DIY gift ideas on a college student budget

Let’s face it; you’re a college student on a budget. You know that everyone understands, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to still give gifts to those special people in your life that won’t break the bank? Read on for some DIY gift ideas for any occasion!

Combining simple recipes into a mason jar makes for a great gift idea. (Credit: tiffany)

Combining simple recipes into a mason jar makes for a great gift idea. (Credit: tiffany)

Let’s get organized

First, let’s round up a list of people you’d like to make these gifts for in the next two to three months or so. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking a year ahead. I’ve found that if I plan ahead I’m more likely to create something worth giving.

You’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Birthdays
  • Graduations
  • Holidays (Christmas, Chanukah, New Years)
  • House warming gifts
  • Thank you gifts 

DIY what? How can I do that?

Supplies that college students commonly use. (Credit: Serena Norr)

Supplies that college students commonly use. (Credit: Serena Norr)

Let’s get something straight right off the bat: DIY stands for do it yourself, and please, trust me, these will be actual projects you’ll be able to create yourself (and feel proud to gift them!).

  • Note cards: To say thank you, congratulations, hello, I miss you: Because we can all use a little reminder/pick-me-up. All you need to do is fold the paper into small 3×5 note cards and decorate with washi tape. Don’t have the neatest handwriting? You can type what you’d like to write onto your note card (Hello Gorgeous!), print out an outline of the text, place the printout onto your note card and trace the letters, then go back over the indent/tracing of the letters with your markers.
  • Pencil holders: Repurpose your soup and pasta sauce cans into something useful! Peel the label off and cover with your favorite patterns of washi tape! Not familiar with Washi tape yet? You should be! Red Ted Art posted several easy DIY crafts that can be made with washi tape on their August 24, 2012, post, “Washi Tape Crafts & Ideas.”
  • Mason jars are all the rage these days and you can repurpose them into just about anything. If you don’t have any lying around, check out the local thrift store to scoop up a few and you can fill them with a sweet treat for a friend. How about filling them with the dry goods necessary for a batch of cookies? If it’s getting colder outside you can make a homemade hot chocolate recipe complete with instructions to gift to the chocolate lover in your life.

For the last-minute gift giver

For the cat lovers, this mug is a great gift idea. (Credit:

For the cat lovers, this mug is a great gift idea. (Credit:

Obviously, you’re busy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still give a meaningful DIY gift to a pal. BuzzFeed staff writer, Alanna Okun, offers up gift ideas in her November 15, 2013, post, “33 DIY Gifts You Can Make In Less Than An Hour.” Okun’s ideas are so quick that you could whip up gifts for everyone on your list and still have time to make yourself something for working so hard in less time than it would take to go to the mall!

  • For the cat lover: Using a porcelain pen and a white coffee mug, draw an adorable outline of a cat upside on a mug; Or, transform a plain white tee into a pocket tee by gluing on a pocket you’ve decorated with cute little cats! Okun also shares a pair of cat toe flats you can make with fabric paint!
  • For the bookworm: A very cute notebook tote that is made to look like notebook paper and is perfect for carrying your books!
  • For the wine connoisseur: Personalized wine label and a personalized chalkboard wine tray that you could gift together!

Keep in mind that many of these gifts can be made with items you’ve purchased at a thrift shop, making them time and budget-friendly! Whatever you choose to make, try to remember that it truly is the thought that counts!

Do you have any other DIY gift ideas to share? Post in the comments below!

Posted in CB Blog, College graduation gifts, College life, College parties, Discounts and savings, Roommates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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