25 Gifts You Can Make Today

By Camilla Cheung on 27 July 2011 (Updated 25 November 2013) 15 comments

Homemade gifts are often more meaningful than store-bought gifts, and fortunately they’re usually easy on the wallet too. For those who would like to save a buck or two on the next birthday, anniversary, or shower gift, or just like the idea of making something unique for a friend, here are 25 ideas for gifts that you can make with materials that are easily found at your local craft or hardware store. Many require little to no crafting skills, while others are a little more challenging, but definitely still doable for us amateurs! (See also: 15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake)

1. Friendship Bracelets

Friendship bracelets were all the rage when I was younger, and they remain an easy and pretty gift to make. If you know how to tie a knot, you can make one of these colorful macramé bracelets from The Purl Bee, which can be made in several patterns.

2. Lace Earring Holder

This lace earring holder from U-Create is the perfect gift for your favorite style maven. Spray-paint a thrifted picture frame in the color of your choice, and tack a pretty piece of lace onto the back for a quick and beautiful earring holder.

3. Sisal Rope Bowl

This sisal bowl by Centsational Girl looks so beautiful (not to mention expensive) and is the perfect easy gift to make as a housewarming or wedding gift. You need a cheap metal bowl, a coil of sisal rope, and some hot glue, and you’re set. Try covering other items with sisal rope (like a jar or an old vase) for a fun variation.

4. Homemade Cake Stand

Use glass glue to attach a goblet or candlestick to the bottom of a pretty plate, and you can easily create a lovely cake stand like this one from Strawberry Chic! Use glass for a more traditional look, or spray paint the base for a more colorful finish. This cake stand is perfect for displaying a friend’s birthday cake, and he gets to keep the stand at the end.

5. Framed Silhouettes

Classic framed silhouettes look great in anyone’s home and make a thoughtful gift. All you need is a photograph with the person you want to silhouette in profile. Blow the photograph up to the size you want and print it out (black and white is fine) on your home printer. Cut out the head, neck, and tops of the shoulders. Trace around the shape you’ve cut out onto black or colored paper (or better yet, a pretty patterned paper), and cut out the new shape. Glue it onto a contrasting background, and put it in a pretty frame. You don’t have to do a profile; a whole-body silhouette of one person or several people works just as well.

6. Vintage Postage Stamp Coasters

Print these colorful vintage postage stamps from Design*Sponge (which have already been resized for you) onto iron-on transfers to make these easy and unique coasters.

7. Homemade Lip Balm

I made homemade lip balm recently, and I was surprised at how easy it was to make and how cute the resulting jars of lip balm turned out! Here’s an easy tutorial for homemade lip balm at Design*Sponge.

8. Customized Onesies

A wonderful gift for a baby shower, High Street Market has an easy tutorial for making customized onesies for an expected baby. Just buy a few plain white onesies, print out designs onto iron-on transfers, and iron the designs onto the onesies. How cute!

9. Beaded Necklace With Ribbon

Martha Stewart’s beaded necklaces with ribbon are elegant and trendy. You don’t have to use the same brand of beads — use whatever is available at your craft store.

10. Spray-Painted Bottle Bud Vases

Grab a four-pack of empty soda bottles (or a six-pack of beer bottles), remove the labels, and spray paint them to make these sweet bud vases from The Colorful Living Project. Spray-paint the cardboard bottle caddy too, and then put the dried bottles back into the caddy, fill with flowers, and you've got a lovely set of matching bud vases for a charming gift.

11. Fruity Button Embroidered Napkins

Embellish store-bought fabric napkins with this cute fruity button tutorial from Martha Stewart. Small colorful buttons and some green embroidery thread form apples, oranges, and cherries in this easy project.

12. Tiny Polaroid Magnets

Ambrosia Girl's adorable magnets are personalized with tiny photographs in mini faux-Polaroid frames. Use pictures of yourself to ensure the receiver will think of you every time she sees them!

13. Cork Mouse Mat

This easy cork mouse mat is made from a cork tile from your local hardware store. Stencil a design onto the cork using a homemade or store-bought stencil, a foam brush, and acrylic paint. Cut out the mat and spray it with a quick-drying clear protective sealer.

14. Recipe Cards

Print out this pretty recipe card template from How About Orange, and handwrite your favorite recipes onto them. Wrap the recipes with a ribbon, or place them in a box, and give them to your favorite budding chef.

15. Front Door Wreaths

A perfect housewarming gift, a pretty floral front door wreath with house numbers on it is both attractive and practical. Simply hot glue some silk flowers and other decorations onto a grapevine wreath, available at your local craft store. See some great examples of homemade wreaths from Miss Lovie.

16. Wine Cork Trivet

Hot-glue together 31 wine corks to make this easy but rustically elegant trivet from Crafty Nest, perfect for the wine-lover in your life.

17. Fruit Bouquet

Here’s a yummy alternative to bringing a bouquet of flowers. Stick assorted fruit onto skewers and arrange them artistically in a vase. There are a few ideas for different kinds of fruit bouquets at DIY Life.

18. Fabric Yo-yo Flowers

A fabric yo-yo is basically a circle of fabric gathered together in the middle to form a flower-like shape. Use them to decorate pins, headbands, T-shirts, magnets, hair clips, and more. Heather Bailey has a clearly illustrated guide to making a fabric yo-yo.

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19. Canvas Doily Stencil Bag

This stylish bag is a cinch to make with some fabric paint, a paper doily for a stencil, and a paintbrush. Just pick up a plain canvas tote bag at the craft store and follow this easy tutorial for a doily stencil bag from Ashley Ann Photography.

20. Lavender Sachets

You’ll need a sewing machine and rudimentary sewing skills to sew these fragrant lavender sachets that can be tucked among linens. Find the step-by-step sachet tutorial at Sew4Home.

21. Teacup Candles

Martha Stewart has a tutorial for sweet candles contained in antique teacups (easily found at thrift stores or flea markets). Old, partially burned candles are melted down and get new life in this beautiful gift.

22. Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

These rustic-looking mason jars are super-easy, and they make wonderful housewarming gifts. Drill a hole in the top of a vintage, thrifted mason jar and insert a soap pump from an old bottle of soap. Hot glue the pump into place and you're ready to go! Read the soap dispenser tutorial at Blissfully Content.

23. S'mores Gift Box

Do you have a friend who loves these marshmallow-chocolate treats? Make an easy s'more gift box by putting graham crackers, marshmallows, and tablets of chocolate in a pretty transparent box or bag, and then tie it with a ribbon for a quick and easy gift.

24. Hand-Drawn Monogram Mugs

Design Mom bought a few white mugs from the thrift store and hand-drew lovely monograms onto the cups using a porcelain pen (available at craft stores). After baking them in your oven, the cups will become pretty, personalized, and dishwasher-safe gifts.

25. Doily Table Runner

Pick up a few inexpensive crocheted doilies from an antique or thrift store, and sew them together to make this gorgeous vintage doily table runner. Ashley Ann Photography has the tutorial for this fresh take on a vintage look.

Do you have any other ideas for handmade gifts?

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Meg Favreau's picture

Building on the s'mores idea (which I'm having a major craving for after reading this), you can always put together a gift basket in a pinch. It might not be quite as cheap or from-the-heart as something totally homemade, but including a few little things you know someone loves (a small jar of olives, their favorite crackers, etc.) can be much more appreciated than a bigger, less-personalized gift.

Camilla Cheung's picture

I for one will not say no if someone wants to give me a basket full of my favorite foods!

Guest's picture

Wow Camilla, thanks so much for the mention, and for the links to these amazing crafts, off to check them out, fantastic roundup!
xo
Kate

Camilla Cheung's picture

You're so welcome! It was a great idea!

Guest's picture
sokun

I usually like to give my gifts to a charity in the form of donations. World Vision is a good one.

Andrea Karim's picture

Friendship bracelets, yay!

Guest's picture

We received an excellent homemade gift for Christmas last year. It was a large canning jar with layers of flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, etc. Attached was a little stationary with instructions to dump jar into a mixing bowl and just add eggs and shortening, then bake.

Voila--Chocolate chip cookies!

Guest's picture
Yazmin

In this cold weather - knitted hats, mittens, and scarfs would be wonderful. Just make sure you use a color yarn they'll love!

Guest's picture
Jana

The teacup candle idea is wonderful!! I have LOTS of teacups from my grandmother that I have saved for a very long time! Am going to make these and give to my siblings!

Guest's picture
Donna

The tea cups can also be gifted with a few bags of good tea, wrapped in a pretty napkin with a bow, (maybe even a pretty teaspoon) and gifted. I have done this with a lot of my tea drinking friends at work and they love it. Nice lift to have your own pretty, unique cup and saucer for your desk or at home!

Guest's picture
nice

You know, I always find articles like this one to be extremely tacky and would never even consider making the things suggested, let alone gifting them. BUT. This article was seriously amazing! These are ideas that are actually COOL, CUTE and FUN. I don't know if I would gift these things, but they're cool to make for yourself. Some of them I might gift for people, but only as a "just because" gift; I don't think I could seriously gift any of these things at a wedding or home-welcoming party but I would give them to somebody just because I felt like gifting.

Guest's picture
Vanessa

Since I took an extra, seasonal job at a bookstore last Christmas to make some extra mad money, I can identify the lead picture in this article as boxes of Godiva Chocolate. You can see the gold on gold lettering on the cover if you look closely. Doesn't really matter, as they are pretty boxes and good examples of how you can make a simple box look really pretty. But it's worth pointing out that, in an article about economical holiday gifts, you use Godiva chocolate that costs nearly $30 a box!

Amy Lu's picture
Amy Lu

Thanks for catching that, Vanessa! I've switched out the lead photo for one that (I hope!) is more in line with the spirit of the article.

Guest's picture
Vanessa

Thanks Amy! Great article, by the way!

Guest's picture
Kenzie

my best friend is having a slumber party and im going to make her a gift for inviting me but I don't know what to make....any sugggustions ?