My favorite activity in the Fall is to start making some self-reliant crafts for my friends and family. It gives me a good jumpstart on the holiday gifts I need to prepare.

What better way to show some heartfelt love to the people on your holiday gift list than to share some handmade self-reliant crafts with them?

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Why Choose Self-Reliant Crafts?

In this day and age and in the current whacky status of our world, what better to give than with something you create yourself? It reflects your compassion and shows the people closest to you that you cared enough to really put some love into their gift.

So why just create any gift when you can create something that helps someone get one step closer to living a more self-reliant lifestyle? 

Self Reliant Gifts To Make

All of the gifts below are fairly easy to make. You may even have most of the materials already on hand. If you do have to make a purchase, it should be minimum.

When choosing which gift to make and give, consider the person you are giving it to and how it can help them on their self-reliant journey. If the concept of the gift is new to them, be sure to attach a tag or include a “directional message” so they know how to use their gift.

Wax Dipped Pinecone Firestarters 

This is one of the easiest self-reliant crafts to make! And if you have leftover wax melts or old candles and some jute or twine already, there is absolutely no cost!

Wax dipped pinecones


  • Pine Cones (any size but the bigger the better – can be purchased on Amazon)
  • Wax (Can be leftover wax or you can purchase soy wax fairly reasonably on Amazon) (see the note after the direction)
  • Some twine or jute (found cheapest at the Dollar Store)
  • A double boiler, or a crock pot.
  • A tray with waxed paper or parchment paper
  • Tongs (Be sure these will be for wax projects only)
Pine Cones, Melted wax and parchment lined tray to make wax dipped pine cones


  • Place any leftover candles, wax tarts, or soy wax into a crock pot and turn  it to low or start your double boiler and place your wax in it. Wait for it to melt.
  • While your wax is melting, layout some parchment or wax paper on a tray. 
  • When the wax is melted, using the tongs, dip each pine cone in the wax and turn it to make sure it is fully coated. Remove and allow it to drip for a few seconds and place it on the paper lined tray.
  • Once these are totally cool, you can bag them or place them into a container.
  • When ready to use to start a fire, wrap a piece of jute or twine around the pine cone one or two times and leave a piece sticking out. This is your wick. 
  • Light the wick and place it in the fire pit.
Waxed pinecones in a bag and a plastic container

These fire starters will last forever. I have some I made two years ago and they still work just fine. You can check out my DIY Fire Starters post for more ideas.

Notes: If you are going to cook on this fire you may want to use soy wax so any chemicals in the wax melts or old candles are not released into your food. I don’t know if the fire burns those chemicals away but I do not want to take the chance.

As far as wrapping the twine, I know people that light the pinecone and then throw it in. I prefer to light the twine and place it in the bottom of the fire pit, then build with sticks around it in a teepee to allow the fire to get started better. The decision is yours how you choose to do this.

Jar Gifts

Jar gifts are great for creating self-reliant crafts. They are so versatile! You can create them easily and frugally.

Cookies mix in a jar

Here are some great ideas for jar gifts you can create:

  • Meals in a Jar – just combine any dry ingredients in a jar in layers. Add a gift tag with directions explaining what ingredients still need to be added and how to cook it. This is great for adding dehydrated vegetables and pasta that you have done. Be sure to vacuum seal the jar!
  • Spice Mixes – There are unlimited possibilities to these jars. Combine Italian style herbs and spices in layers with dried tomatoes for a pasta sauce mix, or bouillon and other spices and herbs for a soup mix. Be creative!
  • Hot Drinks: Combine layers of hot chocolate and dehydrated marshmallows in a jar. Tie a few small candy canes around the jar. You can make tea blends too! Check out these Hot Drinks For Winter!

Gift Baskets

Who doesn’t love getting a gift for the Holidays? And who doesn’t love getting more than one gift? A gift basket is a perfect gift for anyone at any age. And this is a fun self-reliant craft to do!

But it doesn’t mean you have to actually use a basket! There are many ways to give a gift “basket” without a basket!

For the “basket” you can try any of these ideas to get your creativity started to think outside the “basket”. Be sure to include some handmade items too!

Handmade gifts in a wooden crate

Basket alternatives:

Content Ideas:

  • Various small toys (age-appropriate) for children
  • Writing supplies – journals, pens, erasers
  • Panting Supplies – watercolors, brushes
  • Sewing Supplies – Handmade pincushion, pins, thimble
  • Dorm Supplies for the college student – include some snacks in jars!
  • Natural Cleaners – You can create these for a new homeowner and some Unpaper Towels!
  • Kitchen Starter Kit – Make your own Spoon Butter, add some measuring cups and spoons, and a handmade apron
  • Natural Remedies – Make some Natural Remedies for Common Ailments and place them in a small wooden tote.

Want more “basket” ideas? Checkout my newest ebook, Gift Baskets for the Holidays. It has some great ideas. 

Gift Baskets for the Holidays

Self-Reliant Crafts For The Home

Finally, you can make some cool self-reliant crafts for the home! These can be anything you can create quickly and easily, that will add an element of “pretty” during the holidays.

These types of gifts might not all be self-reliant, but many can be used over and over. And best of all, these are fun crafts to make!

Applesauce Melts


  • 2 -4 Tbsp Applesauce
  • 1 oz Ground Apple Pie Spice
  • 1 oz Pumpkin Pie Spice
Applesauce, apple pie spice, all spice and measuring spoons


  • Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. (You want a stiff dough but not to dry.)
  • Roll into balls or shape in small rectangles. (This is a MESSY job!)
  • Bake at 275 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours until they are totally dry and firm.
  • Cool on a rack or the countertop.
Applesauce melts cooling on the counter

To use these, drop them into simmering water. These work like other simmering pot recipes. You can use as many as you choose to achieve the aroma you like best.

Note: Recipe can be doubled or tripled. Keep in an airtight jar! I would recommend starting with 1 Tbs of applesauce and mix well. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add another Tbs. Continue this process until your dough sticks together, doesn’t crumble, yet feels semi-dry to the touch.

Wine Cork Trivet

Wine cork Trivet


Corks and a glue gun


  • Start by cutting all of your corks exactly in half with a razor knife.
  • Sand the corks cut side with some light grit sandpaper.
  • Paint one side of all the corks in a color or colors of your choice. Allow to dry.
  • To make a hexagon shape, start with a row of 9 corks. Continue making rows of corks on each side but decrease by one cork in each row until your final row has only four corks in the row.

I love the size of this trivet! I did not paint mine because I liked the neutral color and I also used shorter corks so I did not cut mine in half.

Pot on a wine cork trivet

Final Thoughts on Self-Reliant Crafts

I hope you enjoyed the self-reliant crafts I shared above. Now get up and gather your supplies and get crafting for the holidays!

And be sure to come back and share your creations with me! 

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