Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
December is here, and that means the season of gifts is here. But here’s the problem: we want to shower our friends with presents, but we’re tight on money and out of ideas. For those of us who have gamer friends, the problem is amplified because gaming is not exactly a cheap hobby. What can you do?
Don’t get me wrong. It’s possible to be a gamer without spending much money, but that requires a lot of foresight and compromise – two virtues that don’t play well with the rush, bustle, and time-sensitive nature of the holiday season. So instead of buying gifts for your gaming brothers and sisters, why not make them?
You’ll save money, have a lot of fun, and ultimately end up with a gift that’s more meaningful and sentimental. Here are some great DIY gift ideas for you to try.
What better way is there to kick start this gift ideas list than with food? And what better food idea is there than chocolate? Thanks to AwajiMan at Instructables, you can now make chocolate morsels of delicious goodness in the shape of Space Invaders. Wrap them up in wax paper, pack them up into a neat little box, and surprise your friends!
You can make an entire batch for just a few bucks using no more than a knife, a spatula, and a plastic squeeze bottle. The only unique item in the recipe is the silicon mold needed to form the chocolate into the Space Invaders, but you can grab that off of Amazon for $15 USD.
If you’re into arts and crafts, you will love this idea: using Perler beads to create pixel art beverage coasters. Thanks to toughschmidt at Instructables, all of the instructions are laid out for you in an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow format. All you have to do is run out, buy enough Perler beads for your project (they aren’t expensive at all), and get to work.
The basic gist is that each Perler bead takes the place of one pixel. The coasters in the link above are recreations of images from Legend of Zelda, but you can recreate images from any pixel game simply by printing out the image and converting each pixel into one bead. Simple and fast, yet the results are impressive.
Here’s an awesome project for those of you who are into crochet: creating Super Mario mushrooms out of yarn. If you don’t know what crocheting is, just think of it as knitting with a hook instead of two needles. In order to make these, all you need is a crochet hook, some yarn, and the instructions in the link above. Best of all, the skill level is deemed as easy, so it’s possible for you to learn it from scratch and have it ready by Christmas.
If you want to stick to the Super Mario canon, you can make red-and-white power-up mushrooms or green-and-white extra-life mushrooms. But if you want to get more creative, feel free to substitute any of the yarn colors with those of your choosing. Who knows how awesome they might turn out?
These Minesweeper pillows are a great gift for friends who are looking to accent their furniture with unique throw pillows. You can customize the colors and match them according to your friend’s couch for maximum stylishness. All it takes is a bit of foresight and creativity. Sewing experience is not necessary.
The actual pillow is easy to make, but BrittLiv’s instructions go one step further: adding a sound effect when someone accidentally sits on it! However, if you don’t feel like going through all that extra electronic effort, just make the pillows. They’re awesome enough on their own.
Here’s a super easy way to customize someone’s laptop using contact paper – a type of paper where one side is a decorative pattern and the other side is adhesive. In the link above, Josie used wood grain contact paper to make her laptop look like it was made from wood, but you can go with plenty of gaming-themed options. There are lots of contact paper designs out there so you can play around and be creative.
Of course, if you want to transform your friend’s laptop, you’ll need to find a way to discretely borrow it so you can work on it. Be careful, though! Contact paper is a low-risk activity, but if you accidentally damage their devices you will be the one to blame.
Finally, if you want a DIY project that requires almost no time or money investment, you should try cutting out some wall decorations using cork board. They’re extremely cheap – a 4-pack only costs $6 USD on Amazon – and they can be cut with everyday household tools like heavy scissors or a box cutter. Just follow the directions outlined by dominator24 on Instructables.
Like the beverage coasters earlier in this list, you could cut out pixel art. There’s just something about cork board that feels very decorative, plus it contrasts well with most walls. The end quality comes down to cut precision and imagination.
As you can see, the holiday season doesn’t have to break your bank. With a little bit of ingenuity and elbow grease, you can whip up some awesome gifts for your gamer friends to enjoy for years to come. So much better than buying them a $60 video game that they may or may not enjoy, right?
Have you made any gaming DIY gifts before? What sorts of DIY gamer gifts will you consider this year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!