A meaningful handmade gift can bring you and your teen closer.

Handmade Gifts for Teens

by Zora Hughes

If your teen is like most, she can be picky and hard to shop for. Either the item you buy is "so uncool" or it's way too expensive for your budget. Handmade gifts can take the stress out of shopping for your teen and relieve your wallet. It also teaches your teen that a thoughtful, meaningful gift is far more important and special than anything money could buy. Choose handmade gifts that you can make based on your skills and your teen's interests.

1. Clothing

Make a cool T-shirt or tank top for your teen using stencil designs. Print out a design, such as a peace sign or the teen's initials, then tracing it onto freezer paper. Cut out the stencil with a craft knife and stick cardboard inside the shirt to protect the other side. You can then iron the stencil into position on the shirt and use sponge to paint inside it. Once dry, remove the stencil to reveal the design. Another idea is to take an old pair of your teen's jeans and spruce it up with a stylish bleach design. You can again use stencil designs on the jeans, spraying the stencils with a spray bottle filled with equal parts bleach and water. Make sure you use gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.

2. Accessories

For a teen obsessed with her phone, you could make her a "blinged-out" cell phone cover using a variety of colored rhinestones and gems. You will need a plain rubber phone cover, strong industrial strength glue, tweezers and several hours of patience to add each gem to the cell phone to completely cover it. Make sure you let the glue dry for up to two days before presenting it to your teen. For the teen always on the go, you could also pick up a plain drawstring canvas tote bag and use canvas paint to decorate it, perhaps personalizing it with her name or a cool design.

3. Sentimental Gifts

Create a scrapbook for your teen filled with special memories that the two of you have shared since she was young, such as a picture of you hugging your teen at her kindergarten graduation, or the two of you screaming your heads off on a roller coaster ride. Include mementos related to each event, such as concert tickets, or write down your thoughts for each moment shared. Another idea is to turn a glass candle holder into a personalized pencil holder. Write messages of love to your teen all over the glass using a permanent marker. You could write out the messages in texting shorthand to relate to the teen who loves to text. For example, you could write "I <3 U," for "I heart (love) you."

4. Homemade Goodies

Few teens will turn down homemade sweets. When your teen is studying hard for final exams or the SAT, you could surprise her with a jar of homemade trail mix to fuel her through the night. Along with nuts and dried fruit, mix in one of her favorite candies, such as mini chocolate chips. Give it to her in a glass jar, on which you can write positive affirmations, such as "Believe in yourself!" and "You're a genius!" If your teen has a favorite dessert from a restaurant, recreate an even better version at home, perhaps for her birthday. If your teen adores the hot caramel apple crumble from a popular chain restaurant, find a tasty apple crumble dessert recipe in a cookbook or online and make a bigger version of it with extra caramel and whipped cream.

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