This time, it’s PERSONAL: 10 DIY Gifts You Can Make in One Sitting

Giving gifts in holiday “Secret Santa” swaps and white elephant gift exchanges can be so unsentimental and impersonal. Here are 10 inexpensive and easy to make do-it-yourself gifts likely to make the recipient remember you long after they’ve used up the balance on the Amazon and Starbuck cards they received from less crafty gift givers.

1. Handmade Clay Dishes

These stylish bowls can be various sizes and hold more than just rings; they can be plant saucers or hold office supplies as well.  Photo by Lily Currin.

These polymer clay ring dishes look glamorous but are actually simple and cheap to make. But how? To achieve the marble effect, roll together multiple strands of colored polymer clay, flatten, shape it in an oven-safe bowl, and bake according to the clay’s instructions.  Spice it up with a simple finish and line the rims with gold acrylic paint after baked.

2. Hot Cocoa Ornaments 

Sprinkles, peppermint candies, and marshmallows add a pop of festive color to a hot cocoa ornament.  Photo via Instagram user Sprinklesomefun.

Fill a clear glass ornament with hot cocoa mix to brighten the day of any recipient. You’ll need 2 cups of confectioners sugar, 1 cup of cocoa powder, and 2 cups of powdered milk to make your own homemade hot cocoa mix. Then funnel the mixture into the ornaments and drop in your favorite toppings. Just add hot water and you’ll have hot cocoa wherever you go! If you want to hang it on your tree, the cap might need additional support for the weight, so be sure to secure the top with clear packing tape.

3. An Artful Mug

This customized mug can be personalized to match the interests of your gift recipient.  Photo by Lily Currin.

Give your friends a warm reminder that you care every morning. You can customize any dishwasher safe mug when you use paint sharpies and then bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  

4. Mystery Movie Box

Include enough snacks for two and you’ll have a built-in movie night for you and the recipient.  Photo via Instagram user Creativecarepackages.

All this gift takes is a classic DVD from the discount bin at Walmart and some appropriate snacks to throw in a fun movie themed box.  A mystery movie box is likely to appeal to any cinephile. To go the extra mile, try picking one of the recipient’s favorite films and include small trinkets or memorable treats that were enjoyed by the characters.

5. A Customized Plant 

This painted face gives personality to a miniature cactus. Photo by Lily Currin.

Make sure your gift doesn’t “succ” and give this one a try. Succulents are very trendy and don’t need much tending – a good choice for a gift to last well beyond the holidays. Customize the plant’s container by using acrylic paint to inscribe a specific face or design that is meaningful to the recipient, just make sure to paint before potting the plant!

6. Holiday Tea Bags

Adding labels to the peppermint tea bags is a simple and helpful touch. Photo by Lily Currin.

This gift could warm anyone’s heart this holiday season. These tea bags are so customizable you can make everything from hearts to tree bags.  All you need is tea filter paper, a needle and thread, and your favorite holiday blend.

7. Homemade Bath Products

Himalayan salt infused with a lavender scent can create a calming bath for stressed students. Photo by Lily Currin.

This self-care gift is so easy it doesn’t even require a trip to Lush! You can make an ordinary bath more relaxing by infusing Himalayan salt with your favorite combination of natural essential oils. Give the gift of a release from the stress of finals and provide them the relaxing break they deserve.

8. Make Their Own Gift

A watercolor set, brushes, and sketchpad is sure to be a welcomed challenge for any artist. Photo by Lily Currin.

For the artist friend, gather some supplies they may not use often so they can experiment and make their own gift. This is a perfect present if you are intimidated by the do-it-yourself aspect of the other gifts.

9. A Personalized Vase

Acrylic paint won’t run with minor exposure to water. Photo by Lily Currin.

Flowers are a classic gift, so why not go the extra step? Simply use acrylic paint and painters tape to keep lines straight before applying paint. Customizing an old glass bottle to use as a vase is an eco-correct way to match a specific décor or upgrade a holiday bouquet.

10. The Gift of Style

The Chapman University shirt was cut in a triangle shape and given a new handsewn collar with an eyelet fabric.  The “Love is Love” shirt was tie-dyed and the message was ironed on. Photo by Lily Currin.

Customized shirts are a cheap way to add some original flare to your recipient’s wardrobe. You can tie dye, cut, or iron on messages to any t-shirt you desire. It’s a way to show their personality or show some school spirit.

Lily Currin

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