diy gift guide

I love making gifts for people. It’s cost-effective, usually not too difficult, and makes the giving so much more fun.
Of course, I’m the type who works on home-made gifts for YEARS and then am torn about whether, eight years later, to actually give the 2001-era rhinestone encrusted jewelry box to my friend or simply throw it out.

Nonetheless, DIY gifts can be really nice, as long as you have a plan and a good idea (e.g., no one wants a macaroni necklace from someone older than 10). I put together the following list after seeing a bunch of cool ideas for various gifts to inspire you to make, rather than buy, something personal and perfect for that special person.

For the home-maker:

This animal coat hanger idea is SO cute and really quite easy. I’ve seen a couple of different version of this, with one where the plastic animals were spray painted in gold and mounted on a crisp white board, which looked very minimalist, yet quirky and fun. It’s super easy to personalize (only mount the giftee’s favorite animals, or paint them in their favorite color), and voila! Perfect gift for a decorista.

For the cook:

This cooking utensil DIY is another very easy, but very special gift to give to an avid cook. Instead of designs, you could write little messages, or even draw individual faces on each spoon so that, whenever the giftee uses them, they think of you.

For the baking-challenged:

Just because not everyone is a good cook does NOT mean that they should go without baked goods during the holidays! Healthier (and a lot prettier) than a boxed mix, these cookie mix jars make a sweet gift to anyone with a sweet tooth (and you can personalize them to include the giftee’s favorite cookie or easy bread).

For the trendy one:

Like, everyone knows that, like, studs are so hot right now. Impress your fashionista friend with a home-made i-Phone case (the studs cost about 3 dollars at any craft store) that rivals the 30-40 dollar range ones you can find online. Again, you can win extra points and tailor it exactly to their taste!

For the tea/coffee lover:

The baked-sharpie-mug idea has been circulating the interwebz for quite a while, but even though it is not new, it is still such a cute idea for a gift. The ones in this tutorial are for his and her mugs, but you could apply this idea to any porcelain flatware (smiley-face plates, anyone?).

For the green-thumb:

I don’t know where I saw it, but a while back I saw this awesome idea for identifying garden planters using old Scrabble letters and thought it was just the cutest thing ever. I was not able to find the link to this idea, but did find a ton of other just-as-cute planter ideas for the green-thumb in your life.

For the newly-weds:

This one could double as an anniversary or Valentine’s day gift, but I thought it was too sweet an idea not to include. The example above is actually an Etsy find, but I think it would be super simple to make this at home with just an old atlas and a nice frame (and a steady hand, of course).

For the Francophile:

One of my favorite discoveries of 2013 is….(drumroll please)…CHALKBOARD SPRAY PAINT. Yes, I know this has been around for a while, but OMG it is the best thing ever. I found literally hundreds of amazing ideas using this genius invention, but one of my favorites was the cheese-plate above! Again, it is super easy to do (all you need is a wooden plank, chalkboard paint, and cabinet handles), and it is such a cute, customizable present that a fellow cheese-lover would actually use (and hopefully invite you over when they do).

For the workaholic:

Everyone needs some down-time, but none more than the workaholic in your life. Instead of buying them an expensive trip to the spa which they will never get around to redeeming, offer them a home-made shower or bath treatment (even the workaholics take showers, right?) that they can use weekly to calm down, relax, and recharge (even if it is only for 5 minutes). Pinterest has a myriad of DIY skin treatments, but I like the idea and simplicity of this scrub.

For the bibliophile:

If you have a friend or loved one whose head is always in a book, the obvious choice may to be to get them…ahem…a book. BUT, behind every bookworm is (most likely) an ungodly amount of books with no structure or organizing system to contain them (I should know, I live with one). Thus, the best present you can offer them is a solution to this mess, in the form of stylish, personalized bookends. The skull ones above are so cute (albeit a little creepy), but you can literally make bookends out of anything.

For the stylish man:

While I think this is a good tutorial, I find the suspenders featured above to be a bit boring…but by finding a strip of elastic that just matches your boy’s style, you can turn them into a gift that is both fun and stylish.

For the kiddos:

Have you ever noticed how freaking EXPENSIVE toys are? When I think of the boxes we had stuffed to the brim with them, I feel bad for my parents. Especially since so many of them ended up being thrown or given away within a couple of years. DIY toys might not be the ‘coolest’ or ‘flashiest’ of presents, but, given the kids’ age, can be really fun and inventive. I really like this chalk (chalkboard spray paint, you’ve done it again!) set of houses. It’s simple but looks like it would actually be a lot of fun! After all, aren’t kids the ones who are usually happiest with a pot and spoon?

For the college kid:

As most college kids will tell you they have no space for anything, nor do they want to lug it to their next place of residence (which will change every year or so for four years). So, barring fancy electronic gifts (leave those to their parents), a great gift is DIY decor that is 1) easy to make, 2) easy to move, and 3) flat! This pac-man cork-board idea is perfect, and very easy to turn into any other character or shape of their liking.

* * *

That is all I have so far, which is already quite a lot! Do you have any good DIY gift ideas to share? I love seeing what others think of in terms of fun and useful gifts to make for others, so please share if you have any go-tos up your sleeve!


One response to “diy gift guide”

  1. A lot of my friends have children in the 1 – 5 age range and this year I am making them all play dough. You can make as many colors as you feel like, add glitter, essential oils, or even non-sweetened koolaid mix for color and a fruity scent. Cheap, easy, and what child (or adult) doesn't like to play with it?


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