DIY gift-giving

Sometimes it’s just not feasible to buy loads of presents for everyone in the family. That’s why homemade gifts are such a great idea—they stick within your budget, and the hard work that goes into them makes the recipient truly feel loved! If you’re stuck on ideas this year, check out the ones below:

Break out the sewing skills. If you’re a quilter, a quilt is a wonderfully personalized present to give away. Pressed for time? How about a quilted, decorative table runner instead? If you knit or crochet, a bright and bold scarf is always a welcome present, or you could customize one. If you have minimal sewing skills, check out these ideas for some easy gifts you can hand-make with minimal or no sewing.

Make a custom art box.
If you know a few kids who show a great interest in art beyond doodles for the fridge, an art box makes a great gift. Grab a wooden box from the craft store, or use a plastic storage bin, and fill it with art supplies—a small set of brushes, a few tubes of paint, a set of pastels and a few small canvases, a how-to book for beginners. If they’re serious about wanting to improve in their art techniques, having a grown-up set of supplies could really inspire them. Alternatively, if you have a friend or relative who’s currently in art school, a gift card to his or her local art supply shop (if you can get it) is the perfect present.

Custom coasters. Grab a few ceramic tiles and some chalkboard spray paint next time you’re at the hardware store. Spray-paint the ceramic tiles with the chalkboard paint and let them dry, then cut a few squares of felt to match the coasters and hot glue them to the bottom of the tiles. Tie with twine, and slide a few white pieces of chalk on top of a stack of four. Give them as gifts!

Make a custom family cookbook. See this week’s article for ideas on how to put together a family cookbook that’s perfect for a recent college or high school grad, a relative about to get married, or anyone else who loves the taste of your traditional family recipes.

Make candles. You can buy candle-making kits at almost any craft store, and it’s simple to find things out of which to make them—teacups you find in thrift stores (totally whole and un-cracked!), old tea tins, tea light holders, decorated tin cans (try spraying with that chalkboard paint above), or whatever you can find. Especially if you paint a personalized message onto the containers, it’s a great and useful gift.

Decorate a picture frame. There are many different ways to do this project! You can start from scratch with a blank frame from your local craft store, or use acrylic paint or spray paint to decorate a frame you already picked up. You could take some frames you find in the thrift store and spray with spray paint (or even that chalkboard paint!). Give them as gifts, or fill them with photos of you and the recipient—a collage or a single photo.

Decorate a set of mugs. At your local home goods store, you can find a small set of a few blank white mugs. Pick up a few metallic, oil-based Sharpies from your local craft store, then create some designs on the mugs for a custom look! Make a monogram of your recipient’s initials, or keep it simple with a few flowers, stars, or polka-dots—keeping the final design away from where the lips might touch. Encourage hand-washing rather than consistent dishwasher use.

For more ideas, you could make and decorate a scarf, create and give works of art, put together basket gifts for kids, or even make your own stationery.

If you’ve made a homemade present or are planning to this year, tell us all about it in this week’s message board!

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D D.
I also like making the cake in a jar gifts. One year I made homemade hot cocoa mix and put it in jars and bought a cute mug for each of my sons teachers. It was fun for us to do!!
Rhonda S.
I did the art box for my niece one year when she was a teenager and was really into painting. I filled the a plastic tote box with all kinds of paints, brushes and supplies (including a roll of paper towels!) She absolutely loved it!
Jessica P.
I really like the family cook book idea you talk about. Sounds very unique