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15 DIY Christmas Gifts for Every Budget

Giving gifts is one of the best things about the Christmas season. But it can also make things stressful if you’re not careful. 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 (and cheap) do-it-yourself projects. Bonus: DIY Christmas gifts usually mean a lot more to the person receiving them than a run-of-the-mill present from the store. They know and value the work, time and effort you had to put in to make that DIY gift.

So, put on your creative hat and get to crafting! Here are 15 easy and affordable DIY Christmas gifts you can give that are sure to be a hit.

15 DIY Christmas Gifts for Every Budget

1. Chalkboard

They’re not just for the classroom anymore. Chalkboards are a perfect piece to add to home décor. These simple decorations can really spruce up a place and add a lot of character to a room. Plus, who doesn’t want to jot down inspiring quotes and uplifting messages all the time?

Items you’ll need:

Frame

Particle board

Hand saw

Chalkboard spray paint

Double-pointed tacks

Hammer

Chalk

Money

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Ruler

Pencil

Here’s how to do it:

First up, measure the inside of your frame with the ruler. Then you can mark the measurements on your particle board. Use a hand saw to cut out the frame-shaped piece of particle board or take it to your local home improvement store and have them cut it for you. Follow the directions on the paint and spray the chalkboard paint on the particle board (you’ll probably need to do a few coats).

After the chalkboard dries, hammer the double-pointed tacks to secure the back of the particle board to the frame. Now you’ve got a chalkboard! But don’t forget to “prime” the board before you give it away. All you have to do is take a piece of chalk and rub it along the entire board, then wipe it off with a damp towel.

Cost to make: $20–30 (depending on how many items you already have on hand and how much your frame costs)

2. Printed Digital Download

Need a last-minute gift? We’re talking really last minute here. Head on over to a site like Etsy and buy the digital file of an image you can slap in a frame. Have a Star Wars fan in your life? Buy a digital watercolor image of Luke Skywalker dueling Darth Vader. Pop that iconic image into a frame and you’ve got a one-of-a-kind gift on your hands. Bonus: You’re shopping small and giving that Etsy creator some business too. Win-win.

Items you’ll need:

Printer

Card stock or glossy paper

Picture frame

Here’s how to do it:

Buy a digital download of the image you like and download it to your computer. Print it at home or using an online printing service. Place the image in a picture frame and you’re all set.

Cost to make: $10–15 (depending on the size of the print)

3. Pressed Flower Candle

It’s simple, it looks nice, and your mom will be so proud of you. And even better? It’s pretty cheap and oddly relaxing to make.

Items you’ll need:

Tall round candle

Pressed flowers (order online or pick your own)

Tea light candle

Matches

Small paintbrush

Here’s how to do it:

To get started, light up the tea light candle. You want the candle to melt the wax around the wick (you’ll be using that as your “glue”). Then, place a pressed flower on the tall round candle, dip your paintbrush in some candle wax, and paint over the flower to get it to stick to the big candle. Keep going until all your flowers are on the candle. The final step? Be sure to let all the wax dry on the candle to seal in the flowers.

Cost to make: $10 (less if you find your own flowers)

4. Bath Bombs

Have you heard about the bath bomb craze? These little guys make the perfect DIY gift for any age! 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

1/2 cup Epsom salt

1/2 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’re 100% dry before you try to pop them out.  

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

5. 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 image, and ta-da—you’ve got a personalized T-shirt ready for gifting!

Cost to make: $10–15

6. 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 1/2 yards of printed fleece

1 1/2 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’ll see when it’s done. 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 comfy.

Cost to make: $5–10

7. Personalized 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 here.

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—or tell your giftee to just hand-wash it if you want to be extra 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 slow! 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 mug upside down (so it won’t tip over) in the oven. Bake the mug for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the mug inside to cool before removing them. The mug is ready after it’s cooled completely.

Cost to make: $5

8. 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 even 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

Hoop earrings

Scissors

Here’s how to do it:

Pull from the embroidery string and cut six equal parts about 5 inches in length each. Then, you want to fold one of the groups of string in half (this should make a loop on one end). Next, lay the loop over the bottom of the hoop earring. Thread the two open ends of the string through the loop and pull it tight. This should create a knot tying the string to the hoop and leaving a tassel dangling at the bottom. Make sure you connect it tightly and then trim the tassel if you need to.

Cost to make: $5

9. Photo Coasters

Instead of letting all those family memories sit in the camera roll of your phone, put them where they really belong. Up on the walls? Nah. On a coaster for the coffee table! Your gift recipient is sure to like this thoughtful (and practical) way to keep the memories alive—while saving their table too.

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. Pick out 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 put 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: $5

10. Dry-Erase Calendar

This is a fun and functional decoration for any kitchen or office space. And it’s way more thoughtful than a basic 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 calendar creation 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 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: $5

11. 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 shows that you took the time to make a gift by hand—bonus points for you! 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 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

12. 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 and is an easy way for you to make an affordable DIY Christmas gift too.

Items you’ll need:

Photos

Photo frame

Double-sided tape

Here’s how to do it:

Look 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 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

13. 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 to tackle this one.

Items you’ll need:

Plain doormat

Sponge paintbrush

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.” Pro 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 them placed.

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: $10–15

14. 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 basically any beverage (it also works great with cold drinks since it blends well). Put it in a fancy 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: $5

15. 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, fight the urge and take the memorable and meaningful route instead. Use these DIY Christmas gifts, or make up some of your own. There are plenty of ways to add a personal touch with DIY Christmas gifts. Plus, you’ll save money too!

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 crafting station. Let our free budget tool, EveryDollar, help you keep track of everything from the wooden lollipop sticks to the double-sided tape and everything in between.

And if giving a DIY gift for Christmas makes you feel funny, it’s okay to pair it with a store-bought item too. Take a peek at the sales in our store and pick up a Christmas gift to go with your crafty creations. If you need a last-minute digital gift, grab a Ramsey+ membership for life-changing money habits that last the whole year through.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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