Monday, November 5, 2018

Handmade Gift Ideas for Loved Ones

While giving is always important, people seem to think it's more important around the holidays. Many of us go out and spend loads of money on gifts that don't really mean anything—and it's a shame, too, because there are so many handmade gift ideas out there. What's even better is that handmade gifts having meaning. It shows the recipient that you've been thinking of them in more thoughtful way than say, grabbing a gift card at their favorite store.

There are literally thousands of tutorials out there to help make your gift making even easier—these tutorials teach you different techniques and give you ideas and inspiration to make your gift the best it can be.

Many people think that creating handmade gifts require some superhuman talent, but that's not the case at all. Handmade gifts do, however, require effort. With that said, I will be organizing this Handmade Gift Guide into sections based on hobbies, knowledge, or preference. For example, if you're good with woodworking, you might benefit from the "Woodworking Gift Ideas" section. If you like making candles, you'll like the handmade candle gift ideas. You get the idea. Also, towards the end, I've included a section for "Easy Handmade Gift Ideas" where you can find less expensive gifts that require less experience and can truly be done by almost anyone.

I hope that you enjoy this guide and find joy in creating gifts for your loved ones.


Whether you're a seasoned carpenter or new to woodworking, there are so many amazing gifts that you can make, as long as you have everything that you need to get started.

For younger children, creating wooden toys is a fun way to show them the nostalgic toys of the past. Blocks, tops, and even dollhouses are some examples of wooden toys that kids today would love to try out. Rocking horses, wooden trains, and even wooden boards games like Checkers are all lovely handmade gift ideas for children.

More simple wooden gift ideas would be pendants or even wooden jewelry, like earrings, necklaces, or bracelets. Keychains, rear-view mirror hangings, and even small knick-knacks are other options.

When you think of woodworking, you might think of the bird house project. It was a standard project in carpentry classes growing up, but if you're more experienced, you can create incredible bird mansions.

If the thought of a "bird mansion" is just too much for you, a simple bird house is always a great way to show the bird lovers in your family that you care about them and support their hobbies.

Finally, you can never go wrong with wooden home decor. These are great gift ideas for her (wife, mother, grandma, sister, aunt, friend, coworker, etc.). 

Candles and Soap

A decades old art, candle and soap making is yet another way to pour your love into your homemade gift—literally.

What I love most about candle making is that you can use certain fragrances that your loved ones prefer, or even create your own fragrances based on what your loved ones enjoy. For example, my mom loves smells of the harvest and Autumn, including cinnamon, spices, apples, leaves after a rain, and so on. Because of this, I would implement cinnamon, apples, and earthy fragrances into her candles.

Soap making is another gift idea that allows you to get creative. While some soap makers use extracts and essential oils, others will actually use the real thing. For example, some soaps include foods like strawberries (the seeds are great for exfoliation), citrus peels, and even sprigs of herbs like rosemary or thyme. There are also ways to make soap around a sponge so that it scrubs as it cleans.

Today, there are dozens of ingredients available that allow us to create soaps without the use of animal products, so you can even create vegan-friendly soaps for your vegan friends. Recommended essential oils include lavender for relaxation, citrus oils for uplifting energies, and peppermint for congestion or illness.


I love baking sweet treats but what I love more than that is sharing my sweet treats with my friends and family. In 2012, I made handmade gifts for my family using food ingredients! That's right. I just layered cookie ingredients in a mason jar, wrapped a ribbon around the top, attached a tag with the recipe, and sent it off. It was a very inexpensive idea that everyone loved.

Of course, sending dry ingredients is one option, but you can always make your treats and hand them out right away instead of requiring that your friends do the work. Cupcakes are always a safe bet. I like decorating cupcakes based on a theme. For example, if it's Christmas, I'll create snowman cupcakes. If it's for one particular person, I'll decorate the cupcakes in a way that represents the recipient's personality.

Cookies are another good example of an easy gift idea for bakers. You can decorate them however you'd like and as long as they're properly wrapped or stored, they'll stay soft and delicious for at least a few days.

Get creative with your food gift ideas! Nothing says I love you than a delicious treat or a home cooked meal.

Knitting, Crocheting, and Needlework

I suck at all of the above. My mother-in-law, however, did some amazing stitch work that always blew my mind. One year, she made me a black and gold scarf that matched my coat—and the scarf actually had pockets! I still use that scarf today! It's one of my favorites. She also made a matching beanie to go with it. She really was an amazing woman.

She would make other things too, like stockings, socks, baby blankets, and even stuffed animals. She loved getting creative with the things she could make. One year, she actually used the crochet style to create handbags out of plastic bags. No lie! She was super creative!

While doilies are not as popular as they once were (my mom loved these things), some people still use them to protect kitchen surfaces or to use in food presentations (food bloggers could benefit from these). You can also use them as coasters or even as decorative items for your kitchen. So, these are always a safe bet for grandma.

Finally, pillows and cushions are always great gifts. I like the idea of tiny cushions to be used as pin cushions for those who are just learning to sew. So, if you have any beginner sewers in your life, this might be a great gift idea!

Easy Handmade Gift Ideas

Now, if you're not particularly good at the above handmade gift options, you should certainly be able to make some of the gifts I'll mention below.

Handmade cards are so fun to make. You can use different kinds of card stock and even print your own (there are plenty of free card stock templates and card templates on the internet). You can embellish your card using ribbon, glitter, buttons, cut-outs, markers, crayons, and whatever your heart desires.

Scrapbooking is another wonderful handmade gift. Two years ago, I made my dad a scrapbook for Father's Day and inside, I included some of his most commonly used quotes, movie references, and pictures and information about the town where his mother grew up. When he saw it, it brought tears to his eyes. It made my heart feel so warm and it was a gift that he still cherishes to this day.

Journaling is yet another example of a sentimental handmade gift. I like the idea of traveling to places that you and the recipient have gone together, or places that they cherish, and picking up small "pieces" of the area, like leaves, stones, grass, etc. and putting them into a journal. Include commentary about why that piece is in there, where it's from, and when you picked it up.

Finally, you can never go wrong with a handwritten letter. There's nothing like pouring out your heart, in your own words, in your own handwriting, and then giving it over to your loved one. It's much better than a phone call, text, or email, that's for sure!

Well, that's the gift ideas that I have for you all today! I personally love giving handmade gifts or gifts that require some effort on my part. It always feels good and it feels even better when you see the person light up when they open it. This year, I challenge you to make at least one gift with your own two hands. You won't regret it, trust me.

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