22 of Our Best Handmade Father's Day Gifts
This Father's Day, surprise Dad with a special DIY gift.
What do you give the man who gave you everything? For Father's Day this year, present him with a gift that honors his past, celebrates the present, and will carry poignant meaning into his future. Does finding that gift sound like a tall order? We're here to make it easier. In order to offer a gift so personalized to Dad, we believe it's best made with your own two hands, and we're sharing all of the inspiration you need to get the job done.
Celebrated on the third Sunday in June, Father's Day is a time for us to show love and gratitude to our dads. Whether you're detailing a masterpiece weeks out or looking to change plans last minute, we have handmade gift ideas for guys of every personality and interest. Is he a gourmand? Gift him with a custom set of gourmet snacks (using our printable clip-art labels). Is he sentimental? Gift him with a DIY family tree full of familiar keepsakes. Is he a photog? He'll adore a set of office accessories printed with snapshots of his favorite memories. Or make decoupaged rocks featuring your favorite shared moments for the perfect paperweight. By printing the images on thin textured rice paper, they take on a naturally weathered, vintage look. Is he a self-defined trendsetter? He'll jump to the occasion to wear a necktie by his favorite artisan (that artisan being you).
All of these ideas will offer more than fleeting happiness—instead, it will give him a tangible sign of your bond. Just like those grade-school drawings, these are the handmade tokens that he will display with pride.
To capture Dad's heart en passant, gift him with an heirloom chess set. Our one-of-a-kind DIY version, customizes a plain wooden slide box with a checkered stencil and spray paint. Simple wooden shapes and blocks become modern pieces (we painted half of them to match the board, for contrast), and neatly stow away inside.
Embellished Game Box
He's a pro at gin rummy and he somehow manages to win every hand at poker. Treat Pop with a special box designed to hold playing cards, poker chips, dice, and the all-important score pad. Decked out with paper cutouts of a card suite, this box is easy to assemble, and is sure to be put to good use. To make it, measure the interior of the box to determine the length of each partition, sand and paint it, then use our template to decorate it with symbols in tissue paper. You can vary the number of partitions if you want, depending on Dad's interests.
Shop Now: Darice Unfinished Wooden Box, $15.44, amazon.com; Venblue Balsa Wood Sheets, $10.99 for 15, amazon.com; Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint, from $2.49, amazon.com; Michaels Tissue Paper Assorted Colors, $1.69 for 10 sheets, michaels.com; CB2 Blackcard Playing Cards, $9.95, cb2.com.
Shirt and Tie Cards
Shirts and ties may be the most traditional gifts for Dad, but a cleverly folded card representing them both feels entirely fresh and new. Choose decorative papers in menswear patterns, such as pinstripes, polka dots, or plaids.
"Nuts and Bolts" Snacks
Make Dad this "nuts and bolts" cereal snack mix that has a blend of savory seasonings and spices. Package this homemade treat in a tin lined with parchment and top it off with our printable clip-art.
Shop Now: The Bucket Outlet White Quart-Bucket with Lid, $7.99 each, bucket-outlet.com.
Whether Dad's cooking or crafting, it's nice to have an apron that suits his needs. Customize the configuration of pockets to keep all his favorite tools and handheld supplies at the ready.
Embroidered "Secret Message" Necktie
Belts and ties are the coin of the realm for Father's Day, but they don't have to fly right off the store rack straight into the gift box. Add your own personality to the package by embroidering Dad's first or last initial on this year's tie.
A day at the beach, camping in the woods, your first family trip—turn his favorite memories into a tabletop set of mementos. These super-thin clear printable decals come on a paper backing. Give them a coat of clear varnish, then soak them briefly in water—they will slide off the backing, ready to be applied. Wrap decals around pale-glass bottles and votive holders for table decorations with a charming sea-glass look.
Shop Now: Krylon Kamar Varnish, $5.97, amazon.com; Hayes Paper Waterslide Decal Paper, $14.99 for 20 sheets, amazon.com; Jamali Garden Glass Water Bottle With Wire Bail Lid, in Light Green, $2.99, jamaligarden.com; Jamali Garden Blue Medicine Bottle Bud Vases, $12.99 for 6, jamaligarden.com.
Decoupaged Paper Weights
Dad taught you this early on: Rock art, well, rocks. These decoupaged rocks make for the perfect paper weight on Dad's desk. And by printing the images on thin textured rice paper, the image takes on a naturally weathered, vintage look.
Denim Tech Sleeve
Is he a full-blown cybernaut? No use in changing his ways: Nestle his tablet inside this customized sleeve. It's felt-lined and durable with a cool twine and leather closure.
Family Tree in a Glass Dome
Consider this a unique twist on the family tree: An assortment of inherited keepsakes—from his grandfather's spectacles to your baby christening spoon—takes on a cohesive, deliberate look that's almost Victorian when encased in a delicate glass dome.
Shop Now: Ashland Cloche with Wooden Base, $19.99, michaels.com.
Personalized Desk Supplies
For Dad's world travels, a set of personalized supplies will remind him of where he's been and where he's headed. Print photos onto matte paper, brush each notebook (these have a black-fabric binding) lightly with découpage glue, and press the matte paper on top; let it dry, then trim the excess flush to the edge. Little canvas cases with iron-on images make excellent holders for passports as well as for mementos like ticket stubs and his business cards.
Map-themed gifts are just right for globe-trotting types. Collect maps from Dad's favorite vacation spots—or from far-flung destinations that he’s been dreaming of exploring—and use them to make a set of handy coasters. He'll be inspired every time he reaches for a glass.
Father's Day Tee-Time Cupcakes
Present Dad with a bunch of golf-themed cupcakes, complete with putting greens and sand traps, on his special day.
Keepsake Book Box
Dad will pore over this year's gift: a wooden "book" with a secret drawer for keepsakes or knickknacks. To begin, stain the entire surface of a modern book box (available at crafts stores and online) with diluted paint; let dry. Then use undiluted paint to add designs like diamonds, stripes, and other details to mimic vintage hardcovers. Start Dad's collection by dropping in a few shared mementos like cuff links and lucky golf tees.
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 Cotton Canvas 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.
Leather Luggage Tag
Luggage tags are a natural gift choice for any dad that likes to travel. Achieve a timeless look by cutting out leather and embossing it with his name. You'll have so much fun making these, you'll want to make one for every member of the family.
Our pop-art–inspired labels make it a cinch to turn any of Dad's favorite foods into a custom gift. Download and print the designs onto plain or self-adhesive paper, enlarging or reducing the size as desired. Affix labels to cellophane bags filled with pistachios, jars of homemade pickles and goodies, or store-bought sauces and salsas. Use double-sided tape if you print the labels on plain paper.
The most iconic Father's Day gifts are classic for a reason. Even if your dad doesn't wear a tie every day, there are all kinds of special occasions when he might be called upon to dress sharp. And though one size fits all, you can make your gift feel extra special by presenting it in a handmade fabric envelope that he can use for travel and storage. Sew the satchel from traditional shirting fabric, for a nicely coordinated touch.
Shop Now: Mood Fabrics Cotton Shirting Fabrics, from $4.99 per yd., moodfabrics.com.
The details on these packages resemble those on tuxedo shirts and other men's formalwear, but they are fashioned from folded paper, buttons, and notions. The results look finely tailored and timeless. For tuxedo wrap, place a piece of paper on the mat; starting from the center and making your way out, make a series of evenly spaced accordion folds; crease with the bone folder as you work. Repeat to create folds on opposite side. Affix to package with double-sided tape. Or, thread waxed twine through a row of buttons on a narrow band of paper for a shirtfront look. For tuxedo bow, fold the ends of a piece of ribbon in toward the center, overlapping them; secure with fabric glue. Flatten at center and glue to secure. Cover center with second piece of ribbon, gluing at back of bow.
Shop Now: Recollections Silver & Champagne Cardstock Paper, $19.99 for 100 sheets, michaels.com.
Sock Accessory Holders
A set of protective pouches should help keep Dad's electronic devices and personal accessories such as cameras, cell phones, and eyeglasses safe and sound. This simple project is great for older children who want to practice their sewing skills. Argyle and striped socks are especially handsome, but you can use any type of pattern or color. To make, turn the sock inside out so that the cuff will be the open end of the holder. Lay the device or accessory next to the top of the sock and measure to 1/2 inch below the bottom (for a seam allowance). Mark a line with the disappearing-ink fabric pen. Cut out with scissors. Machine-sew a seam. Alternatively, you can sew the seam by hand. Turn right side out.
Preserve your late-spring harvest with an all-purpose brine that yields lip-smacking pickles. Salty, tangy, and slightly sweet, they make great Father's Day gifts when placed in jars adorned with our clip-art designs printed on clear decal sheets (marthastewart.com/pickles-labels). You can also tweak the brine to suit your dad's tastes. If he drinks Gibsons, for example, add a dash of dry vermouth to a jar of pearl onions.
Shop Now: Clear Window Decals, $8 for 6 sheets, amazon.com; Martha Stewart Cocktail Shaker, $34, macys.com; Crate & Barrel "Viv" Martini Glass, $4.95; crateandbarrel.com; Weck Mold Jar, 1/2 liter, $31.40 for 6, amazon.com.
Custom Ties and Gift Boxes
Personalize a store-bought tie for Father's Day. Start with one that has a simple pattern, and use that as a guide for embroidered details. Rip out the hand stitch at the back of the tie that holds the folds together (you can restitch them together after embroidering), then begin sewing through the top layer of fabric. We used a chain stitch and satin stitch for the stripes, and French knots on the polka dotted bow tie. Package the tie in an easy-to-make box, dressed up with paper bands.