3 All-time favorite handmade gift ideas

Handmade gifts will always be my most favorite to either give or receive.

When I was a classroom teacher (of visual art and design at the high school level), I was all about encouraging students to cultivate, develop and refine their individualized art and crafting skills that would enable and excite them to give handmade. I mean, sure, you can just go and buy something for them but when you use what you are/what you have and create something for another person, it just seems that much more special.

All of what you are about to see are handmade gifts (from me) for others and I hope it shows some decent examples of how/what can be handmade as much as heartfelt. 

Show someone you see who they are and how they are

This necklace could have been a tree ornament or even something that could be hung on a wall. I took beads and threaded them with wire, then clustered them together and then encircled and wrapped them together so they were nested. Then I took a bird charm and attached it to the nest and then attached them all together to a jewelry chain. The purpose of the gift was to celebrate motherhood and family... 

A wire-wrapped bird's nest mother's necklace 

Simply put, lovely, and meaningful

The message in a bottle idea (below) was for someone who was going through a really tough time in life and was dealing with major loss and grief. Sure, I could have given flowers (per what is most customary) but I wanted to give something that would be able to be kept longer and also be a little bit interactive even. 

All the materials were from my local Michaels:
  • A tall glass bottle with a cork
  • Paint pen that can be used on glass to write the message on the outside of the bottle
  • Alphabet stamps and stamp pad (for the word on the feather)
  • A long feather
  • Sand and fine gold glitter (or another color if you prefer)

 The message on the outside of the bottle said, "Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in your soul..." and then on the inside, I hand stamped the word hope on a single feather resting on a bed of glittered sand. I permanently corked the bottle with glue.

Handmade gifts easily become true keepsakes

This particular gift set was a lot more expensive than the last idea but it was a baby gift for someone close to me for their first very long awaited child. The person was a serious Harry Potter fan and they were excited to have a little girl that would hopefully love Hermione as much as they did.  For this gift set, I tried to honor the gift recipient's love of reading (Harry Potter, specifically) and the beautiful elements of the whole series of Harry Potter. I took a blank book box and embellished it to look like a book. I  also designed and fabricated a miniature Hogwarts letter and crocheted a Hedwig hat and a pint-sized Gryffindor scarf.  The Hermione wand was made out of oven-baked polymer clay.

You can #giveHandmade (even if YOU don't make it)

I know one of the biggest arguments to not give handmade is, "Who has the time to MAKE the gifts you are wanting to give?" Well, that's why there is Etsy.  And because I'm an etsy shop owner, I can tell you that when you buy from a small business, you are buying from a real person who is absolutely thrilled to give that much more care to the fact that you are helping to support their creative business endeavors.

If you don't want to buy handmade and you want to try your hand at making something, you can do that too! Nowadays, there are tons of video tutorials and websites (and FB fan pages) that show step-by-step tutorials (that you can rewind and play over and over again if you need to) so you can learn and refine the REAL skills to be able to give handmade as much (and whatever) you might like. You can even do classes at your local big box arts and crafts stores if you do better with in-person classes.

As an added bonus, if/when you really fully commit yourself to giving handmade (meaning: you make it yourself) you also end up giving back to yourself because you might end up with a new hobby of something you never thought you could do.