40 of Our Best Handmade Gifts for Everyone on Your List
The ideal gift is one that's handmade and homemade. In that spirit, we've rounded up some of our editors' most elegant, easy-to-make heirloom ideas for everyone on your list, including knit accessories, personalized jewelry, artisanal soaps, and bath bombs.
Friends and family always appreciate a gift that comes straight from the heart—especially during the holidays, when all of your loved ones have gathered under one roof to celebrate. You can certainly find personalized and unique gift options when shopping locally at specialty retailers or hunting down artisan works from online marketplaces, but a handmade gift lets your family and friends know that it's truly a labor of love; you've spent extra time thinking about what they'd love to receive this year and carving out time in your schedule to actually craft it. While it may sound like a challenge to make a gift for everyone on your list this year, these ideas and how-tos are surprisingly simple while being delightfully fun for your intended to receive.
This collection of our favorite handmade gifts touch on many different skill sets: sewing, knitting, painting, cooking, and general handiness. Some ideas allow you to upcycle something that's old or tarnished into a well-crafted essential, like this set of playful mittens fashioned from leftover yarn. Pictured here, we've allowed imagination to dictate the design, and many of the ideas in this inspirational round up requires the same approach.
These gifts are designed to please anyone on your list—from parents to sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, and even some fun options for kids. Whether you plan to wrap them up and place them under the tree or in a stocking on the mantel, or give them to a host or hostess or as part of your workplace gift exchange, these handmade gifts are all made to last. An added bonus? They'll fit snugly into a mailer for a holiday gift to a loved one abroad. Follow along as we explore crafty ways to make your own handmade gifts this season.
Forget about the Zoom top: A stylish hand-knotted headband will enliven your friend's look, and her video calls.
Tea-Towel Bread Pouch
Canvas Log Bag
Give the fire starters in your life a lift: this handsome, quick-sew canvas log carrier. Measure out one piece of canvas, 18 1/2 by 36 1/2 inches, and fold under sides of canvas by 1/2 inch, and press with a clothing iron. Fold under by another 1/2 inch, and hem all around. Using a stitching needle and waxed thread, hand-stitch leather handles onto center of short sides of canvas.
Shop Now: Big Duck Canvas #10 Cottoncanvas Duck, 60" wide, in Dark Olive Drab, $11.99 a yd., bigduckcanvas.com; Byhands Hand Craft PU Leather Simple Tote Bag Handles, #PU24-5402, 21.2", in Orange Aid, $9.99 for 2, byhandsusa.com; ArtMinds Stitching Needles, $4.29 for 10, michaels.com; ArtMinds Waxed Thread, in Natural, $4.79 for 25 yd., michaels.com.
Homemade Limoncello or Arancello
Homemade limoncello or arancello will transport recipients with every sunny sip. Fill bottles with limoncello or arancello using funnel; secure the tops. Fold each circle card in half, and crease with bone folder. Paint edge of semicircle with yellow or orange watercolor paint, then paint five evenly spaced triangles inside semicircle, arranged like pizza slices. Punch a hole in the top, and secure to neck of bottle with cord.
Shop Now: MiDanggu Small Clear Glass Bottles, 350 ml, $22 for 6, amazon.com; Antique Cord Round Leather Cord, 0.5 mm, in N12 Gold, $1.75 for 2 yd., antiquecord.etsy.com; Paper Presentation Circle Cards, 3", in Light Pink, $4.50 for 25, paperpresentation.com.
To treat your closest clotheshorses, fill fabric sachets with dried herbs, and add hanger-friendly loops. They're sewn in fabric with cheery modern prints for an added pop of color.
Wooden Tea Boxes
For a keepsake wooden tea box, stain a simple vessel with diluted paint and add a favorite loose-leaf blend; affix a pinecone on top as a finishing flourish. To make the box, thin craft paint with a little water. Paint exterior of round wooden box and lid; let dry. Do a second coat to build up color, if desired. Hot-glue pinecone(s) to center of lid; let dry. 2. Line box with waxed paper; fill with loose-tea blend, such as the mix below.
Shop Now: ArtMinds Unfinished Round Wooden Box, 3", $3.29, michaels.com; Woodpile Fun! Round Wooden Box with Hinged Lid, $6.99, hobbylobby.com; Factory Direct Craft Natural Pinecones, $6.19 for 5 oz., factorydirectcraft.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint, from $2.49, michaels.com.
Leather Corner Bookmark
Here's a novel idea for bibliophiles: a blanket-stitched corner bookmark slipped onto a journal or a new read.
Get your loved ones in a lather (the good kind) with marbled soaps that cleanse gently and smell incredible. Our recipe combines skin-softening shea butter with spa-like eucalyptus oil or sweet almond honey, plus coral- or golden-colored natural mica powder to deposit a soft shimmer. And making them isn't a pioneer-days chore. You simply chop the ingredients, melt them in the microwave, let them set in a small mold, and slice. Wrap up your beauty bars with waxed paper and some vibrant cord, and send them on their way.
Turn plain watercolor paper into a custom notebook set with basic hand-stitched bindings and a pencil eraser–stamped print.
Lavender "Tub Tea"
Lavender oil can help anyone relax, which makes it a great ingredient for a little sachet to drop in the water when drawing a bath. These sweet pouches of "tub tea" are wonderful hostess gifts.
Heirloom Tea Towels
Transform precious handwritten family recipes into heirloom tea towels—they're perfect for gifting (or keeping as an heirloom for your own family).
Here's the secret to finding the perfect candle: Make your own! Candle making is way easier (and more fun!) than it may seem. These beautiful copper-bound candles are made with a blend of essential oils for a lovely scent all season long.
Customize plain, inexpensive pottery—and make it look absolutely artisanal—with a little ceramic paint and these techniques.
Think of these modern spins on gift baskets as coziness, curated. They're stocked with next-level supplies for classic hot drinks. Option one, for the couple that loves a nightcap: hot toddies, with two sleek glass mugs, small-batch whiskey and honey, a lemon, cinnamon sticks, and fresh ginger, all tucked into an inexpensive tray that we updated with a felt lining and raffia handles. Option two, for the friend with a designated reading nook: soothing chamomile tea leaves, a strainer, honey, and tart lemon biscuits. Fit them into a reusable wooden wine carrier, and let the unwinding begin.
To DIY neat sleeves for loose tea and cookies, wrap a piece of waxed paper around a narrow glass, fold the edge around the bottom, tape it flat, and slide out the glass. Slip the goodies inside, and tape the top closed.
Shop Now: CB2 Cantina Glass Mugs, $4.50 each, cb2.com. Kings County Distillery Bourbon Whiskey, $23 for 200 ml, kingscountydistillery.com. Pumpkin Village Vermont Raw Honey, $7.50 for 10 oz., shop.greenegrape.com. Paper Mart Natural Bentwood Wine Box, 12 5/8" by 3 3/8", $27 for 6, papermart.com. Proto Future Tea Strainer, $9, amazon.com. If You Care Unbleached Waxed Paper, $9., bedbathandbeyond.com. Nuts.com Chamomile Flowers, $16 a lb., nuts.com.
Multipocket Felt Tote Bags
We love the idea of making this felt-bound tote bag as a gift—felt doesn't fray, so no hemming is required. From largest to smallest, the pockets on the gray bag are sized to hold a newspaper, tablet, smartphone, and a small subway card. You can make the smaller one, with pockets for small toys, for kids.
Homemade Lip Balm
Dry, cracked lips are a thing of the past. Learn how to make these deliciously relaxing lip balms that the recipient is sure to wear every day of the year.
Cashmere Hat with Mixed Appliqués
In the bitter cold of winter, you'll be reaching for a warm hat every day. That's why we brightened this basic beanie with vintage bullion appliqués and iron-on metal studs. Create this look by attaching vintage bullion appliqués with fabric glue, and iron-on metal studs to a vintage cashmere hat.
No-Sew Tea Towel Apron
Wearing an utterly charming apron in the kitchen won't make your soufflé rise any higher, but it's guaranteed to cover your bases and boost your mood as you whisk. To craft this one, grab a tea towel, a grommet kit, and two yards of twill tape.
Tea Gift Box
For a special gift, assemble luxurious teatime in a box. The concept can be as simple or as decadent as you wish. Here, we chose antique gold-rimmed teacups and vintage silver spoons from the flea market, a tin of tea and a silver strainer from Bellocq, rose-scented sugar and tea-spiced fruitcake.
Shop Now: Bellocq Tea Atelier "Christmas" Tea, $90 for 12 ounces, bellocqtea.com.
Leather Luggage Tags
Luggage tags and stationery are natural gift choices for any traveler on your list. Achieve a timeless look by cutting out leather and embossing it.with your intended giftee's name.
A pair of mittens are so much more cherished when a family member has knit them with love; this cozy set is the universal symbol for wintertime happiness and comfort. You can make a few pairs for loved ones on your list.
You can create the appealing, wafting scent of freshly baked goodies in the home using vodka. Any of your favorite baking extracts—citrus, vanilla, almond—will infuse your friends' homes and homemade desserts with your handiwork. Try grouping lime, orange, and lemon; or lemon, vanilla, and almond. Pour vodka over your ingredients, and let them steep for three weeks before gifting.
Shop Now: SKS Bottle & Packaging Square French Bottles with Aluminum Caps, 4 oz., $30 for 24, sks-bottle.com.
A hand-crocheted washcloth (made with fique—or pineapple—yarn) takes this gift above and beyond. Pair it with some handmade soap in naturally derived colors to create a self-care gift package that anyone would love to receive.
Metallic Leather Pouches
Metallics and leather complement each other perfectly in these chic carryalls. Get started by downloading our print template and cutting it out, tracing it onto the wrong side of leather with a pencil; cut out with ruler and knife. Then, score along fold lines on the wrong side of leather with knife, and run leather under water until it's pliable. Dry it with a towel, and then fold the pouch along scored lines. Lay the towel over the pouch and place a heavy book on top of it, letting it dry for an hour.
Continue by applying cement to the right sides of the tabs and inside the pouch where tabs will adhere. Let it set for 15 minutes, and fold the pouch, joining the tabs. Apply weight, and let it set for one hour. To add gilding on the bag, mask off an area you'd like to coat with masking tape. Apply adhesive to area with a brush, let it dry for 15 minutes, and then lay the gilding sheet (silver-side down) onto the surface. Rub it to adhere; remove paper, and repeat until the area is covered. Brush on decoupage medium to seal.
To add glitter, mask off as in step 6, then brush desired area with some decoupage medium. Sprinkle glitter over the painted area; let dry. Once dry, seal again with decoupage medium. Finally, using a mallet and leather punch, make an 11/64-inch hole in the top flap of the leather pouch. Cut a 3/8-inch-long slit from hole toward top of pouch. To make stud hole, close the flap and use a pencil to mark through flap hole. Place a scrap in pouch and use 3/32-inch punch to make hole where marked before adding your stud.
Shop Now: Craftsman Veg-Tan Single Shoulders, 4 to 5 ounces, $40, amazon.com; Barge All-Purpose Cement, 2 ounces, $8, walmart.com; Plain Mod Podge Clear Matte Acrylic Sealer, $7, walmart.com; HerChr 39-Piece Leather Punch Set, $13, walmart.com.