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‘Tis the season for shopping and gift-giving! Between supply chain shortages and recent mass changes in employment, finding and purchasing presents for everyone on your list might be trickier than in years past.

Fortunately, do-it-yourself projects are becoming more popular than ever. If elementary school crafts or expensive and time-consuming hobbies come to mind, don’t worry — we’ve rounded up ten sophisticated and affordable gifts you can create for your family and friends this holiday season. 

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Tips for Keeping Crafting Costs Low

If you’re not careful, crafting can quickly add up! This is especially true if you’re creating an item for the first time and don’t already have a stockpile of tools and materials on hand. 

For this crafting guide, we’ve provided estimates for the cost of materials for each craft based on prices from major craft supply, hardware supply and grocery stores. Here are some quick tips for spending less and crafting more:

  • Clip coupons and use store apps to get the best deals.
  • Use what you already have — double check your stash of craft supplies before buying more items.
  • If you don’t have tools like a sewing machine, food processor or screwdriver, ask a friend or family member to lend theirs before you invest in your own.
  • Check Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp and thrift stores for gently used supplies and tools.
  • Some craft supplies, like warm-weather fabrics, holiday-themed patterns and candy-making tools, are best to buy off-season. If you can, stock up on what you need ahead of time.

Make Something Cozy

When the weather outside is frightful, warm blankets and cold-weather accessories are so delightful! Sewing, crocheting and knitting all come in handy for these projects, but there are plenty of ways to make these cozy gifts without hooks, needles and sewing machines as well.

DIY Fringe Flannel Throw from It’s Always Autumn

Best if you already have…

  • Fabric scissors
  • Seam ripper or pin 
  • Sewing machine 
  • Bobbin 

Materials Needed (As low as $10.75)

  • 1.75 yards of thick flannel (~$5+ per yard)
  • Matching thread (~$2)

*sewing required

Cozy up to cottage vibes on a dime! This easy blanket requires more “deconstruction” than actual sewing. Check the clearance and scrap sections at your fabric store before buying full-price flannel.

Easy Fluffy Fringe Scarf from Delia Creates

Best if you already have…

  • Fabric scissors

Materials Needed (As low as $9)

  • 1.5 yards of cotton gauze fabric (~$6+ per yard)

You’ve definitely seen accessories like this in department stores, but you can make your own for much less! Be sure to check the clearance and scrap sections at your fabric store to get the best deals.

Arm-Knit Infinity Scarf by Simply Maggie

Best if you already have…

  • The ability to grab and pull with both arms without discomfort

Materials Needed (As low as $4)

  • 1 skein (90-100 yards) of weight 6 super bulky yarn (~$4+)

Arm knitting is much easier than it sounds! Maggie provides detailed instructions in her tutorial video for this trendy infinity scarf. Since your arms and fingers act as the knitting needles, it’s best to work on this project in one sitting. 

Easy, Low-Sew Men’s DIY Flannel Scarf by An Oregon Cottage

Best if you already have…

  • Sewing machine 
  • Seam ripper or pin 
  • Fabric scissors 
  • Ruler or measuring tape

Materials Needed (As low as $3 per scarf) 

  • 2 yards of 44’’ wide plaid flannel shirting (~$3.50 per yard)
  • Matching thread (~$2 per spool)

*basic sewing required

These are pretty close to the flannel scarves you can find at clothing stores for $15 or more, but the creator of this craft was able to make hers for under $1.50 each! Two yards of flannel is enough to make three scarves, allowing you to make multiple gifts for your loved ones.

Make Something Stitched

Looking to personalize something without starting from scratch? Hand-stitching is an easy way to upcycle and add value to a less-expensive accessory. If you’re new to embroidery, check out this tutorial on how to do a basic stem stitch.

Witty Gloves from Country Living

Best if you already have…

  • Chalk pencil or water-soluble marker
  • Sewing needle

Materials Needed (As low as $1.50 per pair)

  • Dollar store knit gloves ($1)
  • 6-strand embroidery floss (~$0.50 per skein)

Jazz up a basic pair of gloves by stitching custom lettering on the knuckles. You can go with the recipient’s name or initials, or you can try 4-8 letter phrases like “stay true,” “live free” or “keep cozy.” 

Witty Embroidered Handkerchiefs from Country Living

Best if you already have…

  • Small embroidery hoop
  • Sewing needle
  • Pencil or water-soluble marker

Materials Needed (As low as $0.92 per handkerchief)

  • Cotton handkerchief (~$5+ per pack of 6)
  • 6-strand embroidery floss (~$0.50 per skein)

Make your loved ones laugh when wiping a tear or tending to sniffles with a funny phrase on a custom hankie. Use new white handkerchiefs for a clean-cut look, or try searching for vintage embroidered and patterned handkerchiefs at thrift stores to add an extra message to.

Make Something Sweet

Nothing says “holiday season” like sweets and treats! Homemade cookies and candies are often a welcome present, but make sure you’re aware of any food allergies your recipients may have before surprising them. When in doubt, include a note that lists the ingredients.

Microwave Caramels from Cooking Classy

Best if you already have…

  • A microwave and refrigerator
  • 8’’x8’’ baking dish
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Hot pads
  • Spoon

Materials Needed (Under $4 per batch)

  • Unsalted butter (~$3 for 4 sticks)
  • Light corn syrup ($2+ for 16 oz)
  • Granulated sugar (~$2 for 4 lbs)
  • Brown sugar ($2 to $3 for 2 lbs)
  • Sweetened condensed milk (~$1.50 per can)
  • Salt (~$0.50 per lb)
  • Vanilla ($2+ per oz)
  • Wax paper for wrapping (~$1.50 per pack)

If you’re not a chef, no sweat — these delicious caramels are foolproof. Go gourmet by adding a drizzle of chocolate or a sprinkle of sea salt before the caramel finishes cooling. Wrap them in wax paper, pack in a jar or holiday tin, and you’re ready to gift! 

Make Something For Serving

Whether your recipient entertains guests at home on the regular or enjoys staying in as a party of one or two, gifts that elevate their food and beverage game are sure to be a stand-out. 

Chalkboard Serving Tray from Shanty 2 Chic 

Best if you already have…

  • Screwdriver
  • Paintbrush

Materials Needed (Under $10 per tray)

  • 2x12x8 lumber (~$13 depending on wood type, makes 3 trays)
  • Wood stain (~$5)
  • Painter’s tape (~$3.50)
  • Chalkboard spray paint (~$5)
  • 2 pulls and mounting hardware (~$2)
  • Chalk ($1 for a box of 12 pieces)

Label snacks and beverages for guests with this fun serving tray. If you don’t have your own saw at home, your local hardware store can cut the boards down to size for you. To keep costs low, check the scrap section for 2×12’s before grabbing something at full price. Don’t forget to include a couple of pieces of chalk for your gift recipient before you finish wrapping!

Scrabble Tile Coasters from Simply {Darr}ling

Best if you already have…

  • X-ACTO knife

Materials Needed (About $2 per set of 4 coasters)

  • Scrabble tiles (~$5 for a used game at a thrift store)
  • Cork (~$7 per roll)
  • E6000 glue (~$4 per tube)
  • Mod podge (optional; ~5 for 8 oz jar)

Protect table surfaces with these fun, conversation-starting coasters. Spell out holiday-themed words like “snow,” “sled” and “gift,” or try beverage-themed words like “brew,” “stir” and “chai.”

Make Something For Self-Care

While this time of year can be fun and fulfilling, changing temperatures and holiday stress can make things much less merry and bright. Self-care gifts aren’t only thoughtful, but a great reminder for your recipient to take time for themselves this season.

Homemade Body Scrub with Brown Sugar and Coconut Oil from Perry’s Plate

Best if you already have…

  • A food processor OR a bowl and spoon

Materials Needed (~$6.20 for 6 4oz jars)

  • Brown sugar ($2 to $3 for 2 lbs)
  • Coconut oil ($1+ per jar)
  • Vanilla extract or essential oil ($2+ depending on what you choose)
  • Small jars ($1+ per jar)

Body scrubs don’t have to be pricey! Give the gift of soft, exfoliated skin with this simple recipe. Pack in an airtight container before gifting.

More Frugal Holiday Tips

Keep your holiday budget in check with more tips from Top Dollar:

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