Thrifty Homemade Gift Ideas

10 DIY Gift Ideas To Save You Money

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Looking for DIY Christmas gift ideas for all of the family? The festive period can be overwhelming and expensive so why not take the time to connect with the gifts you plan to give to loved ones and save some cash by making them yourself?

Let’s get our creative hands dirty with these tried and tested, cheap and cheerful, homemade gift ideas. No breaking the bank while saving for travel, weddings, babies, houses or that trip to the Canadian Rockies.

Handmade Gifts They Won’t Know Are Handmade

1. Great Gift Bake Off

This super cheap gift idea is running as strong as the TV programme, even if it has moved channel and is supporting new presenters.

Making a cake shows the receiver that you have spent time nurturing their present from shopping for ingredients to wrapping the dessert.

Take time to present the cake in a cute fashion using a nice container, basket or wrapping paper with string.

Things to Consider

When choosing which cake to bake think about the following:

  • What does the recipient like?
  • Do they have a connection to a cake for example a trip or previous celebration?
  • Dietary requirements
  • What ingredients are available to you?
  • What utensils do you have?
  • Storage space, fridges tend to be very busy around Christmas time
  • Do you have to travel far with it?
  • How well does it package up?

You also need to consider the cake’s shelf life.

Fresh fruit and cream cakes last 1-2 days, sponge cake with buttercream and fondant icing can stretch to 5 days

Type of Cakes That Work As Gifts

  • Cheesecake if eating immediately, get crafty like my mother-in-law’s business does does with Easter eggs!
  • Tray bakes, we actually had a tray bake wedding cake!
  • Shortbread, travels well and lasts for ages
  • Sponge cake with buttercream and fondant icing
  • Types of cake bread such as banana and walnut

If going for a sponge cake, stick a note to let the recipient know if it goes stale it can be added to trifle! DIY gifts are great for recycling and zero waste too.

Here’s a picture of two famous Hungarian cakes.

Cake Budapest, Taste Hungary

2. Homemade Candles

If you are not crazy for cooking why not try melting up a storm with homemade candles?

Wax, wick, and scent can be purchased for relatively cheap online and is actually fun to play with.

You can buy the items separately or as a part of a candle making kit which you can see here – UK readers click this link, US readers click here.

Charity shop-bought teacups make a nice holder or candle filled jam jars is a new hip idea hitting the shops!

How to Make a Teacup Candle

  • Get the teacup, wick, wax, scent, metal melting pot with pouring edge and a pot full of water ready
  • Place the bottom of the wick on the bottom of the teacup, consider using a glue gun (UK/US)
  • Bring the water to boil
  • Add the wax to the metal pouring pot and place into the boiling water
  • Add the scent if it’s not already mixed into the wax
  • Pour the molten wax into the teacup ensuring the wick stay upright
  • Let the wax harden naturally

The wax clean up can be a bit of a mess so go easy on the pour and be prepared to lose a pot if not buying as part of a kit.

I made teacup candles as gifts for family one Christmas and my friend Liz used them as favours at her wedding.

Candle Teacups DIY Gift_

3. Tasty Tea Gifts

A tea package or hamper is a fantastic idea for friends and family who love brew.

Creating a Tea-rific Hamper

  • Loose tea in different flavours
  • A tea strainer like this super cute Loch Ness Monster strainer UK/US
  • Vintage tea cups and saucers or a mug with a design that means something like this Schitt’s Creek mug UK/US
  • Unique tea spoons like these guitar shaped ones UK/US
  • A nice pack or box of biscuits for dunking

I love tea and I love giving and receiving mugs which have a connection. Last year I got my mum a mug  which had a picture of the Derry Girls nun and one of her quotes on it. Hilarious.

Piper and Leaf Tea Lowe Mill Huntsville_

4. Homemade Hampers

Homemade hampers not only look impressive but they are also very personal and easy to compile.

Pick up a wicker basket for a budget shop and think about a theme your loved ones like.

Examples of Hampers

  • Soup hampers – bowls, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, insulated soup containers (UK/US), microwaveable Tupperware, nice bread, butter, soup
  • Chocolate hampers – hot chocolate, nice mugs, stirrer, marshmallow, cream, chocolate snacks, chocolate spread
  • Gin hampers – flavoured gin, stirrer, gin glass, gin cocktail book (UK/US), gin chocolate, gin candle, hangover relief
  • Beauty hampers – bath soaks, face mask, foot cream, cute fluffy bed socks

5. Spa in a Jar

I made spa in a jar for my friends who helped with my wedding party.

Use a mason jar or glass storage jar with a lid a pack with spa goodies such as bath melts, hair masks, heart shaped soaps, pillow spray.

Add a tag with their name and the words ‘spa in a jar’ on it or create a hip dymo label using a dymo machine UK/US .

6. Bar in a Jar

Same premise as the spa in the jar but with booze!

Stock up on your loved one’s preferred tipples. The bottles will need to be in miniature size for them to fit.

Throw in a packet of nuts and electrolytes (UK/US)for the hangover.

7. Family Calendar

With the growth in the digital age, no one prints out pictures anymore.

Give stale social media images a new leash of life by printing out and adding to a 12 month calendar!

You might find cheaper print deals by signing up for new apps so it is worth shopping around before heading to your local print centre.

You can get blank calendars is budget shops, sometimes for as low as £1.

Then all you need to do is glue the images to the months. What about matching birthday months with family members?

This was a popular gift in my family and my cousin has kept some of the images and framed them!

There are also a number of online companies that will print the calendar with the images for you but that tends to be more expensive this the DIY version.

Salar de Uyuni, Sunset Shots, Salt Flats,_

8. Love Notes

A modern take on a love note involves cheap tags and a stamp or sticker with numbers on them.

Stamp one side of the tag and write a promise or task or date night idea on the other.

Bring the tags together and connect with string or a clip.

Not in love? This can be adapted for friends or even promises to your parents!

Love Notes DIY Gift_

9. Music Mixtape

Select your favourite, their favourite, team favourite, songs, whack them on a Spotify playlist.

Name it something cute that means something to you and your loved one.

Throw in a dual headphone connector (UK / US) and listen to the playlist together.

10. Pretty Prints In Frames 

There are multiple options for prints in frames! One homemade gift idea could be to print out nicely typed up lyrics to a favourite song or poem and frame it.

A4 frames can be bought relatively cheap in pound/dollar shops.

Another gift idea, a personal favourite of mine for weddings, is to purchase a record of the first dance (if it is an oldy) and frame it.

LP frames can be purchased from Amazon /UK /US in plastic or metal form, depending on your budget

A sweet, personal touch, believe me, this gift always goes down well with the bride and groom!

Finally, acquire nicely printed wrapping paper from a card shop, cut out a heart, star, square etc and glue to card then frame it.

I did this for Craig’s birthday, cut into a heart around Southeast Asia as that was our next trip (you can read about the trip here).

Map Heart Shaped Card I Prints in Frames I Homemade Gift Ideas_

An obvious freeby thrown in….

Why don’t you do something (as Britney said)

Spend time with a loved one instead of buying commercial crap which may be given away to the work tombola the following year.

Homemade afternoon tea, long walks, cocktails – whatever your style.


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Looking for DIY Christmas gifts that you can easily make at home? These cheap homemade Christmas gift ideas are quick and so successful they won't know they are handmade! Gifts for all the family, click to find out more.

Final Word Homemade Gift Ideas

Not everyone has to be a whizz with a whisk or a super with scissors, to create a welcomed thrifty homemade gift with a personal touch for loved ones at Christmas, birthdays, or life events!


Super Saving Articles

I’m a super saver! Here are more tips on how to save for travel, weddings, rainy days.

Our Gift Guides

See the full gift guide page here.

What ideas of yours can I steal? Tell me the comments below…

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 4

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      I’m not going to lie, I still bought my cousin, Jack, a small thing to open. I didn’t want to have to see a disappointed face – what do you mean we spent two hours together? 6 year olds don’t really get that.

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