Inexpensive and Recycled DIY Gift Ideas
Start writing a post

Go Green And Save Money With These 9 Recycled Handmade Gift Ideas

Here's how to show your loved ones you care without spending exorbitant amounts of money or compromising on your values.

Go Green And Save Money With These 9 Recycled Handmade Gift Ideas

As December rolls around I tend to get discouraged by the wastefulness and consumerism associated with Christmas. Gift-giving at Christmas is, at its core, a tradition centered on love. I adore giving and receiving gifts. In fact, gift-giving and receiving is my number one of the five love languages.

However, I find myself torn during the holidays because my desire to give meaningful gifts competes with my values of rejecting materialism and protecting the environment. Not to mention that I generally have had little money with which to purchase gifts.

This is why a few years ago I made the switch to giving handmade gifts. Below I list my favorite handmade gifts that I've given to friends and family over the years. These 9 gift ideas are thoughtful, inexpensive, and many are recycled to lower their impact on the environment.

1. Map Coasters

Brittany Harms

Estimated cost: $15-$20 for a set of 4

You will need: Bathroom tiles, decoupage glue, pour-on finish, maps, round felt stickers

I've made this project many times for gifting and selling and they are always a hit. I start by cutting the maps to fit the coaster, then I glue the map pieces to the tiles and cover each completely with decoupage glue to seal it. I then pour a two-part resin (which you can purchase here) completely over the coasters. After a few days, they are set and dry. I put felt stickers on the bottom (so the tiles don't scratch the coffee table) and then they are ready for wrapping!

2. Recycled CD Picture Frame

Brittany Harms

Estimated cost: $5

You will need: A picture frame, picture, CD, scissors, hot glue/tacky glue

I made this for my mom's birthday one year and she loved it. It's a simple project that costs little to make. I found an inexpensive picture frame at the thrift store and painted it to look new. Then I found some old CDs and cut them into random small shapes (thank you, Spotify, for making the destruction of my CD's something I would actually do). Then I glued the pieces onto the frame mirror-side up. It took some time, but the end result was a lovely gift that anyone would appreciate.

3. Hand-Stamped Stationery Set

Estimated cost: $5-10 per set

You will need: blank stationery, stamps (or an sponge to make a stamp), paint/ink

Stationery is a useful gift because nearly everyone will write a letter or note to someone at some point in time. If you don't already have stamps, you can make one by cutting a dish sponge into shapes. If you have nice handwriting or letter stamps, you can add words to your stationery!

4. Twig Candle Holders

Estimated cost: $5-10 per set (including cost of candles)

You will need: jars, small twigs, glue, votive or other candles

This project can be completely recycled if you use jars from your kitchen. Start with a clean jar and simply glue twigs around the sides for a cute decoration that matches most types of home decor!

5. Basket Woven from Plastic Bags

Brittany Harms

Estimated cost: <$1 ($0 if you already have a yarn needle)

You will need: a yarn needle, scissors, tape, plastic bags.

I love this project because it recycles one of the largest pollutants in our ecosystem, plastic bags. It's a bit hard to explain, so instead I'll link a YouTube video tutorial.

6. Decorated Journals/Notebooks

A group of students and I made these journals for a fundraiser.

Brittany Harms

Estimated cost: $1-5 each

You will need: Blank notebooks, fabric/paint/maps/pictures, decoupage glue

I love this project because it's so simple. Take blank notebooks, or even composition books will work. Then cover with newspaper, maps, fabric, paint, or other decor. I've done this project many times to give as gifts or sell for fundraisers. This is a great project to make in bulk and give as smaller gifts.

7. Recycled T-Shirt Woven Potholders

Estimated cost: $10 one-time cost (for the loom)

You will need: t-shirts or other stretchy fabric, potholder loom

Don't throw away that old t-shirt! You can cut t-shirts into strips with a slit in the middle to make a loop, then weave them into potholders for your kitchen. I often make these out of random old t-shirts as housewarming gifts for friends. Here is a tutorial.

8. Pallet Mug Hanger

Brittany Harms

Estimated cost: $10-$20

You will need: A wooden pallet, sandpaper, stain or paint (if desired), mug hooks

I found my pallet next to a dumpster at my university and stripped off the unnecessary wood. I then sanded it down and used a blowtorch to seal the wood and give it some color. You can paint, stain, or varnish your pallet depending on the look you want. I then measured where I wanted each mug hook to go and screwed them in by hand.

9. Coin Magnet Set

Brittany Harms

Estimated cost: $7

You will need: Magnets, coins, super glue

I glue super magnets to the back of random coins I keep from my travels. This is a quick project and very affordable. You can use coins or get creative with seashells, rocks, buttons, or other items.

You don't need to be crafty or creative to make something that's useful, thoughtful, and low-cost. Instead of spending massive amounts of money to show people you care, try some handmade gifts this season; they are good for the environment and your wallet!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments