Inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas: DIY Personalization

How to Personalize Your Own Gifts

Inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas go hand-in-hand with personalization. Ever notice how expensive it is to buy personalized gifts at the store? Making them yourself is a much less costly idea!

Personalization can make the difference between cheap homemade gift ideas and inexpensive to make homemade treasures... you may even make some homemade heirlooms!

The following is designed to get your juices flowing regarding the personalization of homemade gifts, to help you stretch your dollar and to put a smile on your gift recipient's face.

Step 1: Find Something That is Special to Him or Her

Inexpensive homemade gift ideas are best when planned. What do you know about the person you plan to give to? Think ahead about the following, as you search for a personal theme that will add humor, depth or meaning to the gift:

  • Special or life-long interest such as fishing, sky diving, gardening etc.
  • Memorable or upcoming event (engagement, new baby, graduation etc)
  • Favorite hobby
  • Funny pastime
  • Favorite theme, such as a TV character, movie or favorite animal
  • "Inside" joke

This early brainstorming often helps to make a more meaningful gift that costs less. The value that your thoughtfulness and planning efforts will add to your gift will be amazing.

Don't be afraid to poke around. In cases, where nothing comes to mind or you don't know as much about a person, do a little research. Probe a friend, spouse, mom or dad and find out a few basics, such as favorite color, hobby, character, TV show, movie, sport, sports team, or other favorite theme or interest.

Step 2: Decide on an Idea for How to Personalize Your Gift and What to Personalize

Here are some of our favorite DIY personalization techniques for use with a variety of store-bought gifts and inexpensive homemade gift ideas...


Personalize with Permanent Paint Marker


Permanent Paint Marker. You can use a permanent marker such as an oil based paint marker to write a special message, decorate or personalize nearly any surface with a date, a monogram, name or nickname, whatever you'd like... First Christmas, Wedding Date, Initials etc. Try surfaces such as wood, ceramic, plastic, glass or paper board.

  • Write a special message of love or appreciation
  • Make it unique with his or her name, initials or nickname
  • Memorialize a special date such as First Christmas, Date United etc.

Oil based paint markers are quick drying, weather-proof and fade proof!

You can also use a sharpie marker. To make a sharpie permanent, you must spray with acrylic sealer or paint with decoupage medium or watered down white craft glue. Test for bleeding on a separate surface and work quickly. Spraying works best.


Glass Etching: Homemade Heirloom Gifts


Glass etching is actually quite easy and very impressive. A glass etching kit will provide you with the tools and supplies to get you started personalizing your chosen glass for occasions such as Wedding gifts, Anniversary gifts and special Birthday gifts.

You can make your very own family heirlooms by etching meaningful designs, monograms, dates, names, messages and more...

To etch glass, you use stencils and glass etching cream to etch like a pro. It doesn't smell that great so do it in a well ventilated area and as directed in your kit. If you start with a kit, you'll have everything you need to etch glass.

Here's a few ideas for what to etch:

  • Thrifts store or Dollar store glass cups
  • Glass candle holders and votives from thrift, craft or dollar stores
  • Vases form thrift, craft or dollar stores
  • Glass dishes and glass cookware
  • Glass plates
  • Glass ornaments from the craft store
  • Champagne flutes for Weddings and Anniversaries
  • Wine glasses
  • Beer mugs
  • Shot glasses
  • Glass picture frame
  • Jewelry box window
  • Mirrors

I recommend starting with an etching kit. If you like etching glass, you can buy more cream and additional stencils (such as alphabet stencils) when you're ready.

If you think you already have the tools for etching glass you may not need to buy a kit at all, you could just buy the glass etching cream.

The kit comes with etching cream, illustrated booklet over 75 assorted glass etching stencils, glass cleaner concentrate, camel hair brush, reusable gloves, applicator stick, hobby knife, custom stencil vinyl and practice glass. That's it and glass etching is a permanent and dishwasher safe inexpensive homemade gift idea!


Personalize Gifts with Decoupage Ideas


Decoupage. Decoupage is a great way to come up with personalized inexpensive homemade gift ideas. By using thin paper, you can put patterns, images and designs onto old or boring surface from craft, thrift and dollar stores. This is a great way to incorporate a favorite theme/subject, color, pattern, photograph or interest.

If you already have images you want to use, you can either apply them directly with the appropriate glue and decoupage medium (see instructions below) or make copies...

...decoupage works best with non-bleeding images (laser printed rather than inkjet printed), so if you get your images photo copied, you will not only get to keep the original, you will also ensure that the image is colorfast since copy machines make laser prints.

Learn more about:

Decoupage Projects

Decoupage Instructions

You can find more Inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas on the homemade gift certificates page plus get printable gift certificates.

Speaking of personalization, there are also personalized gifts online that you can design and have made for you. These are always a huge hit and if time is limited, this may be just for you!

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