DIY: Super Unique Gift Ideas to Make for Coffee Lovers

I don’t know about you, but most of this year has dragged by and felt super long. But now, suddenly, Halloween has long-since passed, Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas is right around the corner!

As a coffee lover who comes from a family of coffee lovers and has many coffee-loving friends, I often find myself looking for unique gifts for coffee lovers. In my gift-finding endeavors, I’ve come across several ideas for homemade gifts that are unique, special, and incredibly affordable (since you mainly just need supplies and are putting in the work yourself).

I’ve tried a few of the ideas I’ve come across, and – especially given everything that’s been going on this year and the financial hardships that many of us are experiencing – I wanted to share my experiences and other ideas with you.

DIY Personalized Coffee Mugs

When I was working as a barista, I didn’t have a ton of extra money to buy my friends gifts. So, for one of those Christmases, I decided to make gifts for all of my friends.

I had read about various mug-decorating techniques, and I realized that personalized mugs I decorated myself would make perfect homemade gifts, and they would actually really cheap to make – I just bought a set of plain white mugs and dual-tipped Sharpies on Amazon and used what I had for paint and other supplies on hand.

For my roommate-of-the-time, who is a fellow Harry Potter fan and a proud Ravenclaw, I made a Ravenclaw-themed mug. I started by marbling the mug with water and blue, silver, and black nail polish. I then painted/drew the Ravenclaw crest with a combination of a fine-tipped Sharpie and paint, and finished it up by adding a trail of Marauder’s Map-esque footprints going around the mug.

Another of my closest friends and former roommates is a huge Gilmore Girls fan, so I replicated the Luke’s Diner logo for her mug. My other two best friends got a whimsical tree design and a Tailor Swift-themed mug.

I’m definitely not a professional artist, but I think they turned out pretty good, and my friends loved them, especially because of how personal they were. If you have some time on your hands and some paint supplies, I’d highly recommend making these!

I’m definitely not a professional artist, but I’m pretty proud of how these turned out. If you’re a great artist, then you should have a super easy time making fantastic mugs, but just know that you don’t have to have much artistic talent to make your own mugs for your own friends and family.

The marbling technique I did on the Harry Potter mug, for example, was super easy to do. All you have to do is fill a bowl with water, drop in a couple of drops of nail polish, and use a toothpick to very lightly mix the colors (too much mixing will cause it to clump up too much, so be very very careful). Dip the mug in slowly, and turn it gently as you slowly pull it back out of the water. You might have to dump out the water and try it again a couple of times to get the whole mug marbled.

If you don’t want to marble your mug, you can try painting and/or using colored and black sharpies. (I used acrylic paints and sharpies on all of the ones I made.)

If you need help coming up with design ideas, try to think of television shows, fandoms, or the careers your giftees enjoy, and try doing an image search in Google or Bing. Keep your eye out for simple designs and things that would be very easy to replicate.

If you’re not comfortable attempting a specific, detailed designed, think even simpler. You could write a short message with thin-tipped sharpies, draw a circle or cloud around it, and then go around the mug (up to the circle) with alternating-colored half-inch stripes. You could write the giftee’s name on the mug, and cover the rest of it with polka dots. The possibilities are endless, and Pinterest and Google are full of inspiration.

However you decorate it, you’ll want to cure your finished mug when you’re done with it. You can spray it with sealant or bake it, but make sure that however you finish it, the end product is safe to drink out of.

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Print/Make A Decorative Coffee Sign

Coffee decor makes an excellent gift. If you can’t afford or don’t want to spend money on expensive decorative gifts, making your own is easy! And there are lots of ways to do so.

If you can draw well, then you can always paint or draw your own print with a clever coffee slogan, the giftee’s name, and/or a picture of something coffee related, like a steaming cup of coffee, an espresso maker, a coffee grinder or a french press. Canvas, fancier paper, and even plain, unpainted pieces of wood cut specifically for decorative signs are cheap and easy to find online or at craft stores. I recommend buying an inexpensive frame to dress up the drawing even more.

If you’re not confident in your drawing abilities or you lack the supplies or time to make detailed designs for all of your friends, don’t worry: Etsy is full of very cheap prints you can buy, download, print, and frame or trace yourself. Here are just a few of the great ones I’ve found:

Click here to buy the digital download from Etsy for $3.99.

Click here to buy the printout from Etsy for $4.18+.

Click here to buy the digital download rom Etsy for $5.88.

Click here to buy the digital download from Etsy for $5.00.

Click here to buy the digital download from Etsy for $4.99.

Click here to buy the digital download from Etsy for $7.33.

Click here to buy the digital download from Etsy for $2.99.

Click here to buy the digital download from Etsy for $2.00.

Click here to buy the printout from Etsy for $8+.

DIY Coffee Cozy

If you can crochet or knit, then you can make a coffee cozy, which makes an excellent gift! And all you need is yarn, your knitting needles/crochet hooks, and a pattern or plan.

I recommend first searching for free videos and free online patterns on YouTube and Google. If you can’t find anything free that you like or that’s descriptive enough, I found several super inexpensive patterns on Etsy that can guide you through making complex-looking, fancy coffee cozies.


This beatiful pattern is available in digital download form on Etsy for $1.75 as of 11/30/2020.

Buy from Etsy here

This pattern is available in digital download form on Etsy for $4.07 as of 11/30/2020. Buy it here.

This pattern is available in digital download form on Etsy for $5 as of 11/30/2020. Buy it here.


This pattern is available in digital download form on Etsy for $3.50 as of 11/30/2020. Buy it here

This pattern is available in digital download form on Etsy for $3 as of 11/30/2020. Buy it here

This pattern is available in digital download form on Etsy for $5 as of 11/30/2020. Buy it here.

This pattern (for both cozy and coaster) is available in digital download form on Etsy for $4 as of 11/30/2020. Buy it here

Make a Coffee Scrub

If you drink coffee yourself on a regular basis, then a coffee scrub should be super easy for you to make. This project is great, because you can use fresh grounds, or you can actually reuse the grounds you’d already used to brew your coffee to get the main ingredient needed – coffee grounds. Basically, this project gives you an excuse to drink more coffee too, so it’s the ultimate win-win.

The only other ingredients you absolutely need are sugar and coconut oil. You can add vanilla, cinnamon, and/or other essential oils for scent and wellness benefits if you desire.

  1. To make the coffee scrub, first, dry your coffee grounds out. Spread up to two days’ worth of grounds (no grounds older than two days old, or they’ll start to mold) out on a baking sheet and put it in the oven at about 200 degrees. Keep it in the oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
  2. Next, melt the coconut oil and let it cool off but not quite solidify.
  3. Mix the coconut oil with the coffee grounds and sugar. You’ll want equal parts coffee grounds and sugar, and half that amount in coconut oil.
  4. Add any additives (I added cinnamon, vanilla, and a few drops of tea tree oil to mine) you want and mix together.

And voila: you have your scrub!

You’ll want to store it in an airtight container. Mason jars (you can get them in various sizes) work well, but I saved twist-top lotion containers and used those too. I found that they worked excellently as well.


Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be special. I would argue that homemade gifts can actually be more special, since they take so much more time and effort than purchased gifts do, and they’re super unique!

Have you made any of these before? Do you have any other advice for anyone who’s planning on trying one of these projects?

If you’re planning on trying one of these projects year or you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

5 Replies to “DIY: Super Unique Gift Ideas to Make for Coffee Lovers”

  1. You have a great list of gifts for this season. I like the Signs as they are easy to put in a frame and hang close to your coffee station.
    Do they make any stick ons for mugs that can be applied and removed after the season is over?

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad you liked the signs!

      You could always put stickers on mugs, but they might be difficult to take off again. I’m not aware of anything like that, but you could make a holiday-themed cozy to put use with the mug over the holiday season.

  2. Hi Jade!
    Thank you for sharing these great ideas!
    I would like to make a decorated mug! Do you maybe have a video how to marble a mug? And I also like your idea about making a coffee scrub, that is unique.
    I agree that homemade gifts are much more valuable and personalised, than the bought ones. And I think it makes a lot of fun doing this!

    1. Hi Alex,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article! All of these are super fun to make, especially the mugs, because you get to be so creative! I was thinking about making my own video, but there are already tons of awesome videos on YouTube that do a great job demonstrating how to marble a mug with nail polish:

      I think if you made a bunch of the coffee scrub, put it in mini mason jars, and made cute little labels for the jars, it would be an awesome gift to give all of your friends or coworkers, for example.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hi Jade,

    I love all these ideas! I’ve actually seen a few of my friends making the coffee knits already and posting them on FB. I just love this idea, and it’s a great gift!

    I used to make all my gifts for my friends and my family when I was younger versus buying anything. I always thought it was more personal that way versus just buying some random thing from the store. Reading this article just inspired me to make my Mom something for Christmas as well. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing these awesome ideas. I just love them all!


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