48 Last Minute DIY Gift Hacks – Free, Cheap and Easy


By Heather Callaghan, Editor

Ruh-roh – no money for Christmas gifts? Time’s running out? Perfect! You’re just the person I’m looking for – step right up and get ready to embrace upcycling this holiday season – and beyond! Friendships, birthdays, hostess gifts, bridal, mommy-to-be, boyfriend/husband, Valentine’s – you name it…

The Internet has come a long way in its crafty-ness – no pasta or Popsicle sticks here, folks… These are things that people actually want. Just things you have on hand and maybe a few super-cheap, preliminary supplies to make superlative things that people would go out and buy for themselves.

Image credit: BrittanyMakes via Instructables

This is the first year I’ve embraced homemade and frugal, but totally awesome gifts. Thanks, Obamacare and IRS – I really appreciate that extra bill due in January to push me out of the dregs of consumerism. (I’m not really thanking them though.)

Here goes – 30 last minute upcycle DIY gifts that you can make last minute:


Screen capture Martha Stewart/YouTube via Treehugger

1. Sweater mittens – great gift for all ages. Watch instructable.

2. Old sweater scarf – If you own scissors and a sweater you don’t want anymore, you have a plethora of gifts to give!

3. Fingerless gloves – from sweater sleeves.

4. Fleece scarf – this one is even easier than the sweater, because it’s no-sew. Yep, you can use a couch throw (or just part of it)!

5. Sweater legwarmers and skirt – Easy! it basically requires the sleeves. Could easily fashion a baby or beanie by cutting off the sleeve and tying/sowing the top. Make a skirt to match!

6. Make sweater pillow, pocket scarf and pocket warmersplus more!

7. Flannel Pajama scarf or infinity scarfCut pajama bottoms as instructed and it only requires a tiny bit of stitching which you can do while watching TV. Sow together to make an infinity scarf or leave out this step to make a scarf for a man. Can use plaid or flannel yards, for a brand new gift.


Scents, Body care and more Accessories


8. Brown sugar vanilla lip scrubyou have these ingredients and can literally make this one minute before you see your family for Christmas! Can use olive oil. Get 7 pill containers at the Dollar Tree for $1 and give to all your friends. It’s not 20-something dollars and it’s completely edible, too. All any basic lip scrub recipe needs is 1 TBSP of sugar for every tsp of oil. Flavor or color optional.

9. Easy peasy sugar scrub

10. Whipped coconut oil body butter – just whip your coconut oil with a beater after you’ve added some essential oils if you want them – place in old, washed container. It will whip up nice but some like the addition of 1/2 parts shea butter for its texture. This beats natural brands any day of the week. Make this one if you have beeswax.

11. Whipped coconut oil cleanser – you probably have some coconut oil and some drug-store castor oil is an added bonus that helps with oil control and growing beautiful lashes and brows. It doesn’t get any easier – just whip!!  This recipe formula also doubles as a split-ends fixer and scalp cream to promote hair growth if you add some geranium, rosemary or ylang-ylang.

12. Homemade lotion barsso easy if you have some beeswax or even chip off your old beeswax candles.

13. Salt scrub – 4 parts fine sea salt to 2-3 parts olive oil. Mix place in container. Essential oils optional but only a few drops! For use in shower – recipient will want to use wash cloth with shampoo to wipe bathtub before shutting shower off.

14. Coconut scrubwhip coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla extract.

15. Coffee scrub – 3 parts fresh ground coffee, 1 part salt. Mix and place in container – for use in shower. OR – Could also use this recipe – 1/2 coffee + 1/2 sugar and get rid of lumps. Pour some melted coconut oil and stir before placing in jar.

16. Perfume and cologne – a one-ounce spray bottle, vodka and up to 90 drops of various essential oils. Lemon and rose are very uplifting and lovely. Spray bottles HERE. Instead of vodka, you can use jojoba oil or even olive oil and place in an old roller ball bottle or any kind of vial.

17. Pillow spray – same recipe as above except you use way, way fewer drops of essential oils – try lavender, chamomile, vanilla and tangerine for sweet dreams. Blue bottles are nice for this gift. This basic formula makes an amazing and effective bathroom air freshener!

perfume-filled-locket-with-customizable-perfume-r© Technoplastique on Instructables

18. Solid Perfume – try putting this minimal recipe in a used, small Altoids tin or a locket. May require beeswax. You could use the wax from your all-natural half-used candles.

19. Chamomile cleanser – make this brightening facial wash using tea, soap and olive oil.

20. Tea tree foaming cleanser – or how about one with tea tree, Dr. Bronner’s and an old foaming cleanser bottle.

21. Coffee-Coconut Exfoliant Bars – You have all of these ingredients, except for shea butter, perhaps. Instructions.

22. Got an old EOS lip balm egg? You can refill it with a DIY lip balm.

23. Bath fizzies – Martha Stewart has a great recipe.

24. Shower bombs – I know more people who take showers instead of baths so I am making these. Daisy Luther has a great recipe and you can play around with recipes that have other ingredients such as Epsom salts. I plan on using square ice cube molds and leaving the blocks white.

25. Make-up finishing sprayThis one is just aloe vera gel and water. You can use your aloe plant, too. Another recipe has more ingredients but looks good. They are supposed to act as primers, too.

26. DIY Makeup Brush Cleaners – groovy, silicone brush cleaners are all the rage now. But if you have a plastic clipboard and a hot glue gun, you can use the glue gun to make swirly designs that women can clean their makeup brushes on.

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27. Fork bracelet – This is cool, you need an old fork! Spray paint optional. Watch instructable.

28. Old belt bracelet – great for men too! Instructable.


credit: Flickr/Stacie Stacie Stacie

29. Vinyl note book – too easy if you have records you don’t want. Instructable.


Food and Home


30. Teacup/mug candle from used or new candlesEASY and fast! shave down an old candle(s), place in teacup or mug. Keep shavings. Trim the wick if needed. Melt shavings in microwave and pour into the mug/cup to nestle and seal your new candle. WATCH

31. Clay triangle picture frame, jewelry dish or magnets – no bake. Just mold air dry clay, air dry and paint. WATCH

32. Duct tape picture frame – Use decorative duct tape or hot glue sea shells to picture frames from the Dollar Tree.

33. Homemade cleaning products – show you care about your loved one by making them non-toxic cleaners – don’t forget the customized scents with essential oils! (keep away from cats if using EOs – research safe EOs for cat owners). Vodka + bottled lime juice + lemon oil + a tsp of vanilla extract makes a great “Key Lime Pie” counter cleaner!

34. DIY Natural Hand Sanitizer – A great stocking stuffing or gift – we got you covered! Can use cheap aloe gel from the store and some undrunk vodka or witch hazel – so inexpensive!

35. Decorate a mug – if you have a mug decorating pen, you can get a mug at the Dollar Tree or use one of your own. Look at mugs on Etsy to get ideas for snarky sayings or pick an obscure joke between you and your friend.

36. Vanilla sugar – fill a jar with sugar and a split vanilla bean. Shake, allow to infuse and tie a ribbon around the jar.

37. Gourmet flavored salts – use an old Tabasco sauce bottle to mix salts and spice/herb flavors. Here are a few more combos from Family Circle.

38. Gourmet herb infused oils – wash a used olive oil bottle or any bottle with a cap or cork. Place sprigs of rosemary and other herbs and some garlic cloves. Pour olive oil over them and cap tightly.

39. Hot saucein a jar.

40. Preserved lemons – because they’re just too cool.

41. Hot cocoa mix in a jar. Consider using a clear ornament instead. You can even use hot cocoa packets and all kinds of toppings – tie with ribbon. Recipient can pour in mug and pour hot milk or water in. Can use a mug for the gift’s packaging!

42. Any dry recipe in a jar – you’re going to want to google this one along with the ingredients you have. Laundry detergent too.

43. Candle holder – got some dinner candles you haven’t used? Place them in a washed, olive oil bottle to give as a gift. Make sure any decorative touches won’t easily catch on fire. You may have seen this idea on The Dick Van Dyke Show (that’s where I got it!)

44. Chipotle flavored seasoningmix these spices to create a chipotle flavor and place in old spice jar. The recipient can then make their own chipotle-flavored dressings, marinades, rubs and sauces. This recipe is good if you have actual chipotle chili powder.

cork_stamp-jpg-0x545_q70_crop-scalecredit: jessicabarst

45. DIY Stamps from Wine Corks – Stencil your design on a cork and carve. Instructable.

46. Gourmet candy pretzel rods – take pretzel sticks, dip in melted chocolate, roll in other treats, wrap in plastic, tie with ribbon. Gourmet shops sell these things for like a million dollars – make your own and watch people’s eyes light up.

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47. Seed embedded, plantable paper – it looks pretty and it can be planted in the garden. Consider poppy seeds or whatever you have lying around but check the list that they will work. Be careful about touching or breathing dyes or fumes from mixing the paper. Could also use as gift wrap for an added touch.

48. Decorative pallets – are in high demand and are seriously expensive, but not when you make them.

Got toilet paper rolls? Then you have the makings of some beautiful DIY and upcycle gift wrap!

What do you think? Will you use some of these ideas to bring good tidings to the ones you love? Have you made an awesome last-minute gift before? Tell us about it! Share and comment below!

Image by Natural Blaze, pixabay


This article (48 Last Minute DIY Gift Hacks – Free, Cheap and Easy) can be republished with attribution to Heather Callaghan, source article and Natural Blaze.com, keeping all links and bio intact

Heather Callaghan is an independent researcher, writer, speaker and food freedom activist. She is the Editor and co-founder of NaturalBlaze.

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