Seven Handmade Gift Ideas That Don’t Suck

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  October 17, 2013 — 2 Comments

It’s that time of year! The holiday season is fast approaching and most of us are starting to think about what we may give as gifts. I am all about the handmade gift but let’s be honest, many times they’re more trouble than they’re worth and not all that fun to receive. Being the die-hard DIYer that I am I can’t abandon them entirely-I’ve found it’s actually best for me to take store-bought items and put them together or enhance them in a way that is a little more special (and can help stretch my budget). Behold, my list of handmade-ish gifts I wouldn’t mind giving or receiving.

  1. Gift basket-fill a basket, pretty bowl, or galvanized tub with various goodies you think the recipient will enjoy. Examples: wine, cheese, crackers, popcorn, coffee, chocolate, books, candy, cookies, beer, craft supplies, etc.. You can read more about this one I made for my dad here. The possibilities are endless.
  2. Bath oil-look for pretty bottles at the thrift store, craft store, or online. Fill each one with a few drops of essential oil like lavender or chamomile and a carrier oil like castor, sunflower, coconut, or even olive oil. Bonus: add a stem or two of dried flowers to the bottle for looks. You could use the same idea to make infused olive oil or vinegar for someone who likes to cook.
  3. Personalized mug-for the friend who loves coffee or tea. You can freehand it with a sharpie like I did here, or use a stencil to apply a monogram or some other design, or paint a rectangle on the side with chalkboard paint
  4. Simple jewelry-glue vintage buttons or some other pretty little thing to basic earring posts or ring blanks from the craft store (see the earrings I made here)
  5. Embellished tea towel-perhaps with a handwritten recipe like I did recently or use fabric paint, sharpie, or thread to apply a monogram or other design. Here’s a fun tutorial on embellishing them with fabric markers. I’ve been wanting to learn how to embroider and this would be an excellent reason to do so.
  6. Get fancy with a gift card-glue a gift card inside a DIY snow jardiy snow jar (422x570)
  7. Candles-make basic white pillar candles a little bit more special by dip-dying them, wrapping them in rope, twine, ribbon, or burlap, or transfer a design to them using the tissue paper technique explained here. (alternative: turn vintage teacups into candles a la Martha)

And if you’re not up to DIYing or thrift store hunting yourself definitely check out Etsy! The key to giving any inexpensive gift is in the presentation. Remove any ugly packaging and wrap it up beautifully to show that what you lack in disposable income you make up for in affection. You can’t go wrong with brown paper and string, but if that’s not your jam consider wrapping with scrap pieces of fabric, shredded paper, or even just a simple ribbon.

Thanks for reading, y’all, and have a happy Thursday!


Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


2 responses to Seven Handmade Gift Ideas That Don’t Suck

  1. Great list! Love it all! I think you’re right. I try so hard to DIY stuff and then it looks like crap and I feel bad gifting it. So semi-homemade may be the way to go!

    Martha just blew my mind. I never really checked out her stuff and just assumed her design wasn’t my style. But I love that teacup idea!

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