Holiday gifts mean so much more when they’re homemade. But who has the time or the expert crafty know-how? We put together a list of handmade gifts that are quick (or at least enjoyable to make while watching your favourite show) and easy. We have creative ideas for teacher gifts, stocking stuffers, gifts for grandma and all your friends and family. Grab a glue gun and let’s get festive!

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1. Marbled Nail Polish Mugs

Why we love it: This DIY project is popular on Pinterest for a reason—it’s quick and easy and the results are super pretty. It’s also a great way to use up nail polish colours you may not be wearing anymore. Each mug will turn out unique and will look stylin’ filled with hot chocolate.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Have all your supplies prepped and ready to go and put down some garbage bags to protect the surface you’re working on. Fill your container with two to three inches of water. Pour nail polish on the surface of the water and swirl it around using the toothpick. Dip the bottom of the mug into the water and remove it quickly. Let it drip for a few seconds and then turn it upside down to dry on a rag. Repeat the process for each much, changing the water and nail polish each time. When all your mugs are completely dry after two to three hours, use a paintbrush and seal the design in with Mod Podge—this will protect the finish when the mug is washed. (Just be sure to avoid putting nail polish or Mod Podge on the lip or inside the mug.)

2. Decorative Baby Wooden Blocks Set

Why we love it: These decorative wooden blocks will look beautiful on display in a nursery (file this idea away next time you need a baby shower gift idea). Note: These blocks look gorgeous on a shelf, but we don’t recommend babies play with any DIY projects that might end up in their mouths.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: If you’re woodshop inclined, you can make the wood blocks yourself or grab some pre-made blanks. Tape out a design on your block with the painter’s tape. Apply one coat of chalk paint (it dries to a soft matte finish). Remove the paint and let the blocks set overnight.

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3. Potato-Print Tea Towels

Why we love it: The fun part about this craft is that the block print is meant to look organic and uneven, so you don’t have to worry about getting it perfect. How adorable will this homemade gift look in your loved one’s kitchen?

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Cut your potato in half and carefully cut away a simple design—we like the tree shape for its ease of carving. Place the cut side of the potato on a paper towel for 20 to 30 minutes to soak up some of the moisture in the potato. Then, spread some paint onto a paper plate and dip your potato stamp into the paint. Finally, stamp your tea towel with the desired pattern and let it dry.

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Quick Tip
Test some prints on a paper towel first until you get the hang of how much paint you need on your stamp.

4. Bean Portrait

Why we love it: This one will bring back all the kindergarten macaroni art feels! Why not make a funny pet portrait, using dry goods, as a gift? Turn on your favourite show and get your bean-glueing game on.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Using an Instagram pic of a pet for reference, sketch out the simple shapes of the portrait. (Don’t feel panicked if drawing isn’t your thing, the idea is to keep the lines and shapes simple!) Simply fill in areas with white glue and apply your beans. Work in three- to four-inch sections at a time so the glue doesn’t dry too quickly on you. Then, let the glue completely dry for two to three hours. If you don’t find the piece colourful enough, you can fill in areas with craft paint to make it pop. You can continue with the beans along the borders of the canvas or you can pop it into a store-bought frame to finish it off.

5. Painted wooden spoons

Why we love it: Bring some colour into your special person’s kitchen with painted wooden spoons and spatulas. These are super easy to make and fun to gift. Bonus points: Wrap them in your potato-stamped tea towel as a perfect gift combo.

What you’ll need:  

How to make it: Lightly sand the ends of your spoons to remove any finish. Tape off the ends that you want to paint. Paint the ends of the spoon, allowing it to dry between coats (stand it upside down in a jar while it dries). You can decorate it further with stripes or dots, or leave as-is for a modern color-blocked design.

6. Personalized Family Cookies

Why we love it: You can take a basic sugar cookie recipe and turn it into a fun family portrait. No need to stress about your piping skills—less than perfect only makes the portraits more endearing. Don’t forget to include the family pet! Once you are finished, arrange them in a cute cookie tin.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Make a batch of round sugar cookies and let them cool. Load piping bags (or use zip-top bags with a small hole cut in the corner) with coloured royal icing. To the best of your ability, draw out the portraits onto the cookies. Let the icing set before loading them into a decorative cookie tin.

7. Silhouette Ornaments

Why we love it: Can you think of a cuter gift for grandparents than this silhouette ornament? The natural wood paired with a black silhouette (of their favourite grandchild) looks modern and sophisticated.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Print out a side profile photo of your subject to fit in the circle with ample negative space. Cut it out and trace it onto black paper. Apply Mod Podge to the backside of the cut-out and place it on the wood circle, then allow it to dry. Next, coat the entire surface with a layer of Mod Podge and let it dry. Drill a hole in the top of your ornament and thread your twine through. (Check out the full tutorial for more detail.)

8. Clay Rainbow Wall Hanging

Why we love it: Rainbow wall hangings are having a moment on Instagram and they make for a very stylish DIY gift for your best pal. You can make it a bigger wall decoration or a smaller Christmas tree ornament. Channel your inner 3-year-old and have some fun with clay creations.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: You can use polymer clay that’s air-dry or bake-in-the-oven style. Read the directions on the package before starting your project. Roll out your clay onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper about 1/4-inch thick (too thin and your piece will be fragile). Using a butter knife, cut out a simple rainbow shape. Use a drinking straw to cut out a hole at the top. Allow the clay to dry (following package instructions), then paint simple stripes following the arc. Stick to one or two colours for a modern look. Let the paint dry. Thread the twine through the hole, add a wooden bead if you would like, and finish with a simple knot.

9. Whimsical snow jar

Why we love it: Snow globes are a nostalgic holiday classic, but making your own can get a bit messy. We love the idea of a snow globe jar that doesn’t involve getting a water-tight seal (no plumbing involved!). This piece will look fun and festive on a mantle or as a holiday table centerpiece (just make sure they know not to shake it like a regular globe!)

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Fill a dry jar about one-third of the way with white sugar and pop in your decorations. Keep it simple with bottle brush trees and a cute wooden house.

10. Upcycled Sweater Stocking (Stuffed with Treats)

Why we love it: Turn an old cable knit sweater into a sweet, cozy stocking that makes the perfect vessel for gifting treats. Even a newbie sewer can tackle this one—it’s a fun beginner project.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Use an existing stocking as a template, trace the big sock shape onto the sweater. Tip: use the hem of the sweater as the finished top of your stocking. Sew a half-inch seam along the outside edge leaving the top open. Turn it inside out and stuff with treats. Optional: add a fun DIY pom pom.

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Not into sewing? You can hot glue the seam! We won’t tell anybody.

11. Quick Terrarium

Why we love it: Plants are loved by all—especially the kind that rarely needs watering. Your friend will appreciate a cute little terrarium to keep on their desk while working from home. You can use any sort of glass container, from a simple cookie jar to a trendy geometric planter or even a mason jar.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Setting up a terrarium is easy: Just think “drainage first.” Start with a layer of larger pebbles or rocks at the bottom of your container, then add a layer of smaller pebbles. Add a two- to three-inch layer of potting soil followed by a layer of moss. Dig a little hole to plant your succulents. Add a few decorations like mini gnomes, decorative rocks or find a figurine to match their pet!

12. Easy DIY Bath Bombs

Why we love it: Have lots of gifts to give this year? A bath bomb is the way to go. It’s like batch cooking—but without the cooking. Your friends and family will love them and it also makes a perfect teacher gift or stocking stuffer.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Find a bath bomb recipe online like this one or follow this basic dry mix: 2 parts baking soda + 1 part citric acid + 1 part Epsom salts + 1 part corn starch. Add 1 tsp. of oil at a time and work into the mix until it feels like barely wet sand. Add a few drops of essential oil for a natural fragrance. Pack your mixture into a mold or simply use muffin pans (silicone is your friend!). For an extra “wow” factor, add a few sprigs of lavender or rosemary to the mold first. Let your bombs dry overnight. Carefully pop them out and wrap them in plastic to seal in the freshness.

13. Classic Baked Goodies

Why we love it: Looking for a quick and inexpensive gift that everyone loves? Two words: baked goods. Whip up a favourite recipe and gift to everyone this year. Add some cute packaging and you’re golden.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Bake your goodies and let them cool. Wrap them in parchment paper or place them in a food storage container (one that you don’t expect to be returned), then place in a decorative box or basket. Finish it with a pretty ribbon tied in a bow. So simple yet so effective!

14. Personalized Planter

Why we love it: A personalized gift is high on the “aww, you shouldn’t have!” list—especially when it’s a handmade gift. Here’s a simple way to personalize a plant pot to make a gift they’ll actually love.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Head outside and spray paint your pot a matte colour (if it’s not the colour you want already or if it has a glossy surface). After it has dried overnight, apply your letter stickers. You can spell out a name, a saying or just a simple initial. Using the permanent marker, draw simple dots all around the stickers in a random pattern (make sure to hit the edges of the stickers). Add more dots around the stickers and gradually fade them out. Let the marker dry for five minutes and peel away your stickers to reveal the negative space. Pop in some soil and a cute plant, and you’re done!

15. Clothes-Pin Trivets

Why we love it: DIY gifts can sometimes feel a little too “crafty,” but this gift feels quite modern and has a Scandinavian boho vibe—not to mention that it is completely useful and functional! It’s also quite fun to put together (just mind your fingers when using your glue gun).

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Disassemble all the clothespins by taking the metal part off so you’re left with just the wood pieces. Carefully hot glue the flat sides of two pieces together; continue to create glued pairs. Arrange all your pairs in a circular shape to map out the finished trivet. Once you have enough pairs to make your trivet complete, start gluing them all together until you’ve completed a circle.

16. Color-Blocked Cork Mousepad

Why we love it: With all this work-from-home business, your special person might need a little pick-me-up for his/her desk. This DIY Christmas gift is so quick and easy, you should go ahead and make one for yourself. The finished results are so chic, they look store-bought.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Grab a cork trivet (round or square) and tape off the section you want to paint. Paint a thin layer using your chosen colour and let it dry, then paint a second layer and let it dry. Carefully remove the painter’s tape to reveal your design. Let the cork mousepad sit overnight to let the paint set before wrapping it.

17. Dip-Dyed Market Tote Bags

Why we love it: Turn a plain canvas bag into a stylish boho tote for your mom or best friend with a quick dip in a colourful bath. Dying fabrics can seem intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy and not as messy as you think. Warning: It is addictive and may lead to dyeing all the things in your house.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: First, protect your work surface with some garbage bags and put on some old clothes. Following the directions on the package, mix your dye in a plastic bucket (if using two colours, make a bucket for each). Pre-wash your canvas tote by hand and rinse (this will help the dye stick better). The wet tote is ready to dye. Dip your tote into the dye bath and let it hang out; you can slowly lift the tote out inch-by-inch to create an ombre effect. Leave the bag in the dye for a good 30 to 40 minutes. Once you’re happy with the colours, follow the instructions to rinse and wash your tote.

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Quick Tip
If you want, you can dip the other end of the tote into another colour for a two-tone look.

18. Modern White Clay Ornament

Why we love it: These ornaments make a great DIY Christmas gift because they go with any style of decor. Wrap them around a bottle of wine for a great host gift. Bonus: Kids can help make them (they also make a great teacher gift idea!)

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Roll out your clay onto a sheet of parchment paper. Tip: a fondant rolling pin will make rolling an even thickness a snap, but a regular rolling pin will do. Cut out your stars with a cookie cutter and pull away the excess clay. Using a straw, poke a hole into the top where it will hang from twine. Smooth any rough edges and leave your ornaments to dry overnight on the parchment. Flip the ornaments and let the backs dry for another hour or two. You can decorate your ornaments with paint or glitter glue, but we think simple soft white clay looks fresh and modern. String them with twine and they are ready to gift or hang from a tree!

19. DIY Stenciled Door Mat

Why we love it: Is there someone special who just moved into a new home or apartment? This is a perfectly fun and cheeky gift to make for them. The trick to making it look pro is using a stencil. (If you were thinking about getting the Cricut craft cutter, this might be the project to get you going.)

What you’ll need:

How to make it: If you are using your Cricut cutter, follow the instructions to create a stencil. If you don’t have the machine, you can print out your design (use any word editing program or a design app like Canva), trace it onto freezer paper and cut it out with a craft knife. Choose bold letters and keep your design simple. Once you have your stencil, arrange it on your doormat—if you’re using freezer paper, you can lightly iron it on the mat to help it stay put. Using your stencil brush, start dabbing the paint over the stencil in an up and down motion. If the paint is too thick, you can water it down slightly. Let it dry and gift away!

20. Tea-Time Mason Jar

Why we love it: Looking for a creative gift idea but crafts aren’t your thing? This simple gift idea is more assembly than anything. Mason jars make for cute little containers and can easily be reused. We love this as a host or teacher gift.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Fill your mason jar with tea bags, treats and cookies. If the treats aren’t pre-packaged, use food wrap to keep them fresh. Screw the lid on and finish with some festive yarn and a gift tag. Done and done!

21. Homemade Jam

Why we love it: This old-school DIY gift is always a crowd-pleaser. Take a crack at making your own jam, jelly or pickles and then decorate the jar to make it feel special (it’s all about the packaging!).

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Whip up some jam or preserves and ladle into mason jars. To make it giftable, wrap the top in kraft paper or some pretty fabric and finish with twine and a gift tag. Be sure to include any refrigeration instructions or expiry date.

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22. Rope Bowl

Why we love it: Rope bowls have taken Pinterest by storm. They do require a sewing machine, but really couldn’t be easier to make. They are also so fun to make, you’ll be turning out enough bowls to gift all your friends.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Set your machine to a zig-zag stitch. Curl up the end of your rope so that it forms one small, tight circle. Place it under the foot of your machine and slowly start zig-zagging the rope into a coil. It will continue to grow; when the base of your bowl is the size you want, continue stitching but lift the base of the bowl upwards and it will naturally turn to create the sides of the bowl. When the bowl is the size you want, backstitch (reverse the direction of your sewing machine to ensure that the seam won’t come undone) and snip the rope. You can tuck the end of the rope inside with a simple stitch. Or cover it with a little tab of fabric or leather and hand stitch a decorative “X.”

23. Wooden Bead Ribbon Necklace

Why we love it: Who could say no to the gift of a DIY bauble made with love? These wooden beads will look hand-dyed but are actually easier to create with some simple watercolour paints that allow the beauty of the wood to show through.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Paint your beads in a mix of patterns: solids, polka dots and stripes. Finish the beads with a coat of matte Mod Podge sealer so they won’t bleed if they get wet. When your beads are dry, string them together with ribbon or strips of jersey fabric (an old t-shirt will do!). Jersey won’t fray and when cut into strips, it naturally curls into a rope. Add knots between the beads and at the ends so they don’t slide around.

24. Super Easy Knit Potholders

Why we love it: Whether you’re a seasoned knitter or this is your very first go at it, this DIY Christmas gift is perfect because it’s simple and very quick. You can upcycle bits of leather from an old purse or jacket to finish off the handles. Tip: Chunky yarn will knit up faster.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Cast on enough stitches until your work is about eight inches wide. Knit in the basic garter stitch pattern until your piece is square, cast off and weave in the loose ends. Cut a 1×5-inch strip of leather and tack it onto the corner with a simple stitch using yarn and a large sewing needle.

25. Peppermint sugar scrub

Why we love it: DIY sugar scrubs are a cinch to whip up and make a wonderful handmade gift. For the holidays, go with a classic peppermint scent to make it festive and fun.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Follow a simple sugar scrub recipe and fill up your glass jar (colour blocked layers give a candy cane effect). You can design a cute label using an app like Canva and print out labels, making your gift feel polished.

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