No-Sew, No-Knit Homemade Gift Ideas (updated for 2011)

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck. It originally appeared in November 2010 and has been updated for 2011.

Last year, I wrote about homemade gift ideas and shared with you what I was working on Christmas 2010.  Since I”m a knitter and I dabble at sewing, many of the gifts on that list were related to those skills.

I got a request for ideas that don”t involve knitting or sewing and I thought that would be a helpful idea for a post.  So, here you go: a round- up of homemade gifts ideas that don”t involve any sewing or knitting – updated for 2011.

Handmade Gift Ideas: The No-Sew, No-Knit Version

I have been going through my bookmarks, my Pinterest boards, as well as some of my favorites from this year”s Weekend Links posts, and have pulled together a list of no-sew, no-knit gift ideas for kids. (Note: I have not personally tried all of these).


This year our family has been doing some woodworking and my oldest two kids are helping their Dad make a set of blocks for our youngest.  The blocks we are making are simple rectangles and squares that the kids are measuring and cutting (with help from Mom &  Dad).  Max and Jillian are sanding the blocks smooth and we will give them a light beeswax polish finish before giving them to Lucy.

2011 notes:  these were a big hit and have turned out to be a terrific present idea that we can add to.  This year Jillian and her dad have been busy in the woodshop and we”ve got a few more blocks, including some arches and longer pieces, to put in Lucy”s stocking this year.

Tree blocks (blocks with the tree bark intact) are also a favorite of ours and I found a tutorial for making them here at Counting Coconuts.

Other Wooden Gift Ideas:


No Knit Yarn Doll

Here is a simple yarn doll that you can create without knitting or crocheting – Wee Folk Art has instructions for creating a girl doll and a boy doll.

Dyed Playsilks

Playsilks are one of our favorite things to play with.  I shared on the different colors we”ve achieved by dying them with flavored drink mix.  The basic instructions I use come from .

Use Your Printer

I think these ABC and 123 posters from Sprik Space would be adorable printed and framed as artwork in a child”s room. (And I love her hint that an 11×14 print at Costco is less than three dollars, making this a frugal gift, too!)

When printing, I like to use a heavy weight paper or cardstock.  Laminating might be a good idea, too for the flashcards or paper dolls. This is the laminator we have.  If you don”t have your own laminator, check your local library.  Ours will laminate items for you for a dollar a sheet.

More Ideas

I”m sure this list is only the tip of the iceberg and I”d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for homemade gifts for kids that don”t require knitting or sewing skills.

Do you have a favorite no-sew, no-knit gift idea for kids? Have you blogged about it? Please, share in the comments.

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at

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  1. Kara, THANK YOU so much!
    Wow, I really appreciate you doing this. It helps a tremendous amount. I was sitting there yesterday looking at my lists and feeling like I may as well give up & do the same-ole-same-ole gifts I do every year. But this list is helping me to fill in the blanks, and now I know I can pull off a 100% handmade Christmas this year, with items I haven’t made & given before! YAY!
    Sofia’s Ideas´s latest post: Orglamix Mineral Makeup Giveaway!

  2. Great ideas…I’ve already printed off {and cut out} the Alphabet flash cards for my nephew. I also Love the wooden blocks!!
    Andrea @ Simple Organized Living´s latest post: Holiday Baking- Cooling Racks- and a Giveaway!

  3. Great ideas!

    To add to the wood block idea, this year I’m making my son some lacing cards, but out of wood. I’m going to cut some shapes with the jigsaw (star, circle, square etc) and drill holes around the edges so that he can thread brightly coloured shoelaces through and trace the shape. I’m also considering doing something similar but with letters and numbers, if I have enough wood (and patience).

    I haven’t started them yet, but I have the scrap wood sitting around left over from some furniture I built earlier this year. I’m trying to decide whether I’m going to paint them bright colours or whether just to polish up the grain…
    Satakieli´s latest post: Aching Feet

  4. this was really helpful – more lists like this would be welcomed! I am going to try the playsilks – my youngest would like it, and it might also be a great gift for his preschool classroom.

    I am planning to try a new craft to me but has been on the alphamom blog – snow globe soaps – they look cute.

  5. I’m definitely NOT a crafter! I can’t sew or knit, but I’m really excited this year to be making more of our gifts thanks to my new love, the hot glue gun. I am making super-hero capes and little little purses for our kids and the quartet of nieces and newphews on our list.

    I love the alphabet cards – those might be included as well for each family!

  6. Last year I made a hanging doorway puppet stage for my nephews. It was so simple. I just purchased a few yards of felt (you would have to measure your doorway, I forget how much I used for one) and a tension rod that would fit the size of the door way. . Then I sewed the top of the felt over to make a sleeve for the tension rod to go through but you could easily hot glue it instead for a no sew project. Then I cut three sides of a square in the top 1/4 of the piece of felt when hanging in the doorway to make a large window for the puppets to fit through(I also added little velcro strips to the square flap so that the flap could close during a performance if you needed it to!) It really is so easy and I had seen them in stores for $20-$30!

  7. I’m planning NEXT year’s all-knitted Christmas. This year- I am doing no knit things- thanks for the ideas- blocks are first on my list- nice blocks are so expensive!
    priest’s wife´s latest post: Nervous for Nutcracker

  8. Nothing comes to mind Kara. This is a great list and what a good idea since some of us are so handy with the needles.

  9. Thanks again Kara. These lists are so fun and helpful. Not to mention all the new blogs I’m falling in love with…

  10. These are some great ideas. I need to make some items with my boys for the Fairy Market at school. As I am not a sewer and not crafty at all, these are great!
    Sheridan´s latest post: Baby Bond Review and Give Away

  11. Thank you for such awesome ideas! I’ve already started a set of blocks for my younger son out of scrap 2×4’s.

    Now I’m thinking about adding some playsilks to our “toy” collection. Any recommendations on sizes?

    • Karen, my kids are getting larger silks this year, 45×45, to use as play capes, landscapes, etc. They seem pretty huge :-)

      Most of the silks I’ve dyed and that we have are 35×35 and that seems to be a pretty good size for play and for dressing up.

      Now, we also have some handkerchief sized silks, 11×11 that I originally made to be peek-a-boo silks for babies but actually still get quite a bit of use in our play kitchen and for dressing up smaller dolls now that those “babies” are a bit older.

      Hope this helps!
      Kara @Simple Kids´s latest post: Four Tips for Navigating the Holidays as a Single Parent

  12. Tried a few of these previously (or at least variations of them). I’m getting more into the mode of giving good food–everyone will use/like that. Great post here on some gift ideas:

  13. love these ideas, Kara. I also like to do art and / or writing kits with notebooks and supplies. Although, I think you posted about that now that I think of it?
    Melissa @imaginationsoup´s latest post: New Christmas and Chanukah Books for Kids

  14. I’ve been thinking about playsilks this year…but I had no idea I could do my own! I just checked out the Dharma site–they’re so affordable and can even ship out today!

    (Also I think it would be hysterical for this healthy-eating-mama to finally buy some koolaid–and use it to dye silks!)

    The whole list is great, but I honed right in on the item on my little girl’s wishlist! Thanks for this!
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s latest post: Classic Gifts for Girls

  15. I love these ideas for little kids, but do you have any winners for older kids? I’ve got an 11 yr old nephew and 9 yr old nieces. I’m not finding anything fun, functional, or exciting at all for them! Thanks!!!

  16. Thank you!
    I LOVE the homemade wooden blocks idea! Why have I not done this yet? Now if I can only make more hours n my day, we would be all set with some fabulous homemade gifts!
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site´s latest post: How My First 5K and Baby Steps Can Help You Sleep Train Your Baby

  17. These are all really great ideas! I have read so many “homemade gift” posts and they are usually very generic and all say close to the same things. This is an amazing list of ideas. Thanks so much!
    Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds´s latest post: Routines

  18. Thanks so much for the links. I love the alphabet cards and the letters and numbers posters. I’m not crafty at all but I can print and laminate or frame.
    Stephanie´s latest post: A Word About Miracles & Milestones

  19. i did the crayons as well, but with letters to spell out the child’s name. super easy and fun!

  20. I loved, loved the play silk tutorial. If my kids were still young, I’d be making them. My kids played with play silks from the Magic Cabin almost every day. Awesome open ended toy!


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