A DIY Christmas gift for future DIYers

If you’re a keen DIYer with plenty of kids in your life for whom Christmas presents are needed, chances are you’re also quite organised and have already got a stash of gifts you prepared earlier just sitting waiting to be wrapped. But if you tend to do things at the last minute, and/or are in need of inspiration (and want an excuse to visit an opshop), read on…


One of the best Christmas presents I ever received was this sewing kit put together by my grandma. I still have it, although it’s usually packed full of random bits and pieces so doesn’t look quite as tidy as this. But this is how it probably looked when she gave it to me (I think I was about seven years old, so about a million years ago).


Essentially, this is just a wicker box, but she lined it (I think she probably cut out circles from thick cardboard and covered them with wadding and fabric, then glued them to the inside lid and the inside base of the box) and filled it with haberdashery notions like these little reels of cotton…DSC_3865

Grandma also made me this little needle case from pink felt and a piece of sequin-embellished crochet that she made herself. DSC_3867

Note the lace drawers the little lady is wearing! DSC_3866

I’m sure Grandma put other things in the kit (scissors? bits of fabric? embroidery thread? a thimble?) too but I’ve used them up or they’ve got mixed up in the rest of my stash which, after all this time, is considerably larger and messier than it was on that Christmas day when my DIY career was still in its infancy.

Apart from thanking my grandma (unfortunately too belatedly as she is no longer around) for setting me on the true path to a life of DIY, the point of this post is to give you an idea for an inexpensive but thoughtful gift that will keep on giving (cliched but true!) – ie a simple sewing or crafting kit. If you’re pressed for time or not quite confident enough to line a box or make a needle case, you can simply find an attractive container and stock it with the necessary goods, all of which are fairly much always available at opshops* (so not only are they inexpensive, but by purchasing them you’re giving back to the community as well as your intended recipient! And you get to go opshopping with a valid reason! WIN!).

Of course this doesn’t have to be a gift for a child – people take up crafting at any age, so this could easily be a gift for that friend or workmate who is always talking about learning to make stuff.

Here’s a list of what you could put in a sewing kit:

  • pincushion or needle case
  • card of various needles (eg normal hand sewing needle, darning needle etc)
  • card of pearl-headed pins
  • reels of cotton
  • a little jar of various buttons
  • fabric scissors
  • scraps of fabric
  • ribbons and lace
  • embroidery thread (it looks so pretty!)
  • a book about sewing and/or some easy sewing patterns (most definitely available at any opshop!)
  • a handmade voucher for a sewing lesson given by you

And for a general crafting kit, any/all of the above items, plus:

  • fabric glue and textile markers
  • fabric paint and brushes
  • paper scissors
  • jar of beads and sequins
  • twine, string, or jewellery wire
  • jewellery findings
  • pliers
  • gumnuts or other seedpods
  • coloured cardboard
  • wool and crochet/knitting needles
  • a book about craft (every opshop has a glut of craft books from the 70s!)

And there you go – an inexpensive* present that will inspire a new DIYer. Think of it as an insurance policy for the future of the creative world!


*If, like me, you have crafty bits and pieces coming out of your ears, you can probably find all of these things without even leaving the house. Snip fabric scraps into neat shapes, gather up buttons you’ll never use, sort out your pattern and craft book library and dig out that wool that you bought “just in case” about 15 years ago and package it all up nicely. You get to declutter and someone gets a Christmas present. Another win!