Unusual Gifts Under 5 Dollars: Homemade Holidays

We’re always on the internet searching for that perfect gift for someone, but gifts are spendy and sometimes not all that personal. I decided to do something about it. I had the time, and I didn’t have the money, so I handmade ALL of my gifts this year, and each and every one of these gifts were under $5. Granted, I had a lot of materials on hand, but even if I didn’t, it’s a huge savings with the size of my family! Most of these are simple gifts with tutorials that I scouted out online, then purchased what I had to at my local craft or thrift shop. I saved money, made my gifts by hand and with mounds of love, and managed to support my local economy all at the same time. Talk about the holiday spirit! :)

Reasons for Handmade Gifts on the Cheap

One of many gifts under 5 bucks.It’s great to want to get people gifts, and they deserve to get them, BUT it isn’t always easy on the checkbook. My solution is to give them creative and unusual gifts under 5 dollars…simple, and mostly handmade gifts that are always fun and well-received. I’m not talking about an ugly brooch or crocheted hot pad here. I’m talking REAL GIFTS that your friends and family really will enjoy! There are two main reasons I love to make gifts myself for holidays…Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc.

  1. I feel the consumerism that surrounds Christmas and every other holiday has spun out of control. And I’m not the only one…this popped up this December. We all know what each holiday is about and why it exists, but we continue to throw store-bought gifts at them. I believe our love is more thoroughly shown through the time we spend, the memories we make, the love we share.
  2. I enjoy it. There is a certain sense of accomplishment involved and my heart and soul goes into everything I make, large or small. And, creating a gifts under 5 dollars can be a challenge in itself, but each gift is made especially for that certain someone and, usually, is the perfect choice for them. At least, I hope so!

I made over 30 gifts this year! I know, I know. But some gifts I made in multiples for kids, most were fairly simple, and some aren’t pictured here, like the now-infamous “marshmallow shooter”…this one was a real hit! Some are not my own design, but I adjusted the tutorials to suit my materials or time constraints. I DO want to give credit where credit is due, though. And I highly recommend all of these gifts, because they brought smiles, laughter, and appreciation from my friends and family. It was truly awesome!

Tutorials for Some Awesome Handmade Gifts Under 5 Bucks!

  • Marshmallow Shooter
    Cost – $2.60. We adjusted the mouth piece, sanded the inner edges and painted them a sleek black. Also included the “plans” with instructions on the back as a gift tag. I was sure to send this gift to at least two kids and one 20-something, which elicited an all-out marshmallow war! My evil plan worked perfectly :)
  • Tile Coasters
    Cost – $2.05. On the tiles, I used a multitude of different decorative papers I had on hand, including vintage magazines and free print-outs I found online. These took longer because of drying time in between the layers of Mod Podge. I also substituted furniture pads (small round ones) in the corners rather than felting the entire bottoms. Worked out really well – great gift for couples and families!
  • Phone Case (original)
    Cost – nothing (had everything on hand). Made with a simple single crochet stitch, lined with cotton, edged with embroidery floss, made closure from sc, and decorated with a recycled t-shirt flower and buttons.
  • Sewing Jar
    Cost – $3.00 (bought small mason jar, had sewing notions on hand). Making the top was a bit tricky, had to try twice to get it right, but finally got it to work. The rest is just putting lovely sewing materials inside and labeling it. Done…my mom loved it!
  • Gingerbread Playdough
    Cost – nothing (had everything on hand). So quick and easy! And smells amazing. Some basic kitchen ingredients, a labeled jar, and some old cookie cutters (try ebay) – genius! I heard the kids broke out the playdough the second they opened the gifts. Yay!
  • Duct Tape Wallet
    Cost – $3.99 (unless you want to do a duct tape color combo). This is a bit more time consuming, but it’s really cool, and has card slots! My daughter and I even cut out shapes (which is not easy) to decorate the front of the wallet and then decided to throw in a $5 bill for the recipient :) Two gifts in one!
  • Wool Bobby Pins
    Cost – $2.00 (used wool scraps). This uses needle felting, so you must have a needle felting kit of some kind to do this, but they are fairly inexpensive. I made a LOT of these and gifted two sets to the teen girls in my family. They turned out beautifully, and were very well-received!
  • Emergency Purse Kit
    Cost – nothing (main ingredient: Altoids tin) What can I say? We eat a lot of mints. I Mod podged <– (new verb) a mint tin inside and out, then made a small sewing kit, dropped in some loose change, hair ties, aspirin, a cough drop, band-aid, and a bobby pin or two. You can’t believe how much use this gets! I have one in my purse too :)
  • Crocheted Slouchy Hat (loosely adapted from this tutorial)
    Cost – $3.29 (or yarn on hand). This one takes crochet time and adjustments, but I made three of these Puff Stitch hats, and they all were a little different – and really cute! Hats that teenage girls will actually WEAR!
  • T-shirt Infinity Scarf (original)
    Cost – nothing (recycled t-shirts.) Gather a few colorful t-shirts, cut large squares (all the same width), sew pieces together in a long rectangle, then sew lengthwise to make a tube (right sides together), turn right side out through one of the open ends, then sew the short ends together. It’s soft, stretchy, colorful, casual, and fun!
  • Capelet (original)
    Cost – this would cost MORE than $5 to make because you would need 4-6 skeins of yarn, depending on length, but I wanted to show it because I’m so proud of it! Crocheted from two large rectangles, then sewn together halfway up short sides. Added a large permanent wood button and cinched the other side as embellishment. My 15 year old daughter was IN LOVE.
  • Photo Jar
    Cost – nothing (a small jar & printed photo). This one is the simplest of them all, inspired from a photo on Pinterest. I sent a one pic of each of my daughters in small jars to their grandfather. This makes a sweet, unique gift for someone special.
  • Crocheted Stuffed Owls
    These are a great beginner project to make for kids. They are highly customizable and greatly loved by all! You just need yarn, a hook, and thing to embellish with like yarn scraps, craft felt, and maybe some buttons. You can make them any size, any color you want. I think I made like 4 of these this year and my daughter made 2 for her friends!

Now, I know that you may not have all the materials on hand, like I did, for some of these projects. BUT, even if you had to go out and buy materials, you should still end up with the perfect handmade gifts under 5 bucks, as long as you’re good at finding a bargain! Old t-shirts from Goodwill for $1.99, yarn on sale for $2.29, old jars from the thrift store….easy peasy! There aren’t any expensive “ingredients” in these fun and unusual gift tutorials. Have fun, try some out and let me know what you think!

And, if you’ve made some great gifts for under 5 dollars, or even under $10 that were a hit, I’d LOVE to hear about them!

Show the love and save money with handmade gifts!

Warmly, Rachel

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3 Responses to Unusual Gifts Under 5 Dollars: Homemade Holidays

  1. amanda November 25, 2014 at 9:09 PM #

    I was wondering how you did the bottom of the crochet puff stitch hat.


    • Rachel November 26, 2014 at 7:21 AM #

      It was very similar to this crochet tutorial, except that I made the brim a bit wider, then folded it lengthwise (I just preferred a thicker, shorter brim). The folded edge was the bottom edge of the hat. The top of the brim, where the two edges met, were then seamed around with a single crochet (if I’m remembering this correctly, as I haven’t made one in awhile) that I used as a foundation for the rest of the hat.

  2. SuperMomWannabe January 2, 2012 at 10:32 AM #

    Those are all awesome ideas that make equally awesome gifts! I LOVE the slouchy hat (as does my 14-yr-old daughter!)

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