It’s the busiest and most expensive time of year, particularly if there’s birthdays, holidays and bills to pay for on top of Christmas. As a result, more people are embracing their creative side and tackling the holiday season with DIY presents.

But hand-made prezzies aren’t just for mums and grandmas – you can make things for even the hardest-to-buy-for family members! I went searching for some of the most popular, unique and easiest projects, and tried them out for myself – and honestly, you should too!

Clipboard Calendar

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This one’s for the organised minimalist in your life. Calendars are a functional piece of art but they can cost up to $40-50 each, so why not tailor-make one yourself?

What you’ll need:

  • clipboard
  • printer
  • your choice of paper
  • free downloadable 2017 calendar template online (I used this one, you can find a ton on Pinterest)

How to make:

You simply print out your calendar template and attach to clipboard – You’re done!

This is a really creatively flexible project that can be altered to suit whoever is receiving the gift. As well as decorating the clipboard itself, consider printing your template on scrapbooking paper or coloured cardboard to match your loved one’s decor style. You could fill it up with family members’ birthdays and special events too!

Pineapple Wine Bottle

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Every family has a wine drinker, so jazz up their favourite brew with a tasty treat!

What you’ll need:

  • bottle of wine or liquor
  • green paper
  • chocolates or lollies in gold wrappers (I used chocolate eclairs, $3 a bag from Kmart),
  • contact paper
  • ribbon
  • clear cellophane

How to make:

First, draw up and cut out your green pineapple leaves. Cut off a strip of contact and wrap it sticky side up around the top half of the bottle, and stick your leaves onto the contact. Cover the base of the leaves in another strip of contact, so you can cover it in chocolates.

Next, cut more strips of and wrap around the bottle, sticky side up, until you’ve covered the whole bottle. Stick the chocolates onto the bottle, holding them on for a few seconds so the wrappers stick firmly. Once you’ve covered the whole bottle, wrap in cellophane and decorate with a ribbon. Nan’s favourite wine = sorted.

Wooden Pallet Coasters

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Dads can be hard to buy for, but these pallet coasters are a definite winner, and I can’t believe how simple they are to make!

What you’ll need:

  • hot glue gun
  • wooden craft sticks
  • black marker or pen
  • scissors

How to make:

Cut the ends off each stick, glue together and draw on “nails” with the sharpie – tah-dah!

They cost next to nothing to make and only take 5 minutes to put together, and are great, practical gifts for workmates, dads, grandpas, brothers – whoever the handyman is in your life.

Succulent Pen Holder

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I was extremely impressed with how professional-looking this project turned out to be – it looks like something you’d pay big bucks for! Sleek, modern and practical, this awesome pencil holder ticks all the boxes.

What you’ll need:

  • pencil or toothbrush holder with 2 compartments
  • cork coasters or roll of cork
  • succulent (either real or fake)
  • rocks or pebbles
  • your choice of paint
  • paintbrush
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun or Selleys Kwik Grip (depending on the material of your pencil holder and the backing of your cork coasters)

How to make:

Paint your pencil or toothbrush holder desired colour – you may have to do 2 or 3 coats for a full coverage. Next, attach your cork roll or coasters to your organiser using the suitable glue. Tip: if you’re using a roll of cork like I did, place the front of organiser on top and trace around it to get the perfect measurement. You also may need to use a couple of layers of cork, depending on how thick your roll is – it needs to be thick enough to stick a pushpin into!

To finish your masterpiece, fill one compartment with rocks and place your succulent inside. Wrap with a message pinned to the front. It’s that easy! Consider making a pair of organisers, and they can be used as bookends.

Bottletop Fishing Lures

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As soon as I saw this post on Pinterest, I just HAD to make some! What a great idea! Whoever you make them for, collect bottlecaps from their favourite drink for a personal touch and they’re sure to catch a big one next fishing trip.

What you’ll need:

  • bottlecaps
  • treble hooks
  • swivel snap connectors
  • round slip rings
  • pliers
  • drill
  • bench vice or hammer (to shape the bottlecaps)

How to make:

Start off by drilling 2 holes directly opposite each other on the edges of the bottlecap. Using your pliers to hold them open, slide the slip rings through each hole of the bottlecap. Then attach a swivel snap connector to one end, and a hook to the other end. Finish by putting your lure in a bench vice (or using a hammer) to clamp the bottlecap slightly, giving it a taco-like shape.

This is one of the cheapest but most impressive DIYs I’ve come across, and once you get the hang of putting them together, they’re really simple to make. Safety tip: Consider wearing rubber gloves to minimise the risk of accidentally stabbing your fingers with the fishing hooks!

Desktop Tower Organiser


For the member of your family whose desk is covered in a tangle of tiny bits of stationary, this is the perfect storage solution that’s functional but also pretty funky-looking too!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 small dishes that decrease in size
  • 2 piping nozzles
  • hot glue gun

How to make:

Glue the piping nozzles in the centre of the bases of your largest and medium-sized dishes, holding them firmly for a minute as the glue sets. With your largest dish, line the edge of the piping nozzle with glue and attach to the bottom of the medium-sized dish. Repeat this with the smallest dish attached to the top of your tower.

A great way to make this gift unique is by mixing and matching the dishes used, or how tall you make your tower. It can also be used to store small pieces of jewellery like rings and piercings.