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Family gifts are more personal and appreciated when it there is thought and effort put into them. The recipient knows that you spend time and effort to make something that they love and in turn cherish the gift even more. Read on for some great ideas of thoughtful gifts you can make for your loved ones.

5 DIY Family Gifts You Can Make Today

Today I have a guest post from Joe Hughes who will show you how to make 5 DIY Family Gifts. . With Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparents Day coming up these are great family gifts that will not only save you money but also show that you have put thought and energy into your gift.

Joe is known by most as the Heat Press Guru, is an expert in DIY crafts, with a particular focus on utilizing heat press machines to create beautiful, long-lasting creations. He runs the very popular website,, which provides the latest heat press techniques, tricks, and ideas. He can be reached at

Take it away Joe!!

Moms (and dads) need to start gifting responsibly. American Research Group found that families planned to spend $929 on Christmas in 2016 – we all know how we end up spending even more than expected. But that can change if you’re willing to spend a little time as a DIYer.

Shruti wrote about 5 inexpensive kids crafts, but we’re going to expand on that by adding gifts for entire families.

It’s the thought that counts when giving gifts.

1. Yearly Memory Book

DIY Family Gifts

A yearly memory book is fast and simple to make. You have a few options when it comes to making these books, such as:

  • Print photos online (Shutterfly, Snapfish)
  • Print photos via a photo printer
  • Cut scraps from places you went (tickets, newspapers, menus, etc)

Now, you’ll want to join these together in a scrapbook. You can buy a photo album or binder to fill up and give away. Remember to take pictures with the recipient if possible to make your gift even more sentimental.

If printing pictures is too expensive, you can make a mini-album of pictures. You can also ditch the album idea, and buy an inexpensive frame to make a collage of images, glue them to cardboard paper and frame them.

2. Homemade Shirts and Apparel

Homemade Family Shirt

You can make your own shirts and apparel either online or using a heat press (if you have one). What’s great about this gift idea is that you can create items that people will wear. A few of the neat items I’ve made for family members with my press are:

  • Custom hats
  • Family t-shirts
  • Reunion shirts

Families love t-shirts with their names on the back. If you have a close family that enjoys family reunions, you can give out shirts with everyone’s names on them. These shirts will be a great reminder of every crazy reunion.

If you don’t have your own press, you can have your apparel printed online.

Trust me, it’s better than an impersonal gift card.

3. Custom Candles

Custom Candle

Most gifts will have some cost involved. Finding a way to pay for gift giving is difficult, but it doesn’t mean every gift needs to be very expensive. You can actually make a few really cool gifts that cost just a few dollars and look expensive, too.

Custom candles are a fantastic gift that I really like giving.

You’ll need to buy plain white candles to get started. Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and most other big box stores will have white candles in stock.

The process is simple:

  • Tape a piece of tissue paper, matte side up, to cardstock.
  • Print an image on to your paper.
  • Cut the image out
  • Wrap wax paper around the candle and the heat image
  • Heat the image until it brightens
  • Peel off the wax paper

The image should be transferred to the candle.

4. Travel Jar

Travel Jar

If you’ve been on vacation recently or plan to go on vacation soon, a travel jar is always a great option for a gift. These jars allow you to avoid spending money on over-priced t-shirts or small souvenirs that everyone expects when you return.

You’ll actually save money on your vacation when making a travel jar.

The idea is simple:

  • Gather a bunch of items during your stay:
    • Postcards
    • Sand
    • Branches
    • Sea shells
    • Newspaper clippings
    • Anything else you find interesting
  • Place the items in a glass jar, arranging them in a scenic way

I like to put sand on the bottom of the jar, a picture in the back and place little neat items around to make the jar look like a scene from my vacation.

It may be a bit cheesy, but family members love their travel jars.

5. Burned Wood Family Signs

Burned Wood Family Sign

Family signs are really neat, and while this may seem a bit intimidating, it’s really a lot of fun and pretty easy to create. You’ll need a few things to get started, and Michael’s is my go-to place for a lot of these items. Here’s what you’ll need:

A block, or flat piece of circular or square wood will work well. You can also buy a variety of woods, even cutting boards, that you can burn into. I like the circular pieces of wood with the bark on them still, but it’s all a matter of preference.

If you want to make this really easy, you can buy letter attachments that will attach to the wood burner.

This is a fast and easy way to make a rustic looking sign without a vinyl die cut machine.

All you have to do is add the family name to the wood by applying and burning the name into the wood.

If you want to get intricate, you can also print a design from your computer. Once this is done, get a charcoal pencil and cover the back of the paper completely. Place the charcoal side on the wood and trace the image on top. The design should transfer to the wood.

Now, you just need to use the burner to burn the design on to the wood. Make sure that you go slowly, burning the image into the wood steadily. One wrong move can cause the design to come out distorted.

 Thank you so much Joe, I love these ideas and am actually working on a Family Sign to give to my Mom as a gift. I know that this is something she will cherish!!

Do you have any DIY family gift ideas to share? Please leave a comment.

Family gifts are more personal and appreciated when it there is thought and effort put into them. The recipient knows that you spend time and effort to make something that they love and in turn cherish the gift even more. Read on for some great ideas of thoughtful gifts you can make for your loved ones.

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