By Oanhie “Shinsen” Pham, Copy Editor

While giving DIY gifts may not always mean a big difference for your wallet, it can be almost certain that they’ll be unique and more meaningful than what can be bought easily in stores. Below are a few gift ideas to help you get started. Depending on how creative you’re feeling, these gifts may require more than a few hours, so be sure to give yourself enough time to get those creative juices flowing.

Feeling creative? Buy some canvas (or similar fabrics that won’t be hard to work on) shoes and waterproof markers, fabric pens and/or waterproof paints (such as acrylics). You can also try permanent markers, but some say designs will fade away. To avoid making a mess or unwanted designs, try to draw out your designs on a sheet of paper. There are many designs you can create on the shoes, but remember that the person receiving these customized shoes will want to wear them out in public. So be creative, but with the wearer in mind.

For inspiration, check out this video tutorial by ‘Bobsmade,’ a German clothing line that customizes shoes, bags and clothes using artwork inspired by cartoons.

Gaoli “Chamomile” Moua, staff writer and copy editor for “The Jade Times,” wrote about the versatility of scarves in her article. You can take an ordinary scarf a step further by tie-dying it with vibrant hues and patterns. Create different patterns of swirls, circles and splashes of colors using techniques found on websites such as It is recommended that cotton, linen, silk or a naturally woven fabric be used to get the best results.

With the connections to technology, software and people we all have these days, there are many ways to customize holiday greeting cards than buying pre-made ones at the store. Have a close friend that can help you take your photos, or take photos yourself of scenery or objects. Create a greeting card template on your computer. Add in your photo(s) and a customized message and the cards are ready to be printed! Have them printed on card-stock paper or photo paper to make them sturdy.


If you know how to knit, why not knit some holiday ornaments for a friend or relative? Create yarn ornament balls and other decorations to put up in trees. Click here for instructions from Canadian Living.

If you’re not up for knitting, you may purchase a few glass or plastic clear or light-colored balls (some can open up to include a small decoration or photo inside). They can be bought inexpensively at Michael’s, Target, etc. For instance, around this time of year, the dollar section of Target usually carries a set of four medium-sized silver balls for only $1. Use beads, sequins and ribbons to create beautiful ornaments out of them!


It’s time to get crafty with photo frames! Picture frames can be metal, plastic, wood, etc. Purchase one (or more) frames to decorate and add in a photo! Frames can be purchased for very cheap at dollar stores and crafts stores. The decorations don’t have to be holiday-related. It can be adorned with embellishments you know the receiver will enjoy or find whimsical.

It’s fairly simple. Find a photo you like (maybe of family or something that relates to the person receiving your gift) and add the 2011 calendar on the same page as the picture. You can find yearly calendar templates online for a small cost or even for free. The size of the paper is up to you. The calendar can be as elaborate as you want it to be. You can have different photos for it, bind it, laminate it, etc. Sometimes, you can find spiral-bound calendars with blank pages for adding your own photos at stores such as Target for only $1.

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