11 DIY Christmas Gifts That Only Look Expensive

Create beautiful, functional holiday presents that look like a million bucks, but cost next to nothing.

This content has been brought to you by Quikrete. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

  1. Thoughtful Gift Giving

    Thoughtful Gift Giving

    Handmade gifts are almost always appreciated, especially when they’re as useful as they are thoughtful. And those heartfelt gifts are even more impressive when they have a professional edge—something that's easily achieved with a cool construction material like concrete.

    This durable, versatile material can be molded to form all kinds of awesome objects for everyone on your list. And while your pieces will look pricey, they’ll cost practically nothing to make. Plus, the folks at Quikrete are standing by with products, inspiration, directions, and even video tutorials to help you get going on your gifting. So, check out the 11 gift ideas here, and mix up some holiday magic.


  2. For the Pampered Pet

    For the Pampered Pet

    Mealtime goes modern with this sleek feeding station that looks great and helps minimize mess. Start by making a mold from whiteboard and melamine strips, then attach a pair of stainless steel dog bowls. Before filling the mold with Quikrete 5000 mix, duct-tape bottles to the base of the bowls so you’ll be able to push them out with ease after the concrete has set. Find the full how-to here.


  3. For the Chic Chef

    For the Chic Chef

    Pendants make terrific task lighting, especially when they're hanging over the kitchen countertop. These impeccable pendants are a snap to make out of Quikrete 5000 mix and a mold put together from soda bottles (a slender one set inside a larger one, stabilized with wood screws)—check out the tutorial here. The lamp kit you’ll thread through the concrete shade will set you back about $10; the joy you’ll bring to a busy cook will be priceless.


  4. For the Flower Fancier

    For the Flower Fancier

    Don’t toss those glass and plastic bottles into the recycling bin just yet! Use them—and some ballpoint pens or candles—to fashion vases of various shapes and sizes that your lucky giftees can fill with colorful blooms. Tip: If using glass bottles, make the Quikrete Countertop Mix on the watery side so you can pour it easily through the mouth of the bottle. Get all the details in the video.


  5. For the Green-Thumbed Traveler

    For the Green-Thumbed Traveler

    Folks who like to travel get bummed out when they return home to find that their plants have withered and died. Help them keep the greenery going with a DIY self-watering planter. This two-part design started with a 3-D printed prototype that features a water reservoir on the bottom and a pot on top, with a bit of rope poked through to wick water up to the soil. The clever couple here opted to work with Quikrete Vinyl Concrete Patcher because its fine-grained consistency suits the planter’s thin walls. C’mon, get growing!


  6. For the Aspiring Artist or Author

    For the Aspiring Artist or Author

    Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like an assortment of well-organized pens and pencils within easy reach—even if you’re simply jotting down a grocery list! This curvy creation, dreamed up by a DIYer who entered Quikrete’s One Bag Wonder contest, fits perfectly on a desktop. But feel free to tweak the size to accommodate makeup brushes or other items.


  7. For the Party Animal

    For the Party Animal

    Talk about cool! This beer caddy—which took top honors in the Quikrete One Bag Wonder contest this year—relies on concrete not only for its industrial good looks but also to keep beverages perfectly chilled. The base and handle are made from plywood, chosen for the funky inconsistencies in its grain that suit the rugged appearance of the concrete.


  8. For the Hip Host

    For the Hip Host

    Live edge meets concrete in this elegant serving board. This DIYer planed a log to a half-inch thickness, then sanded the surface and coated it with polyurethane. Next, he made a mold, inserted the live edge slab in the center, and poured in Quikrete 5000. To ensure that the board can be safely used for food, the last step is to seal the concrete.

    youtube.com via Quikrete and The Cutting Bored

  9. For Your Sweetie

    For Your Sweetie

    Who wouldn’t love to have "LOVE" cast in concrete? You'll even love how simple these letters are to make. All you have to do is spoon Quikrete Vinyl Concrete Patcher into silicone baking molds. The trick is achieving that perfect pancake batter consistency, thin enough to fill the molds easily but without too much water. When they've cured, seal the letters and finish with a coat of spray paint. For more tips, see the tutorial on Quikrete's YouTube channel.

    youtube.com via Quikrete and Evan & Katelyn

  10. For the Coffee Connoisseur

    For the Coffee Connoisseur

    Caffeine fiends will flip over this unique drip brewer. This creation requires two molds, one for the arch and one for the base, made from Lego bricks (make sure they’re nice and smooth) and filled with Quikrete Countertop Mix. After removing the mold, glue the two parts together using Quikrete High Strength Anchoring Epoxy, which is designed specifically for concrete. Watch the full how-to here. This is one gift that will certainly be used every day!

    youtube.com via Quikrete and Homemade Modern

  11. For the Friend in Need (of Furniture)

    For the Friend in Need (of Furniture)

    Decorating a new place can be challenging, so help a pal feather the nest with this versatile trio of tables. As you'll see in the tutorial, you don't even need to make molds. Instead, simply pour Quikrete Mortar Mix into three buckets, then insert legs salvaged from defunct chairs and stools—wooden dowels will do the trick too. (Tip: If you want the tables to nest, make sure each trio of legs is about 4 inches taller than the next smaller set.) Remove the buckets and lightly sand the bottoms of the tabletops. Then, ta-da—stools that can serve food or seat three!

    youtube.com via Quikrete and Living to DIY with Rachel Metz

  12. For the Neat Freak

    For the Neat Freak

    These concrete coasters will keep unsightly rings and smudges off any surface and look trendy while doing it. As you'll see in this Instagram tutorial, first make circular forms (the paper stock from cereal boxes is ideal) and arrange designs cut from corrugated cardboard, then mix up some Quikrete 5000 and fill. When the coasters are fully cured, remove the forms and stick a few small felt feet to the bottom of each one. You’ll be ready to eat, drink, and be merry—not messy.

    instagram.com via Quikrete and A Piece of Rainbow

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