I love to give DIY Christmas gifts because, to me, a handmade gift means more than something that’s store-bought. Most of the best handmade gifts do take a while to make, but that’s why I’m writing this post a month before Christmas! Hopefully, you’ll find something on this list that sparks inspiration, gets you creating, and leads to a very pleased gift recipient.
If you know someone who loves his or her abode, try making them a watercolor house portrait. Most house portraits that I see take up a whole page, but I like this circular format. It’s nice and clean, features the address, and looks great in a frame!
A calligraphy family tree is the perfect gift for parents or grandparents. I like to embellish mine with flourishes and golden leaves! It can be a bit tricky to figure out who goes where, but once you make a layout, the project goes smoothly.
If you want to make a fairly quick gift, state or country art is an excellent bet. Most people have an affinity for someplace, whether that’s their home state/country or a place they love to visit. Just start with a pencil outline, and write city or state names inside of it!
There are quite a few variations of this idea on the site. You can find the tutorials for them here:
- State Calligraphy Art: A Last-Minute Holiday Gift (features the Kansas map shown above)
- Flourished Calligraphy Country or State Art Tutorial (features Ecuador)
- A Quick DIY Birthday Gift: Brazil Lettering Map
- Gift-Worthy State Lettering Map Tutorial (features California)
- Quick Calligraphy City Map Tutorial
Anyone can use a greeting card, and hand-painted greeting cards are the best. Try making a set of cards from the floral watercolor tutorial, and gift the set — plus some envelopes, if you’d like — to someone who appreciates flowers.
Make a botanical letter out of your recipient’s first initial! If I were giving this as a gift, I’d create it on an 8″ x 10″ (20.32 cm x 25.4 cm) piece of watercolor paper. For an especially pretty presentation, you can frame the botanical letter artwork.
A watercolor map is far from a quick project … the best maps take at least three days to make! But, if you know someone who loves a certain city, the project is worth it. (You can see various examples of watercolor maps, many of which were created as gifts, here.)
If you’re making a gift for a special couple (or for your own spouse), consider putting together artwork that celebrates the couple both individually and as a whole. A multi-size square format allows you to combine several elements to make a sentimental, frame-worthy piece.
If I had to guess, I’d say that more TPK readers gift this project than any other project on the site! That’s because it’s approachable (the tutorial includes traceable letter templates) and fairly quick.
Ampersand art is a quick and thoughtful gift! I love it framed on a shelf … the ampersand shape is pleasing from afar, and all of the calligraphy written inside of it pulls you in.
My dirty little secret? I’m on my third Kindle eReader. I love those things! BUT. When I want to remember a favorite recipe in a cookbook or mark where I’m at in a magazine, I love using bookmarks. I suspect that there are several people in the same boat! So, cut out some strips of watercolor, get to doodling, and make a lovely little DIY bookmark gift packet.
Consider this list to be a DIY Christmas gift idea buffet: if a project looks too intimidating or doesn’t gel with you, that’s okay! My hope is that even if you don’t take on any of these tutorials, they’ll give you some handmade gift inspiration. Thanks very much for reading, and happy holidays!