10 thoughtful and creative DIY gift ideas

Making your own gift for someone can seem like a lot of effort. However, the process of building a gift for a loved one not only sparks a surge of creativity in you, but is also a lot of fun. The task deeply helps build stronger relationships with the receivers and makes you feel totally accomplished and full of joy while watching them rip open the wrapper and see their eyes light up. Also, we are teenagers. As a rule, we are pretty broke. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the cheapest, fun, sometimes even effortless but thoughtful gifts for anyone you value in your life.

1. An album/photo frame

A nice gift for your special someone to put in their bedroom, this cheap DIY will also put the widest smile on their face. First, browse your phone to find the images you want to include. It could look like candid photos you have of them, photos of them playing sports, photos of them surrounded by the people they love, or photos of the two of you together. Then head to the nearest supply store, print out the photos, and grab either a sheet of black card and a frame of your choice, or a photo album. Now you can either stick these photos on the card and put the card in the frame or just put the photos in the album. The rest is entirely up to you! Decorate your creation!

2. A sweater/hoodie of your own

A completely free gift, but extremely effective and sentimental, this idea is for someone who is looking to make their partner’s heart beat faster. For this effect, choose a hoodie that they might like to wear when they come. Then spray it with cologne, perfume, or any other scent you wear regularly. Finally, you can write a nice heartfelt letter to go with it before wrapping it up and tying a ribbon to it. Believe me, this idea works.

3. “Open when” letters

Now that was my absolute favorite gift I’ve ever prepared for someone before. This can take a lot of work depending on the quality of the letters you want to present. I started working on them about three weeks before my person’s birthday so they would be ready a few days before the event. The “Open when” letters are a series of letters with instructions to open at a later date or time. I really struggled with ideas when planning my letter travel. To save you time and effort, here is the list I made and followed when writing the letters.

Open when…

1. you receive this gift

2. you are sad

3. you stress

4. you don’t feel beautiful

5. you are bored

6. you can’t calm down

7. you can’t sleep

8. you feel unloved

9. Everything Seems Too Much

10. you need help making a difficult decision

11. you are in love

12. you are heartbroken

13. it’s your (age) birthday

14. it’s your wedding day

15. you are having a baby

17. we are mad at each other

18. it’s new year’s day (year)

19. this is your last letter

You can make these letters as personal as you want by including your own titles, goodies attached to special letters (perhaps a bar of their favorite chocolate with the letter written on it to help them feel better when they’re down if you choose to write that). It is also worth mentioning that these letters will be with the person you write them to forever and that is absolutely irreplaceable.

4. “Spin When” CD and Player

This gift is in a way an adaptation of the letters. Although it takes time, it is absolutely worth your person’s reaction and it’s fun to do it with your person in mind. It’s amazing how you can turn an outdated CD player into something fun and cool. What you’ll need to do is create an assortment of playlists for specific moods or times. These playlists may loosely follow the letter titles above. If you choose to follow the letter titles above, think about the feel of each of those moments and look for music that matches the essence of each feeling. Then buy a budget CD player. You can paint the player if you want to customize it for the receiver. Acrylic paint works best on plastic. Be sure to cover it with a coat of white paint before you start the illustrations. Remember, you don’t have to be incredibly good at art to complete this gift! The fact that you spent so much time preparing it for someone will make their heart soar. After that, you’ll want to burn your playlists to CDs and place them in a box or some form of storage. Wrap the presents and voila! An extremely thoughtful and fun gift to make for whoever you choose to present it to.

5. Candles

Simple, fun to make, and sentimental, candles make a great gift for anyone. You can use candles to strengthen relationships and let someone know that you are really putting thought and effort into it. You can look at the candles associated with their zodiac sign; there are specific scents that appeal to the person of a specific sign. Or perhaps for a friend who is moving, you might consider creating a candle with the scent of their hometown. Either way, any candle you take the time to make will be an amazing ornament for their room that will always remind them of your presence. Plus, whatever perfume you decide to use, it will become a sentimental scent for the lucky recipient. The scent of your candle will be deeply ingrained in their senses, unlocked each time they encounter a scent similar to the one you gifted them. Durable, wonderful and fun to make, it’s a fantastic gift for anyone.

6. Crochet garment

A new hobby, an original piece for the person to whom you are looking to offer your creation. It’s a win-win situation. Crochet is something you can do almost anywhere. Sitting in the living room after a family dinner, in your bedroom watching a movie, in the back seat of the car; crocheting is a fun activity to share with many people over your lifetime. Also remember the power that Taylor Swift’s scarf held. After Gyllenhaal kept his scarf in his drawer, she made a heartbreaking album that I’m sure left him wondering whether or not he should have just returned it… That’s what the powerful hooks and threads can do.

7. Baked goods

Timeless! Baking is a super sweet gift (mind the pun) for someone you care about. It’s also fun to get your hands dirty with your little creation. Whether in the form of a basket of cookies, a tray of brownies or a container of cupcakes; you can’t go wrong with the baking! Attach a pretty card and a small personalized decoration either to the items or to the case in which your goodies are stored and you’re done! You had fun in the kitchen and made someone close to you smile.

8. Custom Flower Pots and Seeds

This idea is really adorable and fantastic for anyone who can be trusted to take care of a few small plants. First, you’ll need to head to your local hardware chain and pick up a few small pots and a few small packets of seeds. These can be pretty flower seeds, edible plant seeds (like basil), or any kind of seed you like. Then go home, get out some paints and brushes, and paint some pretty pictures on each jar. Remember that they don’t have to be perfect! Quick and easy, this idea is sure to make your person feel appreciated and also gives them something of their own to occupy themselves with and focus on.

9. Custom CD Hanging

Another gift that takes a bit more time and effort, but again is totally worth it, is a personalized CD hanger. What you will need to do to give this gift is to go to the nearest supply store and pick up a box of CDs, as many as you want. Then go home and start planning. Think, what do they like to do? What kind of music do they listen to? What fascinates them? Once you have formulated a list, start painting the CDs and depicting their interests on each one. When finished, thread a piece of string around and through each of the CDs to create funky decor for their room.

10. Pot of love

Absolutely one of the most heartfelt DIYs, a love jar will make the recipient feel appreciated, special and, of course, loved. A love jar is a jar that includes many small pieces of colored paper, each color representing one of four things (usually). On the front of the jar, you must include a code serving as instructions for use. For example, you can write something like “Pink = things I like about you”, “Red = date ideas”, “Purple = music I want you to listen to”, “Yellow = moments and memories” . Now obviously what you will need is a jar, whatever size you want, and an assortment of colored paper. Write what you want to express to them in groups on each color, then cut them into pieces and place them in your jar. You can suggest that they open a note every morning to start their day with a smile, or maybe they open a note whenever they feel upset. It is entirely up to you. They will love this gift and I’m sure you will have a lot of fun creating it.

These gift ideas are to spark an idea you can run with. The most relationship gifts on this list don’t have to be for someone you’re dating, that’s the beauty of it. You can modify these ideas to match the vibe of your relationship with the person you are planning to create a gift for. For example, I created a love jar for a friend of mine to remind him why I’m grateful to him and thinking of him. I hope you’ll take these ideas and put your own spin on them. Be creative, have fun, and share the love with the people in your life who really matter.