DIY gifts are not only cost-effective, they are very personal gifts that can be customized for the recipient. Many of the ingredients you need to make amazing food and body care gifts can be found for great prices at your Co-op! We asked our crafty staff for their favorite DIY gifts and how to make them. Here’s what they shared:
Bambu’s Clay Masks
The benefits of clay masks for the skin are many! They help unclog dirt and and oils from the skin, and help tighten pores. Many clays are nutrient rich, helping to nourish and soften the skin. They draw blood to the surface of the skin, improving circulation and drawing out toxins. When gifting, package the clay powder and oils separately. Make sure to include instructions for the recipient on how much water to use and how to apply. When mixing clays, always use glass, wood or plastic utensils.
- 2 teaspoons clay of choice
- 2 teaspoons water, or hydrosol
- 3-4 drops oil, optional
- 1-2 drops essential oil, optional
- Mix into a thin paste, and apply to face. Avoid the sensitive skin around the eyes. Leave on for 10-15 minutes.
Alternatively, use 1 t. of water and one t. of honey, aloe vera gel/juice, or apple cider vinegar. Honey is naturally antibacterial, moisturizing, and healing. Aloe is healing, soothing, and moisturizing. Apple Cider Vinegar helps to detox and clease the skin.
Kathryn’s Orange Almond Granola
This granola makes a great gift because it’s quite decadent and full-flavored for a granola. The crisp edges and fresh flavors make this an addictive treat that’s still good for you!
- 2 teaspoons orange zest (from about 1 ½ oranges, preferably organic)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 ½ cup raw almonds (Kathryn prefers sliced almonds)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (if you’re using standard table salt, scale back to ¾ teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- ¾ cup raisins, preferably golden
- ¾ cup chopped candied ginger
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the orange zest and sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it’s bright orange and very fragrant. This step will ensure that your granola is infused with orange flavor.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds, salt, cinnamon and orange sugar. Stir to combine. Pour in the olive oil, honey and vanilla, and mix well.
- Pour the granola onto your prepared baking sheet. Spread the granola into an even layer. Bake for 19 to 23 minutes, stirring halfway, until the granola is turning lightly golden in color. The granola will crisp up as it cools. Press the warm granola with the back of a spatula to encourage chunks.
- Let the granola cool before stirring in the raisins and breaking up the granola into chunks as necessary. Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or keep it in the freezer for longer shelf life.
Lauren’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract
With the price of vanilla fluctuating wildly due to shortages, giving vanilla extract as DIY gifts is especially appreciated and valuable. Better yet, making it is incredibly easy. Split the vanilla beans (available in with our bulk herbs & spices) if you like having the little vanilla flecks in your extract, or keep them intact for fleck-free.
Bourbon as a base adds a nice Kentucky flair to your gift, but a basic vodka works too. Get the cheap stuff. We want a high proof. Let the extract develop over a few weeks before using. The gift recipient can add more booze to the bottle and then new beans as the old ones stop giving off color and flavor.
- 3 to 5 vanilla beans
- 7 ounces bourbon
- 8 ounce glass jar or bottle with tight-fitting lid
Split the vanilla beans and add them to the jar. Feel free to cut them in half to fit your bottle, if needed. Add alcohol, fill to the top, close lid and give a good shake. Store in cool, dark area and give it a shake every week or so until it develops a deep caramel color. You may strain the extract before giving, if you wish, but I personally love the look of the vanilla beans in the bottle and like that they can continue to add flavor for many weeks.
BONUS DIY GIFT: Spent vanilla pods can be dried out and added to sugar to make vanilla sugar. Just add the beans to a bag or jar of sugar and shake occasionally over a couple weeks. The longer the beans stay in, the stronger the flavor!
Bambu’s Sugar Scrub
Sugar scrubs are hydrating and gently exfoliating for the skin- removing old skin cells to expose fresh, radiant skin. Exfoliation unclogs pores, allowing for the better absorption of oils, and leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth, and with a happy glow. Mix and match different oils and essential oils for a customized sugar scrub that is perfect for your skin!
- 1 cup fine organic sugar
- 1 Tablespoon moisturizing carrier oil of choice
- 8-10 drops essential oil
Mix together and store in the refrigerator.
Amy’s Natural Lip Balm
Amy typically makes this lip balm for herself in the winter, tailoring the oils used to her own personal preference. She notes that she bought a pipette specifically for making her lip balm and refilling her spent chapstick tubes, but ended up using a spoon to fill the tubes instead and said it was equally easy if not easier. She also used beeswax beads instead of pastilles and got everything from the Wellness Department, including the flat, metal lip balm containers when making this as a gift. Click on the photo to get the recipe from the This Organic Life blog.
Carole’s Favorite Roasted Nuts
Roasted nuts make healthy, delicious gifts and with a bow and some creative packaging can really round out a nice basket of DIY gifts. Carole has many recipes, but here are two of her favorites. First, a Cinnamon-Spiced Roasted Walnut recipe from the Liz’s Healthy Table blog. Second, a spicier snack – Roasted Spicy Garlic Cashews from the A Little Bit of Spice blog. Give either type of nut based on your recipient’s tastes. Or give both!
Alissa’s Salted Bourbon Caramels
If you’re making a basket of Kentucky goodies, why not go DIY and include some of these homemade bourbon caramels? I mean, who doesn’t love salty and sweet together? You will either want a scale or a handy conversion chart for this recipe, as all ingredients are listed by weight in grams. If it’s your first foray in caramel, make sure you have a candy thermometer. Just click on the photo to check out the step-by-step directions from The Manual.
Amy’s Favorite Foot Soak
This would make amazing DIY gifts for folks who spend a lot of time on their feet (think nurses, servers, retail workers, etc.) or someone who suffers from frequent foot pain. It can even be made vegan by substituting the milk powder for oats, which is Amy’s personal favorite variation. This recipe from the Suburban Simplicity blog even featured free printable gift tags! Just click on the photo to the right to see the recipe.
Carole’s Flax Seed and Lavender Neck Pillows
A perfect gift for, well, anybody. Who doesn’t have the occasional ache and pain? This is especially useful for someone who spends their days sitting at a computer. These pillows can be tossed in a microwave for 30 seconds and set on the neck and shoulders to help relax the muscles that have been building up tension all day. Plus the lovely lavender scent helps calm you after a long day. Click on the photo for the full instructions from Frontier Co-op.
Feel free to mix and match our DIY gifts with your own recipes to make a truly unique present. Still looking for more ideas? Stop by your Co-op and we’ll be able to show you the raw ingredients that offer a wealth of gift-worthy concoctions. Happy gifting!