Make gifts for family, friends, coworkers, teachers, and others on your gift list instead of buying them. This list of crafts and recipes are cheap, easy to make, and great for the holiday season.
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19 Awesome DIY Gifts That Cost $5 Or Less!
First a few notes about the list. If I have a tutorial written for the project, I shared it as a link. If the project idea is one I found on the web, I linked to the tutorial. When there isn’t a link and you need more help, a simple online search using Google or Pinterest will give you all the creative help you need to make the gift come to life.
If you are wondering how some of these gifts can be made for $5 or less, scroll to the bottom for tips on keeping supply costs as low as possible.
Over the years, I have made dozens of pairs of these fingerless gloves and given them as Christmas gifts. Here is the tutorial I wrote that you can use to knit up a pair or two.
I prefer to make them with wool-ease quick and thick yarn by Lion Brand, which, even with a coupon, is hard to find for under $5 anymore. However, I have also made them using Hometown USA by Lion Brand, which would put them under the $5 budget, and they turned out well.
2. Button Headbands
Even if you have to buy buttons for these button headbands (I used some I had left over from another craft project), these cute button headbands cost less than $5 each. A set would make an excellent gift for any little girl in your life.
3. Gratitude Journals
My gratitude journal tutorial uses a simple week-at-a-glance calendar from the dollar tree and a few embellishments that you probably already have around your house. You can add a pen and perhaps even a bookmark to keep the person’s place and this gift would still cost less than $5.
4. Simplest Fudge Ever
I have been making this simple fudge recipe for over 30 years now and have not met a single person who does not like it. For gift giving, you can line a nine-by-nine tin with wax paper and pour the fudge straight into the tin to set and give it as a block. If you want to give it some holiday flare, omit half a cup of chocolate chips and replace it with crushed candy canes for a delicious holiday-themed fudge.
5. Caramel Crunch or Christmas Crunch
Add a holiday flare to this recipe by adding red and green M&Ms.
To give this as gifts, place the entire batch in an inexpensive Christmas tin or divide it into goodie bags and tie it up with festive ribbon to make several small gifts.
To keep an entire batch under $5, buy the ingredients when you can combine sales and coupons.
6. Paper Clip Earrings
- You can use round ones like this with beads and follow this tutorial.
- Or bend traditional ones into a triangle and wrap them in embroidery thread to make these.
7. Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix in A Mug
Here is our family recipe for homemade hot chocolate for one. Place the dry ingredients in a clear bag and tie it with a ribbon. Use a free Canva account to create a pretty tag that lists instructions. Place it in a dollar store mug with a candy cane or peppermint candy as a stir-in.
8. Mason Jar Cookie Gift
Place the dry ingredients from your favorite cookie recipe in layers in a mason jar. Tie a ribbon around the jar and tie the instructions for the recipe to it.
9. Badge Holder
So many employers require their employees to wear a badge, making this a great DIY gift idea for the person on your gift list who has you stumped on what to create for them.
Dig into your craft supplies to see what you already have on hand, and then head to Pinterest and enter “DIY badge holder” to see what you can create using what you have, plus a key ring (could you use one from something you already own, like a promotional key chain you never use?).
10. Bird’s Nest Jewelry
You will have to make several to make these come out to $5 each.
You will need
Watch this tutorial to create the bird’s nest. These make great Mother’s Day gifts when you use beads that match the color of the birth stone of the mom’s children.
11. Personalized Key Chain
You can get enough key rings to make one for everyone on your list and have plenty of money left in your $5 per person gift budget to personalize them. There are nearly endless ways to personalize these.
This is an excellent idea if you have a lot of scrap fabric, ribbons, yarn, scrapbook paper, and more. You can knit or crochet them, make them from paper, and laminate them. Use fabric to create corner bookmarks or ribbons and elastic to make bookmarks that never fall out.
13. Create A Craft Kit
Make the recipient do the work. Use what supplies you have to create DIY kits. Go to your local dollar store to find cute packaging ideas. This is an excellent idea for those with craft lovers on your list.
14. Decorate A Mug Or A Dish With Nail Polish
You have probably seen white mugs decorated with Sharpies, but did you know you can use nail polish? You do not want it to be the quick dry type. White mugs and dishes can be found at Ikea for super cheap.
This idea is not dishwasher safe. I recommend it for creations that will be used for purposes other than eating, like a plate painted by your child for grandma that she can then hang on the wall.
15. Use Freezer Paper Stencils To Create Slogan Art
If you have an iron, freezer paper (this brand is said to work best), and a color or two of fabric paint, you have almost everything you need to create the perfect gift for teens who love humorous slogans.
You only need a t-shirt, tote, or another light-colored fabric item that can be stretched flat to paint the slogan on.
17. Fill A Jar With Homemade Sugar Scrub
If you have essential oils, sugar, and either coconut or almond oil, you have the makings of a sugar scrub. Reuse a glass jar from the recycling. Remove the label and use a sharpie to write the type of sugar scrub it is on the outside of the jar.
16. Create Candle Holders Out Of Scrap Wood
Drill holes in scrap wood large enough to fit tea lights. You can dress these up in various ways, but make sure you consider fire safety.
18. Turn Leftover Wood Into Chalkboard Signs
Chalkboard signs don’t have to be GIANT. It is just as fun to have a tiny one that can sit on a side table near a plant sharing plant humor. You will need leftover wood, a paintbrush, and some chalkboard paint.
19. Turn Your Child’s Handprint Into A Keepsake
Using an embroidery hoop, thread, and fabric, this blogger turned her son’s handprint into a keepsake any grandma would swoon over.
Of course, you could do this with anything you can trace with water-soluble pens, so the ideas are endless.
How To Make Handmade Gifts For Less
1. Use What You Have
Before you go out shopping, raid all the storage areas in your home with a pen and pad of paper in hand. Write down everything that could be an ingredient or a supply for making DIY Christmas gifts.
Open your mind to thinking outside of the box. For example, what grocery items do you buy week after week that come in glass jars the perfect size to be used as gift jars? That will save you from having to purchase mason jars.
2. Use Coupons
The major craft stores have apps that are filled with coupons. Here is a list of coupon apps that will help you save money on all types of ingredients and supplies.
3. Head To The Dollar Store
The Dollar Tree is a treasure trove of inexpensive DIY Christmas gift ideas, but the whole gift might not be found in the store. For instance, you might find paperclips for paperclip earrings here, but you must get the shepherd’s hooks from Amazon and use the embroidery thread you found at a thrift store.
4. Visit The Thrift Store Or Better Yet, A Yard Sale
The cheapest place for finding craft supplies is yard sales, followed closely by thrift stores. The items you find here will often be new from people who had an idea, but never got around to creating it. The bonus is that often, every item to create something is right there, as the previous owner bought all they needed to make the project.
5. Make Batches
A few times in the handmade gift ideas list above you saw me mention that, “This idea is cheaper if you make more than one.” The reason is that usually, you can’t buy just enough supplies or ingredients to make only one or it is cheaper to purchase the items in bulk. Making several of one type of gift also makes it easier to fit a tool you need into your budget, as the cost of it can be divided by the amount of gifts you are making.
Batch gifts are great for co-workers, hostesses, and kids in the same age range. I like making a few extras for last-minute gifts for people I wasn’t expecting to see over the holidays.
6. Get Your Friends Involved
I wrote an article sharing seven Christmas-themed swap parties to hold with your friends over Christmas. Two of them will help you and your friends save money on gifts.
7. Think Ahead
After the Christmas tree has been taken down, take a moment to reflect on all those you bought gifts for this year. Write down their names and ages, and as you see deeply discounted craft supplies, think about what kinds of homemade gifts you could create with them that would fulfill a gift need.
As a fellow crafter who creates so many crafts each year, she had to create an online store to eliminate her excess, I hope this list of $5 or less DIY Christmas gifts inspires you to unleash your creative side and get crafting!
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