With the newest addition to our family draining me of most of my energy and what little pre-Christmas crafting energy I did possess going into orchestrating our Christmas card and creating an unexpected audition video for a crafting reality TV show, I did not make many gifts this year. I kept it simple by making the same thing for four different gifts and what I made has become my "go to girl gift". I gave this to three little girls ranging in age from 8 to 12 and I used this for our family $5 and under gift swap. I first gave this to a babysitter when Lydia was really little and I got the idea because when I was 12 someone gave me one. It is a manicure kit, but the best part is that it comes with INSTRUCTIONS!
When I was a tween, my grandparents gave me a really nice manicure kit with every tool I could imagine and even some that I had never seen before. It came in a nice case, so it was easy to keep up with my tools. But for me, the nicest thing was that it explained step by step how and when and why to use each tool. My manicure kit has been used up and replaced over the years, but the lessons about which direction to file your nails and how to trim your cuticle, without risking an infection, stayed with me. I found the basics on a website years ago (I would love to note my source, but I have been unable to find it) and I edited the information down into manageable chunks. I added a few graphics where their was room and i printed them onto 3x5 cards with the idea that they could be hole punched and joined together with a ring. If you want to be super nice to your recipient, you could laminate the directions so that they don't get smudged with nail care products. I intend to do a blog post soon with images of each card so that you can print them yourself. When I do, there will be a link here.
Next you need to add the tools and a container. If you have an unlimited budget, knock yourself out! I needed to keep the price down, but I got SO excited when I found these figurative fingernail tools at Big Lots! A few came 2 in a package and none of the packages cost more than a dollar or two. The case that found, pictured with the directions, came from Dollar General, and were $1. For our family $5 or less gift exchange I bought all the tools at Dollar General and got the $1 case, a $1.50 tool set, a $1.50 polish remover pack, and a $1 buffing block.
For the little girls gifts I couldn't resist adding these little nail brushes shaped like hedge hogs that I found at the art supply store while looking for stuff for work. Finally, I threw in a $1 bottle of Hard Candy nail polish. It is just a little bottle, but it came with a matching ring and looked like a lot of fun. All I had to do was print the directions and assemble the manicure kits for a semi-home-made creation.