Handmade Gifts Grandparents Actually Want

Written by Carewell Staff on Tue Mar 30 2021.

Handmade Gifts Grandparents Actually Want

Sure, you can go online, and with a few clicks, a gift will be on its way to your loved one, and you can cross that off your checklist. But when’s the last time you took the time to make a handmade gift? 

There’s no doubt that you have a busy schedule, but making a gift for a loved one is so rewarding. Grandparents are sure to cherish a gift that’s handmade by their kids, grandkids, or main caregiver. And you can spend quality time with your kids doing a fun craft project. 

We promise you that the finished product will bring you a feeling of accomplishment that’s way better than a simple check mark next to your “order Grandma a gift” to-do.

No need to spend time and energy figuring out what to make–we’ve done that for you! Here are some simple homemade gifts that won’t take much time but will pay you back with a heart full of gratitude.

Sugar Scrub Hand Moisturizer

How Easy: Super Easy

How Fast? 15 minutes

No one can resist a great-smelling sugar scrub. If you’ve seen a hand scrub next to a sink, you’ve probably used it. And your grandparents will appreciate it too, since it will leave their hands soft with a light, natural scent that is not overpowering. The natural ingredients won’t irritate their delicate skin, either. You will probably want to make one for yourself, too!

What You Need:

  • Repurposed glass jar or small container with a lid (4-ounce glass jars work nicely)

  • Bowl

  • Spoon

  • ½ cup cane sugar or brown sugar

  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil (unrefined)

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

How to Make It:

  1. Double the recipe if you are using a larger jar.

  2. Mix the sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon coconut oil by hand. Add another tablespoon of coconut oil if the mixture is too dry. You want it to have the texture of sand but also be moisturizing.

  3. Spoon the mixture into the container until full and put the lid on it.

Essential Oil Room Spray

Processed with VSCO with al1 preset

How Easy: Super Easy

How Fast? 15 minutes

Homemade room sprays are great alternatives to store-bought air fresheners that might have an overpowering scent. You can choose any combination of essential oils, whether you want a fresh citrus scent or a calming lavender scent for relaxation. They can freshen up bathrooms, bedrooms, and even trash cans. 

What You Need:

  • Small 2-ounce. or 3-ounce spray bottle 

  • Distilled water

  • Witch hazel

  • Essential oil (good combos: bergamot, grapefruit, and lemongrass; vanilla and lavender)

How to Make It:

  1. Fill the spray bottle half full of witch hazel.

  2. Add 10-15 drops of each essential oil you want to use.

  3. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with distilled water. 

  4. Put the cap on and shake the bottle.

  5. Do a couple of test spritzes to check the scent. Add a few more drops of essential oil if desired.

Flower Pen Cup 

High angle close up of pink and purple paper roses and an orange poppy.

This is a tried and true craft that still delights–a beautiful arrangement with flowers that double as pens. You can do this one of two ways–the super easy way, with a glass jar and glass beads, or the somewhat easy way by decoupaging your jar. If you’ve got a stack of old magazines and an empty can in the recycling bin, you’re all set. Either way you do it, the finished craft will be cheerful, colorful, and functional, and it will never need watering!

How Easy: Pretty easy / somewhat easy (decoupage version)

How Fast? 30-45 minutes

What You Need:

  • Glass jar (16-ounce or larger, with a wide mouth)

  • Scissors

  • Small, smooth stones or colorful glass beads 

  • Floral tape

  • Silk/artificial flowers

  • Pack of pens

For the decoupage version:

  • Mod Podge

  • Magazines

  • Foam brush

How to Make It:

  1. If you are not doing decoupage, skip to Step 6.

  2. For the decoupage version, cut out anything you like from the magazines to make your collage–flowers, people, animals, shapes, patterns, etc.

  3. Apply Mod Podge to the jar using the foam brush. 

  4. Place your magazine cutouts in a collage pattern, covering every inch of the jar.

  5. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire jar and wait for it to dry. You can add a second coat if you want after the first coat dries.

  6. Fill the jar with stones or glass beads. 

  7. Pick out 5-10 flowers and cut the stems to 2-3 inches. Wrap the floral tape around the stem and the top 2-3 inches of the end of the pen until secure.

  8. Arrange the capped flower pens in the jar.

Memory Box

This gift will melt any grandparent’s heart, and it’s a way to capture all of those great memories before they’re forgotten. You can start off the memory box by writing down all of the memories you’ve shared with your loved one, whether they inspire laughter, happiness, or reflection. They don’t have to be life-changing memories; the simplest ones will still bring a smile to their face. 

How Easy: Pretty easy

How Fast? 30-45 minutes

What You Need:

  • Box with a lid (can be a wooden box, metal tin, etc.)

  • Blank 3 x 5 cards of any color, or use multiple colors

  • Pen or marker

  • Tacky glue

  • Decorations (paint, feathers, sequins, beads, etc.)

  • Mod Podge, magazines, and foam brush if you are doing decoupage

  • Family photos and mementos

  • Large envelope

How to Make It:

  1. Have each family member write down any memories they can think of on the cards. You can even reach out to friends to ask them to send memories, too.

  2. Fold the cards in half and place them inside the container.

  3. Glue the envelope inside the top of the box using tacky glue. Slip the photos inside.

  4. Add any meaningful mementos to the box.

  5. Decorate the container, using tacky glue to secure feathers, sequins, beads, or a combination of things. If you want to do decoupage, you’ll need to use the Mod Podge to attach your cutout magazine pieces, wait for it to dry, and then cover the entire can with a layer of Mod Podge to seal it. You can add a second coat if you want after the first coat dries.

Glass Bead Picture Magnets

Magnets are always useful, and with a little craftiness, you can make them a little more interesting. These glass photo magnets can feature pics of the family or your loved one’s favorite hobby, like colorful flowers if they love gardening, or different types of songbirds if they are into birdwatching. You could even print out letters so they can use the magnets to leave notes or reminders on the fridge.

How Easy: Somewhat easy

How Fast? 30-45 minutes

What You Need:

  • Bag of large glass beads with one flat side

  • Small, round magnets with an adhesive side

  • Quick Grip glue, or Mod Podge as a second choice

  • Magazines, photos, or small images printed on card stock

  • Scissors

  • Pen

How to Make It:

  1. Place a glass bead, flat side down, on your image (magazine image, photo, drawing, or image printed on cardstock) and trace a circle around it.

  2. Cut out the image.

  3. Place a small drop of glue in the center of the flat side of the glass bead. 

  4. Place the glass bead on top of your image and gently press.

  5. Stick the magnet on the back.

Perler Bead Coasters

Colorful beeds for ironing. Montessory activity for kids.

Perler beads, or “melty beads,” are tiny, colorful plastic beads. You can arrange them in patterns and melt the tops slightly with an iron to fuse them together. One simple craft you can do with perler beads is a set of handmade coasters. Create any design to personalize the coasters for the grandparents. These are fun and easy to make, especially for kids that are helping with the craft.

How Easy: Somewhat easy

How Fast? 40 minutes (to create the designs for several coasters)

What You Need:

  • Perler bead kit (pegboard, Perler beads, parchment paper)

  • Iron

How to Make It:

  1. Arrange your beads on the pegboard. You can choose a kit that comes with certain designs, or create your own. Make sure your design is large enough so that it can be used as a coaster.

  2. Place the pegboard on a heat-safe surface.

  3. Set your iron to medium heat.

  4. Put the ironing paper (parchment paper) over your design.

  5. Run the iron over the paper for 10-20 seconds without pressing down. Remove the paper and allow your design to cool. Remove your design from the pegboard.

  6. If you want, you can flip the coaster over and heat the other side using the same steps.

Fruit-Slice Felt Bookmark Corners

How Easy: More difficult; for adults and older kids

How Fast? 30-40 minutes

Special Skills: Basic sewing

If your loved one is a bookworm who loves to settle into their favorite armchair with a good book, they will really appreciate this useful present. You can easily make a bookmark out of felt that slips over the corner of the page to save their spot. Pick your favorite fruit and get started.

What You Need:

  • Felt sheets in the colors of your chosen fruit:

    • Lime: green, white

    • Lemon: yellow, white

    • Grapefruit: Pink, yellow

    • Watermelon: red, green

  • Scissors

  • Craft knife

  • Ruler

  • Layout reference sheet

  • Super glue

  • Needle 

  • Cotton embroidery floss 

  • Thimble

  • Black Sharpie

How to Make It:

  1. Choose your fruit. 

Lime: Use 1 green felt square for Step 2. 

Lemon: Use 1 yellow felt square for Step 2. 

Grapefruit: Use 1 pink felt square for Step 2. 

Watermelon: Use 1 dark green felt square for Step 2.

  1. Mark 2 inches from the corner of the felt square in each direction. Place a can on the edge to mark an arch connecting the points. You should have a quarter-circle shape.

  2. Do this again on another corner of the same felt square.

  3. Use scissors to cut out the quarter-circle shapes.

  4. Lime

    : Use 1 white felt square for Step 6. 

Lemon: Use 1 white felt square for Step 6. 

Grapefruit: Use 1 yellow felt square for Step 6. 

Watermelon: Use 1 red felt square for Step 6.

  1. Mark 1.5 inches from the corner of the felt square in each direction. Place a can on the edge to mark an arch connecting the points. You should have a quarter-circle shape.

  2. Use scissors to cut out the quarter-circle shape.

  3. Watermelon

    : Make small marks on the red piece for the seeds.

Lime, lemon: Cut out 3-4 pie-shaped pieces from the white piece.

Grapefruit: Cut out 3-4 pie-shaped pieces from the yellow piece.

  1. Glue the small piece onto one of the larger pieces to create the sliced fruit look. This is your top piece.

  2. Cut a long piece of embroidery thread. Pull apart the embroidery thread so that you have only 2-3 strings, and then thread your needle. Line up the top and bottom pieces and sew along the straight edges only. 

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