7 Homemade Gifts to Give Away This Holiday Season

There's a reason your mom put your childhood macaroni art on the mantel (and kept it there for seven years) - it's because people love handmade gifts. When you take the time to craft something by hand, you show exactly the sort of appreciation that holiday gifts are meant to express - and with a little help from your PIXMA printer, you might just give the gift of inspiration, too.

1. Pillowy Photos

Pillowy Photos

When you think "holiday photos" you don't often think "pillowy soft," but that's about to change.

To give an extra comfy gift this holiday season, grab a blank pillowcase for a standard-sized throw pillow and choose four of your favorite wintertime photos. Size them to 4x6 inches using your image-editing software of choice (or if you've got a large format PIXMA printer like the PRO-100, you can size them up to cover the whole pillowcase). Use a photo-editing app to give your pics a holiday-themed red, green or icy-blue tint, then print them in a square pattern on Inkjet-compatible fabric transfer paper. Iron the results onto the pillowcase and trim it with machine-sewn twill tape for a cozy finishing touch.

2. Holiday Plaques

Holiday Plaques

Pro tip for gifting to grandparents: They love decorations with your family's smiling faces on them. If grandma can't be around all year, give her a year-round reminder of holiday cheer.

Start with an unfinished wood plaque from your local craft store (you'll have your pick of shapes and sizes) and some of your favorite holiday memories PIXMA-printed on matte photo paper. Maybe your little one's first holiday, or a snapshot on Santa's lap - whatever you choose, cut it to the size of the plaque's flat surface. Paint or stain the carved borders around the surface and glue on the photo with an acid-free decoupage medium, then give it a little protective gloss with clear coat. Go festive with a metallic garland hot-glued on the back for easy hanging.

3. Rustic Ornaments

Rustic Ornaments

Making your own ornament doesn't need to involve glass bulbs or paper mâché - why not try a rustic, wooden interpretation? Start with a 4x6 holiday photo printed on Inkjet-friendly water transfer paper - Craftaholics Anonymous did this project with the PIXMA iP8720 printer to produce super vibrant color. Trace around the edges of a 3x5-inch wood slice with a craft knife to trim the photo down to size, wet the pic to adhere it to the wood, and seal it with clear decoupage medium. Complete the rustic look by drilling a small hole and looping in some jute twine as a hanger.

Ornaments are kind of like fridge magnets (which you can also make with your PIXMA printer); they're a diverse hodgepodge of memories, moments and fun kitsch. It might just be the reason they're a gift that never goes out of style.

4. Glowing Gifts

Glowing Gifts

From gingerbread houses to nativity scenes to train sets, there's something about tiny little buildings that captures the holiday spirit. For the decoration-obsessed, you'll be hard pressed to find a better gift than tiny glowing DIY castles.

Download a high-quality photo of a tall, snow-covered castle - landmarks like Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle or Hungary's Fisherman's Bastion fit the bill - and use an app to lend it a sepia tone. Print the pic on 8.5x11 semi-gloss photo paper, then carefully use a craft knife to cut out the shape of the castle and surrounding scenery. Wrap the photo into a cylinder shape secured with double-sided tape and drop a battery-powered tea light candle in the center to make the magic happen. Now don't forget to watch your giftee's face glow, too.

5. Timeless Pendants

Timeless Pendants

In classic books and movies, the heroes always gaze longingly at their loved ones' photos encased in a pendant, and it always manages to feel a lot more romantic than looking at a smartphone. One trip to the craft store for empty pendants, matching glass inserts and industrial strength clear glue, and you're ready to capture that old-school romance with your partner this holiday.

Putting the pendant together is as easy as printing a wallet-sized black-and-white portrait and cutting it to the size of the pendant with a craft knife. Glue the picture and glass insert onto the pendant, and you're good to go. Add a matching necklace for an intimate gift, or make a couple pendants of the kids and loop them onto keychain rings for a family-friendly version.

6. Photo Cupcakes

Photo Cupcakes

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, chances are it involves some sweets. It's a gift that can't go wrong, and your PIXMA printer is here to make it happen.

You might not be able to print cupcakes, but you can print Inkjet-compatible edible frosting sheets. Whip up your favorite holiday cupcake recipe and cut your photos to size, then peel off the frosting sheet's backing and apply per the manufacturer's instructions (they typically work with buttercream, whipped cream and fondant). Keep the photo choices fun for this one, like pics of your dog with a bow on her head or scenes from your favorite holiday movie. Bring a whole tray in to your next office party for a truly sweet gift.

7. New Year, New Gift

New Year, New Gift

The holidays help us celebrate another year with the people we love, but they also encourage us to look forward to new beginnings. Help your favorite giftee do just that with a homemade holiday photo calendar.

Cover a large foam board with the fabric of your choice (you can choose a holiday-friendly pattern or keep it simple so that it doesn't look out of place year round). Repeat the process with two smaller foam boards, covering the first one in a different pattern than the large board. For the second, use your favorite photo-editing software to create a photo montage, then print it onto Inkjet-compatible canvas paper. Use this to wrap the second board. When all the boards are covered, affix the smaller boards onto the larger one side by side using fabric glue. From there, print your own calendar pages on cardstock from a free online template and secure them to the smaller board without the photo montage.

Personalize the calendar even more by adding special dates like birthdays and anniversaries before you print. Oh, and don't forget to mark the holidays, too - plenty of time to count down to next year's DIY gifts.


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