For when cash or a gift card just won’t cut it.

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated April 27, 2018

Searching for a store-bought present that truly shows you care can be tough, so when you’re celebrating your best friend’s 40th birthday or your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, these easy DIY gifts are the perfect solution. They won’t take you very long to make, but they’re sure to leave a lasting impression. From a hand-painted memento box filled with photos, cards, and memories, to a kitchen canister adorned with Grandma’s world-famous cookie recipe, these sweet handmade gifts ideas will inspire smiles, and more than a few happy tears.

Big Anniversary Memory Box

Decorate an unfinished wooden box (we used this one from Michaels) with craft paint, then let it dry completely. Add stick-on photo corners to a wedding photo and adhere it to the inside of the box lid, then use photo corners to attach an anniversary card. Fill the box with photos, card, and memories for the couple.

Family Recipe Kitchen Canisters

If your mother, grandmother, or aunts have a large collection of handwritten recipes, this is a sweet way to honor a few favorites. Scan the recipe, then print it onto printable sticker paper (such as this clear one). Using a craft knife and working on a cutting mat, carefully cut out the recipe, leaving about a 1/2-inch border. Peel off the sticker backing and apply the recipe to the canister, carefully smoothing out any air bubbles.

Milestone Birthday Memory Cards

The best way to celebrate a friend or family member’s big birthday is with a creative countdown for every year of their life. Start with a colorful pack of postcards—enough to devote one card to each year. Label the front of each postcard with a vinyl number sticker, then decorate the back of each with a heartfelt message, a silly drawing, or a favorite memory. Place all of the cards in a small box, and tie with a ribbon.