Last week, I bought the initial materials to make my brother’s birthday gifts. I have officially finished the project, and it is sitting at my dining room table, waiting for a box, so it can be shipped.
As I was making some finishing touches last night, I started musing on the benefits on homemade gift-giving. Apart from the obvious “it comes from the heart” bits of the homemade preference, I started wondering about cost, etc. So I am breaking that down using this project. Just as a preface, I think the homemade thing is cooler in general, and I will continue to make gifts if I can. I was just curious about this bit.
The Cost of Store-Bought
- Spider Man Curtains with drapes and valance: combined $16 on Amazon.
- Marvel Fleece Throw: $14 to $30 on Amazon.
- Comic Sound-Effects Pillow: $13 to $25 on Etsy for most similar item (smaller throw pillow).
- DC logo wall art: $13 per logo x 3 logos = $39, not including framing.
- Frame for ordered art: $7 and up
Total: $89 to $130ish
The lower end is not bad, obviously. Online shopping lends itself to lower prices, but for some of the items that I made, I would have had to move into the online hand-made sellers (art prints on Etsy) or art galleries online. The cost would have come from some of the more stream-lined items that I made (pictures at the end!).
Of course, the other issue is that I would have had just clicked a few buttons to get these items, so not much care would have gone into them. Also, I would not have ended up with the extra fabric that I now can use for other projects, which brings me to…
The Cost of Hand-Made
- 4 yards of Spider Man fabric: $30 at Joann Fabric **2 yards left over = $15 for fabric used
- 2 yards of Sound Effects fabric: $15 at Joann Fabric **1 yard left over = $7.50 for fabric used
- No-sew fleece throw w/ Marvel Heroes: $20 at Joann Fabric.
- Polyester Filler: $3 at Joann Fabric.
- Frame for hand-made wall art: $5.25 w/ discount at Michaels.
Total: $50.25 for used items, $78.25 total
Even without taking out the cost of the left-over materials I have, I spent less by making the gifts. If you don’t count the extra fabric, then I spent a little more than half of the lowest cost of buying pre-made goods.
One might argue that I should calculate the cost of my time. I spent, all told, about 10 hours working on this project. In order for me to calculate the time, I need to determine what that time is worth based on what other tasks I might have been doing otherwise. The answer of course is…nothing. I love to craft. Had I not been making curtains, I would have been making something else. If anything, I would say that the added benefit of doing something I enjoyed for ten hours in one week would drive the cost down.
All told, I am happy with how most of the items came out. I hope they look good in his room.
The final bit was this:
Last night, I decided I wanted to make something that would grow up with him a bit more – something that had a little bit of a modern feel to it. I cut up some card stock into 4×6 rectangles, and since I had already sent some money toward Marvel, I thought I would show DC some love, too.
These were relatively easy to make, all things told. The hardest part was the Superman logo because I wanted to make sure the proportions were right. Nothing a ruler and protractor can’t help with, though. I also did not have my Crayola green marker, so I had to improvise and use a Vis-a-Vis wet-erase marker for the logo on the Green Lantern’s and a Sharpie for the background. It still came out okay, though. The best part? With the exception of the frame, this part of the project cost nothing. And the frame, as I noted above, I got a discount on, so it was less than $6. It came out better than I’d hoped, and I think it will make a great final touch.
So that’s it!
One week, 10 hours’ work, and $50 made my brother some nice new additions to his Super Bedroom.
Next on the docket: a tote bag.