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DIY Best Of: Handmade Gifts

by Kate Pruitt

Grace’s shopping-free gift guide really resonated with me, and I felt a surge of excitement at the prospect of actually following through on making all my gifts this year. I think handmade gifts have the potential to be loved and cherished far longer than any store-bought present. This is not to say that everyone wants a bar of homemade soap more than something they could really use or some boutique item they’ve been coveting all year. But if you’re stumped for ideas, and you’re about to reach for a blank gift card in a panic, consider setting aside a little time one weekend this month and making something instead.

There are some amazingly simple projects in this roundup that would make great gifts; hopefully, something will strike your fancy. I’ve separated them into categories, but remember that if finding a super easy and/or cheap project is a higher priority, you can always use the search categories in our DIY section —materials, price, difficulty and technique — to find what you need. Happy hunting and making! — Kate

Image above: When you’ve finished all of your DIY gifts, you can add the final touches with these quick, easy and pretty DIY giftwrap ideas from Amy Merrick.

Read the full post after the jump!

For Serving & Entertaining

Image above: Update and personalize a simple IKEA tray with a pretty woven cork base and a coat of white paint.

Image above: Derek & Lauren’s beautiful knotted rope trivets would make a great hostess gift.

Image above: Buy a simple set of white mugs and transform them with pretty botanical drawings or a personalized message or sketch.

Image above: Matt’s beautiful rustic wood bud vase and salt dish would make a great gift for anyone on your list.

Image above: Consider making one or two of Centsational Girl’s wood cutting boards for the foodies in your family.

Image above: Ashley’s monogrammed skewer set and roll-up caddy is the perfect DIY gift for campers and outdoorsy folks.

Image above: Derek & Lauren’s adorable mini mosaic serving tray — add a mug and some tea for the perfect gift trio!

Image above: Ashley’s beautiful etched serving tray project can be personalized with a roadmap design of any city or town.

Bags & Accessories

Image above: Make a vintage book cord organizer for the techies on your gift list.

Image above: Matt’s cozy and stylish Pendleton camera wrap bag.

Image above: Put your needle skills to work with this felt bag project from Scandinavian Needlecraft.


Image above: Renske’s simple graphic tote would be a great gift for stylish moms, sisters and friends.

Image above: Anyone with an e-reader or tablet could use this awesome case made from a recycled old book, especially if it’s handmade by you!

Image above: This lovely stitched leather envelope case can be used for so many things, making it a great, versatile gift idea.

Image above: With this easy tutorial, you can make a few zippered cases for stocking stuffers and gifts in no time.

Image above: Make a cool customized camera strap for someone; I guarantee they will love it!

Art & Wall Decor

Image above: These adorable faux stag horn ferns from Studio Choo would make a great gift for apartment dwellers who live in less-than-ideal plant conditions.

Image above: An easy but beautiful wooden heart wall-art piece would make a great gift for a loved one.

Image above: Erica Domesek’s astrology wall art is a cool, unexpected way to give a personalized present.

Image above: Create a customized portrait of someone by making these painterly silhouettes depicting their favorite objects.

Image above: Someone who loves to travel would appreciate their own version of Halligan’s cork board travel map for marking and displaying their previous destinations.

Image above: Brenna’s elegant and easy-to-make botanical silhouette wall art

Image above: Give someone a trio of homemade tramp art frames.

Image above: The bbbcraft sisters’ recycled roadmap silhouette cork board

Image above: These embroidered logs are another way to give someone a personalized gift.

Image above: You could use a family member’s dusty old trophies and make them fresh, modern and useful with this coat rack DIY from Colleen (ask permission first, of course!).

Odds & Ends

Image above: Ashley’s easy + adorable vintage postcard calendar journal would make a great gift for coworkers, friends or family.

Image above: This trio of rope bowls is quick and easy to make in a variety of different materials.

Image above: Give your cat some holiday love with this adorable recycled fabric catnip mouse.

Image above: Ashley’s vintage tin candles are a great way to turn old containers into beautiful new gifts.

Image above: An old globe with a fresh + modern chalkboard treatment would make a unique and stylish gift.

Image above: Brenna’s pretty monogrammed stationery set.

Image above: Make a roll-up organizer for your favorite knitter or craft enthusiast.

Image above: A collection of customized bookplates would be great for bibliophiles or collectors.

Image above: A solid perfume in a pretty antique locket would make a lovely gift for the ladies on your list.

Image above: For those on your list with a fireplace or an outdoor firepit, try making a gift set of these pretty pinecone firestarters from the bbbcraft sisters.

Image above: Derek & Lauren’s felt door pocket keeps things neatly organized.

Image above: Make a couple of Halligan’s faceted gem planter pots for a garden enthusiast on your holiday gift list.

Image above: Ashley’s vintage typewriter tin valentine could easily be adapted for a winter holiday gift, as well.

Image above: Personalize a Pendleton throw with a love note for a cozy, thoughtful gift.

Image above: Miniature Zen gardens made out of old Altoids tins

Image above: A set of embroidered note cards on recycled cardboard paper would make a lovely, low-cost, eco-friendly gift.

Image above: Another gift for your beloved feline companion(s), the original recycled cardboard kitty scratch pad.

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