20 Great Patterns and Printables for DIY Christmas Gifts
This post contains affiliate links to Etsy. All the items in this list are for gifts that you can make yourself — they are not finished objects. If you don’t have time for crafting during the holidays, cut yourself some slack and let someone else make the gifts for you! The Editor’s Picks page on Etsy has tons of great ideas to get you started!
Two years ago, I knit up a whole bunch of Christmas gifts. That was the year that I knit up the cozy cowls and those epic Star Wars mittens. It made sense, right? I had a perfect newborn baby that liked to sleep on my lap, so I had a lot of time to sit around and knit. Sigh. Happy times.
But then last year? Last year I had a one-year-old who didn’t let me sit for a moment. That was fine, of course — we just tried the “shopping” thing like every one else. And it was great! Until shortly before Christmas when I realized that I desperately missed the act of making gifts. I swore I wouldn’t make the same mistake this year. This year I vowed to start early. Like in January. Or maybe spring. August for sure.
DEFINITELY by November.
Normally when I’m in a crafty mood, I browse Pinterest and Etsy for inspiration. Often I don’t need much of a pattern — I can figure out how to make something with a bit of trial and error. However, when a deadline starts to close in, I have ZERO time for experimentation — I just want the pattern and I want to start right away. Because it’s ALMOST CHRISTMAS and I have a HUGE list of things to make so EVERYONE LEAVE MOM ALONE ALREADY.
Personally, I’ve found Etsy is a lifesaver during these times. If you search Etsy for “pattern”, “pdf” or “printable”, you’ll find a ton of tutorials that will tell you exactly how to make a craft and the supplies you need to buy for it. There’s no guessing. And there is no need to worry about shipping times either — many of the products are available as instant downloads.
I’ve made a list of some pretty amazing ideas from Etsy that you can make yourself, gifts that are way more unique than what you’ll find at the mall. Some of the gifts involve sewing, some involve knitting. Some gifts might require you to print off a few sheets and then cut them up with scissors. Some gifts just need you to print off a page and stick it in a frame. Bammo! Done!
With love, of course.
20 Patterns and Printables from Etsy for Fabulous DIY Christmas Gifts
(1) Paper Doll Coloring Book by Lily and Thistle
Skill required: Sending File to a Printer
How much do I love these paper dolls? They are soooo cute, and I know for a fact that both my 5-year-old and my 9-year-old would happily play with them — because both my daughters happened to walk by while I worked on this post and both were absolutely smitten. Of course, my two-year-old would love them too, but more in a rip-off-the-heads kind of way. That’s okay, though. He’ll flash his dimples at us and we’ll all melt and then we’ll just pull up the PDF file and print more.
The file comes with six different dolls and 29 outfits that you can colour yourself or leave for the child to do. This could seriously be the simplest gift on this list but it’s one of my favourites.
(2) Paul the Toadstool Pattern by Lalylala
Skills required: crochet
Skill level: suitable for beginners (level 2 – easy), according to listing
I’ve already started making this toadstool doll for Forest, and then I’m making another one for my niece. Even though I’m much more comfortable knitting than I am crocheting, this project is going very well. I’m always amazed at how quick crocheting is compared to knitting! If I get both dolls finished off soon, I might have to make a couple of dolls for my girls too. The hardest part is picking which doll to make because they are all so cute. Seriously, it took me weeks to settle on the Toadstool. Maybe I’ll do the kangaroo? The dragon? I can’t decide!
(3) Wool Dryer Ball Pattern by Simple is Pretty
We’ve been using dryer balls for years now. I made them myself and I’ve never had to replace them, though I could easily use a half dozen more given that my kids play with them all. the. time. Honestly, I could never make white ones, as pretty as they are in this picture. My kids would decide that they’re snowballs and then they would toss them at me and then they would have to run because mom never loses a snowball fight.
Really, the only downside to wool dryer balls is the cost — they’re surprisingly expensive to buy! Go ahead and make them yourself for next to nothing — it’s so easy, and they’re so practical.
(4) Madawaska Mittens by Rebecca Mae Designs
Skills required: sewing
Skill level: beginner/intermediate, according to listing
I have a pair of upcycled sweater mittens that I adore — they’re so warm and cozy and they’re 100% unique. Upcycled sweater mittens would be a lovely gift for anyone really, so grab those sweaters that your significant other shrunk in the wash last winter (not bitter, not bitter, not bitter) and give them new life!
(5) Cardboard Dollhouse by Dolls and Daydreams
Skill required: Box cutting. And possibly gluing, if you plan to get fancy.
I really think this is just the most clever gift idea, especially if you don’t want to spend much. This tutorial from Dolls and Daydreams tells you exactly how to cut a cardboard box out to make a dollhouse that you can decorate as you please. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase the additional house skins, print them off and paste them onto the cardboard and voila: instant farm house. Or doll house. Or school.
(6) Knit Fox Hood Cowl Rene by MukiCraft
Skills required: knitting, but crochet patterns available as well
Skill level: easy/intermediate, according to listing
I don’t know about your kids, but my kids hate wearing hats — unless they’re fun in some way. It’s the same with coats, actually. Harbour would have worn an unlined duck raincoat every day for three winters straight if I gave in. Now my two-year-old is the one throwing fits when I make him wear a winter coat on chilly days.
Clearly these cowls would be a big hit in our home and I’m kicking myself for not making some already. I’m thinking the Fox for Forest, and I know Harbour has her heart set on the reindeer. Although I wonder if she’d go for the bunny poncho? It’s crazy adorable. I should probably just do both to be safe.
(7) Bible Verse Print by Salt Studio Prints
Skills required: sending file to printer
We have a fair bit of “word art” in our house, but I know our “Make More Forts” print is going to look out of place in my mother’s living room. No problem.
Etsy has a wide selection of beautiful prints to choose from, like my (okay, everyone’s) favourite Bible verse done up beautifully by Salt Studio Prints. Once you’ve chosen your word art, you can print off at home or send off to Staples for an extra spiffy print job. After that, all you need is a nice frame and you’ve got a lovely gift that people will have to like. Because it’s from the Bible. 😉
(8) A Partridge and a Pear Christmas Tree Ornaments
Skill required: hand sewing, embroidery
I have had my heart set on making these gorgeous Christmas tree ornaments since I first saw them. I’m particularly fond of the swans a-swimming, but I might have to admit to myself that I’m not going to have time to make them all this year. For the sake of my sanity, it’s probably better to start at the beginning of the song and do one or two a year.
I think that would be a pretty cool gift, too. Family would look forward to the handmade ornaments that you give them each year, and then you’re gift list is covered for 12 whole years. Sweet.
(9) Doodle Diddie Crayon Roll by Adams Blankie
Skills required: sewing
Crayon rolls are easy-to-make, incredibly handy to have stashed in your bag, and just make a snappy-looking gift. I’ve actually made a stack of them up as party-favours before — they’re that quick and easy!
A crayon roll doesn’t just work as a gift for kids, of course. With the adult colouring fad still going strong, you could adjust the size of the roll to accommodate pencil crayons or markers and give it to your trendy friends.
Do the pubs in your town host colouring nights too? This whole thing baffles me, because moms have been colouring to relieve stress for decades! We never needed fancy “adult” colouring books to do it, either. You should see the depth of feeling that I can inject into an outline of Elmo. It’s masterful.
(10) Essential Oil Carrying Roll by Everything Nice Sewing
Skill required: Sewing
Skill level: it will take an afternoon for beginners, according to the listing
I stumbled across this amazing idea when I was looking for a crayon roll tutorial. It’s brilliant! I have so many friends that carry their essential oils around with them and this would keep the bottles safe. Although breaking a few random bottles in a purse might create a fabulous new signature blend. “Wow, what’s that your diffusing today?” “This? Oh, I call it Bottom of the Bag blend…”
I rarely carry oils around with me — they’re stashed way up high, far out of my children’s reach. Even so, I think carrying rolls would be a handy way to keep them organized, rather than all loose in my cupboard.
(11) Wee Dwellings by Beneath the Rowan Tree
Skills required: knitting, felting, needlefelting
Skill level: both newbie and veteran, according to the listing
How sweet are these little gnome home from Beneath the Rowan Tree? Pretty much everything on her Etsy store is fabulous — I often visit it for inspiration.
These little homes are hollow inside, perfect for stashing all sorts of “treasures” inside. That’s pretty much Harbour’s favourite thing to do, which is why I can never find my keys when I need them.
I almost want to make up a whole Christmas village that I take out in December. They could serve as homes for our Kindness Elves. Who am I kidding, though? My kids would never let me pack them up for 11 months of the year.
I love advent calendars — or the idea of them, at least. I have tried several times to make one for our family, but usually it’s last minute and I do something in scrapbook paper because it’s easy and inexpensive. Unfortunately, paper don’t last from year to year and I end up scrambling again when December rolls around again.
One year, I was clever and I bought a beautiful wooden calendar at 50% off on Boxing Day — I just knew it would become a beloved family keepsake. Except that each year another door falls off — it’s like a reverse advent calendar. A really slow one.
The advent calendar is gorgeous though, and I can imagine that it would be cherished by the recipients for years to come. A family could put in toys, chocolates, Jesse tree ornaments, Bible verses, activities – anything really!
(13) Advent Activity Kit by Wrimpele
Skill required: Printing, then cutting
I don’t just make flimsy Advent Calendars — I rarely even fill them up. Yup — I totally stick blank cards in half the slots, hoping that inspiration will strike before we get there. To date, I don’t think my kids and I have ever once finished a whole advent calendar because I always run out of activity ideas. How many times can you use “watch Elf as a family”?
OK, bad example. Everyone knows you can watch Elf non-stop and never get sick of Buddy.
I think this Advent Kit is brilliant, because not only does it offer 60 different activities for parents to choose from, but it has a matching boolket that includes craft instructions, templates and recipes. And let’s face it — I’m never going to get around to finding the instructions for a twig and ribbon Christmas tree on Pinterest. I’m too busy crocheting toadstool dolls and embroidering goose eggs.
Having everything organized for me in advance would be a wonderful gift, and I’m willing to bet that most moms with little children would appreciate this ready-to-go family tradition that can be used year after year after year.
(14) Maria Wrap Apron by Maven Patterns
Skill required: Sewing
Skill level: advanced beginner/intermediate, according to the listing
Aprons — particularly aprons with pockets — are THE BEST, especially if you’re a mom with a newborn that spits up six times a day. And then a mom of a toddler who thinks you’re a walking Kleenex box. And then a mom of a preschooler who gives you 42 handfuls of rocks to carry home every time you leave the house.
I have an apron just like this one and I absolutely love it. The criss cross back makes it extremely comfortable — much nicer than an apron that loops around your neck. I wear it all the time and I constantly get compliments on it, which is likely because I hang out with a lot of people who love aprons as much as I do. Because aprons are amazing.
(15) Midori Weekly Planner by Happy Digital Download
Skills required: Printing, stapling and trimming
Do you have someone that uses a Traveller’s Notebook like the one I made last week? Are any of your friends a fan of bullet journalling? Etsy has beautiful notebook templates that you can print off and assemble yourself. It’s a lovely handmade gift that would take very little time to make, yet be very practical!
I like this weekly plan by Happy Digital Download in particular. When I designed my own booklets, I found it very hard to make the pages look nice but not require a lot of ink for printing. This one is so much more stylish than anything I came up with, but it wouldn’t cost a ton to print.
(16) Mermaid Tail Blanket by Made by Devrie
Skills required: knitting
If I new that mermaid tail blankets would take off, I would made a set for my girls when I made the tails for their dolls three years ago! Mermaids have always been big in our home and I know that both of my girls would get a kick out of a mermaid tail blanket.
I picked this pattern in particular because it promises to knit up fast with super bulky yarn, which is always appreciated when Christmas is closing in. I even have the exact perfect yarn somewhere in my house — now I just have to figure out where I stashed it…
(17) Nursery Animals Prints by the Crown Prints
Skills required: printing
These. Prints. Are. Killing. Me.
They’re soooooo cute, but so different from standard baby room decor — the perfectly unexpected gift for your hipster friends setting up an animal-themed nursery. Just like the other prints, you simply need to print it and frame it and your gift is done.
Okay, another one. I can’t resist.
It’s a baby owl! And it’s adorable! Okay, that’s enough. But you should go check out the other ones. Especially the koala bear.
(18) Felt Gingerbread House by Tiny Little Dots
Skills required: cutting, embroidery optional
This pattern had me at the words “no sew”.
The parents of toddlers are going to love you for this Christmas-themed gingerbread house that’s — and this is key — completely quiet AND small enough to pack away in a bag when the season is over.
Do you remember playing with felt or flannel boards as a kid? I remember them from Sunday School: I remember the way flannel Zacchaeus felt when I pulled him off the flannel grass and then stuck him up at the top of a flannel tree so he could see flannel Jesus. Then I smoothed everything out with my hand.
This activity back all the memories, and I’m pretty sure I’ll happily be down on the floor with my two-year-old and my five-year-old, decorating the gingerbread house over and over and over.
(19) Pretend Play Mail Pattern by Alsjeblieft
Skills required: sewing
Skill level: beginner
What is it with kids and mailboxes? My five-year-old never gets tired of making cards, then “finding” them in the mailbox a few minutes later. I remember my oldest doing the same, and I have no doubt our two-year-old will follow suit. This little mail set would be used many times over at our house, I know.
Not only does it have a mailbox, but it also has a snail mailbag, a pigeon crayon holder and fabric envelopes.
When you check out the listing, be sure to click over to the plush chicken pattern too. I need that chicken in my life.
(20) Solemnly Swear Cross Stitch Pattern by Fiddlesticksau
Skill required: Cross Stitch. Or not.
Etsy has a lot of fabulous cross stitch patterns that you’re never going to find at the local craft store. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Totoro — there are so many cool ones! We’re on a big Harry Potter kick right now that I expect to last … 11 more years, give or take a few? So Harry Potter-themed anything is a safe bet.
I’m planning to give this pattern to my daughter, along with the required fabric and thread. As in, do it yourself, kid. And believe me, she will be thrilled.
Embroidery is a nice, relaxing hobby that not enough people do anymore. Why not find out what your favourite tween is in too and find a pattern that they can do? It will give them something else to do besides Minecraft over the Christmas holidays.
When I started this post, I never expected to find so many great ideas — and I want to do them ALL. Thankfully it’s Harbour’s birthday in February, so if I don’t finish these crafts by Christmas, I can use them as birthday gifts. Although I’m sure that by then I’ll have found 21 more amazing ideas that I just have to do!