I love making gifts for people. Not only is it fun but I never know what to buy anyone. Anytime I can flex those creative juices and put a smile on a friend or family member’s face all the better. I am forever frugal or as my father likes to say, a “sensible spender”. So giving a rad gift that doesn’t break the bank… Uh yes please!
Give them to whoever for whatever occasion. No matter what it is, it will definitely knock their socks off! A lot of these are pretty open ended so this will hopefully springboard you into something fun. Not to mention the recipient will appreciate the effort. So here are my top ten favorite gifts, some take a little more time than others but are relatively easy with a low cost to create. This list is a collection I have already made or on my list to make. Here it goes!
Open When Letters
These letters depend on your situation. It could be for a friend or family member who lives far away. Or even your significant other. This gift is easy to tailor for anyone. I made this one for my partner’s birthday. He was turning 31 so I made him 31 letters and all with a specific reason to open each envelope. For example, Open When: You Miss Me, or Open When: You Need Encouragement. I bought a small mailbox from Joann’s, as well as an envelope and card stock combo. Since I love to craft anyway, I already had a ton of washi tape, string and glitter. Then splurged on some extra stickers too but all in all probably cost me less than $30 dollars!
Who doesn’t love receiving a yummy treat in a super cool mug?! Food gifts for the win! I fell in love with a mug that looks like a mason jar and had to come up with something to put in it. Now, if you know anyone with a sweet tooth there are a TON of recipes online. So pick your person’s favorite sweet treat and dump all the dry ingredients in a mug with a tag with directions and the “wet” ingredients for them to throw in! Thoughtful, delicious and fast!
This one depends on interest rather than skill level. I still consider myself a beginner in the crochet world but this pattern was pretty easy once I got the hang of it. When I began I did have to restart a few times to get it right but as with many things repetition was key. I found this pattern on Classy Crochet and made this myself. Once it was done I was so excited I even wore it myself, I received a few compliments on it!
Your loved one will not be disappointed, assuming you don’t end up keeping this gem for yourself of course. It is a lovely gift for warm or chilly weather. Hey, that’s me wearing the scarf I made!
Custom Note cards
Now this is a super easy gift! I made these on my Cameo Silhouette. Let me tell you, I love this machine so much. This baby sketches and cuts out the note cards perfectly. My friend is an amazing artist! Her work is beautiful and I wanted to help her get the word out and thought: why not a note card? They are way different than anything you could purchase and she can use it to promote her work.
I just loaded an image into the design software, traced it, and set that baby to go! Simple. Now if you don’t have a machine you can still do this with a printer and any thing that cuts, like scissors or an Exacto knife. I used watercolor paper since its a thicker paper. But anything other than printer paper should work just fine. Oh -and if you are looking for some great art, check out at justinenealart.storenvy.com or her instagram @justinenealsart
Heat Transferred T-shirt
Again my lovely Cameo Silhouette does this pretty quick and easy. Whatever your interest is, shout out to my Harry Potter fans, you can stencil it out on heat transfer vinyl. If you are doing this by hand, please be careful cutting it out. If you have a machine it will zip on through. Once you have your image cut out grab a piece of cloth or parchment paper as a buffer. I don’t have a heat press (yet!) so I used an iron and turned off the steam. I recommend only making a couple of passes at a time then check it so the vinyl does not overheat. Trust me it does not look good over heated.
Scented Heating Pads
I have not had the pleasure of trying this one myself but certainly a nifty gift that I want to try. Or keep. We’ll see how that shakes out but the directions are fairly simple with many pins on the topic. For this one, you’ll want to break out the sewing machine unless you are making really small ones. You just need rice or flax seed (other dried materials work too), fabric and some essential oils.
Sew three sides closed with the material inside out and on the fourth leave about an inch or two open to fit the tip of a funnel, that’s how you are going to get the rice in. You’ll flip it right side out so the pattern is showing. Mix the rice and essential oils together and pour it through the funnel into you bag. Then you can just hand sew it closed. Viola! You have a heating pad.
Gift in a Jar
I love jars. Mason jars are my favorite but honestly, any nice seal-able jar makes me happy. These are great because you can make a few fun small items or purchase small items to put in them. I love the spa in a jar. If you like making lotions, soaps and scrubs. This is for you! Candles! Oh I love yummy candles. And if your giftee prefers alcohol this is a cute way to give individual drinks and mixer. I have also wanted to blend my own alcohol for a friend who loves whiskey. Jars man. So versatile and they get to keep it long after they’ve used the contents.
I have actually been on the receiving end of this one and I loved it. It was incredibly thoughtful gift and was given to me right after my partner and I moved into a new apartment. She even used all of my favorite colors. This is something I recommend because it is a very open ended project. You could do crayon art, use stencils, string art, you name it. If you are pretty good at painting you can make something totally unique. Here’s another project for your cutting machines too. You have to be patient but vinyl will stick to wood. I don’t know how well it does on canvas though.
This is another ‘great for anyone, any age” gift. Just make sure the “experience” is something that you will actually follow through on. Like, One Free Massage for your lover. If you want to make one for a friend you could try, One Free Brunch. Now, I don’t have any children but I imagine you could try, One Dinner Your Choice. But these like the letters work in a way that allows you to be creative. You know what you and you giftee like. Go for it. Maybe this could be a way to try something new together or do something they love and you can put up with.
Picture Frame Up-cycle
If you have a frame that needs a little love or found a style that struck you as something someone else would like there are actually lots of ways to re-purpose a frame. You can turn it into chalkboard. Or you could place a lovely piece of scrapbook paper behind the glass along with the whiteboard marker. Also place their favorite saying with vinyl on the glass. I really like the pin board. Just super glue some cork board and boom pins! Maybe include some cool pins along with it.
Handmade gifts are the best! I gave my friends some candles, lotion and sugar scrub for Christmas. They loved the way it smelled and it actually worked, success! I used all natural products which is even better but be careful of allergies. My friend is allergic to Eucalyptus so I didn’t even touch it while making all of the gifts. Other than that, go crazy! Do you have a favorite project, tell me about it! Or if you try these tell me how it goes!