10 last-minute, homemade gift ideas

April Henley

It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts. How many of you, readers, have heard this expression? Does it pass your own lips when seasonal budgets grow tight? You want to give gifts that are useful, fun, and/or extravagant, but let’s face it, plunging yourself into debt for the sake of pleasing an aunt or second cousin you see once a year with a gift that may join their clutter in the closet is not ideal. To save your budget from the aches and pains of a holiday shopping extravaganza, consider making one or more of these last-minute, DIY Christmas presents; each one will testify the thought, time, and love you put into this season of giving without the consequent wallet burning.

Candy Cane Soap


Via: Thinkcrafts.com

Why go to the store when you can make your own festive soap bars? These simple-to-make candy cane soaps are a cute item to add to a spa gift basket that includes a natural sponge, a soft-bristled shower brush, a gentle washcloth, and a peppermint-scented candle with matches – all items you can find at Walmart, Target, or even the Dollar Store.

Additional Sources: Candy Cane Soap Blog, Candy Cane Soap Blog 2.0, How to Make the Ultimate Spa Basket


Treasure Candle


Via: Donnahup.com

Here is a gift that keeps giving till it burns out. With most presents, we feel a brief wave of excitement in the moment of unwrapping the colorful package; but, a treasure candle preserves a recipient’s delight with the timely burning of each waxy layer to uncover another hidden trinket. This is a clever way to gift someone with a charm bracelet, as you conceal the chain in the first layer of the candle, and each layer thereafter bares a single charm. To protect the trinkets from the hot wax and burning wick, wrap each charm in tin foil; you can also place seashells, coins, rings, gems, crystals, or rare stones in the candle.

Note: To acquire a collection of charms for a low price, search online at Etsy or eBay, or go treasure hunting at garage sales and estate sales.

Additional Sources: DIY Hidden Treasure Candle Video Tutorial, 50 Charms from sharonperryart on Etsy, Charms on eBay


Photo Coasters


Via: Instructables.com

No one likes condensation rings on their table or a hot mug to touch a cold glass countertop; photo coasters prove not only useful, but are a gift which can stimulate nostalgia. To your parents, gift images from your childhood, and to your friends, present snapshots from adventures together. Or, one of the great things about this project is you are not limited to staging personal photographs; instead, your DIY photo coasters can feature images of things your friends and family love. An example: If your best pal loves comic books, source online pictures of Batman, Superman, and Captain America to mod podge on the coasters.

Additional Source: All You Need to Know About Mod Podge

Custom Mugs


Via: Lilyandval.com

How do you feel when you see something with your name on it? You get excited, right? Why? Because the object is more personal; it is yours. This season, you can gift someone with a mug that features their name and a custom design that reflects one aspect of their life or character; write their favorite quote from a book, song, or notable figure, or draw stencil images of dogs, ballerinas, or musical notes – whatever they love. Be sure to use oil-based paint markers instead of regular sharpies though when designing the mugs because sharpie ink will wash off in the dishwasher; it is also recommended that you wash stencil mugs by hand to make the designs last.

Note: Visit a local thrift store or dollar store to purchase white mugs at a low price.

Additional Sources: DIY Painted Mug, Painted Sharpie Mugs (That Won’t Wash Off!)


Microwavable Heat Packs


Via: Livingchiconthecheap.com

For the cold-bodied individual, these microwavable heat packs are invaluable in comfort. Wonderful for soothing any aching muscles or joints, you can make these heat packs in any size. Present someone with a gift basket of heat packs – a pad for the neck and shoulders, a foot warmer, and a pair of small packets to stuff in hand mittens; each pack can be made from fabric that is the recipient’s favorite color or illustrates something they enjoy (e.g., cats, fishing, or Star Wars). Furthermore, if you are an avid sewer, you can challenge yourself to make heat packs that resemble animals.

Additional Sources: DIY Foot Warmer, DIY Heating Pad for Shoulders and Neck, DIY Dog-Shaped Heating Pad


Quick Bread in a Bottle


Via: Meandmydiy.com

These edible packages are perfect to gift someone in college who has a fixed budget for groceries or is limited to cafeteria meals. Whether you bottle up mixes for bread, cookies, brownies, or some other delicious confection, you can be sure the recipient will be grateful for something that eases the tension around exam time and fills their belly with deliciousness. If you want to go the extra mile, create a care package that includes the canned pastry mix, a whisk, a spatula for mixing, a spatula for serving, measuring cups, and a kitchen towel all placed in a mixing bowl.

Note: Be sure to attach the recipe for your pastry mix to the jar or bottle in which you package it.

Additional Sources: 32 Mason Jar Cookie Recipes, Fudgy Brownie Mix in a Jar

Pillow Made from Old T-Shirt


Via: frugalfamilyhome.com

When your child outgrows their favorite shirt, surprise them by transforming the shirt into a pillow. This is a great way to preserve favorable memories if the shirt is commemorative of a special event in the recipient’s life, such as graduation, a marathon, or a bowl game. Then, for a real tear-jerker, you can make a pillow from the shirt of a relative who has passed away, be it the grandfather or grandmother of your child, someone your child was close to, and add a patch with a simple message. An example: “This is a shirt I used to wear. When you miss me, hug this pillow close and know that I am near. Love Papa.”

Additional Sources: DIY Pillow from Button-down Shirt, DIY Pillow from Cutout Shirt Graphic

Photo Ornament

Easy DIY photo snowglobe ornament tutorial at TidyMom.net

Via: Tidymom.net

Photo ornaments are a great way to share special moments in a seasonally-appropriate manner. To your parents and in-laws, gift an ornament that holds a photograph from your wedding or a snapshot of their grandchild(ren). To your friends, present a bauble with an image from a road trip, college years, or a goofy moment. If you have a cousin who loves their dog, surprise them with an ornament that showcases their beloved pet. The possibilities for exhibition and personalization to the recipient(s) of these Christmas globes are endless.

Additional Sources: DIY Photo Ornament Tutorial 2.0, DIY Floating Photo Ornament, 8 DIY Ornaments to Display Photos

Scented Pinecone Fire Starters


Via: Domino Magazine

If you know someone who is an avid camper, these pinecone fire starters will be greatly appreciated on cold evenings, as the candle wax or paraffin the pinecones are coated with allow flames to catch quickly and steadily burn for a time. Adding a scent to the pinecones is better appreciated by recipients who will use the pinecones to start a fire in their fireplace.

Additional Source: DIY Pinecone Fire Starter 2.0

Secret Stash Book


Via: Kay’s Keepsakes

None of us are comfortable with the idea of someone rifling through our valuables and boldly taking what is not theirs; give your friend or family member a sense of security with what will become their favorite book on the shelf. A stash book is a cool, clever gift to present someone who resides in a dorm or shares an apartment with one or more roommates. Not only can they store away jewelry, extra cash, game tickets, or a passport, but stash books are great for hiding keepsakes like irreplaceable photos or love notes from someone special.

Additional Source: How to Make a Hollow Book 2.0

  1. December 23, 2016 RMcGr

    Great, creative gift ideas!

    Post a Reply

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  1. December 23, 2016 RMcGr

    Great, creative gift ideas!

    Post a Reply

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