood itself on your machine. It’s really thick and dense. BUT – Silhouette and others do sell wood paper. It cuts very similarly to vinyl because it has an adhesive backing. I like to start with a wood base, then add designs on top that mimic inlaid wood. Technically it really is inlaid wood because the wood paper is a very thin wood like veneer.
If you are interested in how I made the designs so that the pieces nestle into one another, check out my Craftsy class.
Yep, I told you I’d recommend this material again. It’s another fun way to create some simple, inexpensive, custom jewelry. Just remember to add a hole at the top to have a way of attaching it to earrings, necklaces, etc. Either the clear or the white shrink plastic works here. Here are a few earrings I’ve made:
Stocking Stuffer Idea #4: Decorated electronics charger
I have college-aged kids. That means between them and my husband, we’re always looking for chargers for the myriad of electronics around our house. That also means that when mine “disappears,” it’s hard to figure out where it actually went. We get them mixed up all the time.
SO, a bit of vinyl can help you identify whose is whose. You can cut a simple shape like my heart here, or even just use a strip of a fun patterned vinyl that you’d otherwise toss. It might not actually stop my boys from swiping mine, but at least if they do I will know it’s mine! (I should probably make one for each of them as a stocking stuffer, too).
Stocking Stuffer Idea #5: Motto socks
This is a holdover from last year, but with a new twist. Last year all the ladies in my family went gaga over a simple pair of socks I gave them as a stocking stuffer. Why? Because on the bottom they say, “If you can read this, bring me a glass of wine.”
What about the guys? Well, this year my males are getting some that say, “If you can read this, beer me.” Yep! Quite a companion set for a couple like my daughter and her new hubby.
All it takes is a pair of socks and a bit of leftover HTV. I recommend using socks with a higher cotton content, since they will stretch less and keep the HTV staying on better. I also use stretch HTV. Another good idea is to stick something inside the sock to stretch it just a little when you adhere the HTV. Because, obviously, the socks will stretch when worn.
Not enchanted by the idea of a phrase? What about a sports team or superhero logo? Get creative!
Stocking Stuffer Idea #6: Car decal
It’s a simple little thing, but a custom car decal is awesome! I have one on my car with my son’s school. Yes, I’m an unashamedly proud momma. Even though he’s graduated, I still like to support the team.
For car decals you’ll want to use a glossy vinyl or an outdoor vinyl, such as Oracal 651. It just holds up better.
Stocking Stuffer Idea #7: Wine glass charms
This again is an idea for using shrink plastic. Either white or clear works here. What’s fun is that you can make designs you wouldn’t find in just any old store. I mean, who wouldn’t want their wine glass to be adorned with Wonder Woman? (Not gonna lie — I intended to make earrings with this but lost the other one).
Stocking Stuffer Idea #8: Temporary tattoos
This is fun for LOTS of ages. Of course, you know kids love them (my niece uses them as rewards for her kids instead of candy). But what about the college kid who goes to all the football games? Or the die hard fan who dresses in his jersey to watch March Madness? Or the proud mom attending her kids’ games? They are even great for adding a special touch to a costume. This is great, because you can make a stocking stuffer for pretty much everyone with one pack of tattoo paper.
Do you have only scraps of shrink plastic or white tattoo paper? Check out this post for ways to use those.
Stocking Stuffer Idea #9: Personalized card holder
I found this card case on clearance one day, so of course it had to hop into my cart. It’s the kind that keeps your credit cards protected from RFID devices. It’s a great option for guys on your gift list. A bit of leftover vinyl is a great way to customize pretty much anything.
But sometimes the leftover vinyl you have or the design you want to use might not hold up to lots of handling on items like phone cases or this card holder. Since I wanted this to last, I decided to use a vinyl stencil and sandblast my design.
We had an air compressor already, so I made a simple blasting cabinet from a storage bin (check YouTube – I don’t need to reinvent the wheel here by going into detail). I do like to use the stencil material for this because it sticks stronger and is thicker than regular vinyl. But as long as you are careful and don’t try to use too many small pieces, you can use a bit of regular vinyl.
Since I’m a southern girl (although currently living in Utah), I had to monogram it. I love how the silver shows through once the red is blasted away! And, ya, my husband is usually grateful when I make my own stocking stuffer and save him from shopping.
Stocking Stuffer Idea #10: Bag tag
Here’s yet another use for shrink plastic – a custom bag tag for a school kid’s backpack. It’s a simple thing, but I made one for my great-niece who has an unusual name and will probably not get many things in life with her name on them. Except, well, Auntie Cindy is around so I make her lots. Since I forgot to get a pic before I gave it to her, here’s one I made for myself.
Notice that I used stencil letters so I didn’t lose the inside of the “D.” You can turn any font into a stencil font with a few clicks in the Modify panel. My Craftsy class I linked above shows you how.
I hope I’ve given you some new ideas so that you can be the stocking stuffer champ this year. I’d love to hear about what you’ve made!
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials. All opinions expressed are my own and are not tied to any compensation.