Inexpensive Gift Ideas

gift ideas text
Image adapted from iStock

I habitually rummage through my house, raid my craft supplies, and scavenge second-hand stores, trying to find something that I can turn into something else. And since it is that time of year, I have been rummaging for things that I can upcycle into gifts.

I hope that these ideas help inspire you to use something that you already have and turn it into a present.

Image via Melanie Denney

Book Clock

My sister-in-law let me rip up an old clock of hers so that I could make something out of it, like this book clock. If you don't have a clock that you want to rip apart, then you can just buy a clock kit.

I couldn't bring myself to drill a hole through my favorite books, so I made photocopies of the covers so that I could cover a book that I'm not attached to.

If you were going to make a clock out of anything, what would it be? A poster? A CD?   

hello chalkboard
Image via Melanie Denney


Can I tell you a secret? Flat black craft paint is inexpensive, and it works just as nicely as chalkboard paint. 

Who doesn't love a chalkboard? Actually, I think my husband hates them. He hates them because I love them, love them so much that nearly every surface in our home has been slathered in chalkboard paint. I've contained my obsession down to smaller pieces, instead of entire walls.

This chalkboard was once a cupboard door. 

Can I tell you a secret? Flat black craft paint is inexpensive, and it works just as nicely as chalkboard paint. 

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Chalkboards paired with a box of chalk make great gifts for anyone. What would you make a chalkboard out of?

old window
Image via Melanie Denney

 Old Window

Old windows and doors are like gold to anyone who loves old stuff. 

I love, love anything vintage, antique, historic. My mother-in-law was rummaging through her basement one day, found this old window and gave it to me. If you can find old windows or doors, get them and use them as gifts — they're like gold to anyone who loves old stuff. 

Wire Garland

It is amazing what you can make out of junk. I bought a spool of rusty fencing wire for a few dollars and decided that it would make a nice wreath. But because I am a most untalented wreath maker (and photographer — it turned out neat, but you can't tell from the picture) it turned out to be garland instead.

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What have you made from junk? 

mason jar sewing kit
Image via Melanie Denney

Mason Jar Sewing Kit

Have you seen all of the cool Mason jar projects that we’ve got here at Everyday Family? I’m adding one to the list.

My friend made me this sewing kit out of a Mason jar. It’s the simplest thing – just a little scrap material, some batting, and glue to turn the lid into a pin cushion. She filled it with spools of thread and adorned the top with straight pins and needles, and even wrote a little note to me on the underside of the lid.

It would make a great little gift for anyone who sews.

Image via Melanie Denney


My sister started hoarding fabric a few years ago; when a fabric store was going out of business, she loaded her car up with double-clearance fabric, and has been sewing amazing things ever since, like little stuffed animals, quilts, backpacks, dress-up clothes, etc. 

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She made this purse for me one Christmas from material out of her fabric stash. I love it because she actually made it, and it’s so cute.

Do you have some extra fabric? What are you inspired to make with it?

Have you upcycled anything into gifts? I would love for you to tell us about it in the comments below!

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What do you think?

Inexpensive Gift Ideas

Melanie Denney lives in the smallest of towns, with her two little darlings. She has a Bachelor's degree and happily works as a full-time mother and a freelance writer, specializing in sociology and recreation leadership. ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Francesca Francesca says:

    I like to print free subway art, put it in an inexpensive frame, and decorate it.

  2. Profile photo of Ashley Ashley says:

    We are making gift baskets this year to cutt back on $. These were some helpful tips. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Profile photo of James James says:

    Some great ideas I loved the purse might attempt to make one for my girl friend

  4. Profile photo of Lindsey Lindsey says:

    Hey! I absolutely adore your crafty, imaginative, witty, unrestrained and free-flowing creative (+DIY & reusuasable attitude) style!!! Not only are these gifts INCREDIBLE…. they are one of a kind and come from the heart. Thanks so much for sharing!!!


  5. Profile photo of Alexis Wade Alexis Wade says:

    I have recently become a crafter/DIY home decorator/Gardner…veggies & flowers. I truly believe that any gift that is made from the heart is more meaningful for the gift giver as well as the person receiving the gift. It holds love in the best way!!!!

  6. Profile photo of briana briana says:

    i always love to make jewelry and give what I make to people, or make fudge or cookies

  7. Profile photo of Shelby Shelby says:

    i like to crochet things for people for gifts! crafts are such a great idea! also, ready to mix recipe ingredients in a nice mason jar for cookies or something is a great idea!

  8. Profile photo of debbie debbie says:

    Great gifts dont have to be expensive. Times, tv and technology are trying to put everyone into the poor house.

  9. Profile photo of Chynna Chynna says:

    These are some pretty good ideas!

  10. Profile photo of Paula Paula says:

    These are all great ideas. Especially if your budget is tight

  11. Profile photo of April April says:

    Love all these gifts, very creative and cheap.

  12. Profile photo of Marilyn Marilyn says:

    These are really cute ideas! 🙂


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