Lifehack logo

10 Fun DIY Gifts that are actually cool.

by S. G. Marin 2 months ago in list

You're family and friends will be glad to receive them.

10 Fun DIY Gifts that are actually cool.
Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

I don't know about you, but I love being creative. It makes gift giving so much more fun, in my mind. I don't just buy something and stick a bow on it. I buy everything I need and create something great! There's nothing wrong with buying gifts, though. That's not what I'm saying. I just think it's fun to do something different.

Here is a list of different DIY gifts that are actually cool and people will actually want. Hope you enjoy it!

1. Colorful Hand-Dotted Tumblers

These cups are so easy to make.

What You'll Need:

1. Red, yellow, blue, and white enamel acrylic paint

2. Glass tumblers

3. Paper towel

4. Cotton swabs

5. Sheet pan

6. Parchment paper

Directions:

- Get all of your materials together. Use enamel or all-surface acrylic for long-standing results. You can purchase small containers at your local craft store for around $1 a bottle.

- Fold your paper towel in half and then in half again. Squeeze out a dollop of each color on the paper towel. You can mix some paints to create a different color or you could change the tint by adding white to some colors. Get as creative as you like! Or experiment with mixing the primary colors to create greens, oranges, and purples. Place a length of parchment paper on a sheet pan, and then place the glasses upside-down on the pan.

- Press the end of a cotton swab in one color of paint, and dot around the base of the glass. Continue dotting with other colors to create the first layer of dots, and then let dry while working on the rest of the glasses.

- Continue working on the other glasses, experimenting with color combinations. Once the first layer is dry, go back and add more colorful dots, working from the base of the glass to the sides — staying clear of the edges of the tumblers.

- Let the finished dotted tumblers dry for an hour. Then, place them in a cold oven and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes to set the paint. Turn off the heat and allow the glasses to cool in the oven for an hour before handling.

- Give a set to someone special, or gift individually as party favors after a holiday gathering. Although the hand-dotted tumblers are ready for wear and tear, they will last longer when gently hand-washed and allowed to air dry.

2. Pine Scented Soy Wax Candles:

This works with any colors you want to do. You can get a package of wax dye with a variety of colors and enjoy being as creative as you want!

Supplies:

1. Weck Jars

2. Soy Wax Chips

3. Green wax dye

4. Pine scented candle oil

5. Candle wicks

6. Small wooden sticks

7. Scissors

8. Pot for melting

9. 2 heat-proof bowls with spout

Directions:

- Melt 10 cups of soy wax chips in a large, heavy pot on medium heat. Watch it carefully, as it’s hot wax!

- Once the wax is melted, add in drops of pine-scented oil (or whatever scent you want!), and divide the melted wax into two heat-proof bowls with pouring spouts.

- Add drops of green dye into one of the bowls. You’ll need several drops to make it really green!

- Place the wick at the bottom of the candle jar. If you want it to stay exactly in place, use a little to glue to fasten it to the jar. Otherwise, just wrap the top around a twig and set the twig on the rim of the glass. This will keep the wick standing upright while the wax cools.

- You can do as many layers of green and white as you please! It just depends on how much time you want to wait in between drying each layer.

- Start with whichever color you want on the bottom, filling about ¼ of the jar, then placed the jar in the refrigerator to speed up the drying time.

- Once the wax is solid again, pour the other colored wax on top. Put it back in the fridge to solidify. Repeat this process until you reach the top.

- Remove the stick and cut the wick.

- Place the lids on, and wrap the candles up to give to friends and family this holiday season. You could use different scents and colors to gift this to someone any time of the year. Happy crafting!

3. Picture Frame Luminaries:

This is a really cute gift that goes great everywhere!

Supplies:

1. 4 5x7 Frames

2. Gorilla Glue or Super Glue

3. 2 Sheets of 8.5x11 Vellum (solid or patterned)

4. Home printer

5. Family photos

6. Square Mirror

7. Tea light candles or LED candles.

Directions:

- Find the four photos you want to feature on your centerpiece and print them out on vellum paper. You can trim them down to size if need be.

- Take out the photo that came with the frame as well as the cardboard backing. Place your photo on TOP of the glass (for safety measures so the fire doesn't burn your pictures and spread).

- Once in your frames, glue them together to make a cube. (Note: if you're using gorilla glue, it expands when dry, so, be sure to apply a thin line towards the inner side of the joint.)

- Put the cube frame over the square mirror. This will help reflect the light from your votive making the photos clearer and more prominent. Then place the votive inside and light! This makes a beautiful gift.

4. Chalkboard Serving Tray:

I love this one! Such a great addition to any get together!

Supplies:

1. 1 2x12x8 Pine or Framing Lumber

2. Stain

3. Painter’s Tape

4. Chalkboard Spray Paint

5. 2 Pulls

Directions:

- Cut a 2×12 board to 24″ long (if you don't have an electric saw, you can always get home depot to cut it for you at the time of purchase).

- Next, stain your board! The stain used in the image is Provincial by Varathane, but other colors or brands would also work. Apply one coat of stain to the entire board. Because this is such a small piece, you can just use wiping cloths to apply the stain and wipe off the excess.

- After the stain dries, tape off the edges and sides using painter’s tape.

- Apply one coat of chalkboard spray paint to the board.

- Attach the pulls. The image shows simple rustic pulls, but you can change yours to fit your taste or give it a different look!

5. Herb Garden Planter:

This is perfect for the green thumb! No more searching around for those little pesky tabs to find out what's what!

Supplies:

1. DIY Flower Centerpiece Box

2. Medium Galvanized Pots

3. Polished River Rocks

4. Paintbrush

5. White Broad Point Chalk Marker

6. 16oz Black Chalkboard Paint

7. Masking or washi tape

Directions:

- Using masking tape or washi tape, tape off the desired area of the wooden planter box and paint two coats of black chalkboard paint. Let the first coat of paint dry before applying the second coat.

- To prepare each bucket for planting, place polished river rocks in the bottom of each galvanized pot to allow drainage when watering herbs.

- Plant your herbs in each galvanized pot with potting soil.

- Using your chalkboard marker, write the name of your herbs on the chalkboard paint. This makes the perfect DIY Planter to add to your kitchen or it makes the perfect gift for a fun and fresh mix of herbs for cooking.

6. Marlbed Watercolor Mugs:

Such an easy and cheap project that comes out looking so cool!

Supplies:

1. Mug

2. Bamboo Skewer or Toothpick

3. Old container that you don't mind ruining

4. Paper towels or parchment paper

5. Nail polish

Directions:

- Fill an old container with warm water. The warmer the better. Just be sure it is something you don’t mind having nail polish on since this process can leave some residue behind. When you fill it, don’t fill it too full. Take whatever piece you are going to dip and do a test run.

- Grab some pretty nail polish . You don't need to buy any new ones because you only use a little, but if you want different colors than you have, go ahead and replenish your stock. Be sure NOT to grab a quick dry polish. Time is of the essence here, we don’t need to shorten our time even more with a quick dry. You will want something with some pow! A bright or dark color works well.

- Pour a few drops of polish into the water. Swirl with a skewer if necessary. A film will start to form (it is starting to dry already). Grab your mug because we’re finally ready to create that awesome DIY Watercolor Mug! Dip and swirl to pick up the paint. Place your mug on the paper towel to dry. Don’t touch it until it’s completely dry.

HELPFUL TIPS:

1. Pour the polish close to the surface of the water. If dropped too high, it will sink to the bottom and not dissipate.

2. Try using a plastic Solo cup first to get the hang of it.

3. Use 2 colors to get a really fun marbling effect.

4. Don’t use the brush to add the drops, pour it from the bottle.

5. Your mug is no longer dishwasher safe nor is it microwave safe. And if possible, don’t put the polish on an area where you would have food or place your lips. It’s just not healthy.

6. Only dip your item once. If you feel like it needs more. Let it dry and start again until you get the desired effect.

7. This process moves very quickly so be swift on your feet!

8. Don’t touch the mug until it’s dry. You don’t want to smudge it. If you messed it up, you can take some nail polish remover to it.

9. When emptying the water, be sure to scoop out all the extra polish with a paper towel first or you will have a very colorful sink.

7. Painted Wood Slice Coasters:

These are great for those rustic lovers out there! They turn out so great and your giftee will surely put it to good use!

Supplies:

1. Wood Slices (you can cut your own, find them at a craft store, or even on Amazon)

2. Silhouette portrait, cameo, vinyl, or even stencils at your local craft store.

3. Acrylic paint and brush

4. Polyurethane Varnish

5. Thin cork or varnish

Directions:

- You can create a design of your choosing from Silhouette Studio (it's free to sign up and they have free designs as well as some that you'd need to pay for, but they're all fairly cheap, however, you do need WinZip to download the files which their cheapest package costs around $30, but they also have a free trial you can try) or you could just use a stencil you bought at the craft store.

- Dab two thin coats of acrylic paint.

- After letting them dry for about an hour, apply two thin coats of the varnish to help preserve the design and repel water. It gives them a bit of a nice shine, too.

- Then, you want to cut the corkboard to the right size and shape of your coasters. Hot glue it to the bottom of your coasters. You could also use a piece of felt, or even a few sticky felt or foam dots – just something to keep the bottom of the coasters from scratching up any furniture.

8. Handprint Apron:

Such a beautiful grandparent gift! She/ He will certainly love this!

Supplies:

1. Canvas Apron

2. Fabric Paint (make sure it's washable)

3. Fabric, matching thread

4. Heat transfer (optional)

Directions:

- Add the embellishment first– it will be easier to have it in place, and use it as a guide when you add the handprints. You can add a ruffle like the one in the image, at the top and along the bottom of the apron or you could get as creative as you like and make a whole new design.

- Cut out the names of the person your gifting and your kids (or whomever you're planning to add) in the same font. If you're planning on using heat transfer, now would be the time. You don't have to iron them on just yet, but you can if you like. Or you can also use fabric paint (the bottle with the pointed tip meant for writing) to write all the text.

- Apply the white paint to the hands one at a time. Have a plan for where you want them to go–it might not be perfect, but it will be better than guessing. Once this paint is on, it’s on! Check the bottle for directions, but it usually takes around 24 hours to dry.

- If you haven't ironed the names on yet, do it once the handprints are dry.

9. Lotion Bars:

This is such a cute idea! You can even buy some little boxes or pouches for easy transportation so that your person can carry them around in her purse or simply keep it fresh.

Supplies:

1. Silicone Mold

2. Shea Butter

3. Beeswax

4. Oil (olive, almond, caster, etc.)

5. Bowl (for microwave) or Double Boiler/ pan and pot or unlined tin can or glass jar (for the stove).

6. Mica powder or a liquid food grade coloring (optional)

7. Essential Oils (Optional)

Directions:

- In a microwaveable bowl, mix your beeswax and pop it into the microwave in about 30 seconds increments, stirring in between, until it’s completely melted.

- Add in your shea butter and microwave it again until it’s completely mixed up with the beeswax.

- Add the oil of your preference and pop it again in the microwave until everything is completely mixed and melted.

- Or, if you prefer, you can put the beeswax, butter, and oil on the stove to melt them down. To do it this way, you'd need to place a pan on the stove with a few inches of water in it with a pot, unlined tin, or unlined jar of ingredients in it (for a makeshift double boiler, but if you have a double boiler, feel free to use it). Heat the pan over medium-low heat until the beeswax, oil, and shea butter have melted. Overcooked shea butter can become grainy, so, keep a close eye on the mixture.

- Once melted, remove the jar/ pot/ tin can from the water or your bowl from the microwave. If you're planning on using colorant, do so at this point, and be sure to use a light hand so that it won't stain skin or clothes.

- Next, it's time to add the scents of your choosing, if you're planning to do so. Add 10 drops of essential oil. You could do more or less than that, depending on how strong you want it to be.

- Finally, get your silicone mold and pour your mixture in at room temperature until it sets. You would know when to remove the bars from the mold since the color will change from clear to opaque. And once they are opaque and cool to the touch, you can remove them from the mold.

10. Photo Coasters:

I love getting creative with pictures. It's the perfect way to remember the good times!

Supplies:

1. Small foam paintbrushes

2. Ceramic tiles (you can find these at most home improvement/ hardware stores or even on Amazon).

3. Glossy Mod Podge

4. 4x6 photos printed on matte paper

5. Waterproof Acrylic Sealer Spray

6. White Acrylic Craft Paint

7. Felt, Fleece, or Cork scraps for backing

8. Hot Glue to attach the backing

Note: If you are using different brands of products, results may

vary.

Directions:

- Paint the rough, unfinished side edges of the coasters. Once the tile has dried, grab your photos (they can be colored or in black and white, both work).

- Trim photo into a square shape, to fit the tile.

Note: Be sure not to rush the project, and give it plenty of time.

It can take several days, as you have to allow each coat to

dry completely for many hours before applying the next

coat.

- Apply Mod Podge to the back of the photo with a sponge applicator, then press down onto tile. Allow it to dry completely.

- Once dry, apply a layer of Mod Podge with a sponge applicator to the top of the photo. Use even left-to-right strokes {as always with Mod Podge, lines will show}. Allow it to dry completely. Repeat with 2 more layers of Mod Podge {allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next}.

To make it waterproof:

Once the coasters have had 3 layers of Mod Podge applied and have dried completely, take them on outside. It’s time to spray with Acrylic Sealer!

- Lay coasters on wax paper or something else you don’t mind getting sprayed with some over-spray.

- The Acrylic Sealer is an important step ~ it will seal the project. This will ensure the coaster is waterproof and can handle wet glasses sitting on the coasters. You’ll want a strong coat of sealer on each coaster. Apply a total of 5 coats of sealer, allowing each to dry completely overnight before applying the next coat.

- Now it’s time to add some backing to the coasters. Apply the backing with a hot glue gun, and allow it to dry completely.

There you have it! The list of some of the coolest DIY gifts that I have come across. These gifts can be created for any time of the year (birthday, Christmas, Mother's/ Father's Day, etc.). They can brighten anyone's day. I hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thanks for the reads and please heart this article, if you liked it.

Happy Crafting!

Skye Marin

list
S. G. Marin
S. G. Marin
Read next: 10 Remarkable Facts Of The 18th Century That Will Surprise You
S. G. Marin

I'm optimistic, married, a mom, a writer, a reader, an artist. Being only thirty years young, I want to be a published author when I grow up. I hope to help heal the world with my words, for they are quite powerful when used correctly.

See all posts by S. G. Marin

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links