I love the idea of homemade Christmas gifts, and I am always looking for ideas that will be unique and useful (because—let’s face it—a lot of homemade gifts are not). I thought sharing some of my successful homemade gifts from previous years might serve as inspiration and motivation to get started on some handmade gifts this year!
Many of the ideas are small and perfect for stocking stuffers or priority mailers (for those that don’t want to spend more money on shipping gifts than the actual cost of the gifts). With some repurposing and craft store sale shopping, many of these gifts can be made inexpensively and as well. Most of them can be assembled in large batches as well, which can be time saving if you have many people on your Christmas gift list.
- Belts – Last year I made several belts in different colors and patterns for my younger siblings and my children. For a simple belt, choose a patterned ribbon and coordinating color of belt webbing (available in craft stores near the ribbon). You can either stitch along each edge of the ribbon or use an iron-on hem tape to attach the ribbon to the webbing. Loop one end of the belt through a pair of D-rings (or another type of buckle) and finish the edges. Each of these belts cost less than $5 to make. Try variations of this projects with two layers of ribbon, braided leather cords, rope, or lace.
- Coffee cup sleeve – These were fun to make—coffee cup holders to match personalities! I free-handed the name lettering to give them a custom-made look. The pattern I used was from House on Hill Road (check out her other tutorials while you’re there!).
- Zippered pouches – I have made dozens of these zippered pouches using the tutorial at Noodlehead. They are perfect for storing little items that get lost in a big purse or for holding cosmetics. Many of the people I have made them for have expressed how useful the little bag has been. It’s also great fun to watch people light up when they see that you have chosen a fabric that matches their personality—something they would have picked themselves. You could also make it in fun kid-friendly fabrics to contain art supplies and such.
- Felt flower hair accessories or pins – I love this felt flower tutorial. I have made these on ponytail holders, and attached them to alligator clips and pins. With good quality felt in stylish colors, they look nice as accessories for women, as well as little girls. These also ended up being the perfect craft project for pre-teen and teen girls at a Christmas tea party we went to last year. No sewing skills necessary—just fabric, scissors, and a glue gun!
- Leather business card or electronics holder – My husband looked at several stores for a business card holder and wasn’t able to find what he was looking for. After browsing through some etsy listings, I decided that I could sew one myself using some of the ideas and designs I had seen at this shop. I bought a piece of scrap leather for about $6 and had enough to make 3-4 small gifts. If you decide to sew on leather, make sure you have a heavy-duty needle and use the triple stitch option if you want the stitches to show.
- Calendula salve – This is a wonderful and easy recipe for homemade calendula salve, which can be used to treat minor skin irritations, small cuts and burns, and rashes. You can repurpose old jars or buy some small containers to package it in. I think this would be best made in large batches and packaged in small quantities for many people. Try adding a personal touch with handmade labels.
- Handmade notecards – A pack of blank cards, some pretty scrapbook paper, and some simple stitching can make very nice notecards. Use a stencil to cut out some shapes and stitch then right on the card! If you don’t have a sewing machine or sewing skills, try a needle and thread to dress up the card with a few hand stitches.
- Cloth Napkins – Cloth napkins can be made for as little as $.50 each with discount store fabric and you can make them to match anyone’s style. Decide how large you want them and cut squares that are 2 inches more than your desired size. Fold over 1/2 in. on each edge and press. Then fold over each edge one more time and press. Stitch with a 3/8 seam all the way around. Choose fabric that is mostly cotton or linen for the best absorbency. Over time I have added enough to our home stash to use these everyday and have eliminated the waste from paper napkins, so this is also a great eco-friendly gift for naturally-minded friends.
- Fabric Baby Book – I have made a few of these soft color-block baby books for friends with fabric scraps that normally would have gone to waste. I randomly stitch pieces together until I have a large enough area to cut out my square for the page. These pages are 8 in. finished, but I think a smaller book would be easier for little hands. This doesn’t require advanced sewing skills, but figuring out the page order during construction can be a little tricky. If there is interest, I may be able to put together a tutorial.
- Little felt dolls – These little dolls are about 4 in. tall and fit perfectly inside little girls’ pockets and purses. We also made a felt cat and felt chicken to go with the doll family. (I plan to post a pattern and tutorial for these very soon!) Be creative with the details! There are other more complicated felt doll tutorials out there, but this is meant to be quick and easy. One doll, start to finish, can be made in less than an hour. My 5 year old was able to do the stitching around the body of the cat, so I think this would be a great craft for a pre-teen girl to try for a friend or younger sister.
If you try any of the projects, let me know! I would love to see how they turn out with your own style and fabric choices.