14 Easy DIY Sustainable Gifts To Make This Year (And Every Year)

A small gift wrapped in gray paper and brown ribbon with a few dried flowers tucked in the bow

14 easy DIY sustainable gifts to make instead of buying this holiday season. Ranging from beginner to advanced, expect these cute gifts to be requested year after year. 

Estimated Read Time: 7 minutes

If it’s your first time DIY’ing a gift or you’re a little unsure about making one, DIY gifts/kits are a great go-to if you’re short on cash and time! It’s a thoughtful way to put together a personalized gift that the recipient will enjoy without getting the usual products premade and prepackaged from the store.

In any of the suggestions below, add or subtract products that work for your giftee, your budget, and accessibility.

What To Keep In Mind When Making DIY Sustainable Gifts

person painting green leaves with watercolor

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

When getting started making your own DIY sustainable gifts, remember the goal is to use what you already have on hand or what can be easily purchased/acquired with minimal waste.

If you don’t have to get on Amazon, try to avoid it. If you do need to purchase anything, head to your local bulk/zero waste store or a local craft store. They’ll really appreciate the business and probably give you a few pointers!

The Difference Between DIY Sustainable Gift Kits & DIY Sustainable Gifts

brown wooden box with jars

Photo by Dmitry Mashkin on Unsplash

You’ll find two different kinds of gifts in this blog — DIY sustainable gifts and DIY sustainable gift kits. Both have great options that vary based on your crafting level and materials needed.

Kits will have more moving pieces as it’s generally centered around a theme, but that’s the beauty! It shows someone you care about them, you know their interests, and you curated something you thought they’d love. And love it they will.

There are tons of different kits you could create but are a few to get the ideas flowing.

DIY Sustainable Gift Kits

1.Mindful Morning Routine Kit

DIY candles using small white gourds

Combine them and you have a beautiful morning routine. To go the extra mile, create writing prompts on plantable seed paper and tuck it in the journal. Wrap it up with an old scarf or reusable wrapping paper to complete the look!

2. DIY Zero Waste Mulled Wine Kit

Glass cups filled with mulled wine on a silver tray

Photo by Gaby Dyson on Unsplash

Make this basket yourself and ditch the single-use plastic! Head to your local bulk store for any spices you don’t have. Wrap it up in a muslin cloth, cloth napkin, or an old jar, and add a bottle of red wine! Make sure to include the recipe and instructions! Get the full recipe at Tasty Yummies.

3. Gourmet Salts

Wooden spoons with salt and herbs

Gourmet salts are a great edible gift — and a chance for you to finally put some of those tiny glass jars you’ve been saving to good use. Head to Cookin Canuck for recipes for Lemon Pepper Salt; Rosemary & Smoked Paprika Salt; and Curry Lime Salt.

4. Intro To Sustainability Kit

An arrangement of zero waste oral hygiene products

Know someone who wants to be more sustainable? Maybe they find it overwhelming or just don’t know where to start. That’s where you come in! The best part is tailoring it to the individual based on their interests and values. A kit could look like:

5. Sustainable Travel Kit

Wet linen bag from Marley's Monsters

Gifting your favorite jet-setter with a Sustainable Travel Kit can help them switch things up — for the good of the planet and without having to compromise on quality! Everything is TSA-friendly and opens up a lot of new space in their liquid bag. A kit could include:

DIY Sustainable Gifts

6. Shower Steamers

A candle and two drop stopper bottle filled with oils

All you need for this one is some essential oils (Rosemary, Lavender, Eucalyptus), Arrowroot Powder, Baking Soda, Water, an old jar, and a mold (like an ice cube tray)! Find the full recipe on Sustainable Cooks and help your loved ones breathe a little easier.

7. DIY Candle

A woman cutting the wooden wick of a candle

Photo by Anna Shvets

If you don’t have these ingredients on hand, try a local bulk or zero waste store. That will help cut back on waste and emissions! This recipe from A Pumpkin & A Princess is a Lemon Beeswax Candle but feel free to get creative with the scent! If you’d prefer a vegan option with soy wax instead of beeswax Green Matters has a great recipe.

8. Flower Pressed Candle

DIY flower pressed candles from Little Pine Learners

Photo by Little Pine Learners

If you don’t have the time, skill, or materials to DIY a whole candle, opt for flower pressed candles! They make adorable gifts and can be customized to the recipients with their favorite flowers or even colors. Full instructions at Little Pine Learners!

9. Homemade Christmas Bark

A stack of dark, milk, and white chocolate bark

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

Maybe crafts aren’t your game but everyone loves baked goods! After checking for dietary restrictions, try your hand at Christmas Bark! Wrap it in beeswax wrap, an old jar, or a stasher bag! Try this simple recipe from The Life Harvest!

10. Propagate A Plant

A pilea plant being cut for propogation

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Propagating a plant is a great gift to help your plant-less friends experience a little more green in their lives. They might be even more determined to ensure this one survives. Bonus points if you include care instructions and use an old glass jar you’ve been holding onto! Check out propagating instructions from Apartment Therapy.

11. Plant Hanger

A woman adjusting a planter in a macrame hanger

Photo by Sasha Kim

Want to give your plant moms something they’ll use that’s not another plant? Make them a plant hanger to help their plant thrive!

  • Check out this rope hanger from Make It Love It
  • This hanger from an old T-Shirt from A Beautiful Mess
  • And this simple Macrame hanger from Persia Lou

12. Body Scrub

Glass jars filled with sugar scrub and other homemade bath products

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

Typical store-bought scrubs are made with microplastic beads (yikes)! A homemade body scrub is a great gift for anyone! Grab this recipe from Going Zero Waste and store it in an old (clean) glass jar you’ve been saving for no reason.

13. A Book of Memories + Room For More

A navy blue journal next to an open laptop, some gem stones, and incense

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Tell someone they’re special to you without telling someone they’re special to you with a book of memories! Grab a large journal (like this tree-free notebook from Ecopaper). Write 250-500 words for as many pages as you want about your relationship. If you have photos on hand, feel free to include them but it’s not necessary! Make sure to leave some room for them to write in their own future memories. You could write about:

  • The first day you met/knew you would become friends
  • A time you both got in trouble
  • A time one of you covered for the other
  • A time you didn’t say something you wish you would have
  • An action or conversation that prompted you to do something (eat better, work out, quit your dumb job, etc.)
  •  A time you wanted to call/talk to them but didn’t end up reaching out

14. Homemade Bread

A person about to take a bite of blueberry loaf cake

Photo by Eiliv Aceron

Believe it or not, not everyone went through the pandemic and came out a breadmaker! Baking a friend a loaf of bread — especially a sourdough, focaccia, or allergen-friendly loaf is an extremely thoughtful gift! Wrap it in a muslin cloth, a dishtowel, or even an old paper bag you have on hand. If you don’t have a favorite recipe or one already in mind, try this Artisan recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

No matter your budget or timeframe, you can find a DIY sustainable gift that doesn’t break the bank, is thoughtful, AND great for the planet. Sounds like a win-win-win to us. Whatever you end up doing for your loved ones this year, we’re sure they’ll love it.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Written by Lauren Plug, content creator for ZeroWasteStore & Sustainability Enthusiast!

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