Prev Next

Best Personalized and DIY Gifts

By Melissa Summers

I just threw out our jack-o-lanterns which means my brain is running right to the other less costume oriented holidays coming up. I know, you’re thinking, ‘Bluh?! Is this Target? Putting out Christmas items before Halloween is even over?’

But I’m talking about custom gifts and those can take a while to have made, so you can’t just sit around staring off into space waiting for the right gift to give your mother-in-law to drop into your lap. You’ve got to move now or you’re going to be wrapping up golf ball soaps for your husband on Christmas Eve. And he doesn’t golf.

roundstamper.jpgAs the owner of a freebie self inking stamper I love these custom self inking stamps from Three Designing Women. I kind of wish there were less choices here, because I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I do particularly love this one. The stamper can be customized with name and address, initials, save the date information and check out the stampables . 

stamps.jpgYou could even throw in a set of custom stamps to go with your stationary and custom stamp gift. You send an image (for my brother, maybe that shot of him in a powder blue tuxedo…)  in return PhotoStamps sends you personalized stamps. Don’t know what picture to send? Give a gift

I know someone who had his daughter’s newborn footprint tattooed on his arm and I thought the sentiment was nice but I’m a little ink-shy since my first and last tattoo I got at 18 ended up being the Procter and Gamble corporate logo. I’m pretty happy that’s on my ankle for the rest of my life. Maybe you want the sentiment without the commitment, how about a piece of jewelry with a child’s hand or foot print?

mugprint.jpgNot shopping for a jewelry fan? Take the kids to a local ceramics studio and use your children’s limbs as paintbrushes. Make sure the studio uses non-toxic and lead free glazes and press the kid’s hand or footprints onto a coffee mug, platter or even an ornament. Simple and fun for kids.

Growing up the neighbors down the street had a wall of silhouette portraits lining the wall in their stairway. They’d gotten them while at Disneyland and looking back I don’t know if that’s why I was so envious of those silhouettes or the trip to Disney. A great gift for a parent or grandparent on your list…or for yourself. I can’t have Disney but I can have a couple silhouettes of my kids. Now, to get them to sit still for a profile photograph. Karl Johnson is a well known silhouette artist with work featured in several publications including Domino Magazine and Nickelodeon Magazine.  He can even do pet silhouettes…if you can get your pet to sit still long enough.

At this point I’ve made a list of things I’m going to want to buy myself. I’m going to need more personalized gift ideas. What’s the best personalized gift you’ve ever given or received?

Related Content:
2006 Melissa’s Anti-Gift Guide
2007 Melissa’s Anti-Gift Guide
Best Children’s Board Games
Kids’ Digital Cameras Reviews
Best Children’s Holiday Craft Ideas
Handmade Holiday Gifts To Make With Kids

Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

icon icon
chat bubble icon


  • kate

    November 9, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    I am a big DIYer, so custom-made, personalized gifts are a) home crafted and b) pretty routine. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not that talented, but I *am* that cheap. The best gifts I made/gave, tho, were personalized bath salts and body lotion. I mixed the fragances to match the recipients (my mom and grandmother). They loved ’em! Pretty cheap and easy, too. Everything came from JoAnn’s!

  • Melanie Cipher

    November 9, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Okay, I have to plug my husband’s INCREDIBLE photography here!! – his stuff is gorgeous (and really, not just because he’s mine, but because he’s amazing!!). Anyway, pictures like his of my son are pretty amazing personalized gifts. The best gift ever was on Mother’s Day when he made a sort of scavenger hunt for me – he had got me all this Sanrio Chococat stuff (I love Chococat) and put it all over the house – brought my coffee in a Chococat mug, put my contact lenses in a Chococat case, etc etc. It was just a really sweet gift and a lot of thought and time and effort went into it.

  • Tiffanie

    November 10, 2006 at 7:28 am

    I am a huge personalized gift shopper. Some of my favorite things are made from photos. I use but there are lots of places online and around town. There are ties, address books, puzzles, playing cards, etc. that can all be personalized with a photo of your choice. Love it! I also got my dad a set of golf balls for Christmas that have his name and “Watch the birdie!” on it. (you can pick whatever you want to put on it).
    Love your blogs, Melissa (now will you let me post a comment since I’m new? 🙂 haha)

  • Isabel Kallman

    Isabel Kallman

    November 10, 2006 at 11:37 am

    okay. how did your tattoo become the P&G corporate logo?

  • melissaS

    November 10, 2006 at 11:58 am

    Yeah, I just got it thinking ‘I like moons and I like stars!’
    And then 3 years later when I met my husband he said, ‘Wow, that looks like the P&G logo.’
    That was ‘flirting’ I guess?

  • Michelle

    November 10, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    These are some great tips, I especially love the stamps. Hard to start thinking about Christmas yet but you’ve inspired me.

  • kelli

    November 13, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    I cheaped out and made my husband silhouettes of the family using photographs. I followed the simple tutorial right on Shisomama.

  • Patty

    November 13, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve gotten out of gift buying by making calendars every year. I pick a theme and send an email to everyone in my extended family and ask them to submit a photo and short blurb on the topic of that year (travels, or a favorite recipe, etc.) and then I put them all together using Publisher (one or two people per month, depending on how much stuff i get) and print out a blank calendar (and add family birthdays) and take to Kinko’s to copy, bind, and drill a hole at the top. My family loves them! It’s really fun for me and I don’t have to shop at the mall–everyone gets the same gift. My husband’s family seems to prefer just photos (they’re like that), so I just do photo calendars for them using photos from throughout the year. Staples can do 12-photo calendars the cheapest–about $10 each.

  • Victoria

    November 14, 2006 at 12:52 am

    I haven’t given any as a gift (yet) but I really like the custom graffiti wall art designs that you can order from I like the chalkboard graffiti a lot.

  • Zoot

    November 14, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    My husband gave me an embroidered cotton throw for our 2nd anniversary b/c the second “is cotton, or something like that” according to him. I thought the effort was incredibly awesome.
    Here’s a point I’d like to address: My son has an unusual name. When I got re-married a few years ago – my son got an engraved class mug for a gift and he FREAKED OUT. He had never seen his name on something before…since then I’ve made a point to personalize anything I can. In today’s era of unique and unusual names – it’s a special treasure for kids.