Last minute DIY Christmas gift ideas

A few days ago I was listening to a program on the radio which was about how the Victorians (ie those olden-days people, not the state of which Melbourne is the capital) used to create Christmas presents themselves, often starting months in advance. Not for them the chaos of Chadstone at 5.59pm on Christmas Eve! I personally don’t tend to exchange Christmas presents but if I do, I follow the Victorians’ example and make stuff, although I usually start things minutes in advance rather than months. Like this card which I made for you, dear reader, approximately eight minutes ago.


But this post is not about my Photoshopping skills (or the severe lack of them). It’s to give you a few ideas for easy last-minute DIY gifts that will cost practically nothing AND even if you do need to get supplies to make them, you won’t have to go to Chadstone. Click on each title for the how-to.

Plant pom poms


Cost: air plants – anything from a few dollars up. Thonging, cord or chain: free if you have some in your stash, or a few dollars at a craft shop/opshop. Good gift for: guys, apartment-dwellers, pom-pom lovers

Zero-waste jewellery

earrings zero waste

Cost: depends on the earring heads and dangles that you use, but the centre section is free (if you don’t have any cores from pet poo bags, use other cores you might normally throw away such as those in dental floss containers). You’ll also need jump rings and eye pins from a craft/beading shop. Good gift for: lady friends who like wearing out-there jewellery and saving the earth at the same time

All-natural room freshener (or use up some fabric scraps to make wardrobe fresheners)


Cost: cloves – a few dollars at the supermarket, market or health food shop. Bowl or container – use something you’ve bought on your travels or head to the opshop for a small bowl, teacup or box. Wrap it up nicely in old fabric or a scarf and a ribbon so the cloves don’t fall out while transporting. Good gift for: fans of the natural and organic… maybe a good present for a yoga teacher who can use it in her studio!

Calligraphy masterpiece made by you (or perhaps a voucher for a calligraphy or craft class?)

cat calligraphy

Even if you don’t think you’re so handy with a brush and ink, give calligraphy or painting a go – you might be surprised. Cost: not sure about real calligraphy equipment, but fairly negligible if you use normal paint and brush. Nice paper might be a bit more, and if you’re framing your work that might add to the cost unless you find something in an opshop. Good gift for: people with as-yet blank walls!

Sewing basket

sewing basket

Cost: if you don’t have spare ones in your stash, a few dollars for the sewing supplies (needles, thread, scissors etc) and the same for the basket and lining fabric (both of which you can probably find at opshops). Good for: budding crafters of any age

Seedling set and scarf


Cost: scarf or piece of material – free if you have one in your stash, or as little as a few cents from an opshop. Seedlings – a few dollars from the supermarket or nursery. Good gift for: would-be green thumbs ie people with at least a little gardening space

Loose summer scarf

arm knitting

Cost: entirely dependent on the type of yarn you use. Good for: mums, aunts, friends… or join several scarves together to make a lightweight decorative throw to cover up a tired couch.

I hope there’s some ideas in here that will help you to avoid the throngs at the shops, use up stuff in your stash, earn the admiration of your gift recipients and save some money into the bargain. Happy crafting!