DIY Christmas Gifts

Let's face it. Some people are difficult to shop for. Or maybe you're just tired of giving your loved ones scented candles and bath kits from the local superstore. It's time to get creative and make something with a little sentimental value this holiday season!

It's important to personalize your gifts, of course. Perhaps your mom isn't a fan of black and red marbled mugs, or your dieting sister won't eat your world-famous cookies. You definitely don't want to customize an iPhone case for your cousin's LG phone. However, do-it-yourself gifts show your friends, family, and colleagues that you put thought into their gift and know a little bit about who they are and what they like.

Hand Warmers

The supplies you need to make hand warmers—fabric, thread, rice, and a needle—can all be purchased without breaking the bank. You might be thinking, "Hand warmers? Who uses those? How can I possibly make those personal?" Trust me when I say that your friends will appreciate having these as they walk across campus in the snow. You can personalize these with different patterns and themed fabric. Does your little brother like Batman? Find some Batman fabric! Does your grandma love gardening? Find her a cute floral print! You can learn how to make hand warmers here.

Tie Blankets

While tie blankets are a time- and space-consuming project, they aren't at all difficult to make. Find yourself two separate fleece fabrics of the same length at any fabric store. They can be the same pattern/color, or you can get two different but compatible designs. I made my own tie blanket this week using a cute llama design and paired it with a solid pink, which matched some of the featured colors from the first design. It took me about three hours (with a few short breaks along the way) to finish this large 2.5 yard blanket. See this tutorial for more information on how to make a tie blanket.

Marbled Mugs

This project requires nail polish and nail polish remover (and paper towels or cotton balls), a large, deep plastic container or dish, a plain white mug, a skewer (or toothpick), and warm water. The best part about custom mugs is the originality of every design. Even if you only have two colors on hand, every mug you make will look unique. You can also retry as many times as needed if you are unhappy with your design. This project is pretty messy, so have paper towels, soap, and water on hand. Below is a mug I made as a graduation gift earlier this year. I wanted the mug to be dishwasher safe, so I applied Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish, Gloss with a foam brush after the mug had dried. You can learn how to make marbled mugs here.

Photo Monogram

Have you recently noticed an incredibly bare wall at a family member's house and thought, "Hey, some family photos would look great in that spot!"? If so, it's time to find some wooden letters, a local printer, and sit down to make your very own photo collage! I plan to make one that will spell the word "LOVE" for my mom this year. This seems like it will be a messy project, so find some old newspapers to avoid making a mess. If you use spray paint, make sure you do so outside and let your work dry before bringing it inside. You don't want to miss out on making your own collage, do you? Learn more about this project here.


Magnets may not seem like the coolest gifts, but you can make a lot of them rather quickly. Customize them with images of your friend's favorite band, your sibling's favorite TV show characters, or pictures of family members to put on refrigerators, in lockers, or on dry erase boards. I've made quite a few of these already, and the magnets I used hold up pretty well for how small they are. Having small enough images is the trickiest part, but you can simply resize the images on a document until they print out to your liking. There's a few different ways to tackle custom magnets. I used Mod Podge as my adhesive, and other supplies included circular glass pebbles, a foam brush, and tiny round magnets. Here's a great tutorial for tackling this project.

The possibilities don't end here, but I hope you find something cute to make for your loved ones. These aren't limited to gifts for the holiday season, though. They can make great gifts for graduations, birthdays, Mother's/Father's/Grandparent's Day, or any other special occasions. Think outside the box and skip the lotion bundles you buy for that White Elephant party every year!