So you want to make a handmade gift for your friend or family member.
And you make it, yourself, and spend hours. Put in a ton of work, and you’re proud of your creation and you can’t wait to give it to her. You’re excited to see the look on her face.
Then the day comes, you hand it over, she unwraps it and says that blank, polite “Thanks…” Clearly, she doesn’t really like it.
Or, worse, it’s even more blatant. Not even a “thanks” is given. And you’re crushed—you never want to give another handmade present again.
Either this has happened to you, or you fear it will be a reality.
More of a listener and watcher than a reader? No problem, you can get the same info in this video:
Handmade gifts are, in theory, awesome.
Whether because the handmade route ultimately saves money, is fun, is a meditative act where you get to use your hands, or because a handmade gift has so much more personal investment and value to those who really will appreciate them.
Handmade gifts communicate how much someone means to you in a way purchased gifts can’t quite compete with.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a maker. Someone who loves to make things. Who finds joy in it.
And who finds that giving something that they made themselves is full of more meaning and love for them and for the person who they’re creating it for.
The problem is: you don’t want that big fear described above to become a reality.
But there are ways you can avoid the whole thing and insure that you can give gifts you’re proud to give, that your friends and family are sure to enjoy.
So here’s 6 tips to give gifts they’ll actually like.
#1 - Make Sure You're Good at It
If you’re not a skilled painter and you're doing a portrait of the person in question, it’s probably not the best idea.
Be honest with yourself if you suck at it, if you need guidance, or more practice to get better at whatever craft you’re doing.
Of course, there’s still sentimental value no matter how much you suck at it. You spent time and effort on it. Your mom will probably still value that—but for the receiver to actually use it and enjoy it?
You need to be at least a little good at the craft, especially when it’s anyone besides your mom.
Preferably, when it comes to handmade gifts, it should be the craft you’re best at.
The one you get compliments on, the one people ask you questions about. The one that you could even charge for (whether you’re confident in yourself or not, the quality is still there and you know it on some level).
Making sure you're decent at the craft increases the likelihood that you won't throw in the trash out of embarrassment or disappointment.
#2 - Create Something Useful
Ask yourself, “Will they use this regularly?”
Whether its home decor or a mug, will they get use out of it and actually want to use it without feeling that icky feeling of having to use something because it’s a gift?
If it’s pointless and has no function, even if it’s just sitting on a shelf looking pretty, you may want to step back and reconsider.
And take into account what the receiver uses often, and if they would ever need or use what you’re creating.
#3 - Make it About Them
If you’re really into something, but the receiver isn’t into it as much--then don’t give it.
If you’re making jewelry for someone who NEVER wears jewelry—that’s the wrong thing and it’s not going to work out.
Don’t make it about you and what you like. And this can be hard to do, because we rarely realize we’re doing this most of the time.
We live in our own heads and it’s easy to forget to step into someone else’s shoes and see their perspective.
But if you do, it will allow you to give amazing gifts.
And if they do like jewelry, it needs to be a style they wear, not a style you wear (unless they overlap). Or it needs to be something simple and universal that could fit into a bunch of different styles.
The gift is about them, and even if you’re creating their gift doing something you love to do, the end result should always be about them.
Keep in mind what they love and enjoy and want—and incorporate that stuff as much as possible. Look at their wish lists, their most prizes possessions, and their favorite entertainment to get ideas.
#4 - Grasp the Basic Principles of Design
You don’t need a degree in fine arts, but a general understanding of the basic principles of design that are picked up in your spare time will help your create more aesthetically pleasing and generally appealing creations, no matter the craft.
Things to Google: “elements of visual design” and “design principles/ rules.”
Understanding these core elements and guidelines allows for a good understanding of artistic composition (so your creations look good to the eye).
And remember most of us have an innate sense of what looks good, even if we have specific tastes that aren’t universally liked.
Keep your present general unless you have a specific idea in mind you’re positive they’ll like.
If you some help learning basic design principles, then you're invited to an online workshop where I'll be going over basic design elements and principles, plus other needed info to get started making resin jewelry.
The workshop has passed, but I have a webinar coming up this weekend expanding even more on the topic of making resin jewelry, even if you have no experience. Sign up below.
#5 - Pick the Right Person
Some people just don’t like handmade gifts because they’re handmade.
They want specific, store-bought things from specific brands. And there’s nothing wrong with that—unless you spend your time and effort on the gift for a person like this. Then it’s a waste of your time, and you’ll be left feeling disappointed by their disappointment.
So make sure to double check with yourself; is it worth my time? Will this person appreciate all the work I’m putting in?
#6 - Verify Your Idea with Others
Verify your idea with others who know the person.
By the same token, however, if you know this person best, where they’re your closest friend, then you probably have a better idea than anyone else.
If it’s related to an inside joke or a secret like of theirs, and you have a strong sense they’ll like it, you’re probably right even if others don’t agree with you.
If you can check all these off, you’re good to go.
You can be confident that you’re going to create a present you’re proud to gift to your loved ones.
But, then there arises other problems, like getting tired of making the same old thing. Maybe it works, but you like being creative and doing new things.
Or maybe you’re not skilled at any craft in the first place.
With Christmas around the corner, maybe you just want something new and fun to make your friends and family.
This weekend I’m hosting a free workshop: Getting Started with Resin Jewelry.
There will be no pitch. No “Buy Now” button. Just info to help you get started learning a new skill you can use again and again.
There will be a Q&A session so you have time ask all your questions and I’ll answer them live.
You can make professional quality, eco-friendly, unique jewelry for yourself and others, and I can show you how.
I’m excited to start teaching what I’ve learned from trial and error and a lot of practice.
I’m self-taught, but not everyone has the time to learn it the long, hard way (not everyone has time to invest years of experience).
I’ll be covering things I wish someone showed me when I first started so I can make the process shorter for you:
- basic design principles
- choosing the right colors
- how to develop your own style
- what brand of resin to use
- how I found the open bezels I use
- packaging your presents
- and my exhaustive list of household and from-the-store supplies you’ll need to get started to make jewelry like this
I’ll see you there.
The workshop has passed, but I have an upcoming webinar this Saturday, the 19th!
If you can't make it for whatever reason, you'll be sent the replay.
Sign up below.