DIY Home

23 Homemade Gifts for Folks You Really Love

Step one: clear an afternoon.

April 30, 2020
Photo by Food52

A handmade gift is to be long-cherished: You took the time make something start to finish for someone other than yourself. It's also incredibly rewarding for the maker: You alone produced that long-cherished thing, with no help! Bravo to you.

Below, I've rounded up some of my favorite DIY projects (some from Food52, others from great crafters the internet over) that make special, simple and unique gifts. They require little funds and time, but are big on return.

With a bit of advance planning and a quick online order (or, if you can, a quick walk to a large craft store such as Michael's, or a hardware store), you can be everyone's favorite deliverer of warm and fuzzies.

From-Scratch Scented Candle

Soy candle making is a quick, fairly inexpensive project with tons of room for your creativity to shine—aka, the ideal DIY. It's a great way to use up old jars and you’ll never lack eager recipients for your experiments!

Homemade Scrub in a Jar

A DIY sugar body scrub is non-toxic, eco friendly and practically edible! It’s so easy and makes great gifts too!

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Here are more DIY beauty products for you—and yours

DIY Terranium

Check out a guide like this one, from Gardenista, to put together a closed terrarium. The best part about it? You can even make one in an old mason jar! (Go on, make an extra one to keep.)

Leather Coasters

Make a set of 4 or 6, stack them and finish with a ribbon. The leather makes this handmade gift feel luxurious (when really, you used a sharpie, too! It's got that high-low thing going on).

Two more coaster DIY's, both wooden:

Jewelry Bags

Photo by Purl Soho

Made with shimmering mineral linen, these drawstring bags from the talented ladies of Purl Soho will make the Type-A on your gift list swoon: They're great for shoes, delicates when traveling, even jewelry. If you have access to a sewing machine and a ruler, you can make this project.

DIY Drink Umbrellas

Photo by Food52

Everybody deserves to enjoy a little beach, some sunshine, and some sort of colorful, pineapple-decked drink. A beach may not be where you're heading right now, but that shouldn’t stop us from pretending. Enter, these paper drink umbrellas.

Wooden Trivets

Architectural and incredibly sturdy (they hold a ton of weight!), these split-ball trivets are so pretty, they don't even need wrapping. Perfect for the home or design enthusiast on your list and they can be made in about one hour, start to finish.

Two more trivet DIY's, one rope and one quilted:

Parchment Paper Votives

Grab some old 25-cent votives, pull out a roll of parchment paper, and grab a pair of scissors. A few minutes later, voila! An array of custom-made lighting fixtures to tuck next to flower arrangements on side tables, between bottles of wine, or you know...anywhere.

Scented Sachets

Lavender and linen combine in this hand-sewn DIY to make any drawer (even a sock drawer) smell like heaven. Great for stacking and finishing with a bow, these will last in the drawers of friends and family members for over a year.

Bead-and-Tassel Necklaces

Photo by Purl Soho

These DIY necklaces are available in six sophisticated palettes and packaged in an easy-to-follow kit from Purl Soho. I'd make gift them to my sister and mom in a second.

Two more necklace DIYs, in yarn and milk jug ring (!):

Minimal Candlesticks

If you're traveling for the holidays, these modern candlesticks can be made and stowed with ease in a suitcase or carry-on. Mix and match the designs you make and give them as a set—perhaps tied to your favorite pair of tapers. (A wooden variation, here.)

A Modern Wreath

Photo by Honestly WTF

A trip to your backyard or a visit to the garden supply center (if foraging isn't your thing), a few yards of velvet ribbon and something to serve as your base—you've got yourself a handmade, modern wreath like this one by HonestlyWTF.

Two more wintry wreath DIYs:

Hand-Stamped Napkins

This is the perfect project to get the kids involved. Set up an assembly line to make sets of 2, 4, or 6. And if you have way too much fun making your own custom napkins to stop, then try these DIY batik ones next.

Something Edible

Photo by James Ransom

Gifts are not everyone’s love language. Some prefer a thoughtful card or phone call. But no one, and I mean no one, can say no to a homemade cookie, caramels, muesli, or bar. Here are 16 edible gifts to consider:

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