The holidays can be a budget buster even for those with a full-time job, so it’s no surprise that cash-strapped college students might struggle to give gifts to their nearest and dearest. Whether you’re trying to save money or just want to do something more personal this year, there are numerous ways that you can get crafty and creative and whip up your own great DIY gifts. Many of these projects take little expertise and some simple supplies and are something you can work on between classes or on the weekends. So if you’re looking for the perfect DIY gift for the special people in your life, check out these great ideas.

Paper Gifts

Get your scissors and paper busy with these great DIY ideas for the holidays.

  1. Pop-Up Book. This gift is perfect for a kid or a kid at heart. Use these instructions to put together everything from simple pop-ups to complex characters with just some paper, glue and scissors.
  2. Book safe. Got an old college textbook lying around? Why not turn it into something useful with this project that hollows out the book and turns it into a safe.
  3. Book of Family Stories. Write to your family members and ask them to share their favorite stories about growing up and their relatives. Compile them into one big, self-bound book and you’ve got a great personal gift.
  4. Book of Coupons. Whether it’s coupons for kisses for your significant other or coupons to do the dishes for your parents, these DIY gifts will be much appreciated.
  5. Stationary Sets. It’s easy to create personalized and beautiful stationary for just about anyone using this tutorial.
  6. Origami Boxes. Make beautiful boxes your family and friends can use to store small items.
  7. Custom Sketchbook. Have an artist in your life? Make them their very own customized sketchbook as a gift.
  8. Paper Flowers. Real flowers fade after only a few days, but these paper flowers will make your loved ones feel special for months on end.
  9. Photo Collage. Bring together photos of your friends and family to create the ultimate photo college that will remind your recipient of all the good times you’ve had together.
  10. Babysitting Gift Certificate. New parents and veterans alike will love this gift that lets them take a night on the town without worrying about the little ones.

Artsy and Crafty

If you’ve got an artistic flair, consider these great gifts you can make using your skills.

  1. Photo or Art Calendar. Having calendars printed can be an easy and fun way to create gifts. You can draw or PhotoShop just about anything onto them.
  2. Hand Painted or Drawn Portraits. If you’ve got the skills, show them off by drawing a beautiful portrait of your family members or friends.
  3. Framed Photographs. Frames can be picked up for less than a dollar and it’s easy to print and frame your own photographs for a great gift anytime.
  4. Handmade Family Tree. This gift will let you preserve your family heritage and showcases your artistic skills.
  5. Write an Record a Song. If your talents lie more in the musical arts, create a personal tune for those in your life for an amazing and memorable gift.
  6. Rock Art. Turn something humdrum into something awesome by painting rocks with fabulous designs.
  7. Silhouettes. These classic art pieces make great statement pieces on a wall and are easy to make.
  8. Painted Coffee Mug. This project lets you turn a boring coffee mug into a personal gift that can be funny, cute or sentimental.

From the Kitchen

Whether you’re a chef in training or just a kitchen enthusiast, these gourmet gifts are perfect treats for any time of the year.

  1. Cookie Kits. Find some jars and get together basic cooking supplies to whip up this simple and appreciated gift.
  2. Homemade Truffles. If you’re looking for a decadent chocolate gift but don’t have the budget for store bought, try out this DIY recipe instead.
  3. Recipe Book. Pull together your favorite recipes or family favorites to make a recipe book.
  4. Homemade Granola. Make your special occasion a little healthier with this tasty gift.
  5. Fancy Fudge. Fudge isn’t hard to make and can make a delicious gift.
  6. Rock Candy. Take your recipients back to childhood by making rock candy right at home.
  7. Hot Chocolate Jars. Help your friends and family warm up with these jars filled with cocoa mix.
  8. Fresh Bread. Know a little bit about baking? Share your skills with those around you for the perfect holiday gift.
  9. Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Gift your sweetie or someone with a sweet tooth this delightful and surprisingly easy to make concoction this year.
  10. Peppermint Bark. Get into the holiday spirit with this tasty, simple dish that looks great all wrapped up.
  11. Jams and Jellies. Can your own preserves for gifts this year. You’ll not only get delicious results but you’ll impress your family members as well.
  12. Gourmet Vinegar. It’s easy to turn regular old vinegar into something more exotic using this DIY idea.
  13. Gingerbread House. Surprise kids and adults alike with a beautifully decorated gingerbread house.

Sewing and Fabric Crafts

If you’ve got a sewing machine or a needle and thread, you can whip up loads of great gifts just like these.

  1. Simple Slippers. Some basic sewing turns simple felt into a cute and festive slipper.
  2. Scarf. If you know how to knit or crochet, use your skills to keep your giftees warm this winter.
  3. Throw Pillow. These pillows are simple and inexpensive to make but can go a long way towards spicing up home decor.
  4. Laptop Case. This project will help you create a case to protect just about any size of laptop.
  5. Set of Coasters. Tiles, fabric and a simple adhesive turn the bland into a fabulous gift.
  6. Embroidered Napkins. Add monograms or cute designs to plain napkins for a perfect custom present.
  7. Cloth Lunch Bag.If you know someone who brings their lunch to work, they’d appreciate this handmade, reusable lunch bag as a gift.
  8. Trimmed Pillowcases. Make sleeping more fun for those on your gift list with this simple but pretty project.
  9. Sewing Book. The seamstress or crafter in your life will love this gift that keeps all their supplies organized.
  10. Quilt. If you’ve got the time, sewing your own quilt can be an amazing gift. Better yet, you can keep down costs by using old clothes and fabrics you already have.
  11. iPod Cases. Who doesn’t want to protect those pricey electronics. Use this project guide to create awesome custom creations.
  12. Pencil Case. With this DIY gift idea, you can give your friends and family the case and a little something for inside it as well.
  13. Pincushion.For relatives who sew, this pincushion can make a perfect gift.

Seasonal Gifts

Make the holidays warmer and more festive with these gift ideas.

  1. Hand Warmers. This DIY project will help keep your hands and the hands of those you care about warm this winter season.
  2. Handmade Ornaments. From felt to glass, you can make ornaments that are pretty and personal.
  3. Draft Snake. Help keep cold air out with this simple and cute project.
  4. Tissue Holder. The sniffles seem to take hold around the holidays, so make sure your family and friends have a cute way to tote their tissues.
  5. Fleece Hat. These hats can look like just about anything you want– making them great for kids and adults.
  6. Crocheted Hat. Put your crocheting skills to use and try out this pattern for a crocheted hat.
  7. Felt Stockings. Whether you fill them with goodies or not, these handmade stockings will be a gift that gets used year after year.
  8. Tree Skirt. If your family tree skirt needs an update, gift them with a new one this year.

Home Decor

Help your friends and family spice up their homes with these great decor ideas.

  1. Painted Mirrors. Paint a mirror or a piece of glass for an amazing custom piece of home decor.
  2. Scented Sachets. These sachets are simple to make and offer a pleasant fragrance every day.
  3. Teacup Candles. Turn an old teacup into a cute candle with this gift idea.
  4. Jar Terrarium. This low-maintenance gift is perfect for someone with a black thumb or on an office desk.
  5. Floppy Disk Pencil Holder. Try out this project idea to turn those old floppies into something useful.
  6. Flower Lights. Little girls and romantics will adore these lights made from egg cartons.
  7. Cactus Gardens. Cacti are inexpensive plants that you can arrange into a pretty little garden for friends and family.
  8. Herb Pots. Herb pots are the gift that keeps on giving, providing fresh herbs all year round.
  9. Decorative Lamp Shade. Give a plain lamp shade a little va-voom with this DIY project.
  10. Decoupage Tray. Whether you add photos or your own artwork, this tray makes for an attractive and useful gift.
  11. Rag Rug. You can use old t-shirts and fabric scraps to pull together this rug.
  12. Personalized Tea Towels. Add monograms, stamping and other adornments to create tea towels that shine.
  13. Ribbon Board. This board is not only attractive but is a practical gift for those who want to stay organized.


From fun games to presents for pet lovers, these gifts will cover everyone on your list.

  1. Family Trivia Game. Quiz your family members about each other by making a fun, festive trivia game.
  2. Shared Skills. Whether you offer up tutoring, guitar lessons or landscaping, your time makes a perfect gift.
  3. Mix CDs. Pull together great collections of songs that mean something to you and the recipient.
  4. Felt Trivets. These trivets aren’t hard to make and will help save wood and countertops from hot plates.
  5. Potholders. You can never have enough of these hand-saving kitchen essentials, so make a few more of your own for gifts.
  6. Nuts and Bolts Chess. You can create your own game set for the chess enthusiast in your life.
  7. Stuffed Owls. Create cute and cuddly stuffed owls that are ideal for kids using this project.
  8. Fridge Magnet. Get creative with this project to make all kinds of magnets and pushpins.
  9. Custom Key Rings. Most college students can’t afford Hermes, but with this key ring project you can imitate it.
  10. Fuzzy Dice. Every ride needs a great set of fuzzy dice. Help your friends pimp out theirs with this guide.
  11. Snuggie. If you want to keep your loved ones warm but can’t afford to buy them all snuggies, this project cuts costs in half.
  12. Photo DVDs. Pulling together a slide show of sentimental photos can make for a great personal gift.
  13. Light in a Jar. This project lets you turn simple ingredients into a great ambiance-creating gift.
  14. Pet Collar. Reuse old things to make a great gift for a pet or pet lover.

Personal Care

These gifts are inexpensive and can help your nearest and dearest pamper themselves.

  1. Flower Soap. These soaps not only smell good but will look great sitting out on the counter as well.
  2. Bath Bombs. Let your gift recipients pamper themselves using these great bath bombs.
  3. Face Masks. These masks are all natural, easy to make and fun to use.
  4. Scented Bath Salts. Making bath salts can be easy and with a pretty jar they make an amazing holiday gift.
  5. Body Scrub. You don’t have to gift loved ones with trips to the spa to pamper them. Try this homemade recipe instead.
  6. Lip Balm. You don’t have to head to the drugstore to get lip balm. Try out this recipe to whip up a custom batch at home.

Clothing and Accessories

Can’t afford to buy the latest fashions? Use these ideas to make your own instead.

  1. Customized Tote. Add iron ons, embellishments and other fun things to tote bags to customize one for a friend or family member.
  2. Button Bracelets. Buttons are fairly cheap, and with this great project can be turned into super cute jewelry.
  3. Embellished Flip Flops. With flip flops selling for under $5, this DIY project makes for a fun and cheap way to give gifts.
  4. Beaded Jewelry. With a little creativity, you can turn cheap beads into a beautiful piece of jewelry.
  5. Custom Made Tie. Give dad something he’ll be proud to wear this year, with this instructional guide on how to pull together a handmade tie.
  6. Custom T-Shirt. It’s easy and inexpensive to print iron ons at home and make your own custom shirts.
  7. DIY Headbands. The ladies in your life will love these custom headbands.
  8. Fingerless Gloves. These gloves, made from old sweaters, are stylish and allow you to use your hands while still keeping them warm.
  9. Handbag. Try your hand at making this fabulous purse– perfect for both the young and old on your list.
  10. Tie Dye Shirts. These shirts are simple to make and can turn a boring tee into something fun.
  11. Yoga Bag. If you’ve got a yogi in the family, make him or her a custom bag for their mat.
  12. Men’s Wallet. If you don’t have the budget for a store bought, fancy wallet, make one on your own with this project.
  13. Glasses Case. Whether you’re trying to protect sunglasses or reading glasses, this case will do the job.
  14. Bottle Cap Jewelry. Bottle caps don’t have to be garbage. This tutorial shows you how to turn them into pretty and funky jewelry.
  15. Resin Jewelry. With resin, metal wells and some artwork, you can create amazing and unique jewelry for everyone on your list.