40+ Inexpensive DIY Gift Ideas for Every Occasion

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No matter what time of year it is, gift-giving is always in season. Whether you need going away gifts, sympathy gifts, birthday gifts, or gifts to say, “I’m thinking of you,” it’s possible to find something for everyone.

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DIY gifts are fun, unique, and highly individualized, but they tell recipients that you thought about them and loved them enough to make something special. If you’re looking for a DIY gift, you’ve come to the right place. 

Small DIY Gift Ideas

Sometimes you just need something small to say “Thank you,” “Welcome to the neighborhood,” or “I’m glad you’re my friend.” Whether the recipient knows who you are or you’re performing a random act of kindness, these gifts should fit the bill. 

1. Painted flower pot

Paint a terra cotta pot in a solid color, then add a fun quote to the side. Finish your gift by placing a small easy-to-keep plant inside and add a marker in the soil that identifies the plant. Wrap the pot with simple twine for a homey, rustic DIY look.

2. Mason jar candles

Mason jars and candles are two things that never go out of style. Simply insert a wick, melt the wax, drop in some essential oils, and let it harden.

Voilà, your candle is ready! When hard, trim the wick, cover with a lid, and decorate the outside with twine or ribbon. Finally, make a label for the lid.

3. Bookmarks

Make several out of thick cardstock and washi tape or add fun sayings and a tassel to dress them up. Include quotes from authors the recipient loves or choose to decorate them with stamp art. No matter how you design your bookmarks, they’ll be a hit with book lovers. 

4. Jewelry tray

Jewelry trays are a perfect gift for any lady in your life. Choose a white tray to style with quotes that inspire, beautiful designs, or funny sayings to make someone smile. Add a DIY bracelet or necklace if you make jewelry for an extra-special gift.

5. Personalized journal

Purchase a blank-cover journal and personalize it by adding words, phrases, designs, and pictures to the front and back. If you have extra time, personalize several pages inside with quotes, interesting sayings, jokes, and a first-page note from you to the person the journal is for.

6. Knitted mittens

If you need a gift in the winter, these are perfect. Everyone loves a pair of handmade mittens. While you’re at it, make multiples in different sizes and bundle two pairs together for a husband/wife or a parent/child to enjoy.

7. Goat milk soap

Even though DIY soap sounds like a mystery from the great beyond, it’s a simple project. Watch a few videos, gather your supplies, and you’ll have a fresh giftable batch ready in no time.

8. Coasters

For this project, take a Mason jar lid and cut out a round of cork to fit. Glue the cork to the coaster and you have a rustic cold-drink coaster. For an extra DIY pop, stamp a fun design with waterproof ink on the cork.

9. Customized mugs

The sky is the limit for this project. Whether you choose to dip the bottom half in glitter or customize a white mug with a quote written in Sharpie and baked, have fun and personalize it up.

10. Bath bombs

These look fancy but only require a few ingredients. Wrap each bomb in colored tissue paper, label, and place them together in a tin or small metal bucket. 

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Super Easy DIY Gifts Ideas

If you find yourself suddenly short on time but still want to put together a DIY project, try one of these gifts. They’re the perfect mix of time-saver and crowd-pleaser.

11. Lemonade kit

Who doesn’t like a nice glass of lemonade during the summer? Put together this gift by placing a package of dry mix, several real lemons, and a wooden stirring spoon inside of a glass pitcher. 

12. Flower vase

Pick up a glass vase and chalk paint and go to town. Paint in stripes or chevron patterns for a fun, modern look. When you’re finished decorating, fill the vase with flowers, write a message in chalk, and deliver to a grateful recipient.

13. Pot holder or trivet

These can be made in numerous ways. If you know how to knit or crochet, pick up your needles and a skein of yarn and get started. Be sure to try and match the recipient’s kitchen colors so they can be used for any occasion.

14. Leather wallet

With a few tools, you can customize a leather wallet in no time. Add the person’s name to the front and a special quote on the inside. This is a gift anyone will cherish and carry everywhere.

15. Candied nuts

Candied nuts look complicated but are incredibly easy to make. Just a few simple ingredients and the stove is all you need. When the nuts are finished, place them inside a Mason jar and attach a tag with twine for a rustic, homemade feel.

16. Weather wine bottle cozies

Don’t throw away that wool sweater you accidentally shrunk. Simply cut off the arm to match the size of a wine bottle. Sew up the bottom, slide a bottle inside, then place a twine or ribbon tag around the neck for a quick and easy gift.

17. Foaming soap dispenser

Mason jars are used for everything these days, including soap dispensers. Simply purchase a Mason jar, drill a hole in the lid, and attach a foaming soap pump handle. Fill it with homemade soap if you’re extra adventurous and pair with hand towels. 

18. Macrame plant holder

Though there is some initial learning to do, once you get the hang of it, macrame might be your new best friend. All it takes is some know-how and cotton rope. Finish the hanging holder, insert plant, and you’re done.

19. Metallic decor

Found a piece of decor you know your friend will love but in the wrong color? Grab some metallic spray paint and transform the once wrong-color item into a piece of decor fit for anyone’s home.

20. Soup mix in a jar

All you need for this is a few ingredients and a tag with printed instructions. Simply layer a quart-sized jar with all the necessary ingredients and tie a tag with instructions around the top. 

Large, More Complicated DIY Gift Ideas

The complicated DIY category is for those who have time, a little bit of money, and a good dose of elbow grease to make a gift. They’re all “doable” but you might need to watch a few YouTube tutorials before you get started.

21. Wooden welcome sign

Whether someone is moving into a new home, a new apartment, or a new senior living facility, welcome mats and signs may be needed. For this project, you’ll need a piece of wood, paint, and stencils. Take your time, decorate to match the decor, and seal it with waterproof sealant for signs that will be placed outside.

22. Serving tray

This can be done in a hundred different ways. You can choose to paint it solid, mod podge a picture or other cutout designs, or even decorate it with a wood-burning tool. Your imagination and the amount of time you have are the only limits. Attach antique metal handles to both sides for an extra-special look.

23. Chicken wire photo frame

Purchase a large wood frame without any glass. Attach chicken wire to the frame and you’ve got a beautiful backdrop for favorite family photos.

Print out photos and attach them with clothespins. If you have extra time, paint the wood frame or decorate it with washi tape to match the recipient’s home decor.

24. Wood coat rack

This takes a bit of know-how, but once finished, a wooden coat rack with metal hooks makes a beautiful and functional statement piece in anyone’s home. Paint or decorate with woodburning tools to add special elements such as names or a date.

25. Jam and jelly gift basket

If you like to bake, fill a wicker basket with homemade jams and jellies along with a fresh loaf of bread and a butter knife for the ultimate comfort-of-home care package.

26. Charcuterie board

Choose a wooden food-grade cutting board for this one. Then, using woodburning tools, decorate, stamp, and customize the board. Match designs to the recipient’s home decor or add the recipient’s name and a special date to personalize it.

27. Birthstone necklace

If you have a bit of time and patience, create a necklace containing the birthstones of children and/or grandchildren for a special keepsake.

28. Monogrammed towels

Everyone loves handtowels and when they are reminders of something special, they’re even better. Choose hand towels in a solid color and monogram a set. 

29. Pamper box

Customizable for a guy or gal, add items to pamper that special person. Lotions, bubble bath, teas, coffee, a candle, bath salts, a hand-held massaging tool, a relaxing soundtrack, and an eye mask can all be added to create a one-of-a-kind box.

30. Family photo blanket

Print out photos on fabric squares. Use a solid color for the back of the blanket then sew together or cut and tie for a no-sew option. These blankets are perfect for nearly any event from a housewarming to a birthday party.

DIY Birthday Gift Ideas

Birthdays are fun, exciting occasions to celebrate those you know and love. If you have some time to prepare, roll up your sleeves, and DIY what is sure to become your loved ones’ favorite gift yet.

31. Transfer art

Add a pop of art to nearly anything with a photo transfer project. Transfer a favorite quote, a loved saying, or a family photo onto a wood slab. These fit with nearly any decor and can be hung on a wall or displayed on a bedside stand or side table.

32. BBQ set

What man doesn’t love to BBQ? DIY the perfect gift set with a personalized apron, a spatula, homemade BBQ rub, BBQ sauce, and a cutting board to complete the set.

33. Oversized knitted blanket

Simply look up “arm knitting” and you’ll see how fascinating it is. Make one of these arm-knitted blankets for someone you know and they’re sure to cozy up with it as soon as it’s unwrapped.

34. Personalized pet dishes

If you need a pet gift for a person who celebrates loves his furry friend, purchase two wooden dog or cat bowls. Use wood-burning tools to inscribe a dog or cat’s name on one side and words like “eat,” “chow,” and “drink” on the other. Add a few fun pet toys to complete the package.

35. String art

This can be customized for any age and decor style. Simply choose a piece of wood and decide whether to paint or leave as-is. Then, using nails, outline your image, letter, or shape. Use the string to fill in the design.

36. Bouquet of flowers

Everyone loves a bright bunch of fresh-picked flowers. If your garden is bursting at the seams, pick your best bunch of blooms, group them together, and wrap them brown parchment paper. 

37. Mosaic tile bowl

You can create a customized mosaic tile bowl from glass, ceramic, and even broken-up CDs. Make a large bowl to hold fruit or a small trinket bowl for a nightstand. 

38. Sharpie dot name canvas

This whole project can be completed with only canvas and Sharpie markers. Write out the person’s name in pencil, then dot the border of the letters and continue outward. Dot less the farther out you go, so the name looks as if it’s in the middle of a starburst design.

39. Paint night

Sometimes, giving the gift of a DIY project is the best gift. Paint night DIY opportunities offer a fun night out painting with friends. If you can’t say “Happy birthday” in person, then digital gifts such as this will work just fine.

40. Leather satchel

Perfect for anyone, use some leather working tools to create designs on the bag’s strap and include a quote or an image such as a compass on the front.

Made with Love

No matter what you DIY, the best gifts of all come from the heart and are made with love. You can be sure your friend or loved one will appreciate the gift because you made it.

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