Cute & Practical Gifts for Kids to Make

Every parent loves the idea of their child giving loved ones or teachers a gift that they have made with their own little hands. Homemade gifts from kids are super cute, right?

Well, let’s be totally honest. Unless you’ve spawned the next Michelangelo, most things kids make aren’t that impressive. I mean, do most people really want to display random lumps of gritty air-dry clay, possibly shedding glitter, with a few matchsticks stuck into them? 

Because this is the problem. Most gifts that kids make are, well… decorative.

OK, it’s nice to have pictures stuck on the fridge or bulletin board, and maybe even stick a couple in frames. But the objets? Not so much.   

So instead, how about your kids make, or rather decorate, something which can actually be used!

Here are a bunch of ideas for cute and practical homemade gifts I came up with. They’re mostly variations on a couple of themes, but are all things that have a function of some kind.

There aren’t any ready-made kits in this list of ideas. The idea is for kids to still be creative. You’re providing the blank canvas, as it were.

I’ve also not included photographs, because you should be able to work out what to do without visual aids. Creativity, right? 

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Fabric & textile ideas

First of all, what are you going to use to decorate your fabric/textile things? It will depend on what you choose from the list below, but here are some options.

  • Fabric markers are like marker pens but for fabric. These don’t need to be heat set, and they’re washable at 30º. Especially great for detail work.
  • Fabric paint is what you want if you want to go beyond drawing. With paint you can make handprints and footprints, stamp patterns (potato stamps anyone?) or just make bigger bolder lines and decorations.
  • This paint can be squeezed or painted on, though needs to be heat-sealed. 
  • Puffy paint can add some fun texture, though might not be suitable for all items.
  • Tie dye is an alternative to regular decoration, and could work really well for a couple of the projects below.

Things to make

Tote bags

We’re all about saving the planet with reuseable shopping bags now, so this is a great way to keep loved ones stocked up with tote bags. I firmly believe you can never have too many tote bags. Get a multipack here and you’ll never run short.

Cushion covers

Together with a filler pad, a couple of fun decorated cushions can be a really nice gift.

They also don’t necessarily oblige the recipient to have them on show in the middle of the fancy sofa. They could be used on grandma’s armchair for when she has a nap, for kitchen chairs, as decorator cushions on a spare bed, in the playroom, or even a special dog basket cushion for a four-legged friend. 

You can get plain white and add lots of colour. Red, yellow, orange, or green might look striking decorated with just black.

Tea Towels

Something else of which you can never have too many. And even the most hideous charmingly childish designs are perfectly acceptable in the kitchen.

You can even be extra ambitious and decorate a set of napkins.


I realise this is a variation on the cushion cover idea. It’s also slightly more challenging than the cushion cover idea, as most people have bedding sets. That being said, they could be a fun gift for another child. They also work brilliantly as a sleepover activity.

Or to take it to the next level …

Add a duvet cover and create a whole decorated bedding set!

Seriously, it’s pretty ambitious, but if you have an artistic kid this could be a really fun project.


Way more fun than buying them. And they’re a great gift for men, women, and kids.


I think this is a tricky one, because the principle here is to be useful. T-shirts are useful, but you really have to decide if the recipient will ever wear it.

Personally, I love my daughter more than anything but I still wouldn’t wear a t-shirt she’d decorated. At least not in public.

But you could always do an oversized t-shirt and call it a nightdress!

Crockery etc.

Mugs are the obvious ones, right?

Plain white mugs that you can decorate with ceramic paint pens. 

You could also decorate plates. However bear in mind that ceramic paint is not going to be food safe, so decorative plates only. Though if you’re making a plate for Santa’s cookies that would probably be OK.

If you’re comfortable with your kid handling glass, how about wine glasses? Or champagne glasses? Break out the glass paint and let them get on with it.

Seriously, if you’re like me, wine is more or less an essential of life. In fact, motherhood is often the reason for wine. There’s something pleasingly complete about the idea of drinking the wine you need after being mummy all day from a glass decorated by the person who calls you mummy.

Or rather ‘mummymummymummymummymummymummy’.

Of course they would also make nice gifts for someone other than mummy.

You may wonder why I’ve linked to real, if inexpensive, crystal glasses. Well, it’s because I think that proper crystal is much nicer to drink from. And this may be a DIY gift we’re talking about but that doesn’t mean it has to be crappy pressed glass. But if you want cheaper versions, try these wine glasses or these champagne glasses.

Glass storage jars are also a possibility. They could be for coffee, tea, sugar, pasta, whatever you think the recipient might appreciate.

Those clip lid jars are also very nice to decorate, especially at Christmas. You can fill them with festive treats like this yummy Christmas Bark.

If you’re feeling ambitious you could try a cookie jar.

Or even create a special sweetie jar and fill it with sweets.

Wooden decorative yet useful items

We might be veering dangerously close to objet territory here, but I’m going to take the risk because you can use all of these things on way or another.

Picture frames

This is a classic kid thing. Most people will remember gluing macaroni on to a cardboard square and splodging it with paint, before proudly handing it over to mummy and daddy. They accepted it with cries of joy and admiration.

Now you are a parent you know they were actually thinking ‘Holy crap, where the hell are we going to put this? It doesn’t go with ANYTHING in our house. Because we don’t decorate with pasta.’

So, if you want to make a decorated picture frame that is nice enough (hopefully) to actually display, it’s a good idea to have a decent-ish frame.

This one has a proper stand and everything and holds a standard 5 x 7 photograph.

This one is a nice deep box frame, if you want to add some 3D accesssories.

This one is square, perfect for Instagram pictures.  It also has a stand.

Or if you’re feeling whimsical, this would definitely be a fun gift.

If you want to make several, here’s a multipack.

Wooden boxes

There are a ton of options, and boxes for putting things in are always lovely and handy.

Little boxes would work well for jewelry or tiny treasures.

This one is shaped like a heart!

Something larger is more ambitious, but could be a very useful gift. For example, it could be fun as a teabag storage for tea lovers.  

I also stumbled across a wooden tissue box! Now that really is a properly useful gift. There’s a standard sized one here too.

As for what you can decorate these things with, there are plenty of possibilities that don’t involve pasta.

Acrylic paints are the obvious start. Whether you’ve got the random splodges of little ones, or the more detailed artistic endeavors of older kids, they’re easy to use and have nice bright colours.

You can get a big set of 24 colours here or a more basic set here.

Don’t forget to coat it with some clear varnish to preserve the paint.

If you’re feeling reckless, throw in some glue and sparkly  gems or sequins too. But bear in mind that if you want sparkly things to stay on for a while, you might want to use a glue gun. (Be careful with it, obviously. Safety first and all that.)

You can also decoupage!

There are a ton of tutorials online, but it’s actually pretty easy. You just need glue & foam brushes  plus whatever decorative paper you like. There are a ton of options here and here but really you can choose anything.

If you’re gifting for Christmas, you could even get some predrilled wood slices to make ornaments for the Christmas tree. If you prefer ones that look less rustic try these.

Hell, you could do them for any occasion, birthday, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s, whatever. They make lovely gifts in themselves, or they could also be used as accents on giftwrap.

Cute & PRactical Gifts for kids to make

So there are all my suggestions! They’re not complicated, though you will have to suck it up and buy a few things.

But rest assured, I’m pretty damn sure that whatever one you choose of these DIY gifts for kids to make, the recipient will both appreciate and actually use it!

And don’t forget, these ideas are certainly not limited to kids. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t make and give any of these items yourself.

Happy crafting and gifting!

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If you want a bunch of ideas for a crafting party for kids, check out this post.

You can find more crafty posts here.

Cute & PRactical Gifts for kids to make

If you want a bunch of ideas for a crafting party for kids, check out this post.

You can find more crafty posts here.