Image by Mattheau Faught/The Et Cetera

Image by Mattheau Faught/The Et Cetera

APRIL CALVO, Contributor

Let’s be honest. After Black Friday hit, you blew your budget and now you’re broke. Even so, you still want to show your family and friends you care about them. Nothing says ‘I appreciate you’ more than a gift you made with your own hands.

Here are five do-it-yourself gift ideas that are ranked from easy to difficult, based on my experience from doing all of these before. The cost of materials and alternatives are also included.

— Compiled by April Calvo



All you will need to make your own collage is a notebook, sketchbook or canvas, which you can get for $1. Next, you can use printed-out pictures, magazines or stickers to arrange on the canvas. I would rate this as easy since it is one of the simplest and most budget-friendly ideas here.



Tasty Treats

You can’t go wrong gifting someone food or snacks. It could be homemade treats or dollar store candy. The only thing you’d have to do is to present/arrange the treats in a creative way. I would rate this as easy because even if you don’t have time to bake, you can just buy some dollar store treats and wrap them up in a fun way.




You can use either felt or fuzzy socks to make a plushie. Felt can be purchased in a pack at any dollar store or for 28 cents per piece at Walmart. Fuzzy socks can be purchased for $1 a pair. Stuffing is around $6 per bag at Walmart or Michaels, or you could use rice or beans to make your plushie sit up.

Gluing and sewing felt is simple and straightforward. Most of the time you wouldn’t even need stuffing. Fuzzy sock plushies make for a great squishy and are very easy to make without sewing. I would rate both methods a medium since they require time and patience.



Customize clothes

Each bottle of fabric paint costs about $2, or $10 for a pack. I’ve labeled this as difficult since it requires a steady hand with the paint.


Another option is embroidery, which has nice results, and if you mess up you can undo the stitches and keep going. Embroidery thread packs usually cost $1 at the dollar store. I’d rate this a medium in difficulty since it’s going to take a while.

As for iron-on sheets, they are the easiest to apply on any fabric, but the good long-lasting sheets usually cost around $10. This would be rated as easy since all you’d need is a printer and a place to place the picture.


You can buy a shirt for a few bucks at Dollar General or get a three for $10 deal at Michaels. You can also use any of these methods on shoes, hats, tote bags or jackets.


Polymer clay jewelry

Polymer clay is around $1.80 for each color or $15 for a whole pack on Amazon. You can also make homemade clay with materials you have at home. I would rate this project as difficult since polymer clay can get very squishy and difficult to work with if you aren’t used to the material. But it doesn’t hurt to try. Plus, once you get the hang of it, it’s very fun to play around with.

Tip: Clean your hands with a napkin when working between light and dark colors. Colors will transfer very easily, especially onto the white.