If you’ve spent the last few months crafting holiday projects, it’s time to put the finishing touches on those gorgeous gifts! Today, we share some of our favorite tips (plus FREE printable gift tags!) to make your handmade gifts shine this holiday season.
No hand-knit (or crocheted) gift is finished without a good blocking. Blocking is the process of washing and drying your finished object to smooth it out and work it into shape. Any natural fibers (from wool to cotton and more) will benefit from this step, and there are several ways to block your project, too. Keep reading for an overview which also includes some time-saving methods for last minute gifts!
Full Wet Blocking
This is the process of completely immersing your project in soap and water, then laying it out to press into shape and let dry.
For a full wet block, start by filling a sink or basin with cool water and adding your favorite wool wash (we like Eucalan!). Gently press your project into the water and ensure that it is submerged, but don’t agitate it too much – you don’t want to accidentally felt that gift you’ve spent so much time creating!
Let your project soak for 10-15 minutes. All of our yarns are colorfast, but if you happen to see any dye release in the water, go ahead and pull your project out sooner.
Once you’ve removed your project, squeeze it gently to release excess water. Take care not to wring it out as that may distort the shape. Wrap the project in a clean, dry towel and press gently to release as much water as possible.
Next, lay your project out on a flat, dry surface and press it into shape. If you don’t have a good flat surface, blocking mats are a good idea. If your project involves lace, you may want to pin it out to open up the lace fully. Let the project fully dry and then move on to our gift wrapping tips below!
If you’re in a hurry (or don’t fancy a full wet block), you can do a quick steam block with your iron.
Fill it with water, and as it heats up, lay your project out on an ironing board or a flat surface. They key to steam blocking is that you will never let your iron touch your project; rather you’re going to let it hover directly above your project and release steam onto the project while holding it in the shape you’d like it to block into. Be careful to keep your fingers out of the line of the steam!
Move slowly over the project, adding steam and repeating the process until you’ve covered the whole project. Your gift may be slightly damp after this, but it should dry fairly quickly and be ready for wrapping!
Here’s another time-saving option if you’re short on time – you’ll just need a spray bottle filled with water and a dry, flat surface. Lay your project out, using blocking boards if necessary. Using a spray bottle filled with water, gently mist your project until it is damp, then press it into shape, and secure with pins if you’d like. The project should dry fairly quickly, but you can add a fan to the room if you want to speed the process up even more!
Wrapping Your Gifts
Now that you’ve crafted a lovely handmade gift, it’s time to package it up and give it to the recipient. No matter how you wrap it, we suggest including a gift tag that lets them know what materials are included in the project (wool, silk, cotton, etc.) and a few words about how to care for the gift. If your gift is hand-washable only, that is especially important to include so they don’t accidentally felt it later on! We’ve designed some gorgeous gift tags that you can use – just download the free pdf and print the tags out at home.
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Whether you’re using gift bags or wrapping paper, consider adding more crafty touches to your gift wrapping. Use leftover project yarn instead of ribbons and make some fun pompoms in complementary colors instead of buying big bows! If you’ve got extra time, check out fun patterns for hand-knit or crocheted ornaments (mittens, animals, or baubles) or just add a little something fun to your package (birds, snowmen, or snowflakes).
We hope this post helps you finish your handmade gifts in style.
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