I adore the thoughtfulness of handmade gifts. They can be a thrifty option when money is tight, but they are also a great option regardless of finances. You can keep it simple with my basic recipes below, or add in some extra special ingredients to really make your handmade gifts extravagant!
One note about handmade beauty products; I saw a beautiful handmade scrub on Pinterest that used fruit juice for color. I’m definitely behind using natural colors as opposed to toxic dyes, but fresh juice will create a product that will rot very quickly. For your handmade items, do not use any fresh fruit juices, herbs or flowers. You wouldn’t want to give everyone moldy Christmas gifts!
HANDMADE GIFT IDEAS
These are a great gift for kids or adults and super simple to make. You can pick up Epsom salt at most any drugstore or grocery store. It’s great for sore muscles and relaxation!
I used this candy cane recipe from Crunchy Betty with beet root powder as my dye. I also like to keep Epsom salt with lavender flowers and lavender essential oil on hand in my own bathroom.
BASIC BATH SALT RECIPE
- 1 cup Epsom salt
- 10 – 20 drops essential oil
Optional ingredients – natural dyes, sea salt, ground up dried flowers, aloe vera gel
Directions: Drop essential oil into your salt one drop at a time while mixing until desired scent is reached. Pour into an airtight container and add a label and ribbon. I bought some of my containers from Sunburst Bottle, but I also re-used glass bottles on hand such as Coke bottles, oil bottles, drink bottles and a Starbucks frappuccino bottle.
If you are re-using a bottle, scrub it out very well, then place the bottle in boiling water for a few minutes. Wait until the bottle is completely dry before putting any salts in it.
Lip balm is such a simple, pretty gift for kids or adults. You can keep them unscented for kids and men, but can also add natural dyes and essential oils. I used these recipes from Crunchy Betty for my lip balm gifts.
Here is a great tutorial which spells out all the different options in creating lip balms.
BASIC LIP BALM RECIPE
- 1 TBSP Cocoa butter or Shea Butter (or 1/2 TBSP of each)
- 3 TBSP Coconut oil
- 1 TBSP Beeswax
Optional ingredients – honey, vitamin E oil, natural color, essential oils, spices
Directions: Simply melt your ingredients slowly over a double burner (or makeshift double burner), add essential oils then pour into containers. If you are using any of the optional ingredients, add those in after taking the lip balm off the heat.
There are a million-ish ways to do these, they are the most simple gift for anyone on your gift list, and you can easily use any salts and sugars that you have on hand.
BASIC SUGAR/SALT SCRUB RECIPE
- 1 cup salt or sugar (Salt is more exfoliating than sugar so it makes a great foot scrub, whereas sugar is better for gentle exfoliation.)
- 4 TBSP carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, extra virgin olive, sweet almond, grapeseed, etc)
- 10 – 20 drops essential oil
Optional ingredients – dried flowers, aloe vera gel, spices, extracts
Directions: Simply mix salt/sugar with carrier oil then add essential oil one drop at a time while stirring.
I did several scrubs this Christmas including peppermint salt scrub where I used a mix of Epsom and Himalayan pink sea salt with peppermint essential oil. I made some vanilla sugar scrubs and some Holiday spice scrubs for the guys on my Christmas list.
Here are a few great recipes to get you started:
These are just fantastic with so many different uses. I like to put them in my drawers to keep clothes smelling nice and place them discreetly around my home or car for natural fragrance.
You can use them in the bathtub as a bath tea, or dump out the ingredients for a luxurious spa bath, or in a bowl of potpourri. For kids, get creative with nice sleepy sachets under their pillows or wake up scents to get them going in the morning.
BASIC SACHET RECIPE
- Dried flowers and herbs
- Sachet bags
- 10+ drops essential oil per cup of dried ingredients
Directions: Simply mix flowers and herbs with essential oils and place in airtight containers. You can either create a bottle with your mixture and attach sachet bags or create the bags and place them in an airtight container so they don’t lose their scent. You can easily refresh the scent with a few drops of essential oil.
Here are some other fantastic ideas:
5. Dusting Powder/All Purpose Powder
Label these according to the receiver of the gift. I labeled mine as “Dusting Powder” on female presents and as “All Purpose Powder” on guy’s presents. These could be for babies, kids or adults. I use my powder in the bathtub, after a bath, as a shoe powder, or a carpet powder. These are deodorizing, soothing, and smell incredible. I used Crunchy Betty’s peppermint and cinnamon recipes for Luxurious Body Dusting Powder, and bought a 4 pack of small martini shakers which were a perfect size and multi-functional!
BASIC POWDER RECIPE
- 1 1/2 cups cornstarch or arrowroot powder (or a mix of the two)
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 20 – 80 drops essential oil
Optional ingredients – ground up dried flowers, clay, spices
Directions: Simply whisk dry ingredients then add essential oil one drop at a time while stirring.
Lotion bars are one of my favorite beauty products, and people just love getting these as a gift. You can use pretty much anything as a mold. I like to use pretty candy molds or cookie molds. Silicone cupcake molds make fantastic lotion bars.
BASIC LOTION BAR RECIPE
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup shea butter or 1/4 cup cocoa butter
- 1/3 cup beeswax
- 10 – 20 drops essential oil
Directions: Place all ingredients except essential oil in a double broiler. Heat slowly until everything is melted then remove from heat and add essential oil. Quickly pour into molds. If it hardens too quickly, simply re-melt. Check out this link for a great video about creating lotion bars.
Further lotion bar recipes:
I love journals for notes, grocery lists, to do lists and general organization.
I made my daughter a Mommy and me journal for Mother’s Day which we love. Your children could make them for friends or grandparents.
BASIC “HANDMADE” BOOK DIRECTIONS:
Take a $1 lined one subject journal and cover in scrapbooking paper (just use Elmer’s glue to attach). Then I like to use Mod Podge to attach extra design elements that go along with the subject matter. It’s a cheap, creative way to organize all those random to do lists and writings.
Below are a couple of other awesome book creation ideas.
8. Room/Body/Aromatherapy Sprays
These are a great gift for anyone and contain no toxic chemicals unlike store bought fragrance sprays. The only caveat with this recipe is that it does contain water. Since there are no preservatives, you should refrigerate for maximum shelf life. Check out this post for further information about working with water.
BASIC SPRAY RECIPE
- 1 cup distilled water or hydrosol
- 2 TBSP witch hazel or alcohol (80 proof vodka)
- 2 tsp glycerin
- 10 – 30 drops essential oil
Directions: Mix ingredients together, adding essential oil last a few drops at a time until desired scent is reached. Shake well before using.
I created sprays for my daughter for Christmas including a “Sleepy Time Spray”, “Wake Up Spray” and “Study Spray”.
Here are a few recipes to check out:
Uplifting Room Spray (Late Summer Aromatherapy Spray)
This is a wonderful idea and kids just love it. The salves and balms in the stores are expensive, and you can very easily create your own. These are great for cuts and scrapes, chapped skin, sore noses and mild burns.
BASIC BALM RECIPE
- 1 cup oil – any of these or a mix – coconut, grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup healing herbs (examples: calendula, comfrey, chamomile, lavender, plaintain, echinacea)
- 4 TBSP Beeswax
- 10 – 20 drops essential oil
Optional Ingredients: vitamin E oil, honey, rosehip seed oil, cocoa butter, shea butter
Directions: First infuse the oil with the herbs either on a double broiler over a very low heat or over a few weeks in an airtight jar. Then drain the herbs out, add in the beeswax and melt. Take the mixture off heat then pour in essential oil and any other optional ingredients then pour into containers.
Here are a few more recipes:
Now that you have your beautiful gifts created, here are a few ides to save you money on giftwrap and accessories.
- Baskets that can be re-used rather than purchasing boxes.
- Repurpose boxes.
- Re-use material from outgrown clothing, material scraps, etc to wrap gifts.
- Re-use gift bags from previous years.
- Repurpose Holiday cards – I love to cut out pretty shapes and pictures from my old holiday cards and use those as gift tags or gift decor.
- Brown paper bags and brown craft paper make great wrapping paper. My daughter likes to take craft paper and create her own artwork which I use to wrap presents.
- Handmade Gift Tags – my favorite gift tags are to use simple templates cut out on pretty papers or scrap papers. Martha Stewart is a good place to find templates. I used these Christmas tree templates in 3 sizes as gift tags and embellishment. Here is a sheet of handmade labels that you can download and print - Click here to download a sheet of handmade labels!
- Crafting Papers – I like to purchase books of scrapbooking/crafting papers throughout the year and use them for all my crafts. They make really pretty wrapping paper, and embellishments.
- Flowers – Use paper or fabric flowers on gifts for decoration or make handmade hairbows as gift decor. Here are a few great flower tutorials that I have personally used: Paper Flower Tutorial, Tissue Paper Flowers, Felt Rosette Hair Clip, Fabric Flower Brooch, DIY Rosette Headband.
MORE GREAT HANDMADE GIFT GUIDES
Thoughtful Homemade Gifts from The Brave Girls Club
Handcrafted Kids’ Gifts from Martha Stewart
11 Simple Homemade Gifts from Keeper of the Home
8 Simple Homemade Christmas Gifts from Frugal Granola
15 Fantastic Homemade Gifts for Men from The Art of Manliness
Are you doing any handmade gifts this year? Have you received any in the past that you really loved? Let me know in the comments!
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