10 Thrifty and Creative Gift Ideas Your Friends Will Love

Christmas is just around the corner, and you might want to start making that list of yours one of these days. But you're in the red you say? Fret not! Here are a few great Do-It-Yourself ideas and inexpensive gadget gifts for your loved ones that they will absolutely thank you for.

Why You Should DIY

Homemade gift-giving is obviously the smart and thrifty way of doing things, but it is also more unique due to the personal touch you add to each gift. Here are practical DIY gift ideas anyone can do with a little, glue, some tape, and a lot of heart.

1. iPad Case

A great gift for the iPad users in your life!  Check out this no-sew case with duct tape!


  • bubble wrap
  • spray-on adhesives
  • a piece of flannel (or any other soft fabric)
  • plenty of duct tape (ones with decoration is fine)


Step 1:  Take some bubble wrap and make a cut-out in the shape of your iPad. Remember to have a little extra allowance. Cut out three sections for the front, back and a flap for the top. Use duct tape to connect the three pieces on the smooth side of the wrap.

Step 2: Coat the smooth side with spray adhesive. Add a piece of flannel (or your other piece of soft cloth) to the adhesive part to create a nice soft lining for the inside of the case. Trim and even-out the edges of the fabric.


Step 3: Cover the other side of the bubble wrap with black tape (or the decorative duct tape of your choice). Each piece should somewhat overlap another one. Once everything is covered, even-out the edges of the tape.

Step 4: Fold along the creases to form the case shape, securing each edge with more tape. Once all sides are sealed nice and tight, the basic case is done! If you used a decorative duct tape, you could gift it as is. Adding other accessories or pockets is optional.

2. Lap Desk

Another no-sewing-needed project for avid laptop users you know.


  • flat wooden piece (about 1-2 inches thick and bigger than the base of your laptop)
  • foam (about 3-4 inches)
  • fabric (half a yard, depending on your lap desktop size)
  • scissors
  • fabric glue
  • staple gun and staples


Step 1: Cut the wooden piece into your desired shape. Place the cut wood piece on top of the foam, trace it out, and proceed to cut as well, making sure to cut the foam a bit smaller. Uneven edges are fine as you will be covering this part anyway.


Step 2: Wrap the foam with your fabric, ensuring to pull it taut and sans creases, stapling altogether on the flat underside of the foam. Make sure no staple sticks out to prevent cuts, gashes, or scratches.


Step 3: Trim the excess fabric for a clean look. 

Step 4: Stick the foam to the wooden piece using your adhesive (I found fabric glue to work pretty well). Finish-off the wood top with paint or varnish.

3. Smartphone Cover

An easy-to-do iPhone case attachment!


  • pre-made mobile case
  • leatherette (two pieces)
  • scissors
  • needle and thread
  • glue
  • pen and lighter


Step 1: Trace the contour of the cover onto one piece of the leatherette

Step 2: Cut-out the leatherette 


Step 3: Trace and cut out a hole for where your camera's lens would be 

Step 4: Draw on the underside of the other leatherette piece where you will place the cards (make sure it is bigger than the actual size of a card)


Step 5: Cut-out a semicircle in the middle for easier access

Step 6: Sew the flap of the cardholder onto the base leatherette piece


Step 7: Put some cards in and to sew the two pieces together (adding bulk helps to estimate the edges)

Step 8: Place some glue or adhesive onto the underside of the leatherette and glue it together with the case 

Step 9: With a lighter, carefully burn the edges of the leather for a nice, clean look.

4. Fluff Toy Flashdrive Case

It’s cute. It’s fluffy. It’s a flash drive!?


  • 1 stuffed animal, about 6 inches tall (the fluffier, the better)
  • 1 USB flash drive (make sure the cover snaps into place)
  • 2-component putty (gets hard when mixed)
  • your preferred adhesive (super glue or fabric glue works well)


Step 1: While wearing latex gloves, form the epoxy putty onto the case in such a way that it anchors itself in the hole you will make. This prevents you from pulling out the entire thing when trying to uncap the flash drive. Let the putty be until it hardens.

Step 2: Using the cutter and some surgical precision, make an incision at the neck of the toy. Take some of the stuffing out to make room for the flash drive for the body (bottom side up), and the cover for the head.


Step 3: Once you’re happy with the placement, glue it all together. Be generous with the glue, but don’t be messy. Let the glue dry overnight making sure that you let the body dry separately from the head.

5. Paint and Glam Your Own iPhone Case

Phones all look the same, but a case can give them some personality. Those too only offer so much variety.


  • one clear, solid-coloured iPhone case
  • acrylic paint
  • glue, beads, and gems (optional)

Step 1: Paint to your heart’s desire. Add bedazzlements as needed.

Step 2: Allow drying overnight. Wrap it up, and ready for gift-giving.

6. Everything in A Jar

Is your friend spending too much time in the office, in front of the monitor, the whole day? Give them this! Everything-in-a-Jar has everything your friend needs. Your friend would still need to go to the toilette, though.


  • mason jar of varying sizes
  • custom label and ribbons


Peanuts, White Chocolate Hot Drink Mix, Suisse Mocha Latte Mix, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Energy Bar, Milk Chocolate Truffles


Cosy Socks, Sunshine Daisy Lotion, Sunshine Daisy Fragrance Spray, Moisture Rich Hand Crème, Soothing Massage Bar Soap, Eye Treatment Cream, Facial Scrub, Lip Balm


Facial Cleaning Towelettes, Wrinkle Release Spray, Disposable Mini Toothbrushes, Tide to Go Mini Pen, Peppermint Gum, Peppermint Breathe Mints, Mini Brush and Mirror Combo

Nifty Gifts at a Low Price

7. Case-Mate Pockets


Able to stick to your iPhone’s case, this neat little accessory is also stylish! Case Pockets carry your daily necessities securely, yet accessible at all times. The nifty pocket can carry your credit cards, house keys, licenses, identification cards or any other standard sized card. Some designs even make you feel like a princess.

8. LoveHandle Elastic Phone Grip


Have small hands? Hold your phone with one hand effortlessly. This nifty little gadget latches onto your phone’s case and, with its elastic band, gives you a snug and secure grasp on your phone. It even allows you to reach the corners of your phone without crazy finger movements and stretches.

9. Buddha Beads Charger


This stealthy gift has both charging and data-syncing capabilities and caters to the lightning ports for iPhones and iPads. Its lightning adapter is small enough to fit through cases, and strong enough to withstand repeated unplugging. With the Buddha beads charger bracelet, recipients of this gift will be ever-so-grateful that they won't have to fuss and worry to find a charging cord.

10. Google Cardboard Virtual Reality 3D Glasses


Google Cardboard is a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google for use with a head mount for a smartphone. Named for its fold-out cardboard viewer, it was designed as a low-cost alternative to traditional VR platforms to encourage interest and development in VR applications. It's a relatively simple design - one you can either buy as a kit from a manufacturer or use to build your own - that utilises cardboard and a pair of 40mm focal distance lenses to turn your phone into a virtual reality headset. It also uses magnets, velcro, and a rubber band to keep everything in place.


Once downloaded, cut, assembled, and put together, users can affix their smartphones into the slot, hook it up to a VR-compatible app, and delve into a real-world experience.

Add these gift ideas to your Christmas list and make your loved ones feel special. Remember, it’s not about the gift, but it’s the effort and love you put in them. The important thing is to have fun with your gifts and make your lives a little bit easier this Christmas.

  • Nov 10, 2017
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 0
Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published