Homemade gifts are a hard nut to crack. Crafty folks like me love to give them, but they have to be composed of equal parts love and efficiency. It’s not practical to make something that takes a whole day to create when there is a 50% chance the item will end up getting tossed by the recipient (Hello crochet scarf I later found at Goodwill on MLK Day 2002!).
The item in question needs to be thoughtful. One-of-a-kind. My usual fall back used to be cookies, but now with this gluten-free rampage taking America in it’s icy clutch, I thought it would be nice to move onto something more practical and useful this time of year: winter hand salve.
If you have crazy dry hands like mine, you know a half-pound of good quality hand salve can cost $30 (or more!) which is a crime when you can make 5-10 of these babies for that same price. And you can smell ’em up good and wrap them up cute.
Yo, that’s impressive.
And, best of all, this is good stuff. This is better than anything you can buy down at the pharmacy. It’s an awesome gift! Between Michael’s and your local grocery store (very likely in your pantry already) you’ll find all the ingredients (and the containers). BAM. What’s not to like? Oh yeah. Dry hands. Sorry folks – we’re working on it!
2 cups of Olive Oil
1 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of beeswax (buy the pellets or cut off a hunk and dice with a knife)
30 drops of essential oil of choice*
1 extra large glass jar, or a heat-safe disposable canister (an empty coffee can works great)
8 small jars (I found these magnetized spice jars at the checkout counter at Michaels (they come in nifty colors too!) but you can buy larger smaller pots depending on how many gifts you want to make.
*A note about adding smells. Here I am using orange because that’s universally popular, but my favorite is to combine lemon and vanilla (smells like lemon bars!) or to use scents from the menthol/peppermint family to aid winter congestion)…or just leave it plain. It’s good stuff as is. Only thing I suggest is to stay away from cinnamon oils, which can be very Christmasy smelling but are extremely irritating on your skin.
The only part of this project that I found a little difficult was cutting the beeswax. If you are smart, zap your block of beeswax in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up. Or pull out the cheese shredder and go to town. The only reason I’m including a photo of me shredding with a knife is to say DON’T DO THAT. Cool? Cool.
Create a bain-marie by filling a pot with water and bringing it to a simmer. In a large glass jar (Heads up: I’m working on a half-batch here – if you do a full batch, you’ll want something like a 32oz jar) add the two oils and wax. Set the jar in the middle of the pot of water, making sure the water comes at least halfway up the sides, and stir. Leave it alone and stir again in a few minutes. In 5 to 10 minutes it will all melt into one smooth mixture, which is when you add your smells. The fun part!
These look great all by themselves in the tin, or you can wrap a band of decorative paper and wash tape around the circumference. And if you want to deliver in style, grab some cellophane bags, a little tissue shred and some leopard ribbon to complete the outfit. Nothing says Christmas like leopard!
And while we are on the topic of gift-giving, see the homemade goodies some of the other Michael’s Makers are giving to their friends and family this Christmas.