Oh, my word, teenagers can be hard to shop for! They’re picky and cooler than you are, and you don’t understand the things that they like.
The other day, I actually Googled, “What is Fortnite?” so that I could understand the words that my teenager was saying to me.
You might think that if it’s tough to buy stuff for a teen that they’ll like, then it’s got to be even tougher to make something for a teen that they’ll like. However, I think handmade gifts for teens are WAY more likely to be a hit, and here’s why:
Handmade gifts are so easy to customize!
If your teen likes drawing, there are tons of options for awesome handmade drawing gifts. If they like that floofy bath and body stuff, even better! If they like a particular pop culture phenomenon, you’ve got loads of fabric prints, stickers, appliques, and stencils to work with. If they just like to sit around wearing dark clothes and looking sulky, well…
A set of throw pillows in black faux fur, perhaps?
So if you’ve got a teen who needs a gift, check out this list of my favorite handmade gifts for teens. Find something you like, then remix it, customize it, and make it for your teen!
Then make a matching thing for yourself and loudly declare that the two of you are “twins.” Teens love that, I promise!
1. Sleep Mask This is a great gift to give a teen who’s going on a class trip, or who’s heading off to college. Customize it with their school’s colors, or use novelty prints to let them show off their fan favorites.
2. Cross-stitch Or Embroidery No, your teen does not want a cross-stitched duck in a bonnet. Yes, your teen DOES want a cross-stitched skull or an embroidered sampler that says something sarcastic, etc.
3. Fabric-Covered Notebook Teens always need more notebooks! Here’s a project to make a notebook a little more special.
4. Pencil Holder A teen who loves art will love this special place to store their favorite art pencils close at hand.
5. Tic-Tac-Toe Pillows If you don’t know your teen super well, these pillows are a good compromise for a handmade gift. I think you should make enough for a whole game of tic-tac-toe, though!
6. One-Seam Skirt I love these skirts, because the way that they utilize fabric means that they really can be customized for every body. If you check out a service like Spoonflower, you will see that you can make your tween a skirt with a powerful, original graphic for less than you’d spend on a skirt that’s customized and unique.
7. Hand-Illustrated Tights It takes a certain type of teen to love this project, but if you have that type of teen, you are going to be their favorite gift-giver forever!
8. Nail Polish Rack A teen who’s super into makeup is going to love this custom place to store all of their nail polishes.
9. Recycled Belt Bracelet These bracelets look cool with a lot of different fashion styles, so they’re a good choice for a teen who’s into clothing.
10. Shark Lap Blanket I know a lot of teens who LOVE these types of blankets–I’ve made a mermaid tale and a shark for my own teen and tween, and I have a half-finished mermaid skeleton in the works for myself!
11. Photo Card I know that kids these days don’t write letters, but that’s only–I promise this is true!–because they don’t have stationery. Teens who have stationery are quite likely to think that letter-writing is funny and old-fashioned and, especially if the stationery features glamour shots of their cat, they’re going to think it’s funny to send a real, live letter to a real, live friend.
12. Altered Soap Dispenser If your teen has their own bathroom, it’s fun to make them a soap dispenser out of something weird and fun. Fill it with homemade liquid soap for bonus points!
13. Crocheted Charger Cord Teens ALWAYS need more charger cords! Buy them a new one and crochet over it so that they can tell it from all of their friends’ charger cords.
14. Custom Peg People I know that kids play with peg people, but these peg people aren’t toys! If you’re an artist, and if your teen is into anything from a favorite book series to a favorite comic book or movie series, you have the chance to really wow them by making them a custom set of peg people to populate their nightstand or desk.
15. Paper Chess This particular project is a cut-and-fold paper chess set, but I have seen so many awesome handmade chess sets, made from everything from hardware store supplies to LEGOs. If your teen likes to play chess, surprise them with an awesome, handmade set!
16. Scrabble Tile Magnets Pair these with a painted cookie sheet–don’t forget to pre-attach a hanger for it!–and your tween will love their fun new memo board.
17. Alien Abduction Lamp Whatever your teen thinks is cool, there’s something that you can make for them! This alien abduction lamp is proof of that.
18. Altoid Tin Shadowbox Magnets You could also give these to your teen as a DIY set, so that they can make their own custom shadowbox magnets.
19. Felted Sweater Coasters Will this encourage your teen to use a coaster in their room? I mean, probably not, but here’s to the effort!
20. Map Ring This is another good present to give to a teen who’s going to college or who loves to travel. Make them a ring out of where they’re going, and one out of where they’ve been!
21. T-shirt Quilt This is the gold-standard teen project. Most people think that they have to use the teen’s old shirts and make them a memory quilt, but here’s my secret trick for you: go thrift shopping and collect T-shirts around something that they love, whether it’s Star Wars or baseball. Make them a quilt from THOSE shirts, and they will freak out with happiness!
22. Soda Box Pencil Case Maybe your teen doesn’t drink soda. Good job, Teen! If they have a continual hankering for Diet Dr. Pepper, though, then make them a pencil case to show that love off.
23. Candy Wrapper Coin Purse This candy wrapper coin purse has the same idea behind it. If your teen isn’t attached to candy, then cool. But if there’s a favorite candy to pick from, then why not make it into a coin purse or pencil bag?
24. Painted Toy You’ll have to get your teen’s buy-in on this project, but I’m betting that they have some action figures or toy animals that they no longer play with, but that they don’t want to ditch entirely. The solution? Turn them into gorgeous, ceramic-looking knick-knacks!
25. Upcycled Denim Whale I feel like you need to make everybody you know this upcycled denim whale. I mean, it’s a WHALE! Made out of BLUE JEANS!!!
Do you have a great, go-to, handmade gift idea for a teen? Let me know in the Comments below!