Gifts He’ll Love…Inexpensive Crafts for Dad



Looking for the perfect gift for Father’s Day from your child? If you are, and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, and would rather something from the heart, read the crafts below. You should be able to find just the gift to meld Dad’s heart on his special day.

The All-Time Favorite T-Shirt
By far the most favorite Father’s Day gift my husband has ever received was a simple T-Shirt my daughter and I made back in 1994. We started with a plain white T-Shirt, some acrylic craft paint, and fabric medium for acrylic painting (found in most craft departments). We painted my daughter’s hands and feet one at a time with bright blue and red paint and made hand- and footprints all over the shirt. The fabric medium has helped to make the paint last, and my husband still wears the shirt on a weekly basis. My daughter loves to see how much her hands and feet have grown. When making this shirt, place newspaper or cardboard inside the shirt to keep the paint from going through to the other side. It is also very helpful to have a large bowl or small bucket of water nearby to rinse each hand or foot after the prints have been made. This helps little fast feet from running on the floor before cleaned up.

Personalized Artwork and Frame
Another favorite gift which still hangs on my refrigerator was a simple one. First I had my daughter draw a picture of herself with her daddy (she was four years old at the time). I then made a mat from a 11″ X 14″ piece of poster board, leaving about 3″ all the way around. Next I asked my daughter the reasons she loves her daddy. As she told me the reasons, I jotted them down on a piece of paper. When she had finished her list, I used a permanent marker and my best handwriting to transcribe the reasons onto the frame (older children can do this themselves.) For the grand finale, I gave my daughter the scrap and craft box to decorate the frame. She used sequins, felt scraps, stickers, and bingo daubers. After the frame masterpiece dried, I taped the picture she made to the back of the frame, then attached magnets to the back (you can find these with one side sticky in the craft department.) We also did these for the grandfathers, and they, too loved the reasons for their granddaughter’s love.

Clear Plastic Pencil Holder
This craft has also been done by my daughter, with favorable response. Purchase clear plastic disposable cups (not opaque, clear). The first thing you have to do is make a pattern from construction paper by cutting it until it fits along the inside of a plastic cup. (This may take you a few tries by trial and error. The finished product will look a little bit like a “U” or a semi-circle.) Once you have the pattern created, allow your child to draw, paint, glue pictures, etc. to the pattern. When dried and finished, place the artwork inside a plastic cup, then another cup inside the cup. Use a glue that dries clear to seal the cups together, taking care not to drip the glue inside the cups. My daughter drew pictures of herself and the recipient of the pencil holder, and used stickers as well as those tiny pictures often a part of the portrait packages.

Tin Can Pencil Holder
This is a craft I made years ago, and it is still a cherished memento of my childhood. Begin with a clean, dry empty can of any size. Have your child cover the can with any of the following: cancelled stamps (what mine is made of), tissue paper, stickers, etc. Or you may wish to cut a piece of construction paper to cover the can and allow your child to decorate it as desired.

“Leather” Picture Frame
Begin by gathering a piece of cardboard, masking tape, brown liquid shoe polish and a cleaning rag (one that can be thrown out when finished.) First cut the cardboard into a frame shape. Allow your child to cover the frame with 2″ masking tape pieces making sure to cover the frame completely. Then have the child rub the shoe polish all over the masking tape, making sure to get the edges, too. (Smocks or messy clothes are a good idea here.) Before the polish dries, have your child use the rag to rub in the excess. When dry, the frame will have a “leathery” look. You may then put a portrait or child-drawn self-portrait in the frame. If you wish, glue a safety pin to the back as a hangar.

“Leather” Pencil Holder
By combining the methods and materials used in the “Leather” Picture Frame activity with a clean, dry can of any size, your child can make a matching set of frame and pencil holder for dear old Dad.

Car Freshener
I plan to try this simple craft this year with my girls. Gather a thin piece piece of cardboard, felt, yarn, glue, scissors and a favorite scent such as oil of lemon, peppermint, vanilla or a favorite perfume/cologne (not a strong one.) Use a cookie cutter or other stencil to draw a shape on the cardboard and two felt pieces. Cut out the cardboard and felt and glue the felt pieces to both sides of the cardboard. Make a hole in the top and use yarn to make a hangar. Drop about 10 drops of the scent on to the felt. I plan to adapt this idea a little by cutting a free form shape from a picture of the girls. I’ll cut the cardboard and felt into the same shape as the picture. I’ll scent the felt first, and when dry, glue the three pieces together as described above. Then my husband’s van will look AND smell pretty!

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