Create Your Own Christmas Gifts In South Bay

November 23, 2012 6:00 AM
When the desire to drop money on yet another cookie-cutter gift from the mall is getting you down, why not consider gifting your loved ones with something more unique? Opportunities to make your own Christmas gifts in South Bay abound. With present possibilities for everyone from the art lover to the jewelry fanatic, homemade gifts can be the best option this year. Get those creative juices flowing and start knocking folks off your Christmas list by heading to one of these local spots.

University Art
456 Meridian Ave.
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 297-4707

While University Art doesn’t offer any specific holiday-related classes, it does have numerous opportunities for the budding artist to craft a few Christmas gifts. Classes include designing artist trading cards and small 6×6-inch paintings in oil, acrylic or watercolor. If classes aren’t your thing, University Art has numerous other options for handmade gifts, with supplies that include unique handmade papers, sketchbooks, paints and printmaking supplies. After creating your masterpiece, make sure to check out the custom framing department to best showcase your handmade present.

Scrapbook Island
1375 Blossom Hill Road
San Jose, CA 95118
(408) 978-8900

Scrapbook Island is a crafter’s heaven with everything from stamps to card making and scrapbooking supplies. It offers several scrapbooking and stamping classes, as well as a special free Holiday Open House on December 1st. Complete with music and refreshments of coffee, hot chocolate and cookies, the open house will include a number of fun small projects. In addition to the open house, Scrapbook Island will also be holding a Christmas boutique where crafters can sell their handmade items.

Related: Best Places For Last Minute Gifts

Natural Expressions
140 W. Main St., Suite D
Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 354-5330

This beading metropolis recently moved to its new location in the Los Gatos Opera House. Leaving behind its past persona as a quilting and beading store, Natural Expressions now solely focuses on beads. It offers a number of classes, including plenty of options for the beginning beader. Scheduled classes include wire wrapping, how to make bracelets, earrings and beaded wrap bracelets and knotting and wire-wrap rings.

37 N. Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 395-4278

This paint-your-own-pottery store located in downtown Los Gatos has tons of great gift options for everyone on your list. With everything from mugs to serving platters and bowls to vases, it is easy to choose the perfect present. Individual unglazed items can be purchased, and included in the price is use of Petroglyph’s studio space, glazes, tools and final firing of the piece to seal the glaze. For even more fun and quality time, bring your designated giftee with you to the studio and the two of you can paint side by side.

Related: Best Places To Buy Homemade Gifts In San Francisco

Memories Live On
10191 S. De Anza Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 446-9901

This scrapbooking mecca offers numerous options to make your own Christmas gifts. In addition to scheduled classes for holiday cards and albums, for just $5 anytime during regular business hours, guests can use the workspace and scrapbooking tools like embossing folders and cutters. On Friday nights, Memories Live On holds special Crop Nights, where $10 will buy use of workspace, tools and an Eclipse digital die cutting machine until midnight. Also offered are free drop-in classes on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and most Friday nights for quick 30-minute make-and-take projects which can include anything from cards to treat boxes. If you’re burned out on the crowds and would rather craft a gift at home, make sure to check out Memories Live On’s selection of kits for gift tags, treat boxes, mini albums and calendars.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on

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