Top DIY gifts for teens that are sure to be a smash hit and not a disappointing miss.
Giving a DIY gift to a teen can be risky business. You want to hand them something meaningful and sweet, but what they’d really like a gift card or a new phone & it can be hard to match that.
So, how do we steer clear of the gift-giving pitfalls and stay on the “awesome mom” list with handmade gifts?!
Here are some great ideas that not only do they show thoughtfulness, but allow you to tailor each gift to your teen’s ever-changing preferences and passions.
The question of how to make a Christmas gift for your teenager has probably crossed your mind by now. From personalized accessories to tech-savvy gadgets, I’ve compiled a list of creative, mom-tested, teen-approved DIY gift ideas that are perfect for any occasion and sure to score you major cool points!
DIY Christmas Gifts for Teens
Ready to become the ‘legendary’ gift master in your teen’s world?
1. Customized Phone Cases
Use permanent markers, stickers, pressed flowers or water-resistant paints to create unique designs on clear phone cases. You can also create an insert with their favorite quotes, characters, or a memorable photograph and place it inside a clear case.
2. Homemade Bath Bombs
Combine baking soda, citric acid, Epsom salts, water, essential oils, and food coloring to create personalized bath bombs.
Use silicone molds in fun shapes and package them in a handmade box or tied-up in a pretty cloth.
3. Handmade Tie Dye
With fabric paints or markers, design a custom T-shirt. Consider things they love, like a favorite band, a beloved quote, a sports team, or even an inside joke you share.
4. Photo Memory or Encouragement Jar
Fill a decorative jar with photo strips, small notes, trinkets, or things that remind you of moments together. It’s a simple but meaningful walk down memory lane.
Transform this into an encouragement jar, by keeping notes throughout the year on things you love, notice and admire about your teen. They’ll love pulling these out on hard days ahead.
5. DIY Jewelry
Create custom bracelets, necklaces, or earrings using beads, charms, and jewelry wire. Tailor these to their style or interests for a personal touch.
You can buy a kit like this earings one to do together even on a snowy day, making memories and giving a gift they’ll adore.
6. Custom Canvas Tote Bags
Paint or use fabric markers to decorate a plain canvas tote bag. Whether it’s a piece of artwork, a quote, or something that signifies an inside joke or shared memory, it will be cherished.
7. Homemade Scented Candles
Making candles at home is easier than you might think. Choose their favorite scents using essential oils and create a unique blend just for them. You can personalize the containers with paint or markers.
8. DIY Bookmark
If they love reading, a handmade bookmark can be a thoughtful gift. Use cardstock, fabrics, beads, or even pressed flowers, and personalize it with their name or favorite quotes.
9. Custom Skincare Kit
Mix natural ingredients to make face masks, scrubs, or lip balms. Place them in a decorated basket or box with instructions for use. This recipe for rose lip balm is my favorite one.
10. Handmade Planner or Journal
Buy a plain journal and customize the cover with fabric, paints, or other decorative items. Consider adding motivational quotes, stickers, or photos to some of the pages for an added surprise as they use it.
You can even get personalized stickers made for them to use!
Personalized Gifts for Your Teen
Next up, you can wave goodbye to the one-size-fits-all presents and dive into a world of heartfelt surprises with this mom’s guide to crafting personalized DIY gifts for teens that will make your teen feel like the superstar they are in your universe.
11. Monogrammed Beanie or Scarf
If you’re skilled at knitting or crochet, make a beanie or a scarf in their favorite color and embroider their initials on it. If you’re not into knitting, buy a plain one and personalize it with fabric paint or iron-on patches.
12. Custom Wall Art
Create a piece of art that reflects their interests. This could be a painted canvas, a framed collage of photos and ticket stubs, or even a shadow box filled with mementos from shared experiences.
13. Personalized Playlist or Mixtape
Compile a list of songs that are meaningful to them, or that remind you of them, and present it on a custom-decorated USB drive or as a QR code linked to an online playlist. Include a handwritten list explaining why you chose each song.
14. Photo Calendar
Design a calendar using personal photos, or fun photos (say a year of their dog in funny positions). Highlight dates on the calendar that are important to them (like their birthday or anniversary of a big event), and add small notes or quotes that are meaningful.
15. Customized Pillow
Sew a simple pillow or cushion and personalize it with fabric paints or iron-on transfers of images or quotes that they love. You could also create an iron-on of a photo of you together, or again a photo of their dog is always a fun win for this type of craft.
16. Hand-Painted Sneakers
Take a pair of plain sneakers and use fabric paint to create a one-of-a-kind design you know they’d love. This could be anything from a favorite video game character to a simple pattern in their favorite colors.
17. Personalized Notebook or Sketchbook
Buy a high-quality notebook or sketchpad and personalize the cover with their name, a drawing, or a collage of images that inspire them. You can also include motivational quotes or personal messages on some of the pages.
If your teen likes to adventure, maybe they can use the notebook to record some of their fun! Check out these experience gifts for teenager.
Homemade Gifts for High School Kids
Lastly, it’s time to unlock the secret to teenagers’ hearts with these homemade DIY gifts for high schoolers, perfectly crafted to delight and inspire your teen! To say thank you to their teachers, check out these high school thank teacher gifts.
18. DIY Name Necklace or Bracelets
Use letter beads to spell out their name or a meaningful word on a necklace or bracelet. Add charms or other beads that fit their style or represent their interests.
19. Custom Keychains
Create a personalized keychain using shrink plastic, beads, or leather. Stamp or draw their initials, or craft a small replica of something they love.
20. Personalized Cooking Apron
If they love cooking or baking, get a plain apron and use fabric paint or iron-on transfers to personalize it with their name, an inside joke, or something related to their favorite food or recipe.
21. Personalized Study Kit
Assemble a study kit with homemade items like hand-bound notebooks, personalized pencils or pens, and a custom mug filled with hot chocolate packets or their favorite tea. You can also include motivational quotes or stickers to boost their morale during study sessions.
This is a great Elf on the Shelf idea for teens to create and gift from your elf for finals week.
22. Themed Gift Baskets
Create a gift basket based on their hobbies or interests. For a movie lover, you might include a homemade popcorn mix, a crafted movie ticket, and a DVD of a classic film.
For a bookworm, consider a basket with a second-hand book, a handmade bookmark, and homemade cookies to munch on while reading. For more fun ideas, check out these laundry basket gift ideas!
23. DIY T-Shirt
Design a T-shirt with fabric paint, iron-on transfers, or screen printing. Personalize it with artwork, a quote, or an inside joke that’s significant to them. They’ll appreciate the effort and thought, and it’s something they can wear proudly.
Create a homemade terrarium for your plant momma teen, or a succulent garden is a sweet idea. This is a great present to gift that also has the added benefit of brightening up their room and air.
25. Pottery Trinket Bowl
Try your crafting skills on the pottery wheel and craft a gift for your teen that they’ll treasure for years to come. Create a vase, cute bowl for dropping their keys or ceramic basket for storing special items. Bonus points if you fill the vessel with something fun like a gift card!
26. Travel Artwork
If you’re artistically inclined, consider creating a piece of art just for them. It could be a drawing, painting, or digital art print of something they love from a recent travel or trip, like a favorite character, their pet, or a dream destination.
27. Memory Scrapbook or Photo Album
Compile photos, ticket stubs, and other mementos into a scrapbook or photo album. Add captions, drawings, and little notes to provide context and make the memories even more special.
Remember, it’s the thoughtfulness in every homemade project that truly counts, but having it also be a great gift they’ll really enjoy makes it a win for teens!
Take it from a mom who’s in the trenches with you: these gifts are more than just objects; they’re a bridge, a conversation starter, and a reminder that no matter how big they get or how far they roam, they’ll always be our babies. Every year I try to include at least one or two DIY personalized ideas in their gift piles for Christmas & birthdays.
Keep crafting and keep connecting to the incredible teens we’re lucky to love! If you want some more gift inspo, check out all of our gift guides, ideas and inspiration.