Judging by the dearth of responses, it’s as hard for you to find things to make (not bake!) for men as it is for me. So I scoured the internet (and spent a ton of time on Martha Stewart’s website) for ideas for uncles, brothers-in-law, and other men (note: not for boys, but I will continue my search). The one craft I mostly avoided was knitting. Because if you are a knitter and you can’t think of something to knit for a man who lives in a wintery clime, you need more help than I can give you! I tried to find tiny needle crafts, but I did also look at crafts that seemed very general—ones that involved gluing, decoupage (which is just gluing), and etching (which is kind of like gluing).
It’s a tough one, though. "Crafts for men" brings up a lot of silly things your kids can make for father’s day. A lot. So I took another approach, "guy" materials. I started off slowly with duct tape. Check here for instructions on making bookmarks, checkbook covers, coasters, card cases, wallets, and more; here for a photo album, glasses case, and the usual suspects; and here for stuff from the guys who started it all.
Then I was on a roll and found denim. Here you’ll find a rug and a quilt (which brings to mind the t-shirt quilt.). You could turn him into "Denim Vest". And, well, go see the list Sharon B put together on recycling denim.
And of course, leather: a leather belt—this one’s for girls, but use your imagination or a leather placemat. (Hey, he might want to protect that table!)
Then I was warmed up and started thinking in terms of items, beginning with things you suggested. iPod cover in felt, Crochet, Duct tape, or Knit.
How much would the dude love a chess set? Well, he’d appreciate that I’d made it, but it wouldn’t get much use. (He sticks with his tournament set or the travel set.)
For the man with a home office, and just because it's the name of one of my favorite films, a Desk Set.
Then I turned to one of my favorite books, 101 Ways to Say Merry Christmas for Less than $25, which is now 15 years old, and no longer makes good on the $25 claim, but still has some good ideas, including
- Coasters Stitched, made from glue and rope, and Glass (good for scrapbookers). You could also etch a glass coaster (see below for etched glass link). Also, you could needle felt them, like this. (One piece of wool felt, with wool needle felted onto it in a spiral shape.) Awhile back, I made a wine coaster for my dad, using the grapes from a Betsy Stinner of Earth Threads design (Simple Elegance Sampler) and a wine coaster from Sudberry House. I don’t see the round one that I used on their web catalog, but I bet it’s out there somewhere.
- Book marks (give it with a book!) You can stamp these—in a future episode, I’ll show you how I made the dude’s "Aloha" bookmark. You can stitch these—duh. You can feature your face. You can sew something like this. (Actually, poke around that site, there are a number of things they sell that you could craft—notebook cover, desk accessories, etc.)
- Ornaments: stitched or crafted, there are loads of places to find these. I’ve made my brothers-in-law ornaments, and this book has pool ball ornaments.
- For the ecologically friendly, you could make a shopping bag, especially out of recycled plastic—all the rage: knit it , make a new fabric to sew with, or crochet. (Check it! Tutorials.)
- How about a kite?
- You can find directions to make a paperweight--glue! or paint one. And I know I’ve seen snow globes that you can insert a picture or maybe a little stitching into…
- If he’s a cook, make him some manhand potholders. (How many Seinfeld references can I include?)
- I think you could make this sun catcher for a man. In fact, it would be perfect for my bil, the geologist.
Here’s where I went kind of nuts on the Martha Stewart site:
- Monogrammed slippers
- Wooden boxes
- (You could stitch one too.)
- Monogram corkboard
- Etched glass. You could also paint glasses—every big box craft store has what you need. Those martini glasses in the Hallmark store with olives painted on would be easy to replicate. Who can’t paint an oval?
- Eye glass case. The dude always has scratched lenses. You could sew these, stitch them, or make them from duct tape. Somewhere on Martha's site, she also has a sewn eyeglass case that is lined with an eyeglass cleaning cloth. You can get great ones at the dollar store.
- You could totally riff off this Stewart invention to make an organizer—and it works for the studious or the tool-type.
- And speaking of the tool type, how about a tool caddy?
- Ties may be cliché, but you can monogram them. Hankies too! (I once bought one off the internet that was embroidered "snot rag." My stupid father threw it away with the packaging. Boo!)
- And last but not least, some guy Martha knows loves his, so this Gardener’s Apron might work.