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10 Budget-Friendly Handmade Gift Ideas

Updated on April 28, 2013

When you’re on a tight budget, gift giving occasions can cause a great deal of stress. However, there’s no need to panic when faced with the prospect of buying birthday gifts or Christmas presents. There are many easy handmade gift ideas that you can create for your loved ones without spending a small fortune.

  1. Food gifts are always an option to consider when you're looking for budget gifts. Cookies, bars, and cupcakes are very popular choices, but you can also make casseroles that can be frozen and reheated for later use. Remember to include a copy of your recipe in case the recipient wants to make the dish again!

  2. A digital scrapbook created using the free version of Serif CraftArtist makes a special keepsake for a friend or family member. Using templates makes the process of designing layouts quick and easy. Popular themes for gift albums include “Top 10 Memories” or “The ABCs of Us.”

  3. Ribbon bookmarks can be made by stringing three to six beads on the end of a piece of pretty ribbon and securing with a knot. Present the bookmark in the pages of a book the recipient has been dying to read. You can often find quality hardcover books at dollar stores or discount stores. Used copies in good condition may also be available from your public library’s annual book sale; contact your librarian for details.

  4. A collection of handmade cards for birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions makes a nice hostess gift. If you choose cards that are easy to produce in an assembly line fashion, you can quickly make gifts for many different people. Tie the stack of cards with a pretty ribbon bow, then tuck a pen and a book of stamps inside.

  5. Jewelry making is a fairly easy process if you use clear stretch cord to string your beads. This eliminates the need for a clasp; all you have to do is knot the cord and secure it with a bit of clear nail polish before trimming the ends. Present your item in a pretty origami box folded from colorful patterned paper.

  6. Bottle cap magnets can be made with photos, clip art, or magazine graphics reflecting the recipient’s special interests. Use a 1 inch circle punch to crop your image, then attach it to the inside of the bottle cap with double-sided tape. Fill the bottle cap opening with Ranger Glossy Accents, then let dry completely. Hot glue a magnet to the back, then package these easy handmade gifts inside a decorated tin.

  7. Decorated decoupage picture frames can be customized to suit almost any home decor style, from traditional to contemporary. You can add charms, shells, buttons, or other accents with a hot glue gun.

  8. A diaper cake makes a cute handmade gift for someone who is expecting a baby. However, this basic idea can be tweaked for other occasions as well. For example, you could consider using washcloths or dishtowels instead of diapers to make a cake for a housewarming present.

  9. Customized Christmas ornaments make easy handmade gifts for teachers, daycare providers, neighbors, and other special people who you want to recognize during the holiday season. Purchase a package of clear glass ornaments from a craft store such as Hobby Lobby. Roll thin strips of patterned paper around a pencil, then carefully push the rolls through the opening of the ornament. The paper will unfold slightly. Reattach the top of the ornament, then add a ribbon hanger.

  10. If you need a gift for a child, consider making multicolor crayons by melting down broken crayon bits in a silicone ice cube tray or muffin pan for approximately 15 minutes at 250 degrees. Present the crayons with a coloring book made by printing free coloring pages from an online resource such as the Crayola website


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      Jeff_McRitchie 6 years ago

      I really like the projects mentioned in this article. I think they would be great for a variety of occasions (birthdays, etc.).

    • dukeny21 profile image

      dukeny21 6 years ago

      These are great ideas and much more "from the heart". Thanks!