Creative and Crafty Father’s Day Gifts

(Published on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in The Daily Citizen newspaper, Dalton, GA.)

Looking for a creative Father’s Day gift that even a young child can help make for their dad? Here’s a selection of home made creative and crafty gifts you can make at home just in time for the weekend’s celebrations. Most of the supplies you may already have on hand in your craft room, kid’s art supply stash, or in your home recycling bin. Using what you have available is an excellent way to reuse and recycle while making a thoughtful handmade gift for a loved one.

Candy in a Jar: This year give the dad in your life their favorite candy wrapped up in something a little different – a glass jar. While you could you a mason jar and lid purchased from the store, a recycled jar and lid from your recycling bin will work just as well. Make sure the glass jar is clean, dry, has no label or food residue. To remove stubborn labels and glue you could use solvents like nail polish remover, lighter fluid, rubbing alcohol, olive oil, or a commercial product like Goo Gone.

Choose a candy, either individually wrapped or loose, that can easily fit in the jar you’ve chosen. Fill the jar to the brim with candy and close tightly with the lid. Decorate the outside of the jar by tying colorful ribbons or twine to the neck of the jar then add a gift tag. Depending on the materials you have available you can make a tie from scrap paper and attach it to the jar, or even cut out a circle to decorate the top of the lid.

Create a label with a celebratory phrase to further customize your gift. If you have a jar full of Reese’s Pieces, for example, you could write, “Daddy, We love you to pieces!” A jar with gummy bears could read, “We love you bear-y much!” while a jar with lollipops could say, “World’s best pop!” Instead of candy you could fill the jar with nuts, and use the phrase, “We’re nuts about you Dad!”

Fire Starter Kit: If your dad likes to go camping, has a fire pit or a fireplace at home assemble a fire starter kit for a gift that is thoughtful and useful. You’ll need dry twigs, newspaper trips about one inch wide, and cotton twine to make small bundles of kindling. Each bundle should be of only one type of material, for example, a small handful of twigs is one bundle. Additional kindling materials to include in the kit could be dry moss or pinecones.

Next, you’ll need to add matches and a striker. If you use a matchbox you can decorate it with scrap paper pieces from children’s artwork or a magazine. If you decide to remove the matches from the box you can also tie them together with twine. Don’t forget to include the striker if the matches will not be in a matchbox. While a lighter will work fine, the idea is to give dad something more rustic.

Select a cardboard box to hold the items for the kit and decorate it with scrap paper or paint. Be sure to add a gift tag or card for dad. Fill the box with the bundles of kindling and the matches and cover if a lid is available. Other items to include could be grilling spices or ingredients to make s’mores. Instead of a box, you could use a glass jar with lid. Don’t forget label the kit appropriately and add instructions for use if needed.

Gold Medal or Award: Sometimes dad does so much for us that he deserves a gold medal. Make one at home using blue paper and a small round container with a lid such the small ones used for individually wrapped cheese. Paint the container gold mixing yellow paint with a little bit of brown. If you have some available use gold spray paint or glitter to give it some extra shine. Cut two identical strips of blue paper about two inches wide. Taper one end of each strip by cutting a v-shape the tape the strips to the bottom of the container.

Fill the container with yellow butterscotch candies or other treats with a yellow or gold wrapper. If desired on the lid, which is the face of the medal, write a message like “#1 Dad”, or “Dad of the Year!”  If you don’t have a container you can cutout a circular shape from a cardboard or paperboard box instead. Instead of paper ribbon, you can change to cloth ribbon. Attach it to the container as a loop so the medal can be proudly worn around the neck.

Liz Swafford is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority.  Contact her at 706-278-5001, or e-mail 

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