Ask An Expert: DIY Gift Ideas

Ask An Expert: DIY Gift Ideas

If you’re mulling over your holiday shopping list and racking your brain trying to figure out what to get for the last few on your list, stop and think outside of the box. From the ultra picky to the person who has it all, taking a different approach and going the DIY route can make an impact. You will need a little forethought, but making something personal for the people on your list shows that you care. Kyla DeTienne, jewelry maker and owner of Birds & Belles Boutique, shares tips on how to make gifts for your loved ones.

Kyla DeTienne
Birds & Belles
1113 S. Pearl St.
Denver, CO 80210
(720) 296-2047

Along with being a popular destination for swapping clothes and buying gently used clothes for a great price, Birds & Belles is also a store that supports local artisans. The shop also hosts DIY workshops every month on the second or third Wednesday (find out by checking the website or liking the store on Facebook). DeTienne makes jewelry out of upcycled materials, and she shares her love of crafting with the community at Whole Foods. The store has a great selection of clothing and accessories, so stop in and find some new clothes for the holidays as well.

 DIY Gift Ideas

Courtesy of Birds & Belles

1. Make It Personal

When choosing your gift, it’s important to take the person receiving it into consideration. DeTienne offers advice on how to approach your gift. “Homemade gifts are always better than store bought, especially for that hard-to-buy-for person who has everything. Like anyone, you have to determine what their taste is.” If you’re making something for someone you know well, think about what types of things they display in their home or what kinds of colors they wear. Showing that you selected materials with them in mind makes the gift that much more special.

2. Mind Your Budget

Many people choose the DIY route as a way to save money but if you’re trying to be too impressive, it can defeat the purpose. That said, DIY gifts don’t have to look cheap. Know your budget beforehand so you know how to maximize it on materials. “Recycled, repurposed and reused items are the most clever and cheap ways to create budget-friendly gifts. Take a look at what you already have around the house or visit a few thrift stores for inexpensive items that will help stir creativity,” states DeTienne. Upcycling is also a great way to clear your home of things that you don’t need anymore.

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3. Don’t Be Intimidated

At first, making your own gifts can seem like a daunting task – especially for people who see themselves as neither creative nor crafty. DeTienne advises people not to be intimidated. “Choose something that specifically interests you and materials you feel comfortable working with. One thing I do is look up ideas on [social media sites like] Pinterest and determine the skill, tools and time needed. Step-by-step tutorials are the easiest, and people usually share tips on how to avoid mistakes.” Assess your level of skill and find a project that you’re comfortable with.

 DIY Gift Ideas

Courtesy of Birds & Bells

4. Turn It Into A Group Project

Make a fun day out of your gift making. Having a group of people around will help to take the stress out of the season, and it’s also a fun bonding activity. DeTienne points out that making gifts in a group is a great way to make sure that your final product will turn out how you want it. “Find a group of people to do your project with – you will have help if difficulties arise.” If you’re having trouble following your selected tutorial, having a friend around to decode can make fun of a potentially frustrating situation.

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5. DIY Gifts Can Be As Unique As Store Bought

Just because you’re making a gift doesn’t mean that it will end up looking like a school project. DeTienne mentions that there are many options of projects from which to choose. “Gifts from the kitchen are not overly crafty (baked goods). DIYs don’t always have to include glitter. Using materials that are easy to work with also helps. One creative but simple idea is to make themed gift baskets, for instance: movie night (movie tickets or your favorite movie in a popcorn bucket with theater-inspired candy), spa basket (candles, soaps and scrubs), baskets for gardening, chocolate lovers, men, women or babies.”

Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at

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