Whether your best friend is your sibling, the girl next door or, ahem, your dog, chances are you’re hunting down the perfect holiday gift. If they haven’t asked for something specific (or if you’re just going for the element of surprise), why not consider something handmade and original? While no one can argue that a DVD of their favorite movie or a gift certificate for a spa pedicure is a bad gift, sometimes we want something aimed more directly for the heart. Have you already come up with something awesome for your BFF? Share it with everyone in the comments below! PS – Just a gentle reminder that if you’ll be ordering any gifts of all the ‘ol interwebs, its best to do it by December 15th at the absolute latest in order to ensure timely delivery. Of course, if the present doesn’t end up in the right hands by the needed date, you can always print off a photo of said gift and included it in a handmade card.
It’s the new mix tape! Instead of a cassette tape (because who has players for that anymore) or a CD (because those are pretty wasteful too), why not make a “mix tape” of songs and simple put them on a flash drive? Chances are you already have an extra one laying around (or can, uh, steal one from your office). Whether you guys have certain tunes you always enjoy together, you have a great idea for a theme, you know these some great music she loves and is missing or you just like to dedicate some tunes to her (awwh!), putting together some music is a great gift for a friend. Simply research and write down a list of songs and then download them from iTunes (or another legal site) and toss the MP3s onto the drive. Viola! Bonus points if you do a handwritten letter explaining why you chose each song.
I’m a big fan of themes and curating something around a certain idea. Maybe your BFF just moved into a new home and needs some home supplies. Maybe she is thinking about growing a garden in the spring and needs some seeds. Or perhaps you’re planning on keeping it low and just buying her her favorite bottle of bubbly this year. Why not wrap whatever your gifts are into a cool basket. You can usually find great (and super cheap finds!) at a local thrift store along with some discarded ornaments and “trimmings.” Deck it out to look really nice – it almost won’t matter what’s inside!
Have an awesome photo of you and your friend that you’d love to have framed for her? Too bad having anything professionally framed costs some major dough. Luckily, thrift stores are once again a great haven for cheap finds. Make sure to measure your printed photo to make sure you shop for the perfect frame, and bring a measuring tape along with you to the local Goodwill (be prepared to hit a few incase options are low at the first place you go). The main thing is to find a frame you really love and don’t worry about the color or finish. You can always sand down a wood frame, repaint it, spray paint it or decorate it with glitter! Just think about her personality and her home – would she want something simple and sleek or big and bold?
If funds are running low this year, don’t feel like this makes you a bad friend for having to “get thrifty.” Some of my favorite presents have been the edible kind – hey, a girl has to eat – and simply figuring out a friends favorite cookie type and researching great recipes for it is an awesomely thoughtful way to go. Whip up the favored treat, find a cool way to present it and maybe even include a nicely printed copy of the found recipe.
If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, consider making a scrapbook for your best pal. You can buy an empty scrapbook at any Michael’s (or Michael’s-like store) and may also be able to find one at a Goodwill. You can also buy scrapbooking supplies there, or just get crafty with what you have at home. Concert and movie stubs, favorite photos, song lyrics, inside jokes and personal touches (like a playing card if she loves Poker or the label to her favorite wine) are great things to include along the pages.
One of my personal favorite low cost and crafty gifts is the handmade coupon book. Once again, this is something that can be themed or made totally random. You can type up and print the coupons off if you aren’t super crafty or get really crazy with them if you’ve got the knack for it. The idea is just to come up with things you’d be willing to do for your friend over the course of the next year. They can be stuff that will cost a little bit of money (like coupons for a movie night, dinner at her favorite restaurant, a round of put-put golf, drinks at the newest bar in town, etc) or things that cost nothing at all (helping her reorganize her closet, pick up her dry cleaning, babysit her baby/cat/dog for the weekend, teach her a craft you know and that she wants to learn, etc).
For $22, Boutique Mia and More offers a DIY kit for making one of these “mushroom tops.” The kit includes all of the necessary items – instructions, pre-cut fabrics, elastic, ribbon and bias-tape. The good news is that once you’ve mastered the top with the provided supplies, you’ll always have the instructions to go forth and make more in the future!
Does your bud love to bake? They might love some homemade vanilla extract – which you could make for them! This DIY kit from Deli Cove Spices includes everything you need to make a bottle. Best part? It’s $9.
If you’ve been meaning to learn to embroider, here’s your shot! This crewel embroidery kit includes everything you need to make a hoop of golden colored droplets! It’s a simple first time task, and would look really cute in almost any room. Whether you decide to use the kit to make it for your friend yourself or pass the whole thing along for them to make is up to you. $35 from Emily Rose.
If you’ve got a gaggle of girlfriends to make gifts for, you might be into this DIY kit for making photo pendant necklaces! You handle the photos – Trusted sends you the rest (including instructions, of course)! $27.
Are you as obsessed with these massively popular vintage plate tiers as we have been lately? Luckily, somebody has put together any awesome DIY kit – you find the plates (time to hit Goodwill again!) and My Eroom handles the rest including a heavy gold crown handle & 2 matching rods, 1 Metal washer, 5 Plastic washers, 1 standard screw, plate centre locator, 2 pages of tips & instructions, 6mm Spearhead Drill Bit (Tungsten Carbide) and an extra flat head screw incase you have chosen a rimless bottom plate. The cost? 10 bucks.
Is your friend really into making bread? Like… really into it? We know it’s a niche group, but we know you have at least one in your midst! Miniature Patisserie – a big shop on Etsy – will send you a printable 29 page PDF (or save the trees and throw it on a zip drive) that you can nicely present to your carb loving buddy.
Another super popular craft as of late is the terrarium. Whether it hangs or sits on the desk, its a nice way to get some plant life in your surroundings without having to go full-garden. This vertical hanging terrarium kit from Flathers Creations includes 2-4 well rooted succulents, soil, rocks , fishing line for hanging and simple how to instructions and care. Get creative with your creation and throw in something to give it some personal flair… like maybe painting her initials on the glass. $24
These DIY kit teaches you how to make a cork bulletin board with reclaimed wood in black and red. Reclaimed Door Frame measures 12″ X 12″ and requires at least 36 wine corks, depending on your layout. Kit includes instructions, felt pads & self leveling wall hangers. The Wooden Bee doesn’t provide the wine corks, but you should be able to ask your local bartender to hang onto them for you for a week or two and rack up quite a few. $23.50
Another great tip for someone who needs to make multiple gifts – this DIY kit for unscented handmade lip balm. This setup will yield you with 10 tubes. Kit contains: 10 empty lip balm tubes, 2 pipettes, lip balm base enough to make 10 lip balms, and instructions. Lip balm base ingredients: Olive oil, natural Colorado beeswax, undeodarized organic cocoa butter, and organic coconut oil. If you decide to do this, do you think we could get in on that? We’ll send you our address! $5 from Simple Natural.
Friendship bracelets are as old as time (probably) and are a really sweet way to celebrate friendship – no matter what your age! This DIY kit to make your own for your girlfriends includes eco-tanned brown leather straps, spool of beading thread, beading needles, beading threader, agate gemstone beads, button closure, tutorial directions and aluminum window tin for gifting! Everything you need to begin is included, along with an 8-page booklet of instructions, with clear steps and detailed illustrations to guide you through making this fabulous bracelet, step by step. $50 from July Supply.
If your bestie if more of a necklace gal – and especially if she loves books – she might appreciate this upcycled paper necklace. Paper Statement sells these made in her shop, but offers this DIY setup for people who want to save a little cash. What you get: all the paper circles you need for making this necklace. The circles have a hole in the middle, the diameter is 3.2 cm (1 1/4 “). You get the right amount of every color to make this necklace, that will be 50 cm (20″) long. Plus, an elastic thread of 1 m (40 inches). You’ll still need a needle with a big hole to thread the disks, a spray to varnish the necklace and make it splashproof and the patience and a good eye to make the shades perfect. Not exhausted already? Try it out and let us know how it goes!
This tote bag is simple to make and appropriate for almost any stylish lady. Just cut out the pattern pieces, stencil the canvas, and then sew this fully lined bag together. There are two interior pockets for cell phone and keys, and a snap to close the top. The instructions are hand-illustrated and carefully written, designed and tested and everything you need is included in the kit from Brooklyn Assembly. Want one for yourself? Buy two and you and your friend can make them together!