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Handmade Christmas Gifts for Kids

Updated on November 15, 2012

Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids!

A nice list of Christmas gifts for kids to make, and Christmas gifts to make for kids!

This lens showcases creative, high quality gift-making ideas with kids in mind. Remember when you were little, and it came time for gift-giving? Your little heart wanted to give or make something that you felt confident would be appreciated by the intended recipient, but most kids are faced with limited resources and inspiration. Well, here's some help so you can serve a youngster in this situation, AND perhaps find a great idea or two for treasured gifts you can make a little person.

Salt Dough Button Art

My littlest rugrat made this adorable set of salt dough buttons for me when he was about 9 years old. He painted them in colors to match my decor (bless his darling little heart), then together we mounted and framed them in a second-hand frame.

The button holes were made by punching with a drinking straw. We chose natural garden twine for the button strings, as it gives a primitive feel. We also tore the paper edges by hand to keep with the rustic charm of these buttons.

Salt Dough Recipe

2 c. all purpose flour

1 c. fine salt (finer = smoother dough)

1 c. warm water

Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Bake at 200 degrees F until hard when tapped. Once dry and cool, paint with acrylics, and seal with a varnish.

Finished salt dough projects should be displayed in low moisture areas. For more complete salt dough instructions and ideas, see

IOU Coupons

My kids used to give me coupons for chores, and even massages - all awesome gifts to receive! If you want to encourage your kids to make IOU coupons, remember the trick to making them really work is to mentally prepare young givers to cheerfully fulfill them when called upon.

The templates at right are a gift to the public domain. You may Right Click and Save As to your hard drive, then print them out for your kids to color and use. Cheers!

Finishing tip: The coupons are really cute to present cut out, hole punched and tied together with a ribbon.

Christmas gifts for kids to make - stick vase
Christmas gifts for kids to make - stick vase

Stick Vase, Plant Pot, or ???

A beautifully rustic vase or plant pot can be made by tying sticks together, then securing them to a center form (vase, pot, or box, etc.). This project is actually quite time consuming, and will have kids thoroughly engaged for a time.

Sticks must first be gathered (the straighter the sticks, the better), dried if needed, then cut to desired length using garden clippers. Using garden twine or raffia, the sticks are then tied together as shown (it helps to rotate the ties one over, one under, one over, one under, etc., as this will keep the sticks from wanting to spiral on the string when lifted). You will need roughly 5x your desired finished circumference length in string. To keep it manageable, simply wrap your working ends in balls which are unwrapped as needed with each stick added.

The sticks are then tied onto a perpendicularly straight-sided vessel. Tin cans, glass jars, terracotta pottery, or wooden boxes are all good choices. Depending on your chosen vessel you may need to "color" it before applying the sticks. For example, in the picture shown here we decoupaged brown construction paper to a glass vase.

These "natural" containers are stunning when used in country floral displays.

"Laminated" Keepsake Book Marks

As an avid reader, I personally adore receiving keepsake bookmarks! Shown here is one showcasing a picture of me and my first grand-baby. As this little one was born in the month of September, the tiny fall leaves are perfect as accents. This bookmark has a micro-macrame string for the tassel, which older kids can easily do. Younger kids can add beads, or other creative touches.

Although you can purchase iron-on laminate, this bookmark was covered in clear packaging tape. The only caution with tape is you don't want to pull it too taught when you go to lay it on the finished bookmark, or the bookmark will have a permanent curl. (Although you can tape the backside of the bookmark, too, to help counter the effect should it happen.)

Photos, stickers, pressed flowers and leaves, drawings, and puffy paints are all fun to use on handmade bookmarks :-)

Potato Stamp & Bottle Cap Checkers Set

This project is simple and fun, and in the end, true keepsakes can be made!

To make the board you'll need a large piece of heavy paper that can accept moisture (paint or stain). In pencil lightly mark off a 10 x 10-inch square with (64) 1.25-inch squares in between (8 squares wide by 8 squares high). Next, cut a 1.25-inch square potato "stamp" as shown. Using watercolors, acrylics, or ink, use the potato to stamp color into every other square. Non-perfection actually looks charming!

To make the bottle cap checkers, simply decorate 2 sets of 12 checkers (24 checkers total). If needed, bottle caps can be purchased new and unfinished through craft stores, or online.

Optional: To make the board more durable the paper can be mounted to cardboard or lumber, and a varnish finish can be applied.

Glass Magnet Set in Presentation Box

Glass magnet sets, or themed glass magnet sets, make beautiful art for the kitchen. Keep in mind, however, that because of the super-type glues that must be used for this project, it isn't a project suitable for very small children.

Essentially you use E6000 glue to mount a tiny cut-out image onto the flat side of a flattened glass "marble" (available through craft stores), then you use the same glue to mount a strong circle magnet onto the back of the image and glass. The glue takes a long time to dry, so set the finished pieces where they won't be disturbed for a day or two.

Presented in a pretty little wooden box, they "feel" very luxurious as gifts (the wood box shown here cost $1.50 at my local craft store).

To decide a magnet theme, consider the recipient's tastes and interests: Flowers? Victoriana? Cows? Roosters? Vegetables? Of course the kids can also draw or paint little images to make the magnets all the more special. You can also digitize and shrink works of art your kids have done so that they can be used to make the magnets. You can also use family photos, pressed flowers, or postage stamps.

Printable Color Cards

New! First of its kind on the market

Along with gift-giving, kids can make their own beautiful greeting cards for Christmas (and other holidays and special occasions) using the templates in this reproducible activities book. Just color, cut and paste. Book is available as an instant pdf download, or in print. Author's Storefront

$4.99 instant pdf download

Amazon / CreateSpace

$12.99 softcover

Images of finished coloring cards, as well as a free coloring card sample downlaod are available on sister lens,

Magnet Paper Dolls, Etc..

Magnet paper dolls, games, and playhouse sets are fun to make, and to play with! Shown here is a zebra doll that one of my girls made when she was about 11 years old. It still hangs on my refrigerator, and I adore it. You could make ANY kind of doll or game set, and the kids will thoroughly enjoy them as gifts!

We made our magnet toys using rolled sheets of magnet with peel-n-stick backing (available through craft stores). Our images were first made using color pencils and ink pens on standard typing paper, but you could use any kind of paper and medium. In fact, a little heavier paper might prevent the glue from eventually bleeding through the artwork. (It took a couple of years before this began to happen on ours.)

Trim the artwork first, mount to the magnet sheet, then cut out individual pieces using the drawing lines. Super easy!

Make a Dollhouse

Dress-up Trunk

One of the most enjoyable gifts I ever put together for my girls, was a dress up trunk. I shopped second hand stores, craft stores, and I made a few items to round it out. For the trunk I put lid hinges on a sturdy box with a removable top, then decoupaged it. It took a beating over the years, but what love it received!

As for shoes, well, there's always an amazing supply of teeny-tiny adult women's shoes at second hand stores... priced cheap because nobody can fit into them! You can also find costume slippers and such at your local dollar store.

It really only takes four or five dresses to start with, then you just add a nice variety of inexpensive jewelry, scarves, hand bags, and hats. My girls, now all grown up, still talk about their dress-up trunk!

Heirloom Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

If you have access to a scroll saw and blades, you can easily make heirloom jigsaw puzzles! You can purchase inexpensive face art off eBay, or use old calendars or book pages for the face art, or If you're artistically inclined you can use laser-printed copies of your work as the puzzle face. Very special for gift-giving, even to a child!

The various blade options, glue options, cutting styles, and finishing options are fully covered in The History and Craft of Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles, which is a product of

$7.99 instant pdf download in full color

$7.99 instant pdf download in full color


$14.99 softcover, black and white interior

Bug Box and Bug Net

Bug boxes are super easy to make. Just cut out an opening in the lid of a box or food container (leaving a lip for gluing), and glue in a piece of window screen. I just use hot glue on all my bug boxes.

From there you can have a field day decorating! I particularly like decoupage on board boxes for this project, but doing embossing with puffy paints also makes for a nice artsy finish.

Need bug dishes? Bottle caps work great!

You can also add a homemade bug net to the bug box. Just take a clothes hanger and shape it in an "O" (do not undo the neck), then measure the O and stitch a net sack to size out of tulle netting (available at fabric stores for cheap). Hand stitch the sack to the O. Now take the hanger hook and straighten it out. Drill a receiving hole in the end of a wooden dowel or stick, and glue the hanger into the handle. You can optionally just duct tape the hanger to the handle.

Super easy, and very fun!

Marshmallow Blow Guns

One of THE BEST presents Santa ever brought us was marshmallow blow guns! We had an all out rowdy good time indoors that year, and I found harmless little marshmallows stuck in the most amazing places for a full year to follow!

To make these blow guns you'll need 3/4-inch PVC pipe cut into 2-foot lengths (I used a chop saw, but you can use a small-tooth hand saw). You'll need thin 1-inch nails, a drill and bit for nail holes, and duct tape for a decorative finish.

You can barely see it in the picture here, but you'll want to install a marshmallow stopper one-inch in on the mouth end of each blow gun (prevents accidental marshmallow inhalation). This is done by drilling pilot holes clear through one end of each blow gun, then inserting a nail through the holes, and trimming the nail tip with pliers. File smooth if necessary.

Last, just wrap the blow guns in duct tape, and you're good to go!

Homemade Chalk Board

Homemade chalk boards are extremely easy to make, and kids LOVE them!

All you need is a nice size piece of wood fiberboard / pressboard that is smooth and free of gouges on one side (home improvement stores often carry pieces already cut to size). To this you'll just spray on a chalk board finish, which you can also get in the paint department of variety and home improvement stores. Once that is done you just add hangers of your choice, or you can frame it for hanging.

Although not absolutely necessary, our homemade chalkboard really appreciated smooth, dust-free chalks, which were a little more expensive. You'll have to experiment. Want good chalk? Just ask a teacher where to get the good stuff!

Flannel Board Set

Any story or theme can be used in making flannel board sets. All you do is glue picture cut-outs to flannel and trim, and also cover a wood or cardboard "story board" with flannel. The kids can then add and remove little pictures from the flannel board as their imaginations lead.

Wooden Blocks

If you have access to the tools for cutting lumber, you can easily make a wooden building block set for a youngster. Painted or not, they are really good for helping kids build dexterity, use their imagination, and experiment with cause and effect.

Wooden blocks can be cut from just about any type of lumber. Your local lumber yard can offer suggestions for the best splinter-free wood choices. Cutting your blocks is the first step, but the sanding step is the most important to exercise patience with. You'll want to make all edges slightly round to minimize possible injury to a young child, and to decrease the possibility of splintering.

Next is to finish. Again, ask your local building supply expert which finishes are safe for toddlers to put in their mouths. They'll be able to steer you right.

Last, you'll want to sew some kind of storage bag for the blocks. A heavy fabric, such as denim, is a good, durable choice. You can even personalize the fabric bag with fabric paints (available through craft stores), or you can digitally design a bag label which your local t-shirt shop can transfer onto the bag for you.

Your Comments are Welcome! - Happy holidays!

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    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 

      8 years ago from Nashville, TN

      This is such a fun lens. thanks.

    • puerdycat lm profile image

      puerdycat lm 

      8 years ago

      Thank you! Just love "Christmas doll house for Storm." Have the very best Holidays!


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