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What Are the Different Types of DIY Gifts?

Brandi L. Brown
Brandi L. Brown

Do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts are becoming more common as people turn to increasingly creative ways to save money. DIY gifts provide a way to create a personalized gift while saving money. With that said, knowing the best type of personalized gift to make can present a challenge for people who do not view themselves as crafty or creative. Three common categories of DIY gifts are arts and crafts, photographs and woodworking.

Arts and crafts gifts use skills people have to create things that work well as gifts. Knitting and crocheting are two common skills that can be used to make DIY craft gifts. Before embarking on this type of project, be sure to plan a gift the person will enjoy. While someone in a cold climate may well appreciate scarves and woolen socks, others may feel such a gift is generic. When planning a knitting or crocheting project, think about something the person may use, such as a crocheted cup holder for a friend who’s a teacher or a knitted and felted bowl for someone who enjoys hosting company.

Knitting projects can make good DIY gifts.
Knitting projects can make good DIY gifts.

Photographic gifts include both digital and print pictures and video. Taking a few pictures of something meaningful for the recipient and then scrapbooking them offers a nice gift. Framed photos of pets or happy events are frugal gifts that can bring great enjoyment. Pictures of landscapes put into beautiful frames or made into a calendar make excellent gifts.

Designing bookmarks makes an excellent DIY gift for a bookworm.
Designing bookmarks makes an excellent DIY gift for a bookworm.

Also consider using free or inexpensive video creation software to turn a series of photos into a video. Many of these programs also have simple ways to add favorite songs or classical tunes to the show. Consider creating a video and then burning it onto DVDs for multiple family members' Christmas gifts.

Woodworking gifts also offer a chance to show off your care and creative talents. Basic woodworking projects involve selecting pre-cut pieces of wood and painting, decoupaging or staining and sealing them. These gifts often make better choices for people who aren’t as sentimental and wouldn’t enjoy the photographic gift ideas. DIY gifts of woodworking can hang on walls or sit on shelves and have a nice, polished look.

A gift of homemade bread is always thoughtful.
A gift of homemade bread is always thoughtful.

DIY gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Try out something interesting, such as attaching buttons to a tea cup to make a button-collecting cup for a sewing aficionado or using ribbon to design bookmarks for the bookworm in your life. The only limit to DIY gifts is your own imagination.

Discussion Comments


My friends and I have a tradition regarding gift-giving. Each year, we make Christmas ornaments for each other. This reduces the stress caused by having to pick out the perfect gift, because we always know what we are going to give.

We usually get our supplies from a hobby store. I love using glass ornaments that I can fill with different things and paint on, but one of my friends prefers to use porcelain. She is a good painter, and her work looks best on this material.

We use this opportunity to illustrate some special event that has occurred in our lives in the past year. The year my friend became pregnant, I painted “Congratulations!” on her ornament, along with a blue ribbon and a stork.

This makes it personal and special. We don't just do generic candy cane drawings and tinsel.


As an adolescent, I had only a few bucks from my allowance, but I wanted to give several people Christmas gifts. I found a way to make them myself, and I only had to buy one thing.

I had found a potholder loom at a store that was pretty cheap. The material for the potholders looked like cloth ponytail holders, and I bought a big bag of mixed colors.

I used two colors for each potholder. I stretched them across the loom the way the instruction booklet said to do, and I wound up with a real potholder! It even had a little loop handle on one corner.


@StarJo - That is a wonderful gift idea. I'm sure your dad appreciated it.

I made a calendar for my best friend when I was a teenager, but it didn't look as professional as yours probably looked. We had several inside jokes, so I illustrated each of them with colored pencils.

For example, I once put a “Beware of Moose” sign in her front yard, and she lives on a busy highway. She wanted to kill me when she saw it, but even she had to admit it was funny.

When you incorporate little things like this into a gift, it becomes really special. I had no hole punch, so I had to use scissors and embroidery thread to tie it all together. Even though it was crude, she loved it because of the sentiment.


I made a calendar for my dad for Christmas one year. Our beloved Weimaraner had died that spring, and we had gotten another one soon after to help us deal with our grief. For the calendar, I used pictures of both dogs and alternated months.

On the cover, I made a collage of several photos and used decorative type to spell out their names and the year. January had our first dog with a soda bottle in her mouth, February had our puppy drinking from the outside faucet, and every month had some precious photo.

I found a website with the days of the following year in calendar form, and I downloaded the file to use in my calendar. I used a three-hole punch on all of the pages, and I bound everything together with separate metal rings. I also punched a single hole in the center of every page that would need to hang on a nail.


@Mykol - I know exactly what you mean about looking forward to hand made gifts from friends. I have a friend who is an excellent baker and very artistic.

Every year for the holidays she has the most unique and special gifts. Because she is so creative, you never know what she is going to give you, and I always look forward to it!

She doesn't have a lot of extra money, so her gifts are usually quite simple and often contain recycled materials she has around her house.

One year she gave me a loaf of homemade bread, a jar of strawberry jam she had made, and a jar of her own honey. This was all beautifully assembled in a basket with a huge bow tied on it.

It not only looked festive and attractive, but was filled with such goodness! It was nice to receive a holiday treat that wasn't just candy and cookies - although I like those too!


When I make DIY gifts I always try to make sure the person receiving the gift will enjoy it and use it.

I love to work with any kind of yarn and am always working on some kind of project. One of my friends was really admiring a scarf I had made for myself.

I knew this would be a perfect DIY birthday gift for her. Because I knew which colors she liked, I was able to choose something that would go well with her coat.

I love giving a gift when I know they will be excited to receive it and actually use it. Time is too precious too waste if they don't like the gift you have made for them.

Just because you are making a DIY gift, doesn't mean it has to be cheaply done. I think the gifts I treasure the most are those that are handmade. These are usually done by very talented people, and are often much nicer than a store bought gift.


I love making DIY gift for friends and family for a lot of reasons. I don't have a lot of extra money to spend for gifts, and this is a great way I can give them a nice gift without going over my budget.

Most people really appreciate a hand made gift, as they know the time and effort it takes to make something like this. They are also unique gifts that require thought and time.

When my kids were young I always made a photo calendar for the grandparents. Each month showed a different picture of their grand kids. They absolutely loved getting this gift every year. I know if I ever stopped doing it, they would have been very disappointed.

It was just as fun for us to make them, as I let the kids help me pick out which pictures they wanted to include in the calendar.


There are literally tens of thousands of different DIY crafts that you could potentially give as gifts. I could make posts on here all week and still not tell you about them all. But let me tell you about one of my favorites.

I really like making simple books. You can make a handsome looking book with just some paper, cardboard and staples or thread. Sometimes I will make a nice looking book filled with blank pages and give it to someone as a journal or sketch book.

Other times I will makes the book and then fill it with pictures and text that somehow relate to the person receiving the gift. For instance, I have a good friend who recently turned 30. She loves cats. I made a book where I imagined her as a cat. She climbed trees, slept, ate tuna. The face of the cat I drew had her haircut and her glasses. She loved it and it was a nice personalized gift that you would not have been able to find anywhere else.


Can anyone recommend some good DIY gifts for her?

My girlfriend's going to be graduating from college soon and I would like to surprise her with something handmade, as I know she really likes things with personal touches. I am not that great a cook, and I am terrible at sewing, but I am not bad at woodworking which I think I could do something with.

There are plenty of things my girlfriend likes including pandas, vampire flicks and reading anything she can get her hands on. So if I can put her interests into a project that would be fantastic.


My family has been struggling to find anniversary gifts for our parents 50th wedding anniversary, and we finally decided to do a variety of DIY gift baskets and DIY gift boxes that we know our parents would love. For our dad we each took it on ourselves to create gifts based around his hobbies of golf and classic cars. For my mom we focused on gardening and sewing.

With the help of a friend we made a gorgeous bouquet of wildflowers for each of them, and a variety of candies shaped like their favorite things. My daughter even went all out making a keepsake box for her grandparents. I think all you need is a good theme to make a memorable DIY gift.


My favorite DIY Christmas gifts are photo ornaments. One year I took snapshots from the Christmas before and made ornaments out of old CDs! This was several years ago, when a lot of stuff still came on CDs; remember those old AOL CDs that used to come in the mail, for instance? And we had a lot of old games and whatnot from previous computers.

What I did was cover the side with writing on it with felt, attaching a ribbon hanger under the felt. Then I cut down the picture into an oval, star, etc. and cut a piece of felt a little bit bigger than the photo. Felt and photo got glued to the shiny side. I used glitter glue to trace around the edge of the felt.

They were popular because I found nice snapshots to use - my brother cuddled up with our nephew and a new book and stuffed animal; my mom with her sisters, wearing jackets she had made for them; my niece with her new dolly. A lot of photo ornaments seem to be made with boring studio-type shots.


My best DIY holiday gifts were ones I did for my parents one year when I was quite broke. Both of them had these sayings they always used and their little ways of doing things, so I made them each a poster of them: "Things I Learned from My Mother" and "Things I Learned from My Father."

They were things like, "If you have to have an answer right now, the answer is 'no'" and "If it's already broken, you might as well take it apart and try to fix it because you already need a new one."

They both got a big kick out of them!


One of the most meaningful DIY birthday gifts you can make is a handmade photo frame with a picture of you and your friend in it. Choosing between all the DIY gift ideas can be hard, but I think that small gift ideas, that are simple to make are the best.

What I did for my best friend's birthday is I made a frame out of some of the shells we had collected at the beach by her family's cottage. It was easy to do with a bit of glue and a little creativity. After I found the perfect picture of us as kids there and wrapped it in some nice paper. My friend got a bit teary looking at it. Great gift for anyone sentimental!

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    • Knitting projects can make good DIY gifts.
      By: picsfive
      Knitting projects can make good DIY gifts.
    • Designing bookmarks makes an excellent DIY gift for a bookworm.
      By: carballo
      Designing bookmarks makes an excellent DIY gift for a bookworm.
    • A gift of homemade bread is always thoughtful.
      By: dolphy_tv
      A gift of homemade bread is always thoughtful.
    • A handmade quilt is something that will be treasured by its recipient.
      By: Catherine Jones
      A handmade quilt is something that will be treasured by its recipient.
    • Handmade jewelry is a DIY gift.
      By: jameslyons
      Handmade jewelry is a DIY gift.
    • Many different kinds of gifts can be made by following crochet patterns.
      By: kulikovan
      Many different kinds of gifts can be made by following crochet patterns.
    • An advanced knitter might knit a sweater as a gift.
      By: Ivan Gulei
      An advanced knitter might knit a sweater as a gift.
    • Do it yourself gifts can include hand-made bookmarks, made with ribbons.
      By: Viorel Sima
      Do it yourself gifts can include hand-made bookmarks, made with ribbons.
    • Children might use different kinds of paint when creating DIY gifts.
      By: crystal kirk
      Children might use different kinds of paint when creating DIY gifts.
    • Handmade Christmas ornaments can make thoughtful gifts.
      By: Ekaterina Garyuk
      Handmade Christmas ornaments can make thoughtful gifts.
    • Gloves are a great DIY gift to give during winter holidays.
      By: adisa
      Gloves are a great DIY gift to give during winter holidays.