The World Is Their Canvas: 5 DIY Graduation Gift Ideas

You're proud of the accomplishments your graduate has made and want to make something yourself with a graduation gift idea that says "Congratulations!" better than any card with money. The best graduation gifts have a sentimental significance that lingers long past the party. Each time they see the creative graduation gift you personalized by painting their name, year, and school on it, they will think of you. Even if you're not the craftiest person on the planet, you can still design a nice modern graduation gift through the careful selection and arrangement of fun and useful items.

1. Memory Box

Graduation is a momentous occasion that everyone will remember for years to come. Make a timeless graduation gift in the form of a memory box. The multiple compartments of a wooden desk organizer are perfect for holding photos, notes, and writing items. In the largest box of the organizer, include printed photos of friends and family at graduation and the open house party. Also, include casual pictures of the family for your student to admire when they get homesick when away at school.

To keep you close to your grad, create colored note cards with sayings of advice on them. Perhaps each person at the party could fill one out, or family members could take turns writing their tips for college. Stick these words-of-wisdom cards in a second compartment. For another piece of this graduation gift idea, place a set of stationery on the flat area of the organizer. A stack of thank-you notes is a smart graduation gift idea for them to express appreciation to all the people who encouraged them. Fill the final compartment with bright-styled pencils with fun erasers and you might just get more notes home that way.

2. College Survival Jar

Life away from home is probably going to be a new concept, so equip your grad with something fun and useful for their daily life. A creative graduation gift idea, such as a college survival jar, helps them get through. Make it from a mason jar decorated with a graduation cap and filled with quarters and candy. For this crafty idea you need:

  • A medium mason jar, preferably tinted with school colors
  • A square piece of poster board/card stock to form the top of the cap
  • A strip of matching wrapping paper that fits the perimeter of the lid
  • A small tassel or paper to make a shredded tassel

  • There are several steps to making this creative graduation gift. First, remove the lid from the jar. Take the strip of paper and wrap it around the rim of the jar, and then tape the band in place at the seam. Place the thick square stock board on top of the lid and tape or glue the outer ring to it. Flip the hat you just made. To the center of the cap, glue or tape the tassel. If you can't find a tassel, wrap a small colored piece of paper around a pen or pencil. Tape the seam and then pull the paper off and cut it into strips. Then attach the tassel to string taped onto the middle of the graduation cap.

    Now that you have a hat on the jar, it's time to fill it with some other graduation gift ideas. Since your student is going to need to wash their own clothes, fill a third of the jar with several dollars in quarters. To the middle third, add foil-wrapped chocolate coins. Top off the jar with some little gifts like mini magnets, handwritten notes, or perhaps some of their favorite cookies. Screw on the hat lid, and you have a college survival jar. Make your graduation gift idea personal by writing your student's name on the front with paint or a colorful permanent marker.

    3. Shower Gifts

    Sometimes the best graduation gifts are the ones you don't even know you need. When you select a gift by occasion, such as graduation, be open to buying everyday items you student needs for life away from home. For the one going off to a dorm, a practical yet attractive graduation gift idea is a shower bucket or basket packed with bath and body essentials. Choose a broad basket or bin that is sturdy yet stylish. You can make the basket look nice by lining the bottom and sides with large, soft cotton towels before arranging the other items inside.

    If your grad is going to live in an apartment, add some style to the bathroom with a funky, spotted shower curtain. Your young person out on their own can use a set of basic-colored or patterned washcloths. Give extra freshness to a shower by including scented soaps. Add lotions with natural ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin after a long day running around campus. After a bath, let them wrap up in a comfy terrycloth robe for a long night of studying.

    4. Kitchen Starter Set

    Your recent grad living away at school may miss your home cooking. You can give them the necessary tools to make food in their own kitchen with a clever graduation gift idea: a kitchen starter set made with a rolling cart and bins filled with useful utensils. This modern graduation gift provides the ingredients for good times cooking and eating with friends. Select a rolling cart with a top at hand level to keep items readily available. Put bins on each shelf to balance the cart.

    Fill each bin with culinary items organized by food prep work. Fill one with baking items, such as a bowl and a whisk and a set of measuring cups and spoons. The other drawer is convenient for items to manage the kitchen environment. A set of towels and washcloths are practical for mopping up messes, and oven mitts keep the cook safe when working with the hot appliance. The lower drawer is ideal for holding great gifts for grads, like a set of glasses and some place settings that include a stacking tray of matching bowls and plates that let this graduation gift idea be an impressive display during weekend dinners with friends.

    5. Gift Sets

    If you prefer to rely on a package designed by someone else's hand instead or your own, you can select from an assortment of prepared gift sets and boxes as a graduation gift idea for a party. A box featuring several types of popcorn is the perfect addition for movie nights with friends, and a box of flavored coffee from around the globe helps keep your dedicated student awake while studying for exams, too.

    Graduation gift ideas abound when you have the imagination and the tools to create your own. Your homemade items satisfy your grad's needs and bring you to mind each time they see it. Prepare your project by gathering creative graduation gift ideas along with several items from our quality home goods selection that will help you give your graduate a memorable present.