10 easy Gift Ideas if you know how to Draw or Paint

Be it for Christmas, birthdays or just ‘because’, nothing says “I care” as much as a handmade present. Especially if you’ve got the skills to make it fabulous.

If you’re a drawing beginner that is following the Sketching Project, or you’re a pro already, this list should have something for you as it holds ideas for all levels of skill.

Let’s beat that blank page syndrome and find something to do with our talents that can benefit us as well as our friends.

1 Personalise their décor
Often even small changes can completely transform a room. So, if your friend likes a certain style and could do with some more home-décor or other useful products, why not draw or paint on some bought items to make them fit your friend’s taste even better?

Maybe they like intricate leafy patterns, they’re a keen bird watcher or huge Nintendo fan. Rather than spending a fortune on themed products that are never exactly what you’re looking for, draw the theme yourself.

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Is your friend a bee-enthusiast? Personalise your gift to match their hobby, as seen in MotleysCollection on Etsy
Is your friend a bee-enthusiast? Personalise your gift to match their hobby, as seen in MotleysCollection on Etsy

You could buy them small storage boxes (yay, IKEA!) and paint a design on them that works perfectly with your friend’s taste and décor. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you have the skill and time for.

You can draw on vases, textiles, lamp shades, plates, whathaveyou. Trust me, there’s the right kind of paint out there for every material, your local art store can help.

There’s the right kind of paint for every material, so no limit to the objects you can ‘theme’ to match your friend’s taste.
If your friend has everything already, you can even upgrade their existing décor. This is probably something you should reserve for people you know very well, or discuss with their significant other beforehand.

But if it’s well planned and executed this idea can make a formidable gift that will brighten the receiver’s day for years to come. The things you can do with a plain, dull chest of drawers, or some uni-coloured flowerpots…

2 Framed artwork
This is probably the most obvious option but does not need to be dull at all. Of course you can draw and frame a portrait of your friend’s spouse, or immortalise a snapshot of their children.

You can also spice things up a bit. You could experiment with the style, perhaps try something abstract, or in an unusual colour scheme.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with subject and style, things can be a lot more interesting that the obligatory pencil drawing of your friend’s loved ones.
Instead of a drawing or painting their loved one’s, you could choose their favourite vacation spot, or any other kind of memorable experience.

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Is your friend working hard to afford that cottage in the countryside? Draw it for them to help with motivation when things get tough.
Is your friend working hard to afford that cottage in the countryside? Draw it for them to help with motivation when things get tough.

You can make a still life with objects they like, such as an array of boots, thermos mug, compass and so on to commemorate their West Highland Way hike. Is your friend working hard towards a certain goal? Draw that goal so they can use it for motivation when things get tough.

Be creative. Think about who your friend is, what they care about and use that to inspire your art.

3 Handmade relaxation
Easy, relaxing activities that used to be done mostly by children have become quite popular with adults these days. And for good reason.

It’s a lot of fun just to spend an hour or so on the sofa, with your coloured pencils and just follow the simple rule of staying within the lines. No complicated tax law to mind or a labyrinth of office etiquette to navigate.

Or you might prefer sitting in the kitchen, a crackling fire next to you, and puzzling away for a bit, making all those pieces fit neatly together to reveal the picture.

Straightforward. Uncomplicated. Things make sense in the fabulous world of colouring-in and puzzling.

Colouring-in is no longer just for children, and the design doesn’t need to be difficult. Author: Nadiya Ischenko, for supercoloring.com
Colouring-in is no longer just for children, and the design doesn’t need to be difficult. Author: Nadiya Ischenko, for supercoloring.com

The main change in the industry in recent years is that these activities now come in themes specifically aimed at adults.

I probably wouldn’t much care to colour-in a ‘Bob the Builder’-book all afternoon, but when the theme is ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Impressionist paintings’ or even ‘Contents of the cell’ to help with a biology exam, that’s a different matter.

Colouring-in or puzzles now come with ‘adult-themes’, from Jane Austen to the human muscular system.
And what do we do when the exact theme our friend, aunt or brother is sure to love doesn’t exist? We make it ourselves, of course!

Making a cute colouring-in book is a lot of fun. Just buy a blank notebook or bind the pages yourself with a needle and some string. And blank jigsaw puzzle pieces are sold on Amazon and in many art stores, in various difficulties as well.

As you can see in the above example, it doesn’t even have to be incredibly complicated, a simple colouring-in design with the basic shapes is quite enough for your friend to love it and reap the (mental) rewards.

4 Motivational posters
Now, now, don’t roll your eyes at me. This is another gift idea that can be as cheesy or as classy and fun as you want it to be.

If you can draw, or paint, chances are you’ll have quite the talent for some good calligraphy as well. And that’s just perfect for a nice motivational poster, card, pillow or whatever else you can think of that is seen frequently and fits a nice message that your friend will care about.

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A good “motivational” poster need not be cheesy, dull or difficult to make (as seen by HarknettPrints on Etsy)
A good “motivational” poster need not be cheesy, dull or difficult to make (as seen by HarknettPrints on Etsy)

No one said it has to be your average “Live, laugh, love” kind of poster. It can be a quote from your friend’s favourite book for example, or film, or something their gran used to say.

How about a nice “If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving or it” for your favourite Jane Austen lover, or better yet, the entire “Arise, Riders of Théoden” speech for the Lord of the Rings fan in your life.

Motivational quotes need not be dull and conventional, you can use something more personal.
Of course you don’t have to invent the font yourself, you can just grab one from websites like 1001fonts or dafont, which incidentally also often have copies of popular film and movie fonts. That, combined with a nice design around it will surely make for a welcome gift.

5 Clothes and jewellery
There are a great many good paints out there (not just the kiddy ones) that can turn any dull, high street top or tote bag into a fun personalised accessory.

Whether you choose an intricate design, a quote from your friend’s favourite film or a simple outline theme, even the smallest change can transform a piece of clothing and make it so much more interesting.

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Who wouldn’t want a pair of hand-painted sneakers with their favourite movie scene on them? As seen by BingBangDesign on Etsy.
Who wouldn’t want a pair of hand-painted sneakers with their favourite movie scene on them? As seen by BingBangDesign on Etsy.

You could consider drawing big or small designs on sneakers, pumps, tops, jackets, scarves. You can use your friend’s existing wardrobe, if you know what you’re doing and you’re sure they’d welcome it.

If you’re buying the item, imagine how much money you’ll save getting a bland pair of sneakers from Primark and turning them into something really special in a matter of hours.

I have personally used normal acrylics on shirts before and they stayed intact for many washes, so you don’t even necessarily need to buy the more expensive textile paints. Though if you do use acrylics, keep the design small or stick to just outlines, as it will make the area it’s on somewhat stiff.

Acrylics can also do just fine on jewellery, especially when you finish your design off with a quick coat of transparent nail polish. Think about all the things you can draw on necklaces, earrings, hairbands, you name it.

6 Board games
Talking about customisation, how about giving your friends the gift of some regulated entertainment in the form of themed board games?

While you can obviously invent your own game, it’s probably easier if you just stick with the classics. A standard, wooden backgammon board for example can look a lot more fun if you give it an ancient-Egypt makeover, for that archaeologist friend of yours.

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Even a game as basic as Noughts & Crosses can suddenly become enormous fun when it’s in a theme we really really like. As seen by ElbriCrafts on Etsy.
Even a game as basic as Noughts & Crosses can suddenly become enormous fun when it’s in a theme we really really like. As seen by ElbriCrafts on Etsy.

That cheap chessboard from the flea market might work nicely with glow-in-the-dark paint, or in excessive neon colours. Double fun, so to speak. Playing cards are also very easy to theme, you can draw on the front, or the back (so long as it’s the exact same design for all, to avoid cheating).

A Seega board (traditional Egyptian game) can easily be handcrafted on a piece of wood or cardboard and the playing stones could look amazing as pebbles with little painted images on them.

In most cases standard acrylic paints will work nicely. If the game will be in use a lot perhaps give it a coat with clear nail polish (make sure the paint underneath is perfectly dry before you apply the coat).

 

7 Custom notebooks
You know how you’re sometimes just not in the mood for puppies, pineapples or cheesy motivational quotes (see above)? Well, your friends might be the same. It’s not always easy to find a nice notebook with a design we actually like.

But we sure still want notebooks. Be it for uni, to-do lists, creative writing or simple doodling, notebooks are the most awesome bit of stationary and everyone can find good use for them.

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There is just nothing better than a new, blank, customised notebook. The possibilities…
There is just nothing better than a new, blank, customised notebook. The possibilities…

And that’s where you come in. Just buy a blank, uni-coloured notebook and give it a good makeover. Make it personal to the friend receiving it, perhaps add a little inscription.

Once again you can be creative here and adapt the design to your friend. Do they like it classy and neat, or fun and hip? Will you go for the always welcome Harry Potter theme or paint a relaxing beach scene on it instead?

 

8 Monograms and heraldry
Monograms are a timeless classic to personalise everything, from towels to laptop bags and letter heads. And they’re also quite easy to design.

All you need is your friend’s initials and a font and colour that matches their taste and the items you are giving (or upgrading). As mentioned above, there’s basically a kind of paint for every material, so just find whichever one is needed in an art store or on Amazon and go to town.

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A personal coat of arms may not be very useful in our time and age, but it sure is a fabulous thing to have nontheless.
A personal coat of arms may not be very useful in our time and age, but it sure is a fabulous thing to have nontheless.

A crest on the other hand asks for design skills, additionally to artistic talent, and very good knowledge of your friend.

Unfortunately, we don’t all have a family lineage that can be traced back for generations with a cool history, sword collection and coat of arms. But nonetheless, we all like good symbolism and a bit of extravagance every so often.

So, why not surprise your friend with a crest/coat of arms designed specifically for them. Something that, instead of lions and Latin slogans, may encompass things they deeply care about. Stuff that makes them ‘them’.

Naturally there isn’t much you can do with such heraldry these days (unless you’ve got the money to have it made into a signet ring for that extra bit of swagger), but it sure is a cool thing to have either way and shows how much thought you put into their gift.

 

9 Statement walls
A lot of people spend a fortune on photo wallpaper or wall stickers for a ‘statement wall’, be it a forest, the NY skyline or a fairy castle for their kid’s bedroom.

Or you can just draw or paint one yourself, for a friend or family member on a rainy Sunday afternoon. This is another gift that can be absolutely amazing but that you’ll want to reserve for people you know very well and/or talk it over with their spouse.

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Even a very simple design can make a huge difference to the feel of a room
Even a very simple design can make a huge difference to the feel of a room

Naturally it doesn’t have to be the perfect, photorealistic beach scene. If you’re a beginner or don’t have much time even just the outlines can look amazing on a wall and really give the room something special.

I have yet to meet the friend that doesn’t delight in the offer of creating a nice painting on their kid’s bedroom wall for example, or have some simple butterflies brighten up their hallway.

10 Cards and paper
Of course it doesn’t always have to be elaborate and time-intensive. We live busy lives and not everyone can use their weekends to make gifts for all their friends and family.

It’s perfectly fine to just order something from Amazon, especially if you know it’s something the person would really like. But if you still want to add a little something extra, you can do so in a very simple and quick way with the packaging and card.

Even if the gift itself is store-bought, a little personal touch goes such a long way.
The easiest option is to just buy some brown paper packaging (to be tied up with string ♫), cut it to size and draw or paint on it a hint of what’s inside, or anything you can think of. This does not take more than a few minutes but makes it look ever so much more special.

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Hand-painted wrapping paper for a Christmas gift for my friend, to hint at the books inside (paper folded Japanese-style, no tape).
Hand-painted wrapping paper for a Christmas gift for my friend, to hint at the books inside (paper folded Japanese-style, no tape).

Or you can buy blank cards and draw a little something on it, rather than buying one from the store. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, one colour and a simple design will do just fine.

If you’re looking for even more possibilities to spend some time with your favourite hobby, do pop by my article about 8 things you can do when you’re good at drawing.

 

Source: https://cravepainting.com/blog/gift-ideas-if-you-can-draw-or-paint

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