DIY Pretty Summer Gifts

Searching for a hostess gift for your next summer shindig or barbecue? These pretty handmade crafts are perfect for the season.

Ombre Sea Glass
A bottle of wine is so passé. Instead, offer something that can hold those breezy summer cocktails. All you need to make your stemware look like pieces of sea glass are blue or green food coloring and regular Elmer's glue. Mix them together and paint the solution onto the outside of your chosen glass. To keep the color from fading, finish with an acrylic clear coat. Achieve an ombré look by adding more food coloring to the glue mixture for each new glass.

Sand Art Terrarium
Channel your childhood love of sand art into a très chic decoration. This colorful craft is perfectly low-maintenance for anyone who struggles with keeping potted plants alive, since most indoor cacti can be watered as little as once per month. To make it, you'll need a few baggies of colored sand, a clear vase, your choice of cactus or succulent plant, some rocks, and a stick or a pencil. Place your rocks at the bottom of your vase and then pour in the sand layer by layer. After you have several layers in the vase, place your plant in the sand and use a stick to push the roots down. Finish by adding a few more layers of sand until the roots are completely hidden. Show off your new terrarium by using it as the centerpiece of your next outdoor party.

Agate Coasters
This DIY gift is perfect for the lazy crafter. To make it, buy a set of agate coasters at a mineral store (you can get them here for a bargain) and add a little pizzazz by painting liquid gilding on the raw edges. Finish by adding adhesive vinyl bumpers onto the bottom. A similar finished product can run you somewhere in the triple digits. But with just a little elbow grease, you can serve your drinks in style while sparing your pocketbook. You're welcome!

Tiny Polaroid Magnets
Summers are for making memories -- capture them in these little magnets that will grace your fridge for seasons to come and chase away cold-weather blues. You'll need a little Photoshop magic to fit your images inside the Polaroid template. When that's done, print them out, glue to some cardboard, cut out the Polaroids with a craft knife, and attach to adhesive-backed magnet tape. If your mini photos will be hanging in the kitchen, consider laminating with packing tape so that splatters and splashes won't make the ink run.

Felt Citrus Coasters
Every summertime drink is better with a slice of citrus garnishing the glass—capture the mood with these whimsical felt coasters. All you need is colorful felt, this Citrus Coaster Template, embroidery thread, scissors, and pins. Since this project requires little sewing know-how, it's perfect if you're more comfortable holding a smartphone than a needle and thread. Added bonus: you can go on down to the beach and work on your tan while DIYing.


DIY Bath Bombs
From the pool to the ocean, a dip is the perfect way to pass the time during sweltering dog days. These sweet-smelling, fizzing bath bombs will make washing sand or chlorine out of your hair a much more luxurious experience. You don't need to be a chemist to get started: Simply mix baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch, Epsom salts, canola oil, essential oil and food coloring. Whisk together to remove lumps before spooning the mixture into a mold (a cupcake pan works great). Let dry and then stack your bath bombs in some pretty packaging.


Driftwood Seahorse
You can make a beautifully rustic piece of art with something as easy to come by as driftwood -- like this delightful seahorse. To start, you'll need to devote some time to roaming your favorite beach and collecting a bundle of wood to work with. With the materials at hand, sketch your seahorse on cardboard, cut the shape out and begin laying the driftwood over your cutout. When you are pleased with the placement, attach the driftwood to the cardboard with a hot glue gun. A walnut shell for the eye is the perfect finishing touch -- or improvise with something else you might find along the coast. 

 

Silver Seashells
Do you spend your summer combing the shore? Some silver spray paint can help you show off that collection of seashells in a brand new way. Fill a vase with your newly shiny treasures or put them into mason jars to give as elegant souvenirs from your travels.