Three Ways to Personalize Gifts

Various wrapped presents and gifts

The primary gift-giving season is upon us and you may be looking for ways to have your gift stand out. Personalization is a great way to, well, personalize a gift for your recipient and add that extra something special. Depending on what type of gift you are giving, here are a couple ways you can personally personalize it.

Burn Wood

Wood burn tools and designs

Make a personalized sign or add a name to a piece of furniture, such as a bookcase. Softwoods with a fine grain are better for wood burning than hardwoods. To burn a design or words into the wood, use a wood burning tool, which is inexpensive and easy to find at a home improvement or craft store. There are many kits and accessories for creating pyrography designs and lettering.

To get started, use transfer paper to place your template on the wood surface. Trace the design with pencil or pen. Be sure to practice using the wood burning pen to see how different grips, tips, and amounts of pressure affect your results before using on your finished product.

Etch Glass

Glass cups with etched designs

Etched glass has been a favored form of personalization for generations. Now the home DIYer can create the same effect with etching cream, available at craft stores and online. Manufacturers report that the product may not adhere to some Pyrex that has been heat treated, but it should work for all other types of glass.

Begin by figuring out what design you would like. You can cut your own design out of a sticky material like shelf liner or, if you have one, use a template maker such as a Cricut. Store-bought stickers or stencils work too. Any surface that you cover in the etching cream will be etched so envision your design while applying stickers to glassware cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Once the stickers are in place you can tape off other areas with blue tape for protection. Make sure the stickers and tape are in full contact with the glass so that the etching cream doesn’t seep in below it. Work over old paper or rags. Apply the etching cream in a thick coat as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the cream to sit for five minutes. During this time give the mixture a very gentle dab or stir a few times to release air pockets. Finally, rinse the etching cream with hot water and your project is done.

Note: Be sure to use rubber gloves and other protective gear. The etching cream is an acid.

Stencil Anything

Stencil of a bear against a wood background

Stenciling is a quick and easy way to personalize many types of gifts. Make a wood sign and stencil a design or a name on it. The etching described above is the perfect way to combine stencils with glass. For metal, apply the stencil and adorn with metal paint. Stencils that stick are best when applying paint so that the paint does not seep below the letters. You can also create a reverse stencil look by using stickers. Paint the gift the color you want the letters to be. Then thoroughly attach the stickers and place them as you want. With the stickers in place, paint the gift again. When you peel pack the stickers, the color below will be revealed. Be sure to use a product that matches the material of your gift. For example, select fabric paint for pillowcases or tote bags and acrylic paint for coffee mugs.