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20 DIY Christmas Gift Ideas You Can Complete in Less Than an Afternoon

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

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If you’re struggling with what to give as a gift this holiday season, you’re not alone. When it comes to Christmas, it can be tricky to wade through the millions of products available online—especially when buying them can feel so impersonal. But, there is a solution! DIY Christmas gifts offer you the chance to craft your own personalized present for the special person in your life.

Thanks to sites like Pinterest, there’s no shortage of handmade gift ideas that will appeal to many different skill levels. This makes it easier than ever to find the tutorial or recipe you need to begin and finish the project at hand.

To get you started in your search, we’ve found a bevy of DIY Christmas gift ideas. Some require just a couple of supplies, but they are priceless in how thoughtful they are. Do you know someone that loves to bake? With just a vanilla bean, some vodka, and a glass bottle, you can make them a batch of homemade vanilla extract. And for the friend that swoons over terrariums (but can never get the supplies to make one), give them your own version of a “terrarium” kit to get their new year started with new plants.

Check out our selection of DIY Christmas gifts, below, and the places online where you can learn to make them, step by step.

Want to go the handmade route this Christmas? Here are 20 DIY Christmas gifts you can make in an afternoon or less.


Sugar Scrub in a Decorative Jar

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There are many sugar scrub recipes available online, which makes it easy to tailor the scent to your recipient. Make your own label for an extra-special touch.


Scratch-Off Map

Give your travel-loving friend something to commemorate every journey they take. This video DIY by Sea Lemon demonstrates three ways to make this map.


Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract takes just a couple of ingredients (as seen in this video). Try making it in large batches and divvy it up into smaller gifts for many people.


Handmade Journal

Use the book-binding technique of your choice to create a keepsake journal. Don't have those skills? Here's how to make one from scrapbook paper and staples.



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To complete this DIY, gather a few festive miniatures and some other easy-to-find ingredients. Place them in a clear mason jar, and you'll soon have a homemade snow globe that's perfect for the holiday season.


Animal Memo Holders

Gift a quirky-yet-professional addition to someone's desk when you transform an everyday plastic animal into a gold memo holder.


Personalized Ceramics with Paint Markers

DIY Christmas Gifts

Photo: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

You can decorate ceramics—no kiln necessary! Simply grab an oil-based Sharpie marker a set your oven to 250 degrees. Draw your design and let the heat take care of the rest.


Terrarium Kit

A terrarium kit has a ton of creative possibilities. You'll want to include small stones, charcoal, and potting soil, but beyond that, it's up to you. Wit & Whistle has more tips for creating this DIY gift.


Ring Dish Made of Air-Dry Clay

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This is another DIY with many design options. Once you fashion the dish out of air-dry clay, you can paint it however you like. A Beautiful Mess even shows you how to marble the clay for a cool surface effect.


Crochet Basket

If you know how to crochet, try making a basket. It can be used for storage or even as a planter. Spruce Crafts has found basket crochet patterns available for free.


Iron-On Socks

Socks with witty writing are on the biggest trends for 2018. Sew Much Ado has a tutorial on how you can create your own iron-on socks to spell-out a customized message.



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Whether they ask for it or not, everyone can use a calendar. Make your gift recipient's year a special one—even before it begins—by creating a custom calendar they can use next year. (Don't forget to put your birthday on it!)


Photo Transfer Art on Wood

Celebrate a favorite photo or image without having to get a picture frame. Grab a piece of smooth wood and some Mod Podge to transfer it onto a rustic piece of wood in just four easy steps.


Pressed Flower iPhone Case

Make a beautiful phone case with this pressed-flower tutorial. To make the gift for the latter half of the year, select some of your favorite pressed fall foliage or evergreen sprigs.


Reusable Coffee Sleeve

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Keep coffee cozy and cute with this animal-sleeve tutorial. The DIY features a fox, but you could easily adapt it to another creature of your choice.


Polaroid Coasters

Coasters have a reputation for being banal—well, no more! Similar to the photograph on wood, you'll use a favorite set of pictures and Modge Podge to transfer them onto ceramic tiles. When complete, they'll look like Polaroid pictures scattered across a coffee table.


Embroidered Handkerchief

Grab a handkerchief, either new or vintage, and embroider a design onto. Looking for something super easy? Try your gift recipient's initials. If you need help getting started, watch these YouTube videos to learn the most popular embroidery stitches.


Personalized Guess Who? Game


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Give the classic Guess Who? game a personalized touch when you create your own version of the cards. You can fill the cards with portraits of people from your recipients or design them based on a theme—like the characters from a book.


DIY Kindle or Tablet Cover


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Know someone who is getting a Kindle or iPad for Christmas? They're going to need a cover for it. Save them from buying one by making one for them. Get the full (and very easy) tutorial on Sugar & Cloth.


Copper Hanging Planter


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The copper hanging planter looks fancy and expensive, but it's a very easy DIY project. In this tutorial on Style Me Pretty, all you need is a pot, leather scraps, copper spray paint, and rivets—stuff you can find at a craft store—in order to make and gift it to your favorite plant parent.


Related Articles:

10+ Creative DIY Projects That Turn Dried Up Flowers Into Pressed Works of Art

15 DIY Gifts You Can Actually Make for Your Mom This Mother’s Day

10 All-Inclusive DIY Kits That Make It Easy to Master a New Creative Skill

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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