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They say it’s the thought that counts when you give gifts. But sometimes you really wonder what kinds of thoughts were going through the heads of that couple who gave the guests at their wedding banquet mugs with the couple’s faces plastered across them.
But okay, we get that you can’t always come up with gifts that are original, tasteful AND affordable, especially when purchasing masses of them, such as when you need to buy Christmas gifts for your entire team at work, or come up with wedding favours for a banquet of 200.
Here are five easy and cheap gifts that you can make on your own—yes, you heard that right. They’re less cheesy than keyrings or mugs, easy to make even for those with minimal artistic talent, and people might actually use them.
If your recipients are in the 25 to 35 age range, ie. about the age where they start craving luxury and buying stuff like designer candles (pretty much the only way you can justify the presence of Yankee Candle in Singapore, where candles cost $20 to $40), make them some.
Candles, even scented ones, are some of the easiest things to make at home. You just need to buy a big chunk of wax and some wicks (get them at Spotlight), scent in the form of essential oils and small glass containers to pour the wax into. Everything else you should have in your kitchen.
The best thing about making candles is that you can just melt a huge chunk of wax and then pour them into many containers at the same time. You could probably make 100 candles in one day if that’s what you want. Here’s how to do it.
See also: 8 ways to save money on your favours.
Let’s be honest. How often do you actually use those mass gifts that colleagues, friends or wedding organisers buy in bulk? Chances are you’ve got quite a few keyrings, pens and cardholders lying around gathering dust.
The one thing that always gets consumed is food. If somebody gives me chocolate or a bag of cookies, I’m eating that no matter what.
Sure, your gift of brownies or cupcakes may be not be as hip as the personalised ironic tshirts your colleague gave everyone on the team. But at least you know they’ll be used and appreciated. Just take note of people who might have dietary restrictions, such as diabetics or vegans.
See also: 11 edible favours for your wedding.
Everyone thinks they can be a photographer these days. Since you spend so much time editing all your photos before posting them to Instagram, you might as well turn them into gifts.
A beautiful photo of something that’s meaningful to the recipient has a lower chance of ending up in the bin than another pen. If you don’t want to spend money on frames, you can consider laminating the pictures, or simply getting large glossy prints made.
Taking two or three showers a day is the norm in Singapore, and if you don’t do that, you’re probably that guy people inch away from on the MRT. Bar soap is another practical gift people will actually use. Even if they don’t particularly like that floral scent you picked, their fellow commuters on the MRT will thank you.
Here are some easy instructions for how to make your own soap. You can add little decorative pieces inside the soap, or even personalise according to the recipient. And again, this is something you can easily create in batches.
Cloth tote bags
In case you haven’t noticed, cloth tote bags are on the shoulders of every Singaporean hipster these days, male or female. You know the kind—white, made of cloth or canvas, often with an ironic design on the front.
Get a bunch of them on eBay (you can get away with paying a few bucks apiece) and make your own designs using a permanent marker, iron ons or by sending the bags to a printer. You don’t need much artistic talent to download an ironic computer graphic, turn it black and white using Paint and then send it to a printer.
Have you ever handmade gifts? Tell us what you made in the comments!
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