24 Budget DIY Graduation Gifts

GRaduation ceremony with students throwing their cap

Show up to the party with some original and crafty with these inspiring DIY graduation gifts. Whether you want to make them something sentimental, something practical or if you are looking for a creative way to give them money. Take a look at these DIY gifts for graduates to find your next craft.

GRaduation ceremony with students throwing their cap

Commencement Photo Gifts

Gifts that include pictures are a great way to help graduates treasure the memories that they have made so far in life. These DIY picture gifts for grads below are easy to make and won’t take too long to finish.

1. Photo Initial

Creative and custom, this DIY photo gift for graduates is a great way to send them off with memories that they can display with pride. While it looks difficult, this project could not be any easier and can be completed within an hour or two.

Letter B monogram

You will need a cardboard letter, photos printed out in small squares, scissors and adhesive spray or modge podge.

See the instructions here: www.dreamstodo.com

2. Tassel Photo Frame

Not all graduates have a great place to hang or display their tassel after it has been moved.

This is a gift for graduates to give them a specific way to hold onto the memory of graduation day as well as give them a place to hang their tassell with pride.

To make this easy DIY photo frame you will need a background cutout, a wood frame, a hook for the tassel and some paint for the frame.

You can make it a fun chalkboard base for writing messages or use a bright colored paint with a decal quote at the bottom.

Check out the tutorial here: www.sisterssuitcaseblog.com

3. Mini Photo Book

Give them something small that they can keep close after they leave home with this sweet DIY photo book. The smaller album size is great for carrying in a purse, book bag or simply being displayed on their desk.

Mini photobook

To make this easier than it looks photo book you will need cardstock, white paper, adhesive, scissors, a ruler, a pencil and embellishments.

Take a look at the step by step instructions here: www.coloradomoms.com

4. An Instagram Journal

To help them find the inspiration in the next part of their lives or as a touching reminder, creating an instagram photo based journal is a great way to give them a warm piece of the past to take into the future with them.

Intsagram journal

For a creative graduate, fill the pictures on the journal with inspiring posts and maybe a quote or two for them to reflect on. If you're going to take new pictures, refer to our photoraphy backdrop DIYs to create an aesthetic feed for your loved one. To dear friends, fill the journals cover with some of the best snapshots you have taken over the past year.

See the inspiration here: www.abeautifulmess.com

Creative Commencement DIY Gifts

These DIY graduation gifts are creative and are sure to be a hit when opened. If you are looking for something a little different to give then these presents for your special someone are one of a kind.

5. Keychain Tassel

For proud graduates, make them a fun DIY keychain with the same school colors that are on their tassels. This way they can carry the memory of graduation with them.

To create this tassel keychain you will need some embroidery thread, hemp string, beads or charms, a lobster claw and scissors.

Blue tassel keychain

Take a look here for the tutorial: www.kenarry.com

6. T-shirt Quilt

If you have some quilting experience or if you know someone that can do this large project for you, then it is a great way to send off your graduate with something warm and comforting that they can take from home.

T-shirt quilt

Make sure that you use some older items that they cannot wear anymore or find shirts similar to their favorite ones that really spark memories of their life before leaving for college.

See the project here: www.thecountrychiccottage.net

7. Graduation Wreath

For a fun present from friends, cousins or a group of people, this DIY graduation wreath is a memorable gift that keeps on giving. Create this wreath by alternating cash and gift cards around a base wreath frame. The original creator uses fun glitter clothespins to hold each item.

Graduation wreath

Once the grad has used all of the stuff on this wreath they can swap out the cash and cards for pictures and other similar sized tokens to create a custom wreath full of memories, or even use it as a Christmas decor piece ​with sentimental ​value.

Check out this great DIY gift here: www.savannahsmiled.com

8. Wood Plaque

Wood plaque

You don’t need any wood crafting skills to make this inspirational hanging for graduates. You will need a smooth cut of wood, white chalk paint, a pencil, multiple colors of paint and paint brushes.

Once you have painted the wood, you will free hand or trace the quote you would like to use as well as any additional images that go along with it. Next you will use the different sized paintbrushes to fill in any images with color and paint the pencil written quote so that it pops.

Take a look here for some inspiration for this project: www.walnuthollowcrafts.com

Graduation Gift Baskets

Baskets full of gifts are a great way to compile presents into a DIY gift without having to create something. This is a perfect gift idea for individuals who like to put together gifts in a functional and helpful basket.

9. College Gift Basket

College gift basket

This easy DIY gift basket for graduates is filled with some real life and comic relief items that they will need for their first year of college.

Most of these items can be found inexpensively at the dollar store or in the value section of big box stores.

You can really personalize this basket with a heartfelt note or a funny story about your first year away from home and realizing there was something trivial that you needed and had to run out in the middle of the night to get.

Take a look at this project here: www.pvbs31mom.com

10. College Survival Bucket

Not to be confused with the lighter basket above, this survival bucket is packed full of some must haves as well as a few things to help cheer them up on difficult days.

College survival bucket

You should strive to cater this survival bucket to the person including their favorite snack/candy some lip balm, q-tips, gift cards, a mini sewing kit, small first aid kit, extra batteries and a roll of quarters. It's also great gift idea for your boyfriend wh​ich you can stuff with his favorite snacks and games.

Get your survival kit inspiration here: www.gingersnapcrafts.com

11. DIY Tool Kit

If your college graduate is crafty or handy around the house then a DIY tool kit is going to be a must have in their future adventures. Included are some basic tools that they will need, command strips to help with hanging items, dish soap for cleaning, extension cords, a power strip and duct tape.

DIY tool kit for college

Check out this fun kit here: www.craftcreatecook.com

12. Encouraging Mason Jar

Mason jar gift

This small mason jar is packed full of encouraging gifts for your graduate as they head out into the world.

You can follow along with the stencil or create a gift list of your own.

We love the addition of pom poms to remind the graduate that everyone is cheering them on.

If you want to see more mason jar projects, ​read our mason jar lights DIYs for your indoor and outdoor spaces.

See the finished product here: www.yesterdayontuesday.com

Creative Ways to Give Money to Grads

Let’s face it, teenagers graduating high school want money. There are a lot of fun DIY gifts that you can give them, but at the end of the day, they love receiving money. Instead of sticking a few bills into a card, try some of these creative ways to give graduates money.

13. Dollar Diplomas

These single dollar diplomas are a fun way to give them some single bills to either keep, save or slowly spend one at a time on vending machines. You will need an empty mason jar, some construction paper, hot glue and some embroidery thread.

Mason jar money diplomas

Take a look here for the design: www.nobiggie.net

14. Rainy Day Fund

Umbrella gift

To put a fun spend on rainy days, you can create this raining money umbrella to bring a little sunshine on dull days.

For this fun project, you will need an umbrella, some paint, string and dollar bills.

Just make sure to let the recipient know what is inside of the gifted umbrella so that they don’t carry it out into a wild storm before the money is removed.

Check out this fun craft here: www.thislittlestreet.com

15. In Case of Emergency

This is a fun way to give graduates cash specifically for those hard times, but in a fun way. You can easily create this unique DIY cash gift with a shadow box, paint, transfer tape, white vinyl and some cash.

Emergency bank

The best part of this gift is that when they do use it, they don’t have to break the glass. The glass panel slides easier to the side so that they can reach in and take what they need or add to the savings.

See the instructions for this great DIY here: www.thecountrychiccottage.net

16. DIY Coin Bank

Start future college students off the right way by teaching them how to save. You can create a traditional piggy bank or you can make them a three in one coin jar that encourages them to save, spend and invest their money.

Three piggy banks

To make this easy DIY coin bank project you will need a wood board, a saw, some paint, a power drill, drill bits and a hole saw. Once you create the holder for the mason jars you can insert and label them for spending, saving, investing or giving.

See the step by step instructions here: www.homemadeginger.com

17. Quarters in a Water Bottle

Water bottle gift

This is a great way to store quarters for graduates that will eventually need them, as well as give them a nice water bottle to use.

Quarters are essential for kids that go off to college since they will need them for laundry, vending machines and for other money scrimping together needs.

Take a look at this fun gift here: www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com

Functional DIY Graduation Gifts

These DIY gifts are not only fun to make, but they also serve as a functional item that grads will be able to use in the next stage of their lives. Check out some of our top picks for functional DIY gifts for grads.

18. Memo Board

This DIY gift for graduates is a functional gift that you can be sure they will use in their room. Memo boards are a great catch all for sentimental items, photos, to do items and reminders. You can easily create this DIY memo board with some felt or fabric, ribbon, a stapler, plywood, batting and decorative nails.

Memo board

Take a look at the step by step instructions here: www.sailrite.com

19. Filled Tumbler

Give them something they can really use like a tumbler for cold or hot drinks, plus add in some fun surprises to give them a two in one gift.

Filled tumbler

You can fill a tumbler with crinkle fillers and a gift card or pour in some little chocolate kisses to give them a sweet snack.

See this project here: www.mandylivinglife.com

20. Custom Laundry Bag

Laundry is something that all graduates will have to do at some point. This DIY project will require the use of a sewing machine to create a laundry bag that is strong enough to carry their colors and whites.

You can choose to paint easy spots on the bag or get a little more creative if you are handy with a paint brush.

Custom laundry bag

Check out the simple instructions here: www.designlovefest.com

21. Multi-function Board

This DIY upcycle graduation gift is a great way to give them a landing spot for all of their notes, appointments and memories to hang in unison. To make this fun craft you will need an old window pane, all the glass frames won’t be used, so it is okay if a few are broken.

Multi function board

The different panes can be turned into fabric pin boards, a chalkboard (or just paint a board with chalk paint), a magnetic board and dual dry erase boards. Depending on your recipient, you can pick and choose which type of board they would use the most during their day to day life.

Find your inspiration here: www.myrepurposedlife.com

​Grad Gifts for the Sweet Tooth

Everyone loves candy and chocolate. For teenagers going off on their own, these sweet treats are sure to comfort them during long future college study sessions.

22. DIY Gift Bottles

This neat way to give candy is a fun way to give the graduate some candy that they can store easily in their room. You will need 6 empty and clean bottles, a cardboard 6 pack holders, construction paper and a small top to close the bottles.

You can fill each one with candy and a fun saying to go along with it. If you also wanted to give cash to the graduate then you can also use a bottle to fit single bills into for saving, spending or late night vending machine runs.

Find your inspiration for the project here: www.busymomshelper.com

23. Candy Lei

Candy lei

Candy bars are a perfect gift for any college kid, since the need for something sweet will strike.

Pick out some of their favorite bars and connect them one by one in a single file line and then wrap the candy bars in plastic wrap.

You will also need some scissors and a ribbon to section off each candy bar.

Take a look at the easy project here: www.thecraftpatchblog.com

24. DIY Candy Tree

Candy tree

This is might be our favorite DIY graduation gift on the list since it is a dual snack gift and a fun way to display candy.

To make this you will need a styrofoam cone and ball, a pot, glue, a stick, tape and mini candy bars.

This is also a fun refillable way for them to look forward to if you visit them on a regular basis, or they can bring it back with them for refills.

You’ve got to see this one: www.lookiewhatidid.com

Conclusion

Giving a DIY gift means that you not only thought about the person but that you cared enough to put time and effort into creating a custom gift for them. You also have more creative control over the gift in order to give them something that is unique to the graduate or full of their favorite items to help comfort them into the transition of the next phase of their lives.

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