Make Last-minute Gifts With Kitschy Gilding

gold toys
Turn old toys into new gift with a little imagination and metallic paint.
All images by Lisa Kay Tate

It’s Christmas Eve, the day is young, and everyone is getting antsy with anticipation.

The family can hardly contain themselves, and several friends, neighbors and school buddies have hinted they might drop in with a “little something” for the kids.

old toys
Old toys waiting to be reused.

Obviously, it’s time to paint some dinosaurs silver and gold.

These “gilded” gifts are a good a way to keep the masses busy with an easy activity, plus have some cool last-minute hand-made gifts using old toys ready for those who “may or may not” stop by over the holidays.

All that is needed are some surplus plastic or hard rubber toys (dinosaurs, zoo animals, toy soldiers, balls), and some metallic craft paint or permanent markers.

painting the dino
Painting the dinosaur.

First, make sure these items are clean and dry. Not only is it not good form to give a dirty gift, but paint or marker will not adhere well to a dirt or dust-covered surface.

Next, thoroughly cover these toys with paint. Markers work best for smaller items such as the soldiers. Older kids can even use spray paint on larger items with adult supervision. There we have it…instant art.

Now, what can we do with these items?

In addition to some items like dinosaurs working well as stand-alone desktop sculptures, a few adjustments and added materials can transform these old toys in to new gifts:

jewelry
“Silver” soldiers and “bronze” dinosaur jewelry.

• Screw a tiny eye hook screw in the top of smaller items, and use them as earrings, bracelets or necklaces. Several little animals can even be hung on a plain wrist chain to make a nifty charm bracelet.

• Tie a ribbon around a “gilded” ball, and string some small beads or charms from it for use as an unbreakable tree ornament. Small springs and gears can give it a steampunk or industrial look.

• Attach a small air plant to the back of a dinosaur using a small drop of glue (glue guns works well) to make a planter. Dried or artificial plants will work well, when pinched for time.

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ornament
A rubber ball tree trimmer.

Be creative; the sillier the better. These little “metal dinosaurs” have found their way onto cakes or cupcakes, being used as business card and candle holders, and even decapitated and mounted on walls. However they are used, they will bring a smile to the face of anyone with a sense of humor and fun. Plus, any leftover items can be saved for small gifts or any occasion over the next year.

The best part is, these gifts are so fun to make, time will pass a lot speedier, and the holiday wait will be less tense. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a little imagination…and an even smaller T-Rex.

 

Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site ihogeek.com and maintains her own blogsite at lisathegeekmom.wordpress.com. She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.