DIY gift ideas made with inspiring items from Goodwill

By Sophie Leppanen

Sometimes the time and effort you put into a gift is what makes it so special to the receiver. Reusing existing materials is a great way to extend a product’s life and keep it out of the landfill. DIY projects not only reuse existing materials, they also add artistic, environmental and functional value through upcycling. Check out these three DIY gift ideas that you easily can put together with thrifted finds from Goodwill!


Teacup Bird Feeder

Teacup Feeder

This is a sweet gift for someone who spends a lot of time looking out their window. Maybe Grandma enjoys sitting in her living room chair, or Dad is always at the kitchen sink. With our harsh Wisconsin winters, the birds also will appreciate this gift as a supplementary food source.

All you need is a thrifted teacup and saucer set, twine, E6000 adhesive and a knife. Goodwill has TONS of cups and saucers to choose from. We found the set below for just $1.98. Also feel free to explore a mismatched look if you find a separate cup and saucer that pair well together.



Upcycled Gift Box and Homemade Candles

Homemade Gift Boxes and Candles

We found this circular cardboard vintage box at Goodwill for $1.99. It was charming just as it was, but we wanted to lighten it up and add a shimmery finish while preserving its flattering vintage features like the flowers and red and green plaid rim.

First, we traced the lid’s flower design onto wax paper with a marker. Next, we secured the wax paper to white craft paper and cut out the flower design with an X-Acto knife. This step was done with a cutting board underneath. We then aligned the paper design with the flowers on the lid and glued the paper in place. After gluing fitted white paper pieces to the sides of the box, we sealed the entire thing with a glossy Mod Podge finish. It dried in about five hours.

Now, what to put inside of our beautiful box?

Everyone can appreciate the warmth that candles bring to the home in winter. We found this easy-to-make, natural beeswax recipe from lifestyle blogger, Angela Kim. You need a block of beeswax, a cheese grater, coconut oil and braided wicks and taps. You’ll also need glass containers to pour the wax into. Check out the three matching jars we thrifted at Goodwill for 99 cents each. And guess what? They fit perfectly into our box.

Homemade candle instructions:


Mashup Upcycled Necklace and Earrings

Upcycled Necklace and Earrings

It might be a new concept to think about going to Goodwill and purchasing items based on their materials and not the product itself, but that is exactly what the creative DIYer does! Look at the two necklaces above. Can you see them for just their beads?

For a friend who loves pearls and has deep blue eyes, I deconstructed each necklace and integrated their beads into a necklace that was more her style, adding a shell pendant from my supplies. There were enough beads left over to make a set of matching earrings.

All you need to do a project like this are the jewelry-making materials below, which you can pick up from any craft store. This great tutorial from PotomacBeads shows you how to crimp and finish beaded jewelry designs.
Upcycled Necklace Upcycled Necklace

  • stringing wire
  • nose pliers and wire cutters
  • fishhook earrings and earring backs
  • lobster clasps and jump rings
  • crimp beads
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