6 Easy Ways to DIY an Awesome Personalized Gift for Dad
With Father’s Day around the corner, we’re reminded to think about all that Dad has taught us over the years. From clutch life lessons to showing you the true meaning of original hipster style to teaching you how to brew your own beer before you could even drink it (thanks Dad!), I think we can agree that the main thing he wanted to teach us was how to take care of ourselves. Or rather, he wanted us to be self-sufficient and well-equipped with a full toolbox of life skills. So here we are, with these literal and figurative tools in hand, making the most badass DIY Father’s Day gifts ever using engraving, wood burning and leatherworking. Dad would be so proud.
The beauty of these three techniques is that they each use a re-usable tool or set of tools to add to your collection and inspire you to keep on making cool, custom items long after you’ve checked Father’s Day gifts off your list. Scroll on down to see how we made these six gifts!
ETCHED DIY GIFTS
Etching is one of the easiest and most versatile DIYs I’ve come across yet. You can use it on metal, glass and wood, and it functions just like a pen! Our Engraving Kit comes with this magical embossing pen and a mint julep cocktail set to get you started, but the etching party doesn’t have to end there. We also tried it out on a pint glass, and it worked beautifully!
For this first cocktail set, all you need is our Engraving Kit, which includes:
— 2 mint julep cups
— wood muddler
— engraving pen
Just like you would use a pen, use the engraving tool to write your phrase onto the metal cups, jigger and wood muddler.
Once you’re done with your cocktail set, this engraving pen is also crazy useful for adding personalized designs to glassware! All you need is the following:
— pint glass
— engraving tool
Start small and slow to create an outline of your letters. Then go back in and thicken your lines, covering up any mistakes you may have made on the first try! Remember, it doesn’t have to look absolutely perfect the first time because you can always go back over it.
Repeat the process of outline first, then thicken for the rest of your phrase. Bonus points if you can include a couple of different letter styles on one glass!
Gift the whole set or keep some for yourself and give the rest to Dad ;) To really complete the gift, throw in some craft brews so he can put his new glassware to good use right away!
WOOD BURNT DIY GIFTS
This next technique uses a similar pen-like tool included in our Wood Burning Kit that can be used on just about any wood item! I myself have wood burned many presents for my family and friends and just recently gifted one of these wood boards to a good friend for her wedding — they’re a guaranteed hit!
To make this first gift — a wood board — everything you need is included in our Wood Burning Kit or can be sourced at a craft store:
— wood board
— wood burning tool with standard bits
— alphabet bits
Let your wood burning tool heat up with the tip of your choice screwed in, and pen in your designs! I’ve found that stamping the tip directly down onto the wood works better than trying to draw with it like a pen, so test out some stamping and drawing techniques on a practice piece until you get a feel for it.
This personalized piece isn’t just for show, so go ahead and use it as a REAL cutting board (none of this decorative “serving board” nonsense). See those wood serving utensils in the corner? Those can be burned too! Rule of thumb: As long as it’s not a heavily varnished wood (so no glossy, plastic-ey surfaces — sorry bamboo!) you can burn it with this tool.
After you’ve conquered the wood board, try this same technique out on a wood desk organizer using the alphabet hot stamps. You’ll need:
— wood desk organizer
— wood burning tool with standard bits
— alphabet bits
Make sure to screw in a new letter only when the tool is completely cooled down and then let it heat back up — they will literally be too hot to handle! With your letter of choice screwed in, stamp directly down onto your wood surface and wiggle the stamp around slightly to make sure every side of the letter burns into the wood. Repeat to complete your full phrase.
Drawing with one of the pointed pen tips can be a little tricky so it’s best to keep it simple. I drew in a small circle and then filled it in with seams and stitches to make a baseball shape.
Check out that blend of organizational and motivational, perfect for Dad’s desk, home office or workshop.
LEATHER DIY GIFTS
This next batch takes a little bit more time and effort but is still totally beginner friendly! I’ll be honest, before this shoot I had never actually made a leather wallet before, but with a few basic skills learned in our Leatherworking Online Class, it was a piece of cake.
Our Leather Tray Kit has all the supplies you need to make the tray, which includes:
— waxed thread
— Eco-Flo leather finish.
All you need to add is:
— cutting mat
(or plastic chopping board from the kitchen)
To walk you through the process of finishing, decorating and constructing this tray, check out our Leatherworking Online Class, and you’ll be set for this project and many, many more leather projects!
For the wallet DIY, you’ll need the same tools and supplies from the kit, plus the following:
— cutting mat
— leather scissors
— two, 8.5 x 3.25-inch rectangles of sturdy leather that are about 1/16-inch (or 2 millimeters) thick
First off, trim one of your two rectangles of leather using leather scissors so that it is 1/4 of an inch shorter on three sides (the left, right and top sides). Then, while stacked on top of each other, fold the two rectangles in half.
The slightly larger leather rectangle will be the outside layer of your wallet, while the smaller one will make up the interior pocket. On the larger outside piece, add a de-bossed pattern by dampening the leather with a wet paper towel and then drawing a design onto it with your stylus.
Set the first larger piece of leather aside to dry and then cut four 3.5-inch slits (to fit the width of a credit card) into the smaller interior piece of leather, using an X-ACTO knife and a ruler.
Apply a thin coat of Eco-Flo leather finish to both pieces of leather using a damp paper towel and set aside to dry.
Once dry, line up the bottom right corners of both your interior and exterior leather pieces and punch a line of holes into the edges using your awl. Make sure the awl goes all the way through both layers of leather and then sew them up using your waxed cord and needle. We used a whipstitch that wraps around the edge like a spiral-bound notebook.
Repeat this process of punching holes with the awl and stitching until you reach the next stopping point 1/2-inch away from the center fold of your wallet. Then tie off the waxed cord with a knot.
Match up the two lower lefthand corners of your exterior and interior piece (which will make the wallet fold slightly already) and then punch holes with the awl and stitch them up. There should be a 1-inch wide gap in between the two sides of stitching where the wallet folds in half.
Wrap these up and gift them as a set (or keep that nice tray for yourself ;) and start thinking up more ways to use your new leatherworking skills!
DIY Production and Styling: Lee Schellenberger
Photography: Brittany Griffin