Monday, October 20, 2008

Handmade gifts for teenagers (more boy-ish edition)

As we begin the countdown to Christmas, I don't know about you, but I'm mentally taking an inventory. I'd like to give mostly handmade gifts, and I definitely have enough supplies in my stash. It's just a question of what to make for whom?

Teenagers and young adults are especially hard to shop for. It seems to me, even harder to make something that meets with approval under a teenager's scrutiny. Since I have several who are still teens in my extended family, I've begun a list of things I find online that I could make and would likely be "cool" enough.

  • Monster Hoodies. These are a huge hit with my family. I clone them by taking a cheap hoodie (I found them on clearance from Walgreens late last winter. Thrift stores around here have plenty). Add on a jagged felt strip for teeth and be creative with the eyes. Here's my first one. I've made about 15 now, and they're always a hit. I even have one that I haven't given away yet. It's listed in my etsy shop. I have 5 Christmas "orders" for these from friends too.

  • Painted Hoodies, Shirts, Pants, Hats, Bags or anything. Don't want to sew? Try painting the monster on. Use freezer-paper stencils to put a monster (or anything else) on a shirt (or anything else). A great resource for inspiration is the freezer-paper flickr group. Google (or better yet, sign up to swagbucks and earn a bit with your Google search...) .. Anyway, search for "free stencil" with your desired item to find something to use. Or just look through "stencil" and "silhouette" images, and free-hand copy the one you want (Or print the stencil out and trace it on the freezer paper).

  • Bristlebots. Or the stuff required to make one. This is for those "tinker"-types. Most of the teenage boys in my family fall into this category. I've collected broken cell phones for a couple months now so that I can give my 13-year-old brother-in-law a set of supplies to make his own.

  • Another one for those tinker-types is broken stuff that they can take apart (and maybe fix). My brother-in-law just bought 34 Zunes (I think) from ebay -- none worked worked. But he's fascinated to take a bunch of them apart and make a few working ones out of the bunch. And he hopes it'll make him money. For a 8-10 year old boy, an old radio is super fun to take apart.

  • Car ornamentation. Think fuzzy dice, only more creative. I like these fuzzy gameboys.

  • Monster pillows/plushies. It seems to me like anything LoveAndASandwich makes would be super-cool for teenagers. I haven't tried yet, but I don't think they would be that hard to knock off. Be sure to look through her past sold items for more ideas.

  • For the boy who sews: Eyeball pincushions are definitely cool.

  • Functional bags. Betz white made an etch-a-sketch laptop cozy. I made an abacus calculator cover. Others have made monster laptop bags, guitar shaped purses and bags, and backpacks out of ugly ties. Some people on my Christmas list are getting things like this....

  • Food. You can't go wrong with a big batch of sweets (or homemade beef jerky) for them to have all to themselves.

What are your handmade gift ideas? What have you seen that would be great for a teenager boy? More handmade gift giving ideas coming soon!


  1. Thanks for these ideas. My brother's 18th birthday is coming up and I was having a hard time thinking of what to give him.

  2. we have a tradition in our family where we have tomake each other presents and it totally disregards my artistic retardation, thanks somuch for the help