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Personalize Your Gifts with DIY Ideas and Make Them Special (On a Budget)

Updated on February 10, 2014

No matter the time of year or occasion it always helps to save money. Even when giving gifts for Christmas, Birthdays, or any other time of the year we may not always have enough money to purchase what we want for our loved ones but if we can make things ourselves, make nice gifts that will please and be appreciated, that will solve at least one dilemma in our lives. Below are some simple-to-execute gift personalization ideas for various people in our lives on those special occasions (or just when we feel like it).

Boys gift ideas:

1) Jenga games make for good finger coordination and fun! Purchase a large plastic bag of sponges in assorted sizes then cut them up into a wide variety of sizes and shapes, keeping them flat so they will stack. Show him how to stack the “blocks” of sponge to make as tall a tower as possible. When the games are over simply put the sponge pieces back into the plastic bag until next time.

2) Play Dough never goes out of style for kids of all ages! Easy to make clay like dough that will last for days and keep interest for hours on end, play dough is made from a cup of flour, cup of water, ½ cup of salt, 2 TBS vegetable oil, 2 TBS cream of tartar, plus some “color” from items such as spinach, beet, or carrot juice. If they do eat it there is nothing in it but healthy ingredients. Simply cook the flour, oil, salt, and water over a medium heat in a saucepan until the “dough” is stiff. Roll out onto wax paper to cool, then knead it with your fingers until it feels “right”. Form into balls when you add in a teaspoon or so of coloring. Combine some of the colors to make new and intriguing colors.

3) Make bath time enjoyable for small boys by adding a toy or scary object into a bar of soap. Add a rubber snake or waterproof kids “meal” toy inside some glycerin soap that you’ve melted down. Let the soap cool before placing in the toy and form into an oval shaped bar of soap (use paper cups and simply cut them away) as it cools. This could also work for girls if you put in small pieces of jewelry or trinkets.

Girls gift ideas:

1) Thrill her with felt and flower headbands. Easy to put together you can make some in a variety of colors and flower sizes. Buy a length of stretchy elastic ribbon so you can make several bands. Use almost any fabric but felt seems to work best and comes in a wide assortment of colors. A glue gun and scissors are all it takes to make “flowers”. Make a form or just free cut into flowery shapes and glue four of them to the elastic band. Spread the flowers out to form one larger blossom.

2) Make felt stuffed toys for cuddling. Simple to make and beloved for years (if they don’t wear them out), all you will need is a pattern or two, some leftover felt material, and some ribbon or marking pen. Make patterns for what you intend to make by drawing on material that has been folded in half. Cut the material and sew up about 80% of it, then turn it inside out and stuff with cotton or wool batting (an old pillow’s innards will work fine) just be sure the child is not allergic to any materials you may use. Finally sew up the remaining hole and draw on some eyes, nose, and mouth or glue or sew on big eyes and a smiling mouth. Don’t forget to add some floppy ears if it’s a dog! Use your imagination!

Silly putty or play dough is also fun for girls. Use the formula above for play dough or go with a more rubbery consistence like a putty with two cups of baking soda mixed with 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 ½ cups of water. This can be mixed with a little beet juice for pink color or use spinach juice from a can for green.

Made by our kids: No matter the season or reason for gifts we love them!

Children don’t usually have much to spend at Christmas, Easter, or Grandma’s Birthday but they don’t need cash to make some of these great gift ideas:

1) A few simple ingredients will make a great room freshener, especially suitable for holidays. Mix a few cinnamon sticks with Star Anise, and fresh pine cones. Place them into a plastic bag and tie with colorful ribbon. Add a simple tie string so it can be hung from a door or hallway.

2) Make a heart shaped fridge magnet with a few simple ingredients. You will want some polymer clay, a magnet back, glue, and a heart shaped cookie cutter. The magnetic backs can be purchased at a craft shop and glue is available nearly everywhere. Let the child decide on color and size then help show them how to form the clay and cut with cutter before allowing it to dry. Add on an “I Love You Grandma” or something using thin rolls of clay in a contrasting color.

3) Photo collages are an excellent way to say I love you from the kids or grand kids. Simply purchase a frame maybe 16” x 24” or larger. Have the child select a variety of photographs of themselves and space them out onto a measured area on a piece of construction paper that is slightly larger than the frame itself. Mark then cut around the photos and use that as a template. Next turn the paper over and stick those photos onto it from behind and tape or glue them down. Turn the construction paper over and fit it into the frame. This can also be an assortment of photographs of the entire family for a great memorable gift.

This photo collage can also be sent digitally. Have your kid work on the collage and add his personalized touches in his own handwriting and then scan and email the collage. This will make for a great instant gift and you can either mail the original through post or keep it for giving it personally when grandma visits.

Gifts are fun .. for everyone

Everybody loves receiving a gift, but not many people like choosing one. It can be a real puzzler for someone who is not tuned in to the other person's preferences or personality. In those cases generic gifts like show pieces or wall clocks or kitchenware can suffice.


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