Some dads are notoriously difficult to buy for, which can make the upcoming Father’s Day holiday June 16 stressful for their children. We just want to make sure our gifts let Dad know how special he is in our lives. When budgets are limited, that can be a real trick, especially when dads are of an age where they really don’t need anything. I certainly can’t afford to buy my dad the new Dodge Challenger he was eyeing at the auto show, or send him on the Florida Keys fishing trip I know he would enjoy.
The most popular Father’s Day gift — surprise! — is the mall-bought necktie. If you want to get Dad a more thoughtful present, you’ll need to use a little creativity.
Here are some ideas for home-made — by you or someone else — gifts that are sure to please, no matter what your skill level. All cost $20 or less.
No special skills required
Sweet photos of little ones are always treasured, and pictures with creative poses are especially fun. Check out the options at It’s Overflowing for some inspirational ideas. My favorite is this shot from Crafty Texas Girls of two little girls lying on a driveway next to a Happy Father’s Day message written in sidewalk chalk. All you need is a camera — and your cellphone will probably do. Print the pictures using photo paper on your home printer, or at your local drugstore photo kiosk. You can purchase inexpensive frames at Michaels using an in-store coupon.
Real men use coupons, and the Father’s Day coupon book never gets old. Coupons are good for help with yard work, quiet time, control of the remote and more. Make sure the coupon never expires. Sometimes these coupon books are unearthed from storage years later – the fun continues when fathers present the coupons and try to cash in on car washes or lawn care. The kids can help cut out the coupons, color them in and also come up with ideas for new ones to add. If you want something really memorable, help the kids make this toolbox coupon book, from iHeartNaptime.
Even the littlest tots can give mighty gifts. Help them make these super easy collar stays for the button-down Dad using that pile of used cards. Have them write messages to Dad on the stays. No father could resist using a collar stay that says, “I love you, Daddy.”
For experienced hands only
You can always go the traditional route and get your dad a tie — with a twist, of course. A handmade tie is both unique and meaningful. Here is a tutorial for a bowtie – just pick out a fabric that will make your special guy smile. Or pull out the knitting needles and create a knitted necktie. Yarn costs can be as little or as much as you want to spend, depending on the quality of fiber you select.
You can also put a new spin on the traditional tie gift with this Better Homes & Gardens pattern for a unique throw pillow. Choose six of Dad’s old (or less-than-flattering) ties and stitch them onto canvas for a truly one-of-a-kind gift. (You can also get ties from your local thrift store for a few dollars if you think your dad would prefer you not cut up his own.) Another tie option: Recycle an old tie into a handy glasses case using this pattern from Olive and Love.
For craft lovers who aren’t crafty
So you love the idea of a handmade, personal gift, but when it comes to being creative … let’s just say the cat has more talent than you do. Thankfully, the advent of Etsy has solved that problem for those of us who are all thumbs. You can purchase the fruits of other people’s creative labor, and have Etsy artists personalize your gift for you. A variety of gifts can be found on the site at almost any price range.
It’s really all about the memories when it comes to Father’s Day. So give him an experience he won’t forget. You could treat him to a custom experience gift, like these options on Tinggly. Spend the day on the lake, or plan a picnic at his favorite park. Take him back to a memorable place. Check out this list of ideas for more experience gifts.
Don’t forget the card!
For do-it-yourself advice on handmade cards, see this story we ran for Mother’s Day. For inspiration on what to write, try this list from Making Greeting Cards or these ideas from Hallmark. Even a simple “I love you” in a hand-drawn card can make Father’s Day special.
We searched for more websites offering customizable, free printable cards for Father’s Day (and many other special occasions). A few sites also offer printable awards, certificates and coloring pages for even more ways to honor Dad on his special day. These greeting cards are great way for children to do something very personal to honor their father, beyond a gift that Mom actually buys.
Find free printable cards and more at these sites:
Activity Village Father’s Day free activities include printable cards, poems, and story papers for fun and unique ways to let Dad know how much you appreciate all he does.
American Greetings Father’s Day cards let you a card for Dad and print it at home in minutes, whether you want a funny, sentimental, or traditional greeting.
Artsy Fartsy Mama: Print these and wrap up Dad’s favorite candy bar for a sweet gift.
Blue Mountain Father’s Day cards offers an outstanding selection of printable Father’s Day cards sure to put a smile on any father’s face.
DLTK Father’s Day Printables include awards, certificates, and coloring pages for Dad.
Greetings Island Father’s Day Cards feature customizable and printable cards in a unique variety of cute designs and sentiments.
Make and Tell : Just fill in the blanks with words that will matter to that special Dad.
Microsoft Office Father’s Day Templates include cards and certificates for World’s Best Father for personalizing and printing using Microsoft Word.
Mr. Printables : Make Dad his own pop-up toolbox card using these instructions.
Printfree.com Printable Father’s Day Cards include a menagerie of animal designs for any dad.
Tried and True : Tried and True has these adorable hipster cards available for printing.
Zakka Life : Take him down Memory Lane with this Etch-a-Sketch card.
For more great gift ideas: