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Creative Handmade Gifts for Little Loved Ones

I was always a little embarrassed when a guy gave me flowers...especially roses.  Not sure if it was guilt or just anxiety over commitment.  But for some reason, those handmade gifts didn't scare me.  Rather, they were endearing and unforgettable.  When I received a handmade book from an awesome guy I melted.  It was personal, thoughtful, and just plain heartfelt.

Similarly, when my little brother hand-stitched a pillow for me at Christmas, I took it back to the dorms at Deseret Towers and proudly placed it on my bed.  I still cherish it.  :)

When the designer and I married I found myself an insta-aunt.  It was exciting.  I had darling nieces and a nephew on the way...cousins and more cousins to celebrate with and enjoy at special occasions.  We haven't had much to spend, yet it enabled us to look for creative handmade and meaningful gifts to offer.

At first they were simple frames with photos of the receiver that I had taken.  Then I began painting little memories. As our kiddos have grown they have helped more and more with each gift and even made some of their own.  Hopefully they'll be able to take over the gift making all on their own pretty soon.  :)

The past few years I've had a theme or project that we do that year.  This year it is tie dye shirts, last year we made handmade books.  It makes it easier for me as I'm not reinventing the wheel with each creative venture. 

Here are some of our favorite projects that you can do with your little ones.  Encourage your older kiddos, tweens and teens to create their own.  I'm sure they'll turn out even better than you could ever imagine...and they'll have a wonderful time too!

tie dye shirts - these were especially fun as we made all the cousins a shirt one family home evening.  The kiddos helped the designer and I choose colors, tie the rubber bands, and make a big mess.  I was surprised at how much the designer enjoyed making them...and he was so much better at getting color everywhere. 

Make sure you rinse them well and pre-wash them before wrapping them up and gifting them away. 

handmade books - Personal stories written for each gift receiver.  The kiddos generally helped me with the storyline.  I would illustrate them in black pen and let them add a little color using colored pencil.  {this first book was done with oil pastels...not recommended as we found they can smear a little :)}

I found the blank books online at  The prices are really reasonable and the hardbound books will surely be around for a while. 

lil' masterpieces - Small 6x8 wrapped canvas paintings.  I did most of them in oil, but acrylic is also wonderful, easy to use and to clean up.  This painting was given to my niece who loves to dance and her favorite colors are blue, green, and turquoise.

I've also painted baby shoes, dresses, the church another niece was baptized in, etc.  Personal small treasures that even your tweens and big kiddos would enjoy making for their friends and family. {abstract paintings are always good for any age}

A few more fun gifts we've made:
  • photobooks {mypublisher, shutterfly, etc}
  • large bag of glittered playdough {especially fun for little ones}
  • eraser stamps
  • collage painted cards and magazine envelopes

Some I'd like to try
  • embellished fabric headbands
  • friendship bracelets
  • knitted scarves

Handmade gifts we've received
  • recipe books tied with beautiful ribbon
  • carved soap on a string
  • jewelry

What are your favorite handmade gifts you've been given or have made?  Would you be willing to share?  
Link to your favorites or tell us about them below!


katrina berg loves to create with her three small kiddos everyday. They paint, cook, and make lots of messes. The future cooks & artists like to borrow her favorite tools, so if you spot a stray ladel, paint brushes, or sushi mat...please let her know!

{photos by katrina}

Enjoy shopping for quality baby clothing at

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