For students, Christmas can become expensive. You want to get everyone a good present, but it can quickly add up when you start buying various bits and bobs! Giving people gifts is one of the best bits about Christmas, but I always think it’s the giving part that is more important than how much money you have spent. We decided as a house to do a £5 Secret Santa, which is a fun way to give everyone something nice to open but not have to feel the need to spend lots of money. For family and friends, I decided to make some little acrylic paint pour canvases as gifts. I’ve done this before, and every time I am surprised by how quick and easy it is to actually do! Put aside a few hours, and grab something to protect your carpet from the paint (it can get quite messy). You will also need:
§ Multi-purpose oil
§ Acrylic paint
§ Water to dilute the paint
§ Small canvases (any cheap pound shop has these in multipacks)
§ Plastic cups
§ Gloves – if you don’t want your hands to get completely covered in paint!
Mix the colours of acrylic paint that you want in separate plastic cups. Add a little water to each colour so that it is thin enough to spread out on the canvas but not so thin that it just slides off – this might take a little trial and error as we found out!
Use a clean plastic cup and put a few drops of oil at the bottom. Then add a layer of the first colour you want. Again, it’s a bit of a trial and error to see how much paint is needed. After your first colour, add another few drops of oil and then add another layer of a different colour of paint. Repeat this until you have about four or five different colours - with all of the colours in the cup you want in total about 4cm of paint. Using lots of different colours and particularly white paint will create a cool marble effect on the canvas. Make sure you add a few drops of oil once you have all of the paint layers in the cup.
Place the canvas front down on the top of the cup, and then flip so that the cup is on top and the contents of the cup is emptying out onto the canvas. Do not move the cup until all of the paint has emptied to the bottom of the cup. Then remove the cup to release the paint and gently move the canvas so that the paint covers the whole surface. If it doesn’t cover the whole canvas, you can go back, add more colours and repeat this step. You might have to use a paint brush to encourage the paint to move in a certain direction, but I think the more abstract they look the better!
Leave the canvases to dry somewhere for about 24 hours. If the canvas is shiny after this, it is just the oil that won’t fully set. You can blot this with tissue to make it dry but without ruining the canvas. They are really easy to make, the process is quite relaxing, and they look really effective!
Hand-painted wrapping paper!
When I found out that the normal Christmas wrapping paper that you can buy from the shops is not recyclable, I decided to just buy some cheap recyclable parcel paper and paint it myself. Using a stamp or stencil and any colour of paint (I chose white, copper or red paint to look festive), I think it looked quite effective! You can add some twine or ribbon to complete them (which is relatively cheap) and I just made my own tags using some cardboard from an old cereal box! I realised that you don’t need to spend lots of money to make a present look nice for someone to open.
Thank you for reading! I hope everyone is having a good end to the term and is looking forward to Christmas.