If you'v got an artistic leaning that leaves you wanting to create original works of art for all of your friends, perhaps streamlining your creativity a bit will help. These resources do a lot of the grunt work for you, allowing your custom design, artwork, and ideas to shine through with much less effort:
- Scout Books allows you to custom design pocket-sized notebooks that are ever so handy to carry around! I'd love to hand-paint sets of notebooks for my friends for gifts, but I just don't have the time to do 20 batches of them. Scout, however, will print these notebooks with your custom artwork. If you have a bunch of folks on your list that would like this universally handy gift, the price per book (just under $4 if you order 50) makes for an affordable gift. Even if you have 25 people to give them to, that means you've spent about $7 on a meaningful gift that has your custom touch on it!
- There are many places to get custom address stamps with beautiful calligraphy or modern types that are stylish and fun---but they tend to run $30-60 each. With a little ingenuity and a bit of know how, you can create personalized address stamps for your friends for around $7 a pop. Simon's Stamps offers an array of rubber stamp options for reasonable prices. I prefer the old-fashioned wooden-handled stamp. Need a cool font? Check out the Lost Type Co-op, where you can pay what you like for designer fonts! Pick a great typeface, layout a simple return address stamp, and you've got an affordable personalized gift that will be used and loved!
- Moo is an adorable custom print shop online that specializes in business cards and stickers. I love their photo stickers--they're full of rich color and they're super glossy! Put together a pack of custom photo stickers or a set with original designs that you've created, and add a sheet or two of custom seals to some simple stationery for a great customized gift!
- Everyone loves reusable canvas tote bags. Great for stowing your daily needs, or taking to the grocery store, they're a useful thing to keep around. Why not design your own and give them as gifts to your friends? If you have a knack for drawing or designing, create an image that will remind your friends of you, and have it printed on to a canvas bag. At Zazzle, there's no minimum order, but the prices get cheaper as you increase the quantity. Even at $9.95 for a single bag, it's a great price point for a customized, fashionable gift for a friend. Have a lot of friends? Places like Green Monster Promos offer options that run about $2 per tote if you order 100...you could gift a lot of people a custom bag at those prices! Heck, you could use them for gift wrap!
- Alright, this is still a total DIY, but I feel like it's a bit more automated, so the results you could yield would supply many gifts. Poppytalk offered up this great project from Ruth Bleakley on Easy Relief Printmaking. Create one template from a piece of styrofoam, get a brayer and some ink, and you could be rolling out holiday cards like gangbusters! And, they're totally customized with artwork that you've created.
Images: As credited above.