It’s basically the winter holidays, isn’t it? Terrifying. We don’t tend to do a lot of holiday type content on this blog (beyond once giving you a real look at what our houses look like around the holidays). But there is one spot where we think we an add some value: good gift ideas for your DIYer loved ones. We already have most of these, so we swear this is (mostly) not an elaborate phishing ploy.
The ideas we provide below cover a pretty wide range of price points depending on how much you’re looking to spend. Note that all the product links in this post are affiliate links. For more information on this, please check out our policies.
DIYer Gift Idea #1: A “Specialty Tool” That’s Actually The Most Useful Thing Ever
If your friend is an avid DIYer, chances are they already have all the basics. However, there are a few additional tools that we’ve both found ourselves using all the time that we might never have bought ourselves if they hadn’t been gifted to us by an encouraging friend or relative. Even though they perform some pretty specific functions, it turns out we use these items widely in our projects and they’re incredibly easy and accessible.
A kreg jig is essentially a specialty attachment for a power drill that allows you to drill pocket holes. You might not realize at first why pocket holes are so handy, but once you have a kreg jig you’ll find yourself using them constantly.
Pocket holes allow you to join two pieces of wood that would be difficult to join otherwise — like if both pieces are too wide/thick to drill in from the outer edge, or if you don’t want a screw showing on the outside. We’ve used a kreg jig on building projects like cabinets and furniture, and the great thing is that if you know how to use a drill, you can use a kreg jig. This kit for ~$80 has everything you need to get started.
Dremel rotary tool
Another tool we wouldn’t necessarily have bought for ourselves is a dremel rotary tool, which is a handheld device that spins a wheel around really quickly — quickly enough that the wheel can buff, grind, and cut things depending on what attachment you use.
Sage was gifted a dremel early in her DIYing career, and Naomi got hers from Brad for the holidays last year. We’ve used them for really dumb things like cutting the tops off of spoons to make an ugly mirror, but also to do really helpful things like sanding down sharp metal edges on Sage’s coffee table and trimming down the grates that finally solved Naomi’s infamous grate disaster. Naomi has this model, which right now is available for less than $40 including a variety of attachments.
One disadvantage of DIY is that you’re often teaching yourself — which means you might not know about awesome tools that make life so much easier. A good friend can introduce you to seemingly-simple things like locking pliers (these ones are $23):
You might be like, “but I already have pliers,” and then once these were foisted upon gifted to you, you wouldn’t know how you’ve been living without them. Ever have a stripped screw, or something screwed on so tight you couldn’t pry it loose? Locking pliers let you clamp tightly around the item (more than you could ever do by hand with regular pliers) and then rotate it free.
DIYer Gift Idea #2: A Tool Just Outside of Their Comfort Zone
The best gift that you can get your DIYer friend is the confidence to master a new tool that will allow them to take on new types of projects. Trite? Yes, extremely, but also true. It can be intimidating to “go to the next level” with a bigger tool, but when someone else buys it for you and encourages you to use it, it is a lot easier. Just be prepared to suffer absurd levels of mansplaining and condescension when you go to the home improvement store to procure said gift….
A Jig Saw
This is one of the most accessible power saws, so if you have a friend who likes crafts but hasn’t taken on bigger projects yet and is sick of cutting things with a handheld saw, this would be an ideal gift. Beyond simple cuts, it can do some pretty intense projects (like when Sage used hers to cut metal bars to build a coffee table base). We each recommend the ones that we have: Naomi’s is a slightly older version of this one by Porter-Cable (~$60) and Sage’s is an older Ryobi model (~$50).
A Circular Saw
A gift from a friend can empower you to try something new, or at the very least it can make you feel pressure to try something you’d otherwise be terrified of so as not to hurt your friend’s feelings. This is how Naomi’s adventures with the circular saw first began with a gift from Sage a few years ago, and now Naomi uses it in basically every project.
Circular saws can be intimidating because they are loud and the blade is big, but they are also incredibly versatile and useful. Whether you use it to cut large surfaces that would be difficult to cut otherwise — like plywood and counters — or it’s your go-to saw for cuts big and small, a circular saw is worth learning to use.
Air Compressor & Nail Gun
For some reason anything pneumatic (ie requiring pressurized air from an air compressor) has always seemed pretty intimidating. Thus Sage was thrilled when Naomi got her an incredible three-tool combo kit with an air compressor and three different sizes of pressurized nail/staple guns.
Working with pressurized air is not actually very hard, and it makes work that would otherwise be very laborious (hammering nails) so quick and satisfying. Sage used hers extensively in her kitchen renovation to add new trim/crown molding and attach facing to new cabinets, and this summer on some outdoor projects like her new trellis.
DIYer Gift Idea #3: Good Quality Versions of Things They Use All The Time
If your friend already has everything or giving power tools isn’t up your alley, another option is to gift high quality versions of things they already own. So many DIYers start out with entry-level items and then don’t invest in the higher quality alternatives that really do make a difference.
Last year for the Winter Holidays, Sage’s dad gave her a set of a bunch of different clamps — and it was pretty much the best thing ever. How else could she have created that Frankensteined extra-wide threshold for the transition between her kitchen and sun room?
If you think they already have good quality clamps, you can also invest in an extra large pair which essentially substitute for extra hands when doing a large project.
Yes nice clamps might not seem that exciting at face value, but they are a crucial staple when it comes to building things and it makes a huge difference to have a complete set of different sizes and options.
High Quality Paint Brushes
Nice paintbrushes really make a difference when it comes to ease of use and results. There is nothing worse than a crappy brush that leaves loose bristles or visible brush strokes in your fresh paint job. Good brushes are expensive, though, and no matter how much you care for them, eventually they get worn out (especially if you’re working with stains and oil-based paints). If someone got us a pack of brushes — like this one from Purdy — as a gift (HINT HINT HINT), we’d be pretty darn pleased.
Drill Bit Sets
If your friend is a DIYer, chances are they use their drill bits constantly. As you’d expect, bits get dull over time — especially if you’re drilling into walls and other tough materials — and even break (if you’ve ever broken a drill bit off inside of a project, you’ll know that locking pliers are a lifesaver!).
You can’t go wrong gifting a nice set of bits, which are also compact and pretty affordable — this black oxide set of 20 bits from DeWalt runs about $28. Every time your friend picks up their drill they’ll think of you and be grateful that they’re not still using the same set of drill bits they’ve had for the last 10+ years.
So there you have it, those are a few ideas we have for your DIY-loving friends and family. And we’d love to hear from you: what are the best DIYing gifts you’ve received and/or given?