30 best DIY Christmas gifts 2020

23 November 2020

woman wrapping christmas gifts

Swap panicked purchases for personal budget-friendly gifts that’ll be well-received this Christmas. Scroll through our roundup of easy and cheap homemade Christmas gifts for everyone on your list. You may collect your smug badge as you leave.

Being given something made with love is always extra special because of the time and effort put into it. But not all DIY Christmas gifts need to take hours.

There are many last-minute DIY Christmas gifts here that can be whipped up in an hour or two and also made in bulk to fill several Christmas stockings in one hit. If you plan what you need in advance, handmade Christmas gifts can also be very budget-friendly too.

Here are the best DIY Christmas gifts for 2020.

Gifts for homebodies

1. Arm-knitted blanket

“I've seen people knit with their arms instead of knitting needles (YouTube) and make a blanket in about an hour. Impressive really.”

Bring a bit of hygge to someone’s home this winter with a chunky arm-knitted blanket. Much easier than knitting on needles and much more stylish too.

Get the tutorial at Simply Maggie

2. Painted breakfast bowl

These one-of-a-kind (in a good way) hand-drawn patterned bowls will make someone smile every day over their morning porridge.

Get the tutorial at Blog Lovin

3. Chopping board iPad holder

Nifty with a saw and sander? Don’t worry, even if you’re not, this iPad holder is the work of moments. You could even customise it using a wood-burning pen.

Get the tutorial at The Idea Room

4. Jar candle

“I was very excited when I received a homemade candle off my friend a few years ago. So I copied her last year and made a couple for people, and am planning to make some more this year. I bought some cheap gold spray paint to jazz the jars up a bit and then wrapped the finished candle in cellophane.”

We all know there’s a big difference between a really lovely candle and one that smells of loo cleaner. Make them yourself and decide exactly what goes into them so that you can ensure each one would make Jo Malone herself squeal with joy.

Get the tutorial at The Spruce Crafts

Gifts for stationery buffs

5. Patterned pencils

“I love Mod Podge. I do a lot of collaging onto bits and bobs, mainly wood, and I think it gives much better seal than PVA.”

Personalise a few pencils for your child’s pencil case – ideal for the new term. Try pretty wrapping papers in designs they love and use Mod Podge to stick the paper over ordinary pencils. You could make them a matching notebook too (see below).

Get the tutorial at Mod Podge Rocks

6. Homemade notebook

Anyone with a stationery habit will tell you that beautiful notebooks are always welcome. All you’ll need is a cutting mat, a paper knife and a few sheets of pretty paper.

Get the tutorial at Instructables

Gifts for garden-lovers

7. Grow-your-own-succulent box

A tiny garden you can get busy with even on dark January days. Put together a few baby succulents using tiny Kilner jars filled with sand, gravel and the like for potting, and arrange it all in a pretty box.

Get the tutorial at Burkatron

8. Antique spoon seed markers

Dig out your mismatching cutlery and put it to good use with a set of stamped seed markers for a herb bed or vegetable patch.

Get the tutorial at Shrimp Salad Circus

9. Gardeners’ homemade hand soap

“I used to make quite a bit of soap and loved stirring big bubbling pots of creations with the dramatic saponification bit, thermometers and adding herbs/fruit/oils/oatmeal etc.”

Help outdoorsy types scrub in style with this orange and clove soap. It’s really easy to make and, trust us, once you’ve made this you’ll be adapting the recipe to make all kinds of handmade soap.

Get the tutorial at A Cultivated Nest

christmas fudge

Christmas gifts for foodies

10. Handmade box of chocolates

Put Cadbury in the shade with your very own chocolate discs with jewel-like fruit and nuts to decorate. Box up and bestow generously. Much more impressive than a box of Milk Tray.

Get the tutorial at The Simple Things

11. DIY Christmas food hamper

Spoon your own pesto – and homemade pasta too if you’re feeling ambitious – into large jars decorated with string snowflakes, and add a few delicious items to your hamper to make an easy but fancy Friday night supper.

Get the tutorial at Better Homes and Gardens

12. Christmas gin

Is there anything more satisfying than popping a few botanicals into a bottle of gin and waiting for it to turn into something festive and amazing? Not unless the recipient of your gift says “Oh, do stay and I’ll open this now!” Just drop juniper berries, orange peel, cloves and cinnamon into a bottle of gin and leave for it to infuse, and you’ll feel as Christmassy and festive as Mrs Claus herself.

Get the tutorial at BBC Good Food

13. Dishwasher vodka

“I made cough candy vodka. Great in the freezer for when you are full of cold and miserable in January.”

We’re calling this ‘sweetshop vodka’ when gifting it to people, but it’ll always be dishwasher vodka to us. As any Mumsnetter worth her salt knows, the dishwasher is not simply for washing dishes.

This sugary booze has to be the best reason for a full cycle we’ve ever read. Simply empty out a third of a bottle of vodka and fill it up with your choice of sweets. Squashies are good but we also like Werther’s Originals, Pear Drops and Skittles. You may well need to make a bottle for all your friends – and obviously a few for your personal control group too.

Get the tutorial at Delish

14. Five-ingredient gingerbread fudge

Probably the best thing you can make with a tin of condensed milk. Very festive and very moreish. In fact, we strongly advise that you make double for rigorous testing purposes, of course.

Get the tutorial at Delish

15. Flavoured salts

Gourmands and would-be Masterchef winners will enjoy using these flavoured salts that look beautiful packaged together and given as a gift.

Get the tutorial at Country Living

Homemade Christmas gifts for kids

16. Mini road travel tin

Small enough for all their tiny toys, any car fans will love this mini travel tin and it’s so easy to make. All you need is a tin, some tiny cars from Kinder Eggs or similar, and road tape.

Get the tutorial at Little Fish

17. LEGO table

This handmade LEGO table is a great size for toddlers, but you could also easily upsize it for older kids. Just take an IKEA table (or any secondhand side table) and stick LEGO base plates to the surface.

Get the tutorial at Shelterness

18. Personalised superhero cape

“My five- and seven-year-old sons would be very happy with a handmade cape.”

Not all superheroes wear capes (but we really do think it helps with the look). You can make this personalised cape for the superhero in your life with just a T-shirt, some felt or foam stars and glue. The best news? There’s no sewing involved at all.

Get the tutorial at The Joys of Boys

19. Homemade tent

If you’ve ever eyed up a child’s teepee and had your eyes water at the price, why not make your own? This simple A-frame tent can be made in an afternoon and is the perfect hideout for reading, drawing and establishing secret clubs – obviously. Best of all, it folds up and slides away in seconds. Just the sort of camping we like.

Get the tutorial at My Cakies

20. Hobby horse

If they’ve asked for a pony, this might come a close second – their own heirloom hobby horse to canter around the living room with. You can customise yours however you like, but this version comes with easy-to-follow patterns. Plus, the sewing skills involved are pretty minimal, for all you neiggggh-sayers.

Get the tutorial at Lia Griffith

21. Doll sling

A good gift for any child who has a new sibling arriving soon. This easy-to-sew sling will let them carry their own ‘baby’ around while you get on with looking after yours.

Get the tutorial at Mama Smiles

22. First Christmas stocking

“I made mine out of felt, and used contrasting Christmas fabric for the cuff (personalised the cuff with cross stitched name). They're so easy and cheap to make.”

Make sure Santa has something to fill at the foot of the fireplace with this monogrammed stocking. Ideal for anyone celebrating their very first Christmas.

Get the tutorial at Sew Like My Mom

bath salts

Homemade gifts for tweens and teens

23. DIY body scrub

Give Lush a run for its money and make your own scented body scrubs. This quick tutorial requires not much more than a bag of Epsom salts and essential oils and comes from none other than the queen of homemade gifts, Martha Stewart.

Get the tutorial at Martha Stewart

24. Personalised pendant

Perfect for pictures of their family, a best friend or pet, these are impossible to screw up if you’re not a craft genius. Just glue down small print-outs of photos onto glass cabochons, attach metal bails and chains and paint the back with diamond glaze. You can even make it easier still and buy ready-to-make pendant kits (see below).

Get the tutorial at Gingersnaps Crafts

25. Customised phone case

Guarantee they’ll never lose their phone again. OK, make it slightly less likely, but hopefully a customised cover with lace print, rhinestones or whatever they’re into will encourage them to treat their phone with a little more reverence.

Get the tutorial at Mr Kate

26. Octopus tentacle neck pillow

A gift you can guarantee they won’t already have one of. Even beginner stitchers will be able to follow the instructions to make one of these little suckers.

Get the tutorial at Tally’s Treasury

27. Surprise balls

While this might sound like a dodgy Secret Santa gift, this will actually delight tweens who were fans of L.O.L Surprise! Just gather a few treats and trinkets – anything from sweets to jewellery – and carefully wrap them into a ball made of a long crêpe paper streamer. Also a great idea for anyone ‘moving on’ from stockings. It’s like having a whole pass-the-parcel to yourself.

Get the tutorial at Honestly WTF

Gifts for grandparents

28. Heart photo collage

All grandparents love photos of the family and, if they don’t, they aren’t allowed to say it out loud. Save space on their mantelpiece with this wall frame that will incorporate snaps of all the loved ones in their lives.

Get the tutorial at It’s Always Autumn

29. Fingerprint tree decoration

If it’s been a while since the kids have had their sticky fingers all over their grandparents’ house, give them an everlasting reminder with a set of these baubles featuring your children’s hand and finger prints.

Get the tutorial at Chickabug

30. Homemade biscuits jar

Heap all the ingredients for their favourite biscuits into a beautiful jar with instructions on how to make it. If they’re any sort of grandparents, they’ll take the kids off your hands and spend an afternoon doing it with them – and then send them home with the biscuits for you! Christmas is all about giving, we say.

Get the tutorial at Jamie Oliver

Watch our short video for more DIY Christmas gift tutorials

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How we chose our recommendations

We put on our Santa hats and trawled the Mumsnet forums for inspiration from craft ninjas and DIY gurus who had shared their best DIY Christmas gift ideas. We also took a good long look at the sorts of gifts Mumsnetters wanted to be able to make.

We then widened our search, looking up all our favourite craft bloggers and online makers for projects and handmade Christmas gift ideas that we thought would appeal.

We searched for makes for all ages and for projects that would suit all purses and levels of skill to ensure there would be something for every good girl, boy and grown-up – and even the naughty ones too. We make no judgements here.

Finally, we collated our favourite homemade Christmas gifts into one big list of ideas, sorted by theme so you can find something for every stocking.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been finding parents the solutions to all their problems for 20 years, from which lightweight buggy to buy to how to get a toddler through a tantrum, and sourcing the best ideas for DIY Christmas gifts is everyday stuff for us. The site has a thriving arts and crafts forum, always bursting with ideas, as well as a Christmas forum that is busy from Boxing Day to Christmas Eve, where the fairy lights never go out. Most importantly of all, we do love a good homemade gift.

Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).