As the year wraps up, and the seniors start leaving (or have already left), the invitations to open houses and graduations begin rolling in. With the current economy and many of us cutting back, some of us can’t afford the extravagant gifts we’d love to buy for our senior and/or college graduates. Instead of going broke to be a good friend, here are a few ideas for homemade gifts that will still show you care.

Handmade Bracelets

Every year the girl boarders at my school hold a ceremony where we all hold two enormous lengths of string–one blue and one green (our school colors)– to symbolize all of us as being connected, in that moment, as sisters. We all sing a song, and then the string is cut; each girl holding a small piece of a moment that once was. 

Afterward, most just tie the strings around their wrists or ankles as-is, but instead I decided to weave mine into a thicker, more durable design and wear it as an anklet. One of my friends admired it, so I thought it’d be a nice idea to make one for one of my graduating friends. 

How to:


2 long pieces of string  (preferably in your school’s colors)



1. Put both pieces of yarn/string next to each other; fold in half evenly and tape down in the middle

2. Hold the 4 sections, 2 on the left and 2 on the right, individually

3. Take the section furthest to the right and place it over the piece on its close-left

4. Take the same section and place it under the next section, then under the section farthest to the left

5. Keep repeating until you are done, then remove the tape and tie into a knot on each side


Photo Collages–with a twist

Instead of the standard, run of the mill photo board; this year I was introduced to a new kind of photo collage that has a bit of flair. This is a little more complicated and may take you a little bit of time, but it’s worth it. They are not only great as room decor but also are sentimental.

How to:


Cardboard (small box’s/shoe box worth) 


Photos, magazines, etc. 



1. Cut the cardboard into a letter (i.e. friend’s initial, college initials, etc.) or shape desired.

*For those willing to do a little extra, you can make a 3D shape by cutting two equal shapes/letters and filling in the middle with cardboard on all sides

2. Find photos or snippets of things the person receiving the gift likes (family/baby photos, pictures of friends, college logo, etc.)

*Glue all sides if doing 3D shapes/letters, let dry

3. Cut out pictures

4. Glue pictures onto letter/shape on all sides, let dry

*You can also paint the shape before putting pictures on if you’re going to leave blank space.

5. Give this lovely gift the the new graduate!

* = extras