I am a big believer in making gifts inexpensively and personalized. I feel like those types of gifts are worth keeping forever, purely because of their sentimental value and the memories attached to them.
So, here is an amazingly inexpensive yet so practical and cool gift idea that my mom and I came up with: coffee cup sleeves! Our inspiration came while standing in line at Starbucks at a ridiculously early hour on Black Friday. We saw the new reusable felted sleeves they have for three or four bucks and thought of an easy way to make your own…and you can make about twenty more to give to your friends, all for the same price as one of the Starbucks sleeves.
First, go to a local thrift store, Salvation Army, or Goodwill and look for a wool sweater. Yes, it has to be wool. You can find one that has already been felted (meaning it has shrunk because of being put in the washer and dryer on accident), or you can find a wool one that you really like and felt it yourself.
Second, felt the sweater! You can find some easy tips to felt yarn here. Basically what happens when you felt a sweater is that you’re forcing the fibers to intertwine so tightly that you can cut the felted item without having to worry about the yarn unraveling (which is why you never ever wash and dry in the dryer a wool sweater you still like to wear).
Third, cut up strips to fit around coffee cups and sew them together. You can easily get 15 strips out of one sweater that you bought for $2.50 at Salvation Army. Like I said, it’s inexpensive but oh-so-genius. Don’t be afraid to look for sweaters with cool trim (like the one I used above), and use the sleeves, too (like I also did above).
Fourth, personalize them! Some of the ones I made out of this particular sweater already had the trim and ribbing, so I didn’t need or want to add anything. However, the bulk of the sweater was gray, so I sewed on some cute buttons to the others.
Sew…there you have it! You buy at sweater for less than three bucks, felt it, cut it, sew it, and then personalize it. The result is 15-20 coffee cup sleeves that are inexpensive, cute (because they’re personalized), and warm (because they’re wool). Better than Starbucks’ version? I think so.