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9 DIY student-proof gift ideas for the festive season

Date:29 November 2023
Hylke posing with some linoleum cuttings and prints.
Hylke posing with some linoleum cuttings and prints.

The festive season is almost upon us! Do you already know what you’re going to give your loved ones? If you still need some ideas, in this blog, we talk about 9 do-it-yourself gifts that will make your loved ones hug you with joy.

First things first, making something yourself doesn’t have to be hard! Think about your assets and interests, could you do something with that? If you can write beautifully, for example, you could write a heartfelt poem or story, or if you play an instrument you could compose a piece of music or write a song. Or, if you like programming, you could try programming a game or another cool thing. Literally and figuratively, get creative!

If you can’t think of something, don't worry. Here are some ideas:

#1 A cool print 

One of my new hobbies this autumn is making prints or stamps with linoleum cuttings. It’s quite simple and not that expensive. If you have everything you need, carve a pattern or landscape–anything you’d like really. Afterwards, put paint on the linoleum cutting and press it down hard on a piece of paper (I would suggest a high-quality piece of paper). Peel it off, frame it and you’re done! 

#2 Painted sneakers

If you like to paint or draw and the person you want to gift something to is obsessed with sneakers (or needs a new pair), this might be a do-it-yourself project for you! Buy a nice pair of sneakers, think of a design and start painting. Make sure that you use paint that’s especially for leather and use a top coat so that your design will last a long time! Are we going to see some people with cool sneakers walking around in Groningen after the winter break?

#3 A lovely scrapbook

If you’re a sentimental person like me, a scrapbook goes a long way. It’s the perfect way to tell someone what they mean to you and to reminisce on some memorable moments. Print out your favourite photos, get some (glitter) pens, stickers and washi tapes, and get crafty! You could even add little texts describing your adventures and memories together. I know the person you’re giving the scrapbook to will cherish it forever.

#4 (Teacup) candles

Making your candles can be quite time-consuming, but it’s worth it in the end. You can decide everything: the pot or jar for your candle, the colour of the wax, if you want to put in some fragrance or other things like pressed flowers or crystals, and so on. You could, for example, use vintage tea cups for your candles. I once saw a photo of a transparent tea cup candle where you could see the pressed flowers on the side and crystals on top–very cottagecore. The options are endless!

#5 Knit something

Gifting someone a beautiful sweater or scarf is amazing, but knitting it yourself is next level. This might take a while though, so if you decide to do this you better start now! If you don’t know how to knit, there are lots of tutorials on the internet. You might find that it’s actually pretty relaxing and before you know it, you cannot be stopped! ;)

#6 The essential oil of your dreams 

Essential oils are always a nice gift. They let the house smell nice and can be used for many different things. It’s also not that hard to make, but it takes some time. Usually, you put any herbs you want in a pot with distilled water and let it simmer for a while. Then, you put it in the fridge overnight and, once it’s cooled down, lift the thin film of oil off of the mixture to transfer it into a bottle. But, there are many ways to go about this so pick the right one for you. Once you’ve put all the oil in bottles, put a cute label on them and voilà, your gift is ready!

#7 Gift basket with homemade food

If you love baking, better put your hands to work because nothing is nicer than some homemade food. You could, for example, put together a gift basket with lots of delicious goodies like homemade jams, bread, cake, chocolate bits etc. It will certainly make someone very happy. You know what they say: love goes through the stomach! ;)

#8 Jewellery

Making your jewellery is also an option. You could try to make earrings or (friendship) bracelets. There’s a shop here in Groningen where you can buy all the beads you need as well as beading wire, crimp beads and clasps. Find some inspiration on Pinterest, put on your favourite series and bead away!

#9 Painted pottery piece

Last but not least, customise a pottery piece! There’s opened a nice, new pottery café recently where you can paint pottery, but you can also do it yourself (haha (;) with porcelain markers. Whatever you decide, I’m sure it will be appreciated!

Hopefully, these ideas have given you some inspiration on what to give your loved ones this festive season. Are you going to do one of these? Let us know in the comments or send us a photo via Instagram!

About the author


Hiya! I’m Hylke, a Dutch MA English Literature student. People often ask me if I’m Frisian, but sadly I’m not; I just have a Frisian name. I love reading, writing, meeting with friends, and the colour yellow, so much so that I take pictures of every yellow wall I can find!


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