Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to upgrade a dollar store gift

Love Love Love the dollar store. I'm always saying "I can get that at the dollar store for less." Little gifts are a prime example. At work we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with mylar balloons, cards and treats. If I got these at the grocery store or Target they would be $3 or more each, for the simplest versions, for a total of $5-10. Not a lot, but you don't have to spend that much! Here's how to take simple gift items from the dollar store and upgrade them:

Helium balloons:

First detach the curling ribbon. Then tie the ribbon around the neck of the balloon where it indents leaving a long tail. Next, carefully roll the neck up to the ballon and tie the ends together to make a snug roll. Then take a scissors and curl the end of the ribbon that is dangling. Buy a large plastic clip or other item for a weight and there you go! Just like from the party store. Make sure to put your weight on the floor or table before tying to see how tall the balloon is going to be. I like to retie the excess curling ribbon to the weight in shorter strands and curl those too making a curly puff at the weight.


If you have curling ribbon at home, add a second strand in complimenting color before rolling neck. tie both end to the weight

Do a three balloon bunch and stagger the balloons so that the second balloon reaches halfway up the top balloon and the third reaches halfway up the second. Tie the three strands together about a foot below the lowest balloon and then tie to weight. You can use all three of the same balloons or use a printed one for the top one and two solid or patterned ones for the bottom two.

Greeting Cards:

Upgrade your greeting card with a pkg of scrapbooking stickers from the crafts isle. First sign the card. Then add a bit of decorative confetti or colored dots from your paper puncher to the center of the card. Close the card and seal it in the envelope. Use one of the stickers to seal the envelope flap. Use a few others on the front of the card surrounding the person's name or greeting.


Add something of interest to the inside of the card like a lottery ticket (my aunt's favorite). Try a package of stickers or tattoos for kids, or some flat candy like pop rocks. Add something that relates to the card like a single balloon for a birthday card, a couple cute bandaids for a get well card, a package of seeds in a floral thank you card, etc.

Embellish plain cards with glitter, ribbons, stickers, and such. This works really well for those cheap boxes of Holiday Cards. Decide which area should be glittered like the snow, the rooftops, a certain animal or heart on the image... Then look for a part of the image that would look nice with a thin bow of ribbon or tinsel on it and glue it in place. Like an animals neck, or a tall building etc. You can add puffy or sparkly stickers like foil stars in the sky or butterfly on a flower. The card now looks handmade!


I love mugs because they're practical and cute. You can choose cheesy printed ones or solid color ones that go with your theme. First choose a mug to fit the occasion. Put some tissue paper or paper shred inside if you don't have much candy. Add a baggie of candy with the twisted side down. Take a thick piece of ribbon and wrap the mug from the top center (securing end with tape if necessary, around the bottom and back up top. secure with a sticker. Cut the tail of the ribbon into a V or / shape. Or tie in a bow. Add a homemade gift tag to mug handle or bow if desired.

Stuff the mug with other simple goodies like 2 pkgs of hot cocoa mix and a baggie of mini marshmallows, 2 packages of instant flavored coffee and a bar of chocolate, a small stuffed animal and a mini helium balloon, a single potted flower, etc.

Try this idea, which I love, a mini birthday cake in a mug. Or this one here.


If you're buying them at the dollar store (yes, they do have some there sometimes!) get three or so. If you're buying a simple $3-5 bouquet from the grocery store, it's perfect as is. Remove the outer plastic, group the flowers if necessary and wrap the end of the stems in a plastic baggie or bit of tin foil. Then take a $1 roll of wrapping paper and fold it into a large rectangle slightly askew with the printed side on either the inside or the outside and cut. Choose a paper that reflects the occasion.Place the bouquet diagonally along the paper and fold the point near the flower just above the flowers towards the outside. Roll the paper into a large cone and secure with clear tape. If you have curling ribbon cut a long length and fold in half. Tie a knot making a loop. Slip the loop over the tip of the cone and pull up towards the flowers. Secure to the cone just below the flowers with clear tape or a sticker. curl the ends of the ribbon. Just like at the florists in France!


Wrap in brown or white butcher paper instead

For a surprise bouquet or to better travel with it, fold the top point down covering the flowers. Make a loop with a thick piece of ribbon like an awareness ribbon or several strands of curled curling ribbon and secure to the flap with tape or a sticker

To make a hand bouquet, trim stems to a foot or so. Take two squares of stiff transparent colored plastic wrap and stand bouquet up in the middle. Pull the plastic taunt around the stems and secure with a rubber band, the edges of the plastic should just de-pass the flowers. Or wrap in a spiral with thick ribbon, folding the end under and securing with straight or sewing pins.

Sometimes we find a great second hand or dollar store book worth passing on. Wether for a joke or for a serious read, here's how to spiff it up and make it a more substantial gift. First and foremost, dedicate it on the inside cover with a little message or the occasion and the date. Slip a pretty bookmark or length of thick ribbon, with V cut edges, inside the pages. Wrap the book the short way with a width of brown or white paper or wrapping paper. Then wrap again with a slimmer length of contrasting paper or a thick piece of ribbon with the ends cut short and trimmed into Vs or slants.


Stack three books from largest to smallest and wrap as above.

Instead of inscribing the book, paste a bookplate inside the front cover with the recipient's name on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment