DIY Birthday Gifts

August 27, 2019

Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash 


Gone are the days of mall scouring the day before a birthday—  nowadays with the trend pointing to more personalized lifestyles, mass produced department store presents are sometimes seen as a lackluster way to show appreciation for a family or friend on their special day. Here are a couple of easy birthday gift ideas that can be personally tailored for most anyone!


DIY Shirts

With access to a good printer, an iron, and some kind of stationary store like Michaels, you can design your own professional looking clothing. Most art supply stores carry iron on T-Shirt transfers, and using an amateur editing software, you can print photos, logos, or custom designs of your choice to apply to a shirt. There are special transfer papers for colored shirts, so the shirt doesn’t have to be white— and remember, graphic tees are all the rage right now. 


If you don’t have access to a printer or transfer paper, you could opt for fabric markers or paint to mix and draw your own heart out. As a bonus tip: lettering on top of custom tie-dye shirts look really cool, and at home tie-dye tutorials can be found online easily. 


Art Piece

What’s not to love about having some creative fun while making a gift for someone special! Whether you have artistic skills or not, there are several easy tutorials and crafts to try out. For example, editing a photograph of the person on apps like picsart and vsco and framing it can be a small but meaningful present. Something like doing a mock copy of a Bob Ross painting can be low pressure and cute, and if the receiver is interested in art or has a favorite artist, you could try recreating their art. 

For the more artistically gifted, portraits or the receiver or pets are priceless. Like they say, a picture is worth a million words.


DIY Book/ Scrapbook

It might sound cheesy, but creating a DIY storybook could really make the receiver believe you time and effort into their present— and in best case scenario, it won’t even take that much time and effort. Maybe you could piece together some colored paper with a story about someone’s pet or a journey that one of their socks go on. For some extra officiality, make three hole punches on one side of all your paper and bind the DIY book with some thick yarn or ribbon. 


Scrapbooks fall into that realm of “it-sounds-super-dumb-unless-you-get-one-for-yourself;” channel your inner suburban soccer mom and gather some fun pictures of the person recieving the gift by doing some social media stalking. If there aren’t many photographs, you could scour sites like pinterest to find aesthetic photos of something that person is interested in like a band or fashion style.


DIY Jewelry

Grab all the yarn you can find from that cookie tin that’s actually filled with sewing materials and some old necklaces. If you don’t have beaded necklaces hanging around you can find packs of beads and stones at your local craft store— or if you have some more time, you can search your local thrift store for clothes with cool charms you could cut off or necklaces you could disassemble. 


When you have your string and charms, there’s not much stopping you from doing whatever you want. You could make a simple anklet with wooden charms for a more masculine style or personalize a plain pearl necklace with special beads that you found. 

Sure, it’s easier to just buy retail jewelry, but your special touch makes it all the more meaningful. 


Subin Lee is currently a history major at Cerritos College working towards transfer to a 4-year university. She is especially interested in US labor history and Middle East politics. Every time she tries to write, her cat sits on the keyboard and blocks the screen.


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