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Sculptures, Prints, Photos & Paintings That Prove Art Can Be an Excellent Gift

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Day 24 of 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving: Give art.

No matter how well you know somebody—sister, bestie, lover, mom, grandpa, even an ex—the idea of giving them art as a gift might seem like a very tricky game to play. Art is personal, after all. Style is, too. But if you do a little thinking about the kind of art they might like—and always, always err on the size of a small piece to add to their collection—the gift of art can be one of the most meaningful.

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Here are lots of ways to give the gift of art, depending on who you're loving on.

Print Hanging Frame

Print Hanging Frame

From $68
Archromo Planter

Archromo Planter

$75

for the ceramics-obsessed

A small clay sculpture

For anyone who appreciates—and likes to show off—a hand-thrown mug or collection of speckled soup bowls, small ceramic sculptures can be an excellent transition into the world of fine art.

Cone 3, by Lindsey Hampton

Cone 3, by Lindsey Hampton

Double-U, by Virginia Sin

Double-U, by Virginia Sin

Uprise Art's Hand Thrown collection features unique, small scale, ceramic sculptures—many from artists who otherwise turn out functional ceramics (like our very own Virginia Sin).

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for the cook

A reference print

The perfect blend of useful and cheeky, a print that will actually help you in the kitchen, and be delightful to look at all the while. We're partial to Rochester-based Chickpea's how-to versions, and also this recipe for pickles, wonderfully illustrated, by Claudia Pearson.

Pickling Print

Pickling Print

$20
Egg Replacements Print

Egg Replacements Print

$15

A kitchen illustration

Earlier this year, the editor John Donohue left the New Yorker to focus on his drawings, calling his craft a fatherhood survival tool. Before leaving the magazine, he'd logged 150+ renderings of his dish rack alone, some of which are now for sale in his online shop—along with lots of other prints of household objects—Eat Draw Repeat.

Don't Let the Demons of Your Past Beat You, by John Donohue

Don't Let the Demons of Your Past Beat You, by John Donohue

Advice for Those Wanting Sympathy, John Donohue

Advice for Those Wanting Sympathy, John Donohue

A special offer from John for Food52 readers: Use the code "Food52" at checkout on Eat Draw Repeat for 10% off (and free shipping!).

Food art (including, but not limited to, still lifes)

Food52 Photography Prints, Fall & Winter Series (Signed Limited Edition)

Food52 Photography Prints, Fall & Winter Series (Signed L...

From $40
10 Way-Cute Artworks that Celebrate Tomatoes (And Where To Buy Them Online)

10 Way-Cute Artworks that Celebrate Tomatoes (And Where T... by Amanda Sims

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for the sentimentalist

A framed keepsake

Encased behind glass, many relics of good memories will take on an elevated, artistic quality—be that a dried sprig of leaves from a tree in your new neighborhood, a beloved recipe card, or a printed photograph of a time you shared together (20 other ideas, below).

23 Ordinary Objects You Can Gift-ify By Framing Them
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23 Ordinary Objects You Can Gift-ify By Framing Them

A rendering of something they love

Cheesy as it sounds, a drawing of one's beloved cat or dog, a watercolor of their childhood home, or a print of their first post-college place of residence will tug at even a cynic's heartstrings.

Custom Dog Portrait, by Doggy Arts

Custom Dog Portrait, by Doggy Arts

Chicago Art Print, Mr. Boddington

Chicago Art Print, Mr. Boddington

Search for custom pet illustrators on Etsy—yes, it's a thing—if you don't know a person in your hometown who has taken this up as a profession. And for city prints, we love the illustrated ones in Mr. Boddington's Studio (above, right) and these line drawings from Handled With Care.

Meaningful objects

An antique mold, a rugged gemstone, sand in a vintage stoppered jar—they might not be fine art, but they do well displayed on open shelves alongside books, and plants, and glassware.

In Defense of Gifts That Serve No Purpose
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In Defense of Gifts That Serve No Purpose

for parents

A handmade silhouette

Using just a printer, a copy machine, and a good pair of scissors, you can make professional-looking silhouettes. Just follow the tutorial at the end of this article to make versions of the ones below and have them framed for your recipient.

If Kristen Miglore Let Us Plan Her Wedding...
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If Kristen Miglore Let Us Plan Her Wedding...

for your friends who studied art history

Construction-paper art

By cutting out a few triangles of construction paper and gluing them side-by-side, like this, you'll end up with a first-rate modern composition whoever you give it to will be able to iterate on themselves. Just tell them it's Flavin-inspired.

Make This Crazy-Easy Artwork, Marvel at Your Craftiness
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Make This Crazy-Easy Artwork, Marvel at Your Craftiness

for oudoorsy folk

Nature prints & photography

Make cobalt blue sun prints, also known as cyanotypes, using branches and leaves or even household objects. Or purchase a nature photograph, like this lovely watery one (below, right) from online art website Saatchi.

How to Make Sun Prints from Any Object in Your Home (or Yard)

How to Make Sun Prints from Any Object in Your Home (or Y... by rinne allen

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Daffodils, by Monika Fabijanczyk

Daffodils, by Monika Fabijanczyk

for small-space dwellers

A trivets that doubles as a sculpture

The safest bet for a person who won't accumulate anything that doesn't serve many purposes? A kitchen tool that looks so nice it counts as art, too.

How to Make Your Own Knotted Rope Trivets

How to Make Your Own Knotted Rope Trivets by Laura Kaesshaefer

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DIY These Wooden Trivets (Without Tools!) to Gift to Teachers, Neighbors, Friends

DIY These Wooden Trivets (Without Tools!) to Gift to Teac... by Laura Kaesshaefer

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Mid-Century Modern Trivet

Mid-Century Modern Trivet

From $45
Sun Brass Trivet

Sun Brass Trivet

$120

We lean ours up against the backs of open shelves, like so.

for the college-bound

A neon sign

Admittedly, the cheapest versions of these are beer advertisements, but if you do a little hunting around the internet you can find some reasonably-priced alternatives: open, espresso, love kills, to name three I dug up in a five-minute Etsy dive. (Basically college in a nutshell.)

L I L' S O M E T H I N' S O M E T H I N' // 👀👌🏼@libertylondon

A photo posted by Lucie (@lucieloves) on

With a typical lifetime of about a decade, the neon sign art gift will last the long after graduation—and they can be recharged to glow anew even after that point.

anyone you want to make smile

Inexpensive, unique, uplifting, and all loveable:

Mysic Toad Limited Edition Print, Hallie Batemen

Mysic Toad Limited Edition Print, Hallie Batemen

Red Flowers, by People I've Loved

Red Flowers, by People I've Loved

Playing Again 4, by Duealberi

Playing Again 4, by Duealberi

Summer of 67, by SeptemberWren

Summer of 67, by SeptemberWren

Do you ever give art as a gift? Share your favorite artists (or crafty ways to make art) in the comments.

Tags: 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving