Easy (and Inexpensive) DIY Holiday Gifts for Mom

The holidays can be stressful especially when it comes to money. My love language is giving gifts so I always end up blowing my budget when I find at least 15 “perfect” gifts for everyone on my list. To help with this, I have found that making gifts can be an inexpensive and easy way to  give unique gifts to many of the people on your holiday list. BUT if you are anything like me you realize halfway through a project that the “easy” Pinterest craft  doesn’t come out anything like the picture! Well, here are a few DIY holiday gifts for mom that you can actually make look like the pictures.

Mugs: If you have been on Instagram lately you might notice that pictures with mugs are all over the place. Make a mug for an on-the-go mama in your life that loves coffee or tea. I found this Etsy shop, Follow Your Arrow, that makes fun vinyl decals that are perfect for a simple DIY mug. I bought the mugs from Target and the travel mug from Michaels.

How I made it:

  1. Wash the mugs and let them dry completely
  2. CAREFULLY place the vinyl decal on the mug where you want it being careful because you can’t lift it up once it is placed
  3.  Flatten the decal on the mug and use a credit card or old gift card to make sure the vinyl is completely rubbed off
  4. SLOWLY peel the backing off
  5. That’s it!

This gift cost a total of $5 (per mug — the travel mug version was a total of $7)

To enhance this gift buy some coffee or tea and chocolate and give a little package.

Wood Photo Transfer: I love the look of photos on wood, so when my friend made one for me for my wedding a few years ago I knew I had to learn how to do it! I found the easiest instructions come from Lorin Sell’s blog here. This is the perfect gift for a rustic mama.

I followed her instructions almost exactly, so I won’t re-write them here. I did make one exception which is that I purchased a long wood plank and used a hand saw (or Dan’s dad did  🙂 )to cut it to 8×12 pieces.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you do this.

  1. Use a light stain (not medium or dark) for best results, mine here is a little dark
  2. Anything that is white or very light in the photo will be “wood” color when the transfer is complete so be careful of overexposed areas in photos
  3. Leave the paper on for at least one day — we took it off after about 10 hours, but it could have used more time in my opinion

Soap: Soap is a wonderful gift because it’s practical but still nice. Make some lavender soap for a stressed out mama in your life who could use some relaxation. I got this idea from A Pumpkin and A Princess and changed it slightly.

How I made it:

  1. I purchased Shea Butter soap from Michaels (make sure to check the website for coupons!)
  2. I heated 1lb of the soap for 45 seconds in the microwave until everything was melted
  3. I cut open and mixed in two  tea bags of Chamomile Tea
  4. I added 1 tablespoon of dried lavender flowers (I got these at Michaels, but you can also get them on Amazon)
  5. I added 12 drops of lavender essential oil and 6 drops of purification essential oil (need oils? contact me!)
  6. Once everything was well mixed, I poured it into a donut mold and let it sit for a few hours

To enhance this gift place some chapstick, nail polish, this super easy Homemade Coffee Scrub or other personal care items with it to make a relaxation kit. You can also include this easy lip scrub recipe!

This gift cost $15 for 12 donut soaps (note: I already had the donut pan and essential oils – if you don’t have a donut mold you can get soap molds fairly inexpensively on Amazon or at Michaels)

Memory Box: I am such a memory freak. I love to keep everything from old cards to ticket stubs, but I need a place to put everything so I don’t have drawers of clutter. Make a memory box for the sentimental mama in your life.

How I made it:

  1. I printed 25 pictures of Aiden from Shutterfly
  2. I cut them out and glued them to a simple storage box from Michaels
  3. I used Mod Podge once I had everything where I wanted it to seal it in

Enhance this gift: A photo book would be a perfect addition to this memory box. You can get ones that are 8×8 that would actually fit in the box. Snapfish is offering 40% off Photo Books! Use promo code MERRYBK40 through December 1.

This gift cost $10

Do you ever make DIY gifts for the holidays? Please share your ideas and creations in the comments.

Need ideas for Dad too?  Check out my top gifts for a new (or any) dad. Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for more gift inspiration.

Disclosures: This post contains affiliate links, so if you make a purchase using one of the links I may make a small commission at no cost to you. Not to worry, I only talk about products I really love and use. Also, I received two vinyal decals.




The holidays can be stressful when it comes to money. Here are a few DIY holiday gifts for mom that you can actually make look like the pictures.
The holidays can be stressful when it comes to money. Here are a few DIY holiday gifts for mom that you can actually make look like the pictures.




About Melissa

Hi, I’m Melissa! I am a mama to my baby Aiden Milo (born November 2015), and a police wife to my husband Dan. I started this blog because, after having Aiden, I quickly learned that exhaustion and baby brain causes you to forget some of the er-lovely (sometimes horrible and sometimes wonderful) details related to the first several months of raising a baby. Considering we may have more kids in the future, I want to document everything we do, so we remember what worked the first time around, and hopefully help other first time mamas along the way!
  • Shannon Marie

    These are such great ideas!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Shannon!

  • Lindsay Katherine

    I have wanted to make soap for months now! I bought my specific essential oils for fall-scented soap back in August; thanks for giving me the reminder and direction to get back on this.

    • Melissa

      That is great Lindsay. Making soap is SO easy and it will smell great with your fall essential oils!

  • Ashley Freligh

    I love the mug idea! I should do this for everyone!

    • Melissa

      Yes! It’s so easy and inexpensive 🙂

  • Belle Bermudez-Tubel

    These are really great ideas and unique too!

    One Awesome Momma

    • Melissa

      Thank you Belle. I do like to try to do unique gifts!

  • Ashley Markwood

    You’re so crafty! This is amazing!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Ashley!

  • Shelly

    Fun ideas! I especially like the plaid mug.

    • Melissa

      Thank you Shelly!

  • Mary mozingo

    I’ve always been curious about the picture to wood transfer… I am so going to do this!

    • Melissa

      It’s not as hard as it might seem Mary. You should try it! Just use a light stain 🙂

  • Michelle Lynn

    This is so cool! WOW!!!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Michelle!

  • Great ideas – I love the photo box, so cute!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Megan. I plan to make one for myself too 🙂

  • Amanda Kanashiro

    I love these ideas! They are totally doable without breaking the bank. Thank you!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Amanda!

  • Dani Adams

    Great ideas for gifts! I can see some of these going out to my co-workers 🙂

    • Melissa

      Good idea Dani! A mug would be a great gift for a co-worker. They can be so hard to shop for too!

  • Ayanna

    I don’t usually make gifts and I don’t know why! I love these ideas and I may have to make a mug for myself too.

    • Melissa

      Ayanna, I know, it’s hard for me to give them up! I might make a second batch 🙂

  • Ariana Gremling

    How fun! I love these gift ideas! I’ll definitely try out the mug idea – I’ve tried handwritten mugs in the past that just don’t turn out quite right. Thank ya!

  • Samantha Hodges Hatcher

    I love the coffee mug idea, and really need to start making gifts for my girl friends. Thanks for the ideas. I usually make my own soap, but this year has been crazy. I will definitely pick up some soap from Michaels.

  • Candy Kage

    Did’t realize how easy it was to do some of these DIY’s and they make great personal gifts.

  • Amber Marie Werner

    Omg you totally gave me the idea to make a custom mug for my mom. This is so cute! I love personalized gift ideas like this. They are so much more special.


  • Crystal Gareau

    These are wonderful ideas. I’m going to attempt these for gifts this year. Thank you so much for sharing this easy and inspiring gift ideas. I’ve saved this and shared it around.

  • Maria

    I saw some of these on your instagram account. Great ideas!

  • brittany

    I love these ideas! With the mugs, do you find that the sayings stay on through washing?

  • Rachel-Marie

    some amazing ideas here 🙂 i love the photo box one xx

  • Brittany Dyer

    These are such great gift ideas!

  • Krissie Aguilar

    These are seriously great ideas! My mom is hard to shop for and doesn’t like many things. I know she’d love a personalized mug or the photo box! Thanks for sharing!

  • Smart and easy diy for sure. How fun 🙂


  • Those are some great ideas! I love making soap (well I help my Mom make it, she owns an online boutique of handmade soaps and jewelry).

  • Chanel van Reenen

    those donut soaps are the best! just bookmarked this page and saving to make for holidays!

  • These are awesome gift ideas! And I really like that they are simple enough for my big kids to make for people!

  • You are so crafty! I’m not sure I could make any of these 😉

  • I love the wood transfer! What a beautiful and thoughtful gift!

  • Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons

    These are great ideas! Pinning!

  • I love those mugs!

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