The DIY Gift Guide for People That Hate Gift Guides

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I usually hate gift guides.

A lot of time it feels like people are just peddling random stuff that just promotes consumerism.

Don’t get me wrong–I love giving and receiving gifts. But I’m either a practical gift-giver, or it has to be something I’ve made and/or is sentimental.

I’ve already done a few posts with DIY gift ideas. So I was wondering, what more could I share this year?

But when I started thinking about the practical things that I’ve been drooling over lately.


I’ve already taken to Facebook to talk about my favorite things, so I thought I would make a post about of it.

I’ve been working on two room makeovers at the same time (what was I thinking??). I had a big dream of building a DIY bathroom vanity from scratch, and then I realized that I couldn’t do that until I actually had space to do. Thus, the simultaneous bathroom and garage makeover.

And while I’ve been working on both spaces, it’s become evident that there are things I need to make my garage and projects go more smoothly, plus things I really just need to learn about woodworking.

I decided that if I were going to put a gift guide together, it better doggone well be comprised of things that get me excited. Because if they get me excited, they’re likely to make you just as giddy!

So here goes!


The DIY gift guide for people that hate gift guides - Thrift Diving

#1 – The Kreg Mobile Project Center

Last week I saw an advertisement for the new Kreg Mobile Project Center and about had a conniption fit!!

I watched the video and every feature they said the mobile project center had were things I needed: portability, clamping station, cutting station, a place to hang screws….You name it, I needed it!

After trying to cut and screw pieces of wood together on a regular bench or table, you realize how difficult it is. Those challenges zap the joy out of DIYin’g.

I believe my problems may have just been solved.


I really debated on whether I wanted to get them now or wait until Amazon had them back in stock. But I didn’t want to wait! What if it would be months before I can get them?

Nope, that wasn’t going to work. I needed them, like, now.

Last week I placed the order and–BOOM!–I arrived home yesterday afternoon to find them on my doorstep!


Kreg Mobile Project Center - Perfect for the holiday DIY gift guide.
I can’t remember the last time I had felt such excitement at getting a shipment, but I can tell you, it was pure glee when I rounded the corner and saw these babies waiting for me!


Happiness over the Kreg Mobile Project Center - DIY Gift Guide - Thrift Diving


What excites me the most is just like what they advertise: that you can make any place your workstation. It folds up and out of the way when you’re not using it… It safely clamps down your work… It holds all your accessories and screws… It just has so many features I have been noticing that slow me down, which is why I got so geeked over it!

If you think I’m over-reacting (well, maybe just a little), just watch this video on all of its features and I guarantee you’ll be sold, too.





#2 – The RYOBI Glue Gun

Can we say, “OMG, it runs on battery!!!!”?????

This is another tool I’m super excited about this season!

First of all, you know I partner with RYOBI and love all their stuff. But even if I didn’t partner with them, I would still buy their tools because they’re so easy to use, less intimidating, and they’re cutting edge when it comes to offering tools that people like me need.

I don’t use a glue gun often for crafting, but there are some projects I do where I need a glue gun. The cord is never long enough, and I’d always go in search of extension cords just to use it. But with the RYOBI glue gun, I won’t ever have to do that again!

RYOBI Glue Gun - Holiday DIY Gift Guide - Thrift Diving

Plus, I learned last week while watching my friends at RYOBI do a Facebook LIVE project build that these glue guns can help temporarily hold pieces of wood together when building projects!


Let me tell you why this is so monumental:

Wood glue is slippery. Go ahead and glue a joint and then try to screw it together. I bet you the pieces are sliding all over the place, especially if you don’t own a good pair of clamps.

But with a battery-powered glue gun, not only can you work anywhere without cords, but you can hold two pieces of wood together while you’re joining boards!

The glue gun doesn’t replace wood glue, but it’s a solution to slippery wood that many woodworkers (including me!) run into. So you should definitely add this to your “I Want That” list!




#3 – Magazine Subscriptions for DIYers!

I can’t believe I’m including magazine subscriptions on my list since I haven’t done magazine subscriptions in a long time, but this is something that I just treated myself to and couldn’t be more excited about it!

Every time I go to the grocery store, what do you think I grab when I’m waiting behind some impossibly slow person who has the nerve to be writing–gasp!–a check??

Nope–it’s not the smut magazines (although I’m always tempted to peak when they feature their Worse Beach Bodies of celebs with cottage cheese–don’t you?!).

Instead, I’m reaching for things like Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and magazines I can learn something in those stolen moments in line.

I also like to peek through HGTV and the other design magazines, but more so, the home improvement ones.


Fine Homebuilding Magazine - DIY gift guide ideas for the DIYer


There’s a Way to Subscribe For Less Money

Don’t ever mail in those subscription postcards.

Like, ever.

They’re too expensive.

Last year I wrote a post called 5 Genius Ways to Save Money Online (you can read it here).

One of those ways I mentioned to save money was to use a site called Ebates. It actually works, too, when buying magazine subscriptions.

Ebates is a rebates site that will give you a small percentage back as a rebate reward for shopping on your favorite retail sites from their website. Because when you shop through Ebates, Ebates earns commission, but then they give you some of that commission in the form of a rebate.

When I shop online, it’s the first site I go to in order to see what kind of rebate I get.

You can see here, throughout the life of my account, I’ve earned $382.55 back!


How ebates works - Holiday DIY Gift Guide - Thrift Diving


So when you’re buying magazine subscriptions (or doing any online shopping), always go through Ebates first to see if there is a rebate for that site. Magazines.com offers a whopping 26% rebate.

Just go to Ebates.com (sign up for a free account if you don’t already have one–they even give you a free $10 gift card), then search for Magazines.com. Next, click the link to connect to Magazines.com.

This is what it will look like when you click on Magazines.com.


How ebates works - Holiday DIY gift guide - Thrift Diving Blog


Ebates will track your purchase and then deposit 26% of your checkout total as a rebate to your Ebates account the following day. They usually will send you a check or deposit the rebate into your PayPal account every 2-3 months. Pretty sweet deal!

It’s the cheapest way to get magazine subscriptions for less!

So instead of paying $38 for a subscription to Fine Homebuilding, I saved nearly $10 just by going through Ebates first.

So why not give the DIY’er in your life the gift of a great DIY or design magazine for the whole year?! 🙂




#4 –A Home Depot Gift Card

I know…there’s nothing creative about that at all.

But let me tell you one thing: we DIY’ers go to The Home Depot so often that our smartphones sometimes believe we live at The Home Depot and will give us travel times to get “home,” not realizing that we do not, in fact, officially live at The Home Depot. HA!  (True story!!!).

There would be nothing better than having a gift card to the store we frequent so many times.

If it means we could buy paint brushes, tape, and paint without coming out of our pockets for it, do you know how awesome that would be??

Where you can get creative is to make a pretty little DIY gift box out of scrapbook paper and toss your gift card in there!

Maybe fill it with some old drilling and driving bits, or–hey!–with sawdust! HA!




The Cheapest Way to Buy Gift Cards

Buy all your gift cards from an online discount Gift Card place, such as Raise.com, where you can buy gift cards balances for less than their value. Here are my favorite Home and DIY gift cards for DIY you can get there:

#5 Power Tools…But, Of Course!

You guys know how I feel about power tools, right?? (Hint: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE).

Just the other day, I thinking about this life-long desire to learn how to do woodworking, but never starting learning until the last few years. But it wasn’t until, really, the last year that I’ve grown so much with the tools I’ve used.

There comes a point when want to move further beyond only knowing how to just painting furniture.

You start wanting to build furniture. You start wanting to remove old legs from a piece of thrifted furniture and upcycling them into something else.

None of that is possible without power tools.

Tools have taken my DIY to a whole ‘nutha level, in ways that are very exciting!

See my Power Tools 101 post what I recommend buying and how to use them.

The best time to get tools for yourself or gifts is during holidays because RYOBI usually has special deals on their combo kits, like this Super Combo Kit, which is usually $179 but is now $129 through December.

Holiday DIY gift guide - RYOBI Super Combo - Thrift Diving Blog




When you’re just starting out with DIY, you have to have a power drill, no doubt.

But you need something for cutting, and a circular saw is perfect for most of the wood you’ll cut (although I recommend getting a jigsaw, too, for finer and more detailed cutting capabilities).


BONUS GIFT IDEA – The Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig!

I can never talk about gift ideas and not include the Kreg K5 Pocket-Hole Jig!

The reason why is because this tool has become the woodworker and upcycler’s dream come true to being able to create strong joints when building things!

All those fancy ways that professional woodworkers put furniture together–nope–don’t need them. Not with this tool!


The Kreg K5 - Holiday DIY gift guide - Thrift Diving




What looks like a crazy contraption is actually one of the easiest tools to use with your power drill: drill power holes and then screw together your pieces of wood to make tables, chairs, beds–you name it!

The one above is the latest Kreg K5 model, but the one featured below is the older K4. The new costs $123 and is worth the price. It’s got the side supports, the dust collection, and more. They essentially create pocket holes so that you can join two pieces of wood together to create a really strong joint so it doesn’t fall apart on you.

I plan on doing a full-tutorial on how to use it, but in the meantime, you can watch this Beginner’s Guide to Pocket Hole Joinery using the Kreg jig to get an idea of how we DIY’ers use this awesome tool to build furniture and for upcycling.


The Kreg K5 - Holiday DIY gift guide - Thrift Diving


The Absolute BEST Tutorial on How to Use a Kreg Jig

You should watch this tutorial on how to use pocket hole joinery for building stuff. I actually learned a few things myself that I didn’t know!



So Whatcha Gonna Get Now?

Whether you are buying these gifts for someone else or buying them for yourself (like how I bought those Kreg mobile project centers for myself as a birthday and Christmas gift!) I’m sure that these are things you’ll find useful throughout the entire year, not just one day of the year! DIY is exciting stuff, and I realized that what makes it even more exciting is when projects actually turn out well. The only way to get projects to turn out good is to have the right tools, the right accessories, and the space to do it!

So I want to know, out of these 6 gift ideas, which one is most exciting to you? 

Leave a comment below and let’s talk DIY tools and accessories!

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  1. Great post, Serena. I bought my husband RYOBI tools one year and they were a great hit. Now I use a few of them myself!

    Merry Christmas

  2. Patricia B says:

    Hey Serena, oh my, your gift guide matches my wish list perfectly!! lol Thanks for keeping me up to date on some new and awesome products!! Happy Belated Birthday to you!! Merry Christmas and a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you yours! Love ya’

    1. You’re welcome, Patricia! Now that it’s been a couple weeks since I have received my Kreg tables, I can say that I really love them! The features, like being able to clamp easily and to work on things without my wood moving all around, is super easy. Happy New Year to you, girl! Hope you have something fun or relaxing at home planned for this evening!

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever read a gift guide quite like this one! Good ideas. Some things I didn’t know existed and now suddenly need!

    1. Glad it was helpful, Julia! 🙂 Yep, those are all my favorite things right now! Hopefully you got some good things for the holiday and you’re planning a fun NYE night!

  4. That mobile Kreg Project Table is going on my Wish List! It would be awesomely useful! And now that I have a garage, I have a place where I can keep it without tripping over it every five minutes. And even more exciting, space to use it!

    I’m not a great one for gift lists, but our family uses them on a much smaller, personal scale for Christmas exchanges when we don’t draw names. It is really helpful to have ideas for gifts that will actually be used and enjoyed. They make sense for this purpose, too, when they are truly targeted to a person’s real interests.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful, merry Christmas!

  5. Kelli Davidson says:

    Our Son-in-law got us one of those mobile project centers last year at Christmas………..oh my gosh – we use that thing for far more than DIY projects! If you cover it with a table cloth or sheet you can take photos on it or use it as a side table during a buffet supper or party. We have a small dog and we set him on there to trim him up. and it works as a nice side table when entertaining outside…………it is WAY more useful than you can imagine!!

    1. Hey, Keli, those are some good ideas! I didn’t even think about all those other uses for them! And because they fold up easily, you can move them wherever you need them on the fly. You rock. Thanks for those ideas! Hope you have a great New Years!

  6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Serena. Merry Christmas and New Year to you and yours. I am just like you Serena, I am talented and creative just like you. I have a RENTAL HOUSE and painted the entire house inside. Today 12/15/16 makes 2 weeks the TENANT has moved in. I watch guys do different work when I can, and try it (-:) myself. Not afraid to get on the ladder, only just take my time climbing up and climbing down (-:).


    1. You sound like you got your stuff together, Sherrie! 🙂 Good luck on getting a tenant in there! We have a rental property, too. Do you have a home warranty for the rental?

  7. These are going on my wish list! I see what you mean when you said they will not only make your DIY life easier, but they will allow you to produce more professional results. Thanks, Serena …another great post!

    1. Yes, exactly, Joan! More professional results! It’s funny how, when you finally improve on a skill, you look back on your earlier results and are like, “Ugh, what a terrible job that was!” But it’s due to learning to improve and having the right tools to do it! The only thing is that it can take time to build up the tools, so you have to be patient. 🙂

      Have a great New Year!!

  8. Happy Birthday Serena!

    1. Thanks, Kristina! I know I’m late on responding! HAHA. Just a couple weeks, though! 🙂

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