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13 DIY Christmas Gifts for Every Budget

14 Minute Read

Giving gifts is one of the best things about the Christmas season! But it can also make things stressful. Instead of caving under the pressure to buy that perfect gift for everyone on your list, give yourself permission to think differently.

Some of the best gifts you can give are simple, inexpensive do-it-yourself projects. And because DIY Christmas gifts require a little more thought and effort, they’re usually more meaningful to the person receiving them than a typical store-bought present.

Here are 13 easy and affordable DIY Christmas gifts you can give that are sure to be a hit!

13 DIY Christmas Gifts for Every Budget

1. Bath Bombs

Have you heard about the bath bomb craze? These little guys make the perfect DIY gift for kids and grown-ups alike! After all, who can resist the idea of a relaxing, fizzing bath to wash the day away?  

Items you’ll need:

1 cup baking soda

½ cup Epsom salt

½ cup citric acid

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon water

5 drops food coloring (optional)

10–15 drops essential oil or fragrance (optional)

Large mixing bowl

Small mixing bowl

Silicone molds or muffin tin

Here’s how to do it:

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a small bowl. Then combine both mixtures together in the larger bowl. This will create a damp sand mixture. Take that mixture and press it into your silicone molds or muffin tins. Make sure you really pack it down! Let your bath bombs dry overnight and be sure they are absolutely dry before you try to pop them out.  

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When you’re ready to gift the bath bombs, place them in mason jars or shrink wrap bags and tie on a cute ribbon as the final touch. It’s a great DIY Christmas gift your friends can use to relax all winter long!

Cost to make: $5 for five small bath bombs

2. Make Your Own T-Shirt

No, you don’t have to bust out the iron-on patches for this one. Did you know there are plenty of places online that will let you make your own T-shirt? And you don’t have to buy them in bulk either. Check out online shops like Teespring that let you design your own shirt. You can slap on a favorite quote, inside joke or even an illustrated image, and voilà—you’ve got a personalized T-shirt ready for gifting!

Cost to make: $10–15

3. Soap Pump

As weird as it sounds, a fancy soap dispenser can be kind of cool—especially when you use the bottle of someone’s favorite drink of choice as the soap dispenser. It might sound weird, but stick with us on this one. Let’s say your mom’s favorite beverage is Dr. Pepper—she’s borderline obsessed with the stuff. Now you can gift her a fancy-looking Dr. Pepper soap dispenser. We’ll show you how to bring this DIY Christmas gift to life.

Items you’ll need:

Empty drink bottle (or substitute a mason jar)

Liquid soap

Soap dispenser 

Here’s how to do it:

Go buy a liquid soap scent that you know is their favorite (make sure it comes with a pump), then grab a classy glass bottle or mason jar. Now it’s time to fill up the empty bottle/jar with the liquid soap. You can use the top of the soap pump that came with it, or you might have to buy one separately depending on the size of the glass bottle or jar you’re attaching it to.

Cost to make: $3–5

4. Tied Fleece Blanket

What does everyone need during the wintertime? Blankets! Give the gift of staying warm and cozy this Christmas. You can make your own blankets for friends and family—no sewing skills required.

Items you’ll need:

1 ½ yards of printed fleece

1 ½ yards of solid-colored fleece

Scissors

Here’s how to do it:

Spread one layer of fleece out on the floor and place the other fleece directly on top of it. Whatever side faces out is the side you will see. Use the scissors to trim both pieces of fabric to the same size. Then, cut 3-inch slits into both pieces of fabric at about an inch apart (hold it together like a sandwich). Do this around the entire outer edge of the square of fabric.

Now all you have to do is tie the top section to the bottom section. This will create a lot of knots as you go around the blanket. Double knot it tightly! Once you’re all done, toss the blanket into the wash with some fabric softener to make it extra cozy.

Cost to make: $5–10

5. Decorative Mugs

Whether your warm beverage of choice is a piping hot spot of tea or cup of java, we’re all united by one thing: the need for a creative mug. So why not customize a mug for your friends and family? The decorating options are endless!

Items you’ll need:

Blank mug

Transfer paper

Pencil

Printer paper

Oil-based permanent markers (being oil-based is key for making the mug dishwasher safe)

Here’s how to do it:

First, pick a design for the mug. If you’re an artist, you can create your own masterpiece. But if you’re a crafting rookie, a simple witty quote might be all you need.

If you have a specific design in mind, print it out. Tape the design to the top of the transfer paper and tape the transfer paper to the mug. Make sure that the messy looking side of the transfer paper is touching the mug and that the clean side is facing up. Using the pencil, trace over your design. This will transfer it to the mug.

Next, remove the paper and trace over that design on the mug with the oil-based permanent markers. Go slowly! This step will take a lot of patience on your part. But don’t worry if you mess up—you can clean up any mistakes with soap and water. Be sure to let the design dry for 24 hours.

The next day, set the oven to 350 degrees and place the mugs upside down (so they won’t tip over) in the oven. Bake the mugs for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the mugs inside to cool before removing them. The mugs are ready after they’ve cooled completely. Ta-da!

Cost to make: about $5

6. Make Jewelry

It’s time to make your own jewelry. (Look out, Etsy!)  And guess what? It’s not as hard as it sounds. It might just be one of the easiest DIY Christmas Gifts on the list. Just hit up your local craft store and buy the pieces you need. With a little creativity, you can make necklaces, bracelets and earrings for the whole family! Here’s how to make some simple tassel earrings:

Items you’ll need:

Embroidery string (2-3 spools)

Hoop earrings

Scissors

Here’s how to do it:

Cut the embroidery string into three equal parts (about 5 inches in length). Then, you want to fold one of the groups of string in half (this should make a loop on one end) and drape over the hoop earring. Thread the open end of the string through the loop and pull tight. This should create a knot securing the string to the hoop and leaving a tassel dangling at the bottom. Make sure you secure it tightly and then trim the tassel if needed.

Cost to make: about $5

7. Photo Coasters

Items you’ll need:

Foam brush

Mod Podge

Ceramic tiles or old coasters

Clear craft sealant

Here’s how to do it:

Gather up some old coasters from your den or local thrift store, or swing by the hardware store to grab some ceramic tiles. Decide on the photos you want to use. Make sure to cut them to the right size for your coaster. Use a foam brush to spread Mod Podge on the back on the photo and place it on the coaster or tile. Let it dry for about 30 minutes.

Then, cover the photo and coaster/tile in a single layer of Mod Podge, and let it dry for an hour. Repeat this step two or three more times, spray it with sealant, and let it dry for at least 24 hours or until it doesn’t feel tacky when you touch it.

Cost to make: about $5

8. Dry-Erase Calendar

This is a fun and functional decoration for any kitchen or office space. And it’s way more thoughtful than a run-of-the-mill calendar from the office supply store.

Items you’ll need:

Picture frame

Burlap, decorative fabric or photo

Dry-erase markers

Here’s how to do it:

Print out a blank calendar to put in the frame or trace a calendar onto the burlap, fabric or photo. Then, add your completed design behind the glass of the picture frame.

Once the glass is back in place, your gift getter will be able to write the dates of each month in dry-erase marker. You can always make it a larger frame with smaller ribbon if you want them to have more writing space too. And don’t forget to include a few dry-erase markers with your gift!

Cost to make: about $5

9. Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Who doesn’t love hot chocolate? Here’s the perfect way to gift some without wrapping up an entire box of Swiss Miss. This DIY method is much more heartfelt and shows that you took the time to make a gift by hand! And it’s a tasty way to share some warmth (and chocolate) this Christmas.

Items you’ll need:

Chocolate chips

Wooden lollipop or popsicle sticks

Assorted toppings (candy cane crumbs, sprinkles, marshmallows, etc.)

Ice cube tray

Double boiler or saucepan and heatproof mixing bowl

Decorative plastic wrap

Here’s how to do it:

First, gather up your assorted toppings of choice. Place them in the bottom of the ice cube tray. Next, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Don’t have one? No problem! Just take a saucepan or pot and put a tiny amount of water in it. Let it simmer on low heat, then put the chocolate chips in a small, heatproof mixing bowl on top of the saucepan. Keep stirring until the chocolate chips melt.

Once the chips have completely melted, pour the chocolate evenly into the ice cube tray. Add the wooden sticks into each ice cube square. Place the tray in the fridge to chill overnight. The next day, pop out each hot chocolate stick and wrap them individually in the plastic wrap. Simple as that! Each stick makes one 8-ounce cup of hot chocolate. Just add to warm milk or water.

Cost to make: $5–10 for two dozen

10. Photo Collage

Oh, memories! Here’s the perfect way to tug at your parents’ heartstrings this Christmas. A photo collage will be a treasured gift for them and an easy way for you to make an affordable and heartwarming DIY Christmas gift.

Items you’ll need:

Photos

Photo frame

Double-sided tape

Here’s how to do it:

Sift through the camera roll on your phone and pick a few photos you want to use. To bring your collage to life, order prints from your favorite photo printing company (make sure you check online for coupons).

Your local dollar store should have plenty of nice frames for you to pick from. Once you have your pictures and frame in hand, arrange the photos and stick them to the cardboard back of the frame with tape. Put the frame back together, tie a nice bow around it, and boom, you’re all done!

Cost to make: $3–5

11. Front Door Welcome Mat

You know those clever doormats with the hip saying that everyone seems to have these days? They make a great gift, but you don’t have to pay a pretty penny for something people are just going to wipe their dirty shoes on. You can DIY that for at least half the cost. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time for this one!

Items you’ll need:

Plain doormat

Sponge paint brush

Black screen printing ink

Painter’s tape

Precision knife

Here’s how to do it:

First, hop on the computer and print out a catchy phrase in the perfect font. Stumped for ideas? You can’t go wrong with "Come Back With Tacos," "Shut the Front Door," or "You Shall Not Pass." Tip: Try to print one word per sheet of paper.

Now, cover the entire mat in painter’s tape to keep the paint from coming into contact with the mat. Lay your words out and figure out where you want the placement.

Take the precision knife and cut out the letters, cutting through the painter’s tape so that when you remove the tape for each word, it looks like a stencil for you to fill in. Use the sponge brush and start lightly dabbing the paint to fill in the letters on the mat. You’ll want to do three coats here.

Let it dry overnight, and you’ll have a fun DIY gift waiting for you in the morning!

Cost to make: about $10

12. Infused Syrups

Here’s one for the foodie on your list! They can add this syrup to flavor and sweeten their coffee, cake, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt or virtually any beverage (it works great with cold drinks since it blends so well). Put it in a decorative bottle, and they’ll love having this sit out on their kitchen countertop.

Items you’ll need:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

Pourable bottle

Strainer

Cinnamon, lavender, mint or any flavor you want to infuse it with!

Here’s how to do it:

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Then reduce the heat to low and add in whatever flavor you want the syrup to be. Let the mixture simmer for two or three minutes, then remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Once the mixture has cooled off, go ahead and strain it so that those mint leaves or other solids you added don’t get poured into the bottle. Tie a festive bow or ribbon around your bottle, and you’re ready for gifting!

Cost to make: about $5

13. Box of Local Goodies

Give them a taste of the town! If you’ll be visiting nonlocal family or friends, this is a creative way to bring some of your own local city flare to them. Make a unique box of small gifts from your hometown and get ready to put a smile on their face.

Items you’ll need:

Anything you want!

Here’s how to do it:

Go around your town and gather up sweet and savory treats that represent your city. Make sure you throw in some fun tourist items like a postcard, keychain or coffee mug. Really, the only limit here is your imagination . . . and the budget. Dress up your items in a gift basket or decorative box, and you’re good to go!

Cost to make: $15–20

Get Started on These DIY Christmas Gifts

The next time you’re tempted to run to the mall to pick up a Christmas gift, resist the urge and take the memorable and meaningful route instead. Use these DIY Christmas gifts and run with them, or make up some of your own. There are limitless ways to add a personal touch with these DIY Christmas gifts. Plus, you’ll save money in the process!

Remember though, just because you’re having a DIY Christmas doesn’t mean you can skip budgeting. You still need to set a budget for how much you’ll spend on all the materials you’ll need for your awesome DIY Christmas shop. Let our free app, EveryDollar, help you keep track of everything from the wooden lollipop sticks to the double-sided tape and everything in between.

Not all of us have enough time on our hands to dive into the world of DIY Christmas gifts—we get it. Life happens, and time gets away from you. If you’re in a pinch and can't go the DIY route, take a peek at the sales in our store and pick up a life-changing Christmas gift!

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