25+ Gifts You Can Make Yourself
Everyone Can Be Creative
Making a gift for a loved one, friend, or colleague does not need to be difficult. What thoughts spring to mind when you hear the word creative? Do you immediately think, Well that’s not me; that means being imaginative, inventive or original and I haven’t got a creative bone in my body?
Well . . . I’m like the fairy godmother or the genie in the lamp here to say, "Your wish is my command!" Step this way folks, you can be creative and make gifts by being a bit clever and applying some positive mental attitude.
But Sometimes It Runs in the Genes
My mum was a highly creative person who loved making things. Be it baking, knitting garments, making curtains, painting and selling art, upholstering furniture, or landscaping our garden, she had a wealth of passion that oozed creativity. Her ability to think outside the box was something I so admired and loved.
I have had the same passion for crafts and making things and I have my mum to thank for showing me the realms of possibility and opportunities in being creative.
She never got to use the great tool we all have at our disposal—the internet—which has a wealth of help out there for all budding creative fingertips and for those looking for new challenges in gift making. Information is now just a click away, so no excuses!
The Giving of a Gift
You have to start somewhere to get those innovative creative juices flowing!
A few key questions for you to answer:
- How do I think outside the box?
- Who do you want to give a gift to?
- What are their interests or hobbies?
- Is it for a special occasion like a birthday, an anniversary, or for Christmas?
- Have they dropped hints at things they need?
- What skills do you have? We all have them!
- Are you artistic? Are you a computer whiz? Is carpentry your forte? Are you a mechanic? Do you have a talent for writing creatively? Do you love photography? Get the gist?
- What type of budget do you have for the gift?
- How much time do you have?
These are examples of questions you should be asking yourself and writing down the answers. I still do this when planning on giving a gift. Some of these questions will have a number of answers—the more the merrier—as it makes deciding what to make easier.
Making DIY Gifts Is Fun (and Cost Effective!)
Giving a creative gift is giving someone a little piece of yourself, which I think is very special. The fact that you have taken time to make the gift with the person in mind is a quality your gift receiver will appreciate greatly.
Christmas is particularly hard on finance for all of us, and many, including myself, are looking to save money during the holiday season by applying some frugal ways to cut down without cutting out the fun and enjoyment.
Making gifts is what I love doing for family and friends. Having picked up some fantastic ideas from some friends, I thought I would share some with you here along with my own gift-making ideas to show how creating that perfect and homemade gift is very possible for everyone to achieve.
Do you enjoy cooking, have a talent for it, or even know someone who enjoys your cooking or baking delights?
Cookies in Glass Jar
Bake some cookies and place in a large jar. Keep any jars you may have and recycle them for this or other gift ideas. Decorated jars look fantastic and are easy to do for the creative gift beginner.
If you have a talent for baking certain cakes, like a cheesecake or a layered cake why not make some as gifts to give that someone special.
Another award-winning baking great to give as a gift are these gorgeous pumpkin whoopie pies, which can have different fillings.
My dad absolutely loved Shepherd’s Pie but could never make it so ended up buying it in a delicatessen at €6 a portion which was daylight robbery. I make one that makes 4 large portions for €3 so will be making some up for my dad. It freezes well, so you could make this in advance, put it into disposable cartons and give to someone you know will appreciate it. There are any numbers of dishes that are just as good to give in this fashion if you think about it.
Creative Writing Ideas
Are you a gifted poet and don't know it or good at writing fiction or humour? Why not put it to good use in the way of a gift?
If you have a way with poetry, why not do a personal poem for someone, handwrite it on handmade paper or parchment paper in calligraphy and frame it?
I have done this on a number of occasions. For example, I did invites to a party in rhyme and an Ode to my dad on his 70th birthday which I read aloud at his surprise party before presenting it to him, framed. Put your creative writing to use!
If you have decided on a gift, you could still make up your own verse for inside the card that you are going to make, or why not use an Irish saying, quote, proverb, or blessing for something different?
If you like writing short stories or humour, why not write something as a gift? You could type it and make a cover or put into a small plastic folder or get someone who does type to do it if you don’t want to. Play around with the fonts, colours, and clip art for the cover and parts of the manuscript.
Particularly good for a family member, we did this for my dad. We got everyone from Dad's immediate family to handwrite a letter to him—namely his children, grandchildren, daughters-in-law, and partner. We compiled photos, paper clippings, school records, and all types of memorabilia connected to him and put it all together in a book.
It took some time and organising with some little white lies here and there but it was certainly creative, not needing any special skills, and well worth the effort, as Dad was totally blown away by it. It is a permanent fixture on his coffee table for all to read. A few more occasions this memory book would be ideal for could be a retirement from the office, a silver wedding anniversary or a friend moving abroad.
Greeting Card Sets
I have always loved handmade cards and have collected them for years. Making and selling my own for market stalls has been something I really enjoy.
You can stick all types of things onto blank cards if you don’t feel artistic and I have shown a selection of mine that use stickers I bought on eBay, in €2 euro stores, or bought reduced in sales. The cards and polythene bags I bought online at an Irish Craft supplier.
Why not make enough to put together a set of 6 or 10? If they are left blank then the recipient has the option of using them for any occasion.
Many people love cards and you may already have an indication who is a card person! I know in my family there are some who really appreciate nice cards and always give them to me. Why not make all your Christmas cards this year?
Mason jars are readily available, do not have to cost a fortune, and look gorgeous decorated and used in creative ways.
Wine bottles, coffee jars, or sauce jars are also great to create something new from, like these eye-catching rhinestone-covered bottles.
Wrapping paper is often quite expensive to buy in single sheets and even rolls of paper at Christmas can be costly. Brown paper I love to use and it can be bought by the roll and used for all gift occasions. Newspaper gift wrapping is a great way to use newspaper and be eco-friendly at the same time.
These are really easy to make. All you need is some coloured card, recycled greeting cards, cardboard, or plain white card.
Cut the size and shape you want. If you have a pinking shear, the jagged edge looks funky. You can use an office paper hole puncher to put one hole in your card and then you just need to decorate and write. Through the hole you can apply a piece of raffia, ribbon, or curling ribbon. These can also be given as a gift in sets.
Why not plant up a pot or two of herbs to give as a gift in a recycled gardening container? If you have plastic or terracotta pots you can paint them for a more personal touch. Plastic plant pots will need a light sandpapering before applying paint.
I have used emulsion paint and acrylic paints with a yacht varnish. Items such as stickers, stones, pebbles, and shells can be stuck on for added effect after the paint has dried but before the varnish is applied.
If something has a bottom in it, it can probably be used as a plant pot!
This is an ideal opportunity to be creative in gift-giving. Planting up an unusual container with a plant with the person in mind can be great fun!
Upholstery With a Difference
Are you handy with knitting needles, enjoy crocheting, making rugs, or sewing for pleasure?
Why not think of using your skill to the benefit of others and make gifts? Here are a few crochet tutorials from tammyswallow which would make fantastic presents.
- Free Crochet Pattern: Vintage-Style Fingerless Gloves
Easy to make fingerless gloves. Also includes alternative directions for gloves forthose who don't crochet. You can even make your own leg warmers for dogs.
- Free Vintage Crochet Pattern: Victorian Boot Ornament
A free crocheting tutorial and pattern to make this lace-up lady's boot.
Creatively Framing Art
When I was in Amsterdam, I bought 4 calendars from my favourite artists for framing purposes. They are a great way of getting the prints you like at a fraction of the cost. If your skill is in picture framing, even better! If not, you can pick up great frames cheaply or recycle existing ones.
I have done this several times and love this idea. You can use your own cards or buy 1 or more and put them into a frame. I bought 3 cards from a series and framed them in a long frame for my bedroom.
If art is your strength, why not give a loved one a painting? My mum gave my brother a painting of my niece she did as a surprise Christmas present. Even abstract art for the right person will be much appreciated. This is where knowing the person is vital. I have given paintings as wedding presents to friends based on the colouring of their sitting room.
A wonderful gift to give and if you love being snap-happy then turn your talent into giving the gift of moments captured in print. If you are useful around digital computer software, experiment by changing photographs into something very different.
Coasters can be made using photographs and napkins—a really inspired gift idea.
Beach-Inspired Gift Ideas
If you live near a beach, take a walk along it collecting different sizes and colours in stones, shells, and any driftwood. All may be utilized to make creative gifts.
Large shells may be used as holders for homemade votive candles which is a super idea and easy to do. For those lovers of candles, this makes a gorgeous gift idea.
I have stuck large stones together in different shapes and varnished them to make ornaments or paperweights. They only cost me the glue and varnish, both of which I had already.
Do you make gifts?
© 2012 Suzanne Ridgeway