5 Quick DIY Christmas Gift Ideas Under $5

DIY Scented Christmas Ornaments:

Right now at craft stores, all plastic ornaments are going for 40% off which brings them to $1-$1.50. Purchase a pack of 3 or 10, depending on how many you need, and visit a grocery store to purchase dry spices and herbs… Cinnamon, whole cloves, nutmeg, star anise, parsley, thyme, rosemary etc. You will need white / silver glitter, fake snow (from the craft store), twigs or trees and branches (optional).

  • Clean your ornament with a dry napkin. Remove the top cap and hook of the ornament. Use a pushpin or toothpick to make 2-3 holes on the top of the cap near the hook holes (this lets the scent escape gradually; the cap is made of a thick foil so it is fairly easy to poke holes).                                                                                                                IMG_3753
  • Add fake snow to cover about an inch of the ornament.
  • Add a 2 inch layer of glitter on top.
  • For a sweet spicy scent, put 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, 2 cloves and one whole nutmeg on the glitter layer (you can add cinnamon powder as well if you have it).
  • Place the cap on the ornament and thread some string or wire through for hanging.

Other possible options: Sprinkle some lemon / orange zest instead of glitter and snow; add the spices to the top (this can be used as a herbal tea once Christmas is over), few twigs or branches with some cork for a rustic look, favorite quote scrolls + glitter etc.

I made two for my friends but used some essential oils I had. I used Rosemary for one and a Cinnamon / Fir blend for the other.


Hanging photo clip frame: 

Easiest and the most fun DIY ever.. You will need, from the dollar store, a photo frame (pull out the glass because you only need the frame), mini ornaments, transparent duck tape, colored thread / twine, red / green paint; and mini wooden clips (available at Michaels).

  • Paint the frame with 2 coats of your color and let dry in between for 30 mins.
  • Attach a piece of thread along the middle of the frame (this is where the photos will be clipped).IMG_3676
  • From the top of the frame, tape some ornaments of different sizes and colors in varying lengths along the frame. Make sure they hang behind the thread in the middle so the photos aren’t hidden.IMG_3677
  • Print some photos and attach on the center thread with the clips.

I added some red stars, a bow and some string beads I had laying around. You can jazz up your frame as you like; glitter glue works really well (make fancy designs along the frame and let dry overnight before using).


Tissue wrapped stocking stuffers:

You will need different colored tissue paper from the dollar store (you can buy 12 assorted sheets for a dollar), colored ribbon, gift tags (optional; from craft stores) and small gifts (typical stocking stuffers like creams, soaps, toys, candy etc).

  • Arrange all items you need per person (I made 8 of these for my colleagues at work and arranged each gift, paper, ribbon and tag accordingly).
  • Simply place the gifts in the middle of the paper and fold the edges of the paper upward forming a triangular shape (be careful as the paper is delicate and can rip).
  • Attach a tag through ribbon and tie the tissue at the top (don’t forget to write a message on the tag).IMG_3724
  • Optional step: You can sprinkle some glitter in the paper prior to tying to make it more festive.

Mini clay bowls: 

You will need 1-2 jars of Play-doh white air dry clay (depending on how many bowls you want to make) from the dollar store, cling wrap and acrylic paints.

  • Collect bowls of different shapes from your kitchen to use as a base. Cover your bowl with cling wrap (this makes it easy to peel off the clay).
  • Remove a chunk of the clay and mold between palms to soften it. Make a small ball and lay it flat on your table. Roll out the clay to form a circle about a 1/4 inch thick (the size of the circle should be as big as the bowl’s opening) using a rolling pin, pencil or a paintbrush.IMG_3674
  • Wrap the flattened clay either around the outer or inner side of your bowl and let dry overnight.IMG_3675
  • Gently peel off the clay shape and let dry another 24 hrs.
  • Paint and design as you like and let dry. Add a final coat of mod podge sealer (optional).
  • Repeat the above steps to get different sized clay bowls.

You can place air plants, christmas ornaments, treats / mixed nuts or any other small gifts. Or just wrap all the bowls together with twine and attach a gift tag.

I tried to make an open shell type bowl like in ‘The Little Mermaid’…. Didn’t work out the way I imagined it would but still works.

Instead of clay, you could use fabric doilies to make similar bowls. See DIY steps here: Boho Home Series: Doily bowls

Decorative Bottles:

The dollar store has a lot of bottles in different shapes and sizes. Pick a few in different colors and decorate them in a Christmas-y way. You’ll need gold / silver washi tape, acrylic paint (available at craft stores for 50-70 cents).

I used white acrylic paint for my first bottle, which was a lovely cobalt blue.

  • Wash and dry the bottle thoroughly. Make a rough , zigzag outline of a tree with your brush and fill it in with more paint. Let it dry. Add the words ‘NOEL’ near the top of the bottle and let dry.
  • Add a few snowflakes (as in the images below) and a few dots of silver here and there for snow. Draw 3 lines in a star shape and add small V’s to the ends to form a basic snowflake. You can elaborate on the snowflake design by adding horizontal lines and small dots.
  • Let everything dry for 30-40 mins. Use a mod podge gloss sealing spray (with a coupon, it can be purchased for $1.50) to cover the entire bottle (stick some tape over the mouth of the bottle to prevent the seal from getting in). Let dry overnight.

I decorated one more bottle using gold patterned washi tape.

  • After your bottle is dry (preferably a green bottle), use gold tape to stick swirly, circular lines around the bottle.IMG_3715
  • You can use glitter glue instead of paint to add circular or diamond shaped ornaments to add a sparkle. Let the glue dry overnight and spray the bottle as in the previous tutorial.

Add a few fresh flowers with water or battery powered candles and give as a gorgeous gift that can be used over and over.



13 thoughts on “5 Quick DIY Christmas Gift Ideas Under $5

  1. Shawna says:

    I like the idea of the ornaments that you fill with items. You can personalize those in so many ways. We typically make ornaments for folks just about every year using the children’s hand/foot prints. Such fun! Salt dough ornaments are so easy!

    Liked by 1 person

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