Every season is a good season for a new home. When a friend or family member makes a move, show them your excitement with a homemade gift. After all, a home is all about the homey touches.
1. Welcome Sign
A welcome sign is the quintessential housewarming gift. Make your own for a personal touch.
Start by selecting wood for your sign. It can be a small, single word, hanging size board or a large, stand alone board for the porch.
You can use pallet wood, 2x4 scraps, or anything in between. Old boards provide a rustic look, or you can clean them up and sand them down for a more modern appeal. Use a planer or power sander for very rough boards.
You may also want to use more than one board, allowing your message to continue. For example, the top board could read, “Welcome” and a board attached below reading, “To Our Home.” An easy way to attach light boards together is by using eye and tea cup hooks.
Depending on the finished look you want, choose your paint colors. For example, if you want Navy Blue on white, start by painting a base coat of white on the entire board. You can also add paint to the natural wood tone without a base layer.
For a rustic look, paint the base color and then hit it with a sander to remove some of the paint. Next, use a hand or machine-made stencil for the script and words of your choice. Freestyle writing is another option if you’re comfortable. Remember, you can always sand the paint back off and start over, so have fun with it!
If using stencils, make sure they are thoroughly adhered so paint doesn’t seep underneath. Apply a very thin layer moving from the center of the stencil towards the center of each letter to avoid pressing paint beneath the stencil.
Allow the paint to dry between coats. When done, remove the stencil and make touch ups with a small brush. Seal the paint with a topcoat.
Finally, apply hardware to the sign. Wind picture wire around eye hooks that are twisted into the top of the sign. Another option is to attach a sawtooth hanger or create pocket grooves using a pocket hole jig.
2. Etched Glassware
Create a memorable keepsake in a few easy steps by etching drinkware or vases. Similarly, you can create an ornament or window decor with etched glass or mirrored surface. Use the family’s last name and the year or similar commemorative message like “Welcome Home.”
The key is in a medium such as Armour Etch, which you can find at any craft store or online. Start with a small container, as a little goes a long way. Next, you will need some form of stencil that thoroughly adheres to the glass, to avoid the etching cream seeping underneath.
This can be created with a Silhouette or CriCut machine, or you can create your own design using shelf liner and an Exacto knife. Similarly, stickers will do the job.
Adhere your sticker where you want it on the glass, pressing firmly with a focus on the inside edges. Practice safety by wearing a mask and using gloves. The etching cream can be an irritant to the lungs and the skin. Then, using a brush, apply a generous amount of etching cream to the stencil.
Dab it on, allowing it to form a blob. More is better than less for this job. Just make sure it doesn’t run off the sides of your stencil, or you will unintentionally etch other parts of the glass.
The etching cream states it only needs to sit for a few minutes, but we’ve found better results by allowing it to sit on the glass for around 15 minutes. When the time is up, simply rinse off the etching cream, dab the glass dry, and remove the stencil. Hand wash your project for the best results.
3. Canned Goods
Canning is a traditional homesteading practice still used today. If you pride yourself in your garden, you’ve probably already started canning tomatoes, salsa, peaches, pears, jams, and other goodies. They make a perfect housewarming gift, especially when couples with a few kitchen accessories and hand towels.
4. Garden Herb Box
Consider the home’s layout and come up with a basic garden box design that will fit in. You can make an elevated square box for the patio or a low, larger box for the side of the house.
Build your basic design and enforce it. Then embellish it with paint or wood burning accents. You can make it as simple or as detailed as you want.
Choose your lumber. Then create boards of the same length for the long side of your box. Then cut boards of the same length for the short side. If it’s a square, make them all the same size. Shorter boards for a taller planter can be stacked and attached to a vertical board on the inside.
Nail or screw the boards together at the corners. Leave gaps in the bottom for drainage.
Reinforce your garden box with 1x1 or 1x2 pieces inside each corner.
Choose your favorite woodworking joints to show off your dowel joint, box joint, mortise and tenon, tongue and groove, mitered butt joint, or rabbet joint skills.
Fill the box with an assortment of herbs for the home chef or gift colorful flowers instead.
5. Stepping Stone
Create a long-lasting keepsake for the yard with an easy and fun stepping stone. Use a basic plastic plant saucer, about 12” in diameter.
Mix up a concrete blend, which is just a combination of bagged concrete mix and water. You can also purchase a premixed option.
Pour the concrete into the plant saucer. When partially set, press the design into the mix. It can be the handprints of your friend’s child, or words laid out in colorful pebbles. You can include flowers, colored tile or other decorations. Allow your concrete to thoroughly dry before removing it from the saucer, and your gift is ready!
6. Seeds, Pots, and Gardening Tools
Going back to the gardening theme for a minute, providing a start for a garden builds excitement for the possibilities in the new home. Give some dried seeds from your yard or packages you’ve purchased. Put together a gift with the seeds, some gardening gloves, a few basic gardening hand tools, etc.
Put everything in a pot you’ve decorated for the occasion. You can paint a design, once again use a little one’s handprints, or simply stamp the pot with flowers.
Be sure to include a pint jar of homemade hand cleaner. Fill it ⅔ full of plain sugar. Then slowly add Dawn Gentle Clean dish soap, stirring frequently and stopping about ½” from the rim.
This gardener’s hand scrub is very easy to use. Simply remove about one teaspoon of the mixture and rub it vigorously around your hands, including under your nails. The sugar works as an exfoliant, sluffing off dry skin particles, while the dish soap removes grease and filth.
7. Bath Products
Moving is hard work. Pamper the new homeowner with some homemade bath products instead. Make a sugar scrub in your favorite scent. Simply add your favorite oil, such as coconut, to plain white sugar and mix well.
If you prefer, you can use brown sugar for a different texture and feel. Put the sugar scrub into a canning jar and decorate with ribbon and a cute label.
Add your scrub to a basket with your favorite soap or foaming hand wash, a few wash cloths, and a lovely candle.
8. Cloth Napkins and Tablecloth
If sewing is your DIY thing, you’ve got it made with some homemade cloth napkins and a matching tablecloth. Choose some nice fabric and adorn the edges with decorative stitching.
If you want to take it a step further, you could add them to a canvas tote and include wine, pasta, and sauce or infused oil, balsamic vinegar, and a loaf of bread. Any combination of goodies, including your canned foods is a good match here. What’s more welcoming than food and drinks?
9. Artsy Addition
What’s your DIY claim to fame? Are you crafty? Do you love painting? What about pottery? Use your favorite medium to create a warm and personal housewarming gift.
Use ceramics to make a set of mugs or a pot for a new plant.
Paint or sketch a picture of the new home and put it in a frame.
Write a poem, turn it into calligraphy, and create wall art.
Make a gift out of photography with a shot of the landscape, the house, or the family.
Crochet or knit a blanket or washcloths.
Use your needlework skills to cross stitch a design for the wall.
10. DIY Cleaning Supplies With Recipes
Homeownership isn’t always glamorous. With the joys comes the responsibilities, and cleaning is a primary one. Make the job a bit more pleasant with homemade, all-natural cleaners.
You can dress up the gift with some rubber gloves and scrub brushes. Put cleaners in jars or spray bottles with cute labels.
This is the stuff you can use in the toilet, on the counter, or to clean up the floor.
Here are a few options that will work well:
Castile Soap All-purpose Cleaner
2 cups distilled or boiled water
2-4 Tbs. Castile Soap
15 drops of your favorite essential oil (try peppermint!)
Vinegar All-purpose Cleaner
1 cup distilled or boiled water
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced (optional, but store cleaner in the fridge if you use it)
15 drops of your favorite essential oil (try orange!)
11. Corkboard or Chalkboard
Another well-received gift is a corkboard or chalkboard. Fortunately, they are also a great DIY project. Simply make the frame with trim cut at 45 degrees on each corner and place it on a base of corkboard mounted to thin plywood. Alternately, use chalk paint for a chalkboard finish.
Start with a quality wax. Beeswax or soy are preferred. Next, choose a mold. You can buy molds or simply use containers from around the house. Cut-off milk cartons, jars, or condensed juice cans are all examples.
Melt your wax and add coloring, scent, and aesthetics like leaves or herb sprigs. Then stabilize your wick or wicks, pour in the wax, and allow to cool. Put a ribbon or paper wrap around the candle or jar to dress it up even more.
13. Fresh Bread
There are few things better than fresh-baked bread. It’s a delicious treat that pairs well with a bottle of wine, some cheese, and a few of those etched glasses mentioned above.
You can also throw in some olive oil, infused with rosemary, thyme, sage, or basil. Be sure to leave some pretty sprigs in the bottle for show.
14. A Welcome Mat
Grab the stencils and paint again. This time, dress up a blank doormat by personalizing it.
Cater to a sense of humor, announce it’s a pet-friendly home, or go with the classic welcome messaging.
It will be a functional and thoughtful gift your recipient will notice with each arrival.
15. Flower Bouquet
Depending on the time of year, your yard may be bursting with colorful blooms. If so, put together a welcoming display and bring a smile to the homeowner’s face.
Put the flowers in an etched-glass vase, ceramic pot, ash bucket, gardening tote, or other useful household item for a double gift.
16. Build an Emergency Kit
Your new homeowner might appreciate a practical gift that covers unexpected emergencies. Include the basics of a fire extinguisher, a small notebook for phone numbers, and first aid supplies.
17. A Wreath
Wreaths are easy to make, yet create a welcoming vibe that sets the tone at the front door. Let the seasons influence your wreath design. In the fall, bring in small pumpkins and gourds. Spring is more about flowers, such as dried hydrangea, roses, sunflowers, and striking strawflowers.
Your winter wreath might lean into snow themes or celebrate with holly and cranberries. A summer wreath can take advantage of fruits and nuts.
Start with a standard wire or straw wreath form. Use florist wire to attach your arrangement. Consider herb sprigs for your primary material. For example, eucalyptus has a hearty stem that can be formed into a circle with or without a frame. Add other large leaf and hearty varieties of herbs such as rosemary, lavender, sage, and mint.
Dawn Hammon has thrived in freelance writing and editor roles for nearly a decade. She has lived, worked, and attended school in Oregon for many years. Dawn currently spends her days convincing her children she is still smarter than them while creating new experiences with her husband of 24 years.&nbsp;
Her multiple interests have led her to frequently undergo home improvement projects. She enjoys sharing the hard-earned knowledge that comes with it with the audience of DoItYourself.com. Dawn and her sister make up a power-tool loving duo that teaches classes to local women with the goal of empowering them to tackle their fears and become comfortable with power tools.
Tapping into her enthusiasm for saving money and devotion to sustainable practices, Dawn has recently launched a passion project aimed at connecting eco-friendly products and socially-responsible companies with consumers interested in making conscientious purchases, better informing themselves about products on the market, and taking a stand in favor of helping to save the planet.
When she is not providing stellar online content for local, national, and international businesses or trolling the internet for organic cotton clothing, you might find her backpacking nearby hills and valleys, traveling to remote parts of the globe, or expanding her vocabulary in a competitive game of Scrabble.
Dawn holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, which these days she mostly uses to provide therapy for her kids and spouse. Most recently, I worked for a small local professional organizing and estate sale company for four years where I learned a ton about organizing and/or disposing of just about anything.
She was raised in a tool-oriented, hands-on, DIY family. Her dad worked in the floor covering business and owned local floor covering businesses, so of course selling floor covering was one of her first jobs. Her brother was a contractor for about 30 years and site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity. I worked with him often, building decks, painting houses, framing in buildings, etc. With her sister, she holds power tool classes to empower women who are scared or have never used them.
Not quite homesteaders, she did grow up with a farm, tractors, motorcycles, expansive gardens, hay fields, barns, and lots of repairs to do. Plus she and her family preserved foods, raised cattle and pigs, chopped and hauled firewood, and performed regular maintenance on two households, outbuildings, fencing, etc.
As an adult, she has owned two houses. The first one she personally ripped out a galley kitchen and opened it up to the living area, plus updated every door, floor covering, and piece of trim in the place. In her current home, she's tackled everything from installing real hardwood flooring to revamping the landscape.