Make or Buy? Ten DIY Gifts with a Backup Plan

At some point you've probably been shopping for a gift, and you've exclaimed, "I could make that!" And maybe at other times—maybe even just hours later—you're surrounded by scraps of your failed DIY attempt, and you wonder in frustration why you didn't just buy a ready-made version. Well, to satisfy both sides of that dilemma, here are ten gifts that would be fun to make yourself—but have a backup version available for sale… you know, just in case.

1. Buy : A coffee cozy to protect hands from hot beverages, from the Curiosity Shoppe, $18. Or make your own with your favorite yarn— if you need a pattern, check out KnittyVet's patterns on etsy.

2. Make : A simple, pretty rope bracelet. This one from sideoats & scribbles was made from the handles of a J. Crew bag! Or pick up a ready-made one from Urban Outfitters, $6.

3. Buy : A set of colored pencils in a neat paper tube. From the MOMA Store, $17. Or make your own by decorating a paper tube from a craft store, and add some pencils yourself.

4. Buy : A cupcake decorating kit from Sweet Estelle on etsy, $18.99. Think it would be more fun to assemble one yourself? Grab a pretty container and add your own cupcakery elements! Shop Sweet Lulu has liners, wrappers, and even paper suitcases to DIY.

5. Make : An herb garden starter kit for your favorite green-thumbed relative. Here's a tutorial from garden betty. Or order a pre-packaged kit from Branch Home, $28.

6. Buy : An all-purpose stationery kit from Assembly of Text, $22. Or visit your local craft store and collect a few pretty papers, envelopes, and tags in a simple box.

7. Make : A needle-felted throw pillow; Martha Stewart has a tutorial. Or pick up a cool squirrel silhouette accent pillow here, from Twiddle and Thread, $30.

8. Make : A pretty and practical reusable lunchbag. Here's a tutorial, courtesy of Martha Stewart's craft department. Or take the shortcut route and get one from Berry Bambino, $15.

9. Make : A convex sunburst mirror; find out how this one was made at Hi Sugarplum! Or pick one up a Glenna Jean mirror; available at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, $150.

10. Buy : A lovely flower brooch from seventh studio, $14. Or try your hand at creating one with the help of jones design company's tutorial.

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DIY, Christmas, Crafting

Sarah is a freelance writer and photographer and mother of four boys. Her hobbies include writing emails at 4 am, fixing up her century-old home, critiquing superhero spin kicks, and trying not to kill her garden.

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