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10 DIY gifts for the holidays

Budget and time-friendly projects to give as presents

Adria Cooper, Features Editor
Originally published December 14, 2020

Cartoon by Sam Rainville

The holidays are drawing near and they are going to look a bit different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are the holidays typically a time to exchange gifts, they also are a time to bring family together. COVID-19 may prevent family gatherings, but you can still stay connected to your loved ones by giving them a gift.

This pandemic could have caused you to run low on money, or it may have given you more time to be creative. Either way, a DIY (do it yourself) gift is the perfect solution to both.

Making a gift is a great way to create something meaningful and useful and it also can be some fun. Youtube and TikTok are two helpful resources to help on your DIY journey, but for now, here are 10 DIY gifts for the holiday season (or for any occasion).

1.A Chunky Knit Blanket

These stylish blankets often frequent places such as Target and Home Goods and can cause quite the dent to your bank account. Never fear though, you can create one of your very own using a helpful video and some bulky yarn. 

While this is a more time consuming DIY craft, the product is worth it. This blanket is created by finger knitting 2-6 skeins of bulky yarn together. The skeins are usually $10 each, but there are tons of sales around the holidays so you can often cut that price in half.

There are tons of options to personalize these blankets as you can pick any colors and combine them. It may take some practice, but soon you will be able to give the perfect give because who doesn’t like a cozy blanket?

Here is a tutorial by Shannon Andersen, just one of the many available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8fXXfnda98 

2.Photo Collage

Anyone can do this DIY. All you need are pictures, which can be printed at Walgreens for $0.23 per picture, a cork board or bulletin board, which can be purchased at your local craft store and thumb tacks. If you want to add an extra step, you can get some cute fabric that you can hot glue onto the bulletin/cork board so that it has a background that you like.

Once you have all the materials, pin the pictures in a pattern that you like. Voila, you have a simple yet meaningful gift to give.

3.Hot Chocolate Balls

These festive treats are basically like edible bath bombs, except for your drink! They are hollow balls of chocolate filled with hot chocolate mix and mini marshmallows. When they are dropped into hot milk they dissolve and leave you with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. 

To make these you will need mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, hot cocoa powder and a semi-sphere silicone mold. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (15 second intervals), and coat the mold. Place the mold in the freezer for 10-15 minutes and remove the chocolate from the mold.

The next step is to fill a semicircle with hot cocoa mix and mini marshmallows. Take an empty semicircle and place it on a pan on low heat for a couple of seconds, then put the two semicircles together and use your finger to smooth the seam. Here is a TikTok by Hebah Bukhari if you need more help: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJqmMdpM/

4.Decorate a Planter with a Collage

    This is a super simple yet unique gift to give. All you need is a planter or pot, magazines, acrylic gesso and modge podge.

    First, prime your pot or planter with acrylic gesso and let it dry. Then you will pick out the images you want from magazines and plan how you want to arrange them. Lastly, set the pictures with modge podge and let it dry.

    Now you have a one-of-a-kind planter that is ready to gift and house a plant baby. For an example here is a TikTok by @ericollage: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJqmjtXY/

5.Recipe Book

    For the person in your life that loves to cook or wants to learn, a personalized recipe book is a thoughtful gift. For this project you will need a blank scrapbook or photo album, recipes and patterned cardstock.

    Cut the cardstock to the size of the page in the scrapbook or photo album and slip it into each page. Collect recipes for the book; they could be family recipes or just some of your loved ones favorites. Write or type the recipes, and make sure they are on a page that is smaller than the cardstock. Slip the recipe in over the cardstock and center it (you can glue it down if you want).

    This creates a personalized recipe book full of recipes that are meaningful and placed over cute paper to add decoration. 

6.A Painting of You and Your Loved One

    Most likely some of you have written this one off as too hard, but wait! It’s actually easier than you think. This particular painting is done by taking a real picture printed out on normal paper, scribbling on the back, placing it on a canvas and tracing the outline. The outline will transfer and then you can fill in the painting with colorful paints. 

    While this explanation may not be enough, this TikTok by Nicole Berry makes it easy to replicate: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJqmRDrn/


    These days there are tutorials for everything on the internet, including rings. Two types that are easy DIY projects are wire wrapped bead rings and utensil rings.

    For wire wrapped bead rings you will need a bead that you line, something circular and some wire (type depends on how thick you want your ring to be). This Youtube video by IndiPendentsJewlery shows you how to make five different wire wrapped bead rings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3xb2zkfNf8&t=258s   

    For the utensil ring you will need a spoon or a fork that is bendy (a good place to look is vintage stores where they will have more orante utensils), something metal that is circular, pliers, a nail file and a hammer. Here is a TikTok by @nejrraa11 that gives instructions: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJqmmx5b/

    Both types of rings are a great gift for your jewelry loving people. An added bonus is you can brag about your ring making skills.

8.Personalized Coasters

    With everyone at home due to the pandemic, coffee tables around the country are taking a beating due to the increased amount of beverages placed on them. Give someone personalised coaster so their tables will survive the pandemic.

    For this project you will need tiles (for the coaster base), modge podge, clear enamel, a foam brush, felt pads and pictures printed from your computer. This project will transfer the picture onto the coaster so that you can basically print anything onto a coaster. 

This Youtube Video by Pennies Not Perfection will show you how to make this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIcX42rJrBk  

9.Bullet Journal

    Bullet journals are part planner and part feelings journal. When on Pinterest search ‘bullet journals’ and hundreds of examples and ideas will pop up. Make one of these creative and interactive journals to give as a gift. 

    There are two ways to make this. If you are more artistically inclined you can draw so you will need pens or whatever other medium you want to use, but if you need more help in the art area you can use templates and stickers found at the craft store. 

    Either way you will need a blank journal that you can fill. Fill the journal with the months, places to write about feelings, book trackers, or whatever you want. Make the journal both fun and useful and you will be able to give the perfect gift.

10.Homemade Mask

    This list would not be complete without a mask; we are in a pandemic after all. There are many different patterns that you can use but they all require the same materials. You will need a cotton fabric (according to the CDC, masks with at least two layers of fabric are most effective) and elastic, as well as a sewing machine or needle and thread (however the CDC does have a pattern for a no-sew mask). 

    Here are some links to mask patterns and tutorials:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-make-cloth-face-covering.html – From the CDC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL8ctct0Dz4 – From Millie and Chloe

Masks are the fashion statement of 2020 so make sure your loved ones have a mask that matches their personality.

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10 DIY gifts for the holidays