Gifts Kids Can Make….

Okay, so I don’t know about you,
but finding gifts that children can make can sometimes be troublesome.

Especially, when you wait until a week before Christmas to get started.


Anyway, if you have a child who is interested in making gifts for family members,
next week is a great time to put the Christmas break to good use.

Especially when they can create something like this:

My nine year old made these.
Trust me, they are simple!
And Cheap!

This would be a great project for young tweeny boppers too!

So here’s the deal:


And here’s how to do all that on the cheap:

1. Visit Home Depot and head to the back of the lumber aisle. They should have a discount bin, where you can snag a board like this for practically free. Actually 51 cents, but if your kids flash a pearly grin, and ask adorable questions like, “What kind of wood is this?,” and “Do I need to sand with the grain?” then you might just score them for free.

NOTE: I have only seen the discount bin empty one time. You may not score the same size board as we did but there is usually always something to work with. Try to take the STRAIGHTEST board with no SPLITS.

2. Cut your board. HD will do this for FREE! or if you have a saw at home, that works too. We cut our boards at about 14 inches. We got FIVE signs out of one board! SCORE!

3. Paint your background color on your board. Use a lighter color paint, as we will darken it up a bit a little later. (Sissy’s signs were painted white and light blue to begin with.) TIP: While you’re at Home Depot, check their paint department for the “Mess Ups” rack. I often find a small tub of paint for 50 cents!

4. Choose your word. Pick a font that is crisp and easy to paint. Print it at a size that will fit your board.

5. Follow this chalk tutorial for transfering your word to your board. Or use graphite paper, we’re cheap and there are ALWAYS little chunks of sidewalk chalk around our house.

6. Paint your word. This is the longest part, go slow, don’t fret over mistakes, we can sand them off…and we want it to look shabby anyway right? We have a basic paint brush set from Wally World that included a slanted tip paint brush….this helps quite a bit.

7. Shabby your board up a bit. Use sandpaper to rough up your word. Hammer in some dents. Rough up the edges…ect.

Don’t be afraid to take out some big gouges!
Where ever there is bare wood showing, the stain will soak in.

8. Use a wood stain over the paint. This is the most expensive part of the project. Wood stain is about $8 at Home Depot, but it will last you a lifetime! You literally use a dab of this stain for each board. I love Minwax Jacobean for most projects.

To stain your board: Wear gloves, dab an old rag into the can, and then wipe it over the whole project, let it set for a few moments, then wipe it off. Throw away your rags. (I read somewhere that staining rags can self ignite…and that is not good right? So toss them!)

Mom or Dad can do this part too, if you’re nervous about the kiddos handling such a noxious product.

9. Let it dry. We move ours indoors because it sets quicker. Afterwords you can spray a poly coat on if you like, this is just an extra step to protect the sign if say you needed to clean it for some reason. Not necessary, but if you have the spray anyway, give it a quick shot.

10. If you want to be fancy, hammer a hook or a picture holder into the back.

All Done!

Total Cost
$.51 wood
$8 stain

On Hand:

$8.50 makes about 5 signs….so that’s about $1.70 per gift!

Not bad.

Maybe Mom can make a few too?

Now that I think of it,
This would be a great project for the entire family,
you could easily make words like JOY and Peace…

or maybe Welcome!
This sign literally cost me about $1.00 in materials.
(board, stain, paint)

Stay tuned for some more shabby projects,
my camera is full of photos to share!


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Comments (12)

  • m Reply

    Valerie, my husband is a trim carpenter and deals with stain a lot. He often brings home sample size cans to test a color out before buying the full size one. He buys many of his materials at Home Depot or Lowes, so I would look for those if you aren’t needing the big can of stain for a project like this. And(I could be wrong) but I do think that your stain will deteriorate over time, so a large can may NOT “last you a lifetime.” Also, I happened to be in the shop when he was working with a couple of our children and heard him explain how they should lay their rags out flat and allow them to dry before throwing them away because it is the fumes that will self ignite. He told them that most people wad the rags up and throw them away wet, and that is why you get fires. Hope this helps. :) ~Melissa

    December 15, 2012 at 5:31 am
    • JUDY


      September 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm
  • Catrina Reply

    I really love these signs. Going to make a few for my home office. Thanks for the idea. Catrina

    February 4, 2013 at 12:30 am
  • Genine Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing! Nice simple directions! Love it! Genine

    February 20, 2013 at 8:36 pm
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  • Tom Reply

    Use water-based stains and you won’t have to worry about spontaneous combustion issues. That happens sometimes with oil-based products, not just stains but oily rags, lacquers and other stuff. Water-based stains won’t cause a problem, but you have to read the labels to ensure you are not getting an oil-based product.

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  • Robin Reply

    can you tell me which font you used ?

    June 20, 2015 at 6:41 pm
  • Jessica Reply

    Hi, I saw this and I’m in love with what you did. What kind of paint would you reccomend? I’m doing a project with mason jars which need chalk paint. What kind of paint would I need for this? Regular acrylic?

    June 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm
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