DIY Gifts on a College Budget for Anyone on Your List

By Meg Regiec
For Unwind magazine

It is a well-known fact that the typical college schedule allots no extra time for shopping. A simple trip to the mall evolves into a daylong activity between travel time, store venturing and pondering over whether your sister will actually wear that sweater. In a world where every second is valuable, holiday shopping seems to be a waste of time.

Amazon Prime has become an online outlet that college students rely on because of its accessibility, variety of available items and speedy delivery rates. Rather than ordering impersonal, sometimes expensive, presents directly off of Amazon, however, the budget-conscious college student has the ability to create sentimental gifts using inexpensive materials that are all available on Amazon Prime.

Impressing the family with a well-thought out and heartfelt present for the holidays seems quite difficult for a student who is fighting the dwindling numbers of their bank account.

Albeit time consuming, there is a simple craft that can easily satisfy these expectations: coasters made of family photos.

Try this take on photo coasters, using one large photo to make a number of coasters, shown here with a photo of The Allman Brothers Band.

Don’t let this idea intimidate you. The project is actually quite easy and fun to make, and either ceramic or wooden tiles would be suitable.

For the sake of the Amazon Prime-reliant student, this set of instructions focuses on ceramic tiles, which are available in bulk for $8 on Amazon Prime, as well as Mod Podge ($9) and a set of photos (incredibly inexpensive through Snapfish delivery).

This craft can be created through a few simple steps:blankcoaster
1. Coat the tiles in Mod Podge.
2. Lay the photo face up onto the tile and apply pressure. Let sit for a few minutes.
3. Layer Mod Podge over the tile and allow drying for 15-20 minutes.
4. Apply 3-5 more layers while allowing each layer to dry in between.
5. Let sit overnight and voila!

These presents allow intimate family moments to be captured in something more stylish and unique than simple stereotypical photographs. This craft can be given to anyone who is in need of a creative present: family, friends, significant others, etc.

Another gift that can apply to either a significant other or a friend is simplistic in creation, but sentimental in thought and connection. This craft is a jar filled with notes that hold various uplifting messages.


The only set of materials necessary for this project is a Mason jar ($6 on Amazon Prime) and a set of colorful Post-It notes ($7 on Amazon Prime).

postitnotesThe designer of this gift should create a color-coded system that is personalized for the recipient. For example, yellow could mean song lyrics that remind the giver of the recipient, pink could mean a quick blurb about a memory that the two share, blue can mean a pick-me-up quote from a movie, TV show or book that the has two enjoyed together and green could mean something that the giver likes about the recipient.

This project is created simply through writing out these various notes and placing them inside of the Mason jar to create a colorful, aesthetically pleasing visual that has great meaning.

Concerned about the time that these crafts involve? Research has proven that small crafts keep the mind occupied while helping it relax, which means that while creating these gifts, the giver is also benefitting mentally. Thus you would not have to make time for other things you enjoy or other therapeutic techniques with these DIY gifts.

Besides, college is stressful enough, so the holidays should be made easier.


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