Monday, July 12, 2010

A Handmade Holiday - Teenage Boys

This is a topic near and dear to my heart as I have two teenage sons, ages 16 and 14 and another son that turning 12 this Thursday.
I have heard from others that are joining in that is hard to come up with things to make for this group. I agree!

Both of my older sons saved up their money and with the help of their grandfather, each bought themselves a lap top. My fourteen year old needs a carrier bag for his. I am imagining a crocheted bag in browns with a thick shoulder strap.

My sixteen year old loves scarves, so I will be searching for a nice pattern to knit up for him.

In addition, both boys have oodles of photographs from the last two years on their lap tops but they have never been made into photos. I will ask them to load up about 100 of their favorite photos on one of those little tiny memory holders (I don't know the correct term). Then load them up on my computer and when I am at the library, order about 50 photos each for them from an online photo shop and then put them in a photo album with a hand crocheted cover.
(so part handmade for this one)

They love food, at least they eat lots of it:) I will make them each a batch of their favorite recipe. Usually they have to share with everyone.

I do need more ideas, though.
If everyone will leave ideas in the comments and links to projects that will be wonderful. Also, if you would like me to add your blog to the list of contributing blogs, let me know that in your comment as well. Feel free to add the Handmade Holiday button to your blog. Next week's post, I would like to share some of your ideas for Teenage Boys and more links to projects.

Assignment: Fill in your Holiday Notebook with your ideas and write them in under the list of people you already made last week, and start working on one of the projects. If you don't have a teenager in your life to make for, please start researching handmade ideas for men.

:: Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a baby's vest hand knit of handspun wool as well as the leftover yarn ::

Thanks and warm wishes,


  1. My husband requested a messanger bag for his new laptop - once upon a time. Of course, since then he's gone through several laptops (he's a geek and sells his things every six months to buy new "toys"). It was fun to take apart his old bag and make a pattern out of it. I'm no great seamstress, though. Adding pockets and zippers was a bit of a nightmare.

    Anyway, I guess I was suggesting a bag to put his laptop in that would add more support and cushioning. You could make a crocheted sleeve and a bag to match?

    My oldest boy is turning eight next month so I'm not a lot of help. :/

  2. I made my boys (11 and 13) fleece throws for Christmas last year - Easy and inexpensive to make. They can be used for putting on the bed as an extra layer, but my boys mostly use them for curling up under to watch a DVD on the sofa, or to drape around themselves as neither of them like dressing gowns.

  3. Hi Tonya,

    We will be participating so please add us to the blog roll.

    As for gifts for teenage boys how about: knit socks and hats, handmade IOU cards for things they like - food, one on one time with a parent, fishing with day, etc, handmade tie (here's the link marks, homemade gameset (checkers, chess, backgamon, cribbage).

    Hope some of these ideas help someone. I'll keep thinking.

    Blessings, Elizabeth

  4. These are great ideas. I love the idea for their laptop. I saw a handmade laptop bag that I may try my hand. (

    I agree that is a tough age to think of something handmade that they will also truly enjoy. Maybe an acts of service coupon. I know kids give this to their parents, but I'm sure a teenager would love to hand their parent a coupon good for one clean room. My parents also had (and still do with my little siblings) the three gift rule. When my mom started it she connected it with the three wise men.

  5. Mine aren't that old yet! My oldest son is 8 (8.5 by the holidays) so he's still relatively easy. I'm making him new pj pants (good for dads too!) out of flannel. Two years ago I made winter jackets which they loved (and still fit!) This year I think I'll do hats and scarves again, maybe mittens or fingerless gloves.

  6. Oh boy- gift ideas for teenage boys. I was thinking a throw for movie time would be great too. Maybe if they paint or have a lot of pencils, writing tools, a pencil/paintbrush roll made with a funky fabric might be good for them. Maybe they would like screen-printed long-sleeve t-shirts. Teens-they are a hard demographic!

    Tonya, I must say getting organized under your guidance has already helped me immensely. I now have my gift recipient list (I may have left someone off, but with the list in front of me, I am more likely to remember before Dec. 24th!).

    I am headed to my craft books, sketch book, and to Ravelry this week. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I don't have any teenage boys in my I'm pretty stumped on this one. I like the idea of fleece throws, for movie nights...I'm also thinking of the typical hats, scarves, gloves. If they like photography, what about a camera strap cover? I also had a friend who used to take paper that was good on one side, then get an old record sleeve, cut it in two, (for a cover), and then get it bound with a spiral binding...the result, a cute journal with retro flair!
    I'll keep thinking!!!
    xo maureen

  8. okay, i am joining you here. i have little input for teenagers though!! a world i am thankfully far from. well, not that far, i'm sure, and i know it has it's merits, too. ;)

    looks like you are off to a great start. i am going to retrieve my moleskin now so that i can work on my lists. thanks for the jumpstart!

  9. i think the ideas for games and flannel pants are great, how about boxers? i have a plan about making a sketchbook from some drawing paper we have.

  10. My oldest son needs a new sleeping bag. I'm not a seasoned sewer, so I'm not sure how difficult this would be. I'm going to have do some research. Maybe I'll make a pillow case that matches.

  11. Last year, I made my "tween" son a pillowcase out of some inexpensive flannel with a skulls & flames pattern. He has something of a skater, punk rock style goin' on. He continues to comment on how much he loves his comfy "cool" pillowcase.

  12. Sorry can't help you on the teenage boys as we have been blessed with all girls. One thing our oldest (now 20) really enjoyed was writing poetry. So binding together a journal using drawings and wrtiting from little sisters with lots of blank pages in between worked one year. It's cute looking back at the now 9 year olds Roses are Red poems :). Anyway feel free to add my to your list.

    Wishing you and your family a great week.

  13. I will definitely be participating! Thank you so much for the inspiration!
    My boys are not quite teenagers yet, but my favorite gift from last year's Christmas (for my 7 year old) was a fabric covered magnetic board, with wooden circles of different colors and different sizes to represent stars, and he is able to use them to make the constellations on the board. On the top I painted (with fabric paint) a line from his favorite song of all time that refers to the stars. He really liked it.
    Anyways, count me in!!

  14. Oh, yes!!! Please add me.

    I will think about ideas for teenage boys, too. I have one of them & one who is pretty close. :-)

    A fulled belt-pouch for hiking?

    Thinking about appliquing something with a football theme to make a unique pillow cover for the teenager who is the biggest Giant's fan ever...

  15. I just did a quick google search and came up with the idea of beef jerky. I bet most teenage boys or grown men would like a gift of "manly" food like that.

    And scarves, mittens and slippers are welcome by everyone in the winter, aren't they?

    Another possible gift is homemade soap that is moisturizing for the winter.

    I am definitely going to do my best to create handmade gifts this Christmas, although I'm sure a few books will squeak in there as well. :)

  16. I have two teenage cousins that I made little gifts for last year. Their dad is former Navy, and they spent a lot of their lives near the sea. They also liked to watch The Deadliest Catch with their dad. I made them each a "Deadliest Crab",

    The boys thought they were silly and fun, sometimes even teenagers want to be silly.

  17. When my brother was a teen I made him a notebook with music paper in it so he could write his own music.

  18. Please add me to your blog roll I am accepting the challenge. I just did my first ever handmade holiday for my husbands birthday yesterday. I made courderoy patchwork shorts. The tutorial will be posted to my blog by Tuesday night since I didn't have a pattern it takes some time but they could be adapted into pants and maybe even lined on the inside which would be perfect for winter. you could paint or decoupage some things like desktop organizers out of recycled materials or a cheap clock for the wall? You could make keepsake boxes or put together some things from their childhood into a scrap book? good luck. Looking forward to the holidays handmade this year, thanks for the guidance!


  19. I was so excited to see your post this week about teenage boys!!! I commented on the last week's post asking about handmade gift possibilities for that very group of people (teen boys). My oldest has been working very hard and saving his money and has just got himself a laptop. So your idea for a laptop bag/case would be just perfect for him this Christmas. I can't wait to find the "perfect" fabric and set to work designing something special just for him.

    Last year for Christmas I made him a photo book. Not exactly handmade... but not generic store bought either :-) I took many pictures of him skateboarding and turned them into a book he could keep and show to family and friends. I'll try make a post about it this week on my blog. I'd love to participate in "A Handmade Holiday" too! How do I go about getting added to the blog roll? Thanks so much,

  20. My son enjoys surfing I have been thinking about making him a cover/ bag for his surfboard.

  21. I agree with the first post that suggested crocheting a sleeve to protect the laptop inside a messenger bag.

    I'd love to be part of this project, although I don't plan to start making gifts quite yet... As for gifts for men/boys, I love the messenger bag idea! When it comes to handmade, DH mostly just wants food...

  22. Going with the "case for a laptop" idea...what about a case for an ipod, or cell phone, or any electronic, being a teen my self i know we have tons of those :)

  23. A knit cover or case made of wood for an instrument or extra strings for a guitar. My boys are 8 and 10. They love to build and tinker with things right now, so recycled storage for art supplies is on our list. Love you blog very inspirational! I do not have a blog but would love to start one.

  24. I have 2 stepsons who are 19 & 15 and I've been making them photo albums from pics of that year. It's fun for the family to go through them.

    Also, I created and printed up Christmas Coupons for the whole family. For the older boys I made coupons for: A night of popcorn & gin rummy; An afternoon of ice skating; Favorite Cookie; Choice of movie on family movie night. (I do have some constraints, requesting 24 hours notice to fit it into the schedule.) It went over well and they certainly got used!

  25. I would like to participate in your Christmas planning! I have two teen boys, 14 and 16 years old. I hope to make some flannel pj pants for them. That is one gift idea that has already been floated about on your list.

    I also like the idea of a photo book -- I have used Shutterfly and like their quality -- not as handmade as your idea but my kids are pretty tech savvy and this will appeal to them.What I plan to do is get each teen to make one FOR their brother, unbeknownst to the other. Together they made one for a friend who turned 16 this summer and by adding captions and quotes, the book became very personal. That is what I hope to accomplish by having the kids make one for each other.

    I like the idea of making a chess or checkers game board. I plan to make a board for checkers using this idea I saw on how to quick quilt.

    I made a sunglass case for one son this spring and that was a hit. I made it our of a felted sweater and put velcro at the open end to help the glasses case stay closed. He uses it in his backpack and it has helped protect the glasses from whatever he has in his pack. I didn't use a pattern.

    The book "Photo Jojo" by Amit Gupa has some neat ideas for those who have kids who are into photography. There is a pattern for a laptop sleeve (using fabric you printed your photograph on) and one for a phone bag, again using your own fabric. Unfortunately my printer isn't good for that kind of work... But maybe if I didn't use my OWN fabric...

    The last idea I am kicking around is making laundry bags for my boys since they have been doing their own laundry for years and I"d like to repurpose what they are using as hampers. I saw two ideas that i will draw upon for inspiration. One is the Zakka style pouch in the book "The Crafter's Companion," edited by Anna Torborg and the other bag is well.... I can't find where I saw it at the moment but if and when II do I will send that link to you.

  26. I've given more than one tween and teen boy his own gallon-sized freezer bag of his favorite homemade cookie dough balls. Make up the recipe normally, drop the balls onto a cookie sheet (close, but not touching) and freeze for an hour or two until solid, then bag them. They can be arranged on a cookie sheet to thaw while an oven pre-heats, and baked in small quantities. I've done both a gallon bag (about five dozen!) of one variety, and multiple smaller quart-size bags of several varieties.

    If the young man in question isn't familiar with baking, the instructions (time, temp) can be written on a 4x6" card and slipped into a sandwich-sized ziploc baggie to be stashed in the bag of cookie dough balls.

    (Of course, this gift can't be wrapped for under the tree... :) )

    My other suggestion comes better from a sister than a parent, I think, but I have given my brothers letters as gifts when they were teens (I'm the oldest of seven, with five younger brothers). I wrote out my best thoughts and affections about them. I think sometimes teen boys do not get to hear enough true affection! They need it just as much as teen girls do! (I also once gave my next-younger brother a coupon for "first dibs" on using my hip as a floor pillow during movies... :) )

  27. many good ideas here. My nearly 17 year old got handknit socks and a sewn pencil case for his artistic endeavors. This year I am going for vintage and second hand tools that I will put into a tool box for him.

  28. p.s. I would love to join you in your Handmade Holiday. We are in the process of moving and I have not had a chance to get much handwork done. I would love the excuse to take a little time for a little handwork. This will work well for me..Thanks:)

  29. I would love to join your Handmade holiday too! I don't have any teenage boys, but I have several bachelors in their 30's as well as older men who I need to make gifts for.

  30. I'm definitely in. But geeeeez do I have a lot of brainstorming to do. I can't believe you all are thinking about this in July! :p Four of my 5 kids actually have birthdays between now & Christmas (2 of them very close to Christmas), so I have all those birthday goodies to think out as well! I too have a 12 yo son. And not a clue about his gifts. This'll be fun though. When I'm done feeling overwhelmed by it all. LOL

  31. Hi, only just spotted this.

    My 11 yr old needs a sturdy bag for his body boards, and I'm making them all chunky felted slippers.

    The best gift I have made for a teenage boy ever was one I made for my younger brother. I found an old record, can't remember what it was, and bought a clock mechanism which I put through the middle. Hey presto, a very cool wall clock for a bedrom wall.

  32. i'm going to make stocking caps for my teenage brothers and my husband from recycled wool sweaters. i might add mittens if i have enough wool! :) i'd love to participate also although i haven't posted about this on my blog yet.

  33. I have been looking at homemade bathtime treats and i cam across this idea, which would be great for teen boys, especially if they are concerned about their skin - Washing Grains. They can be made with spicy manly scents. You do need a coffee grinder for this.
    3 1/2 oz dried whole adzuki beans
    1 oz ground cinnamon or ginger
    grind these and put in bowl
    then grind
    3/4 oz dried lime peel
    3/4 oz dried bay leaves
    3/8 oz allspice berries
    add to bean mix and blend together well. Store in a glass jar.
    Use - wet skin, pour some powder into moistened hand, gently massage grains over face and rinse well.

  34. I know I am finding these GREAT suggestions late--but with my son's 15th birthday looming, this post was just the ticket! Here are some additional ideas

    My husband made a wooden box to hold gear on the back of the snowmobile/ATV.

    Oversized lounge pillow stuffed with balsam fir (we are in the Adirondacks, so this is plentiful).

    Favorite t-shirts, now outgrown, turned into pillows or, overtime, saved to make a quilt.

    Knit/crochet/sewn i pod case.

    Trail mix made with all his favorite treats and stored in ready to go containers.

    Begin a 'favorites' recipe book with clear, step by step instructions.

    Guitar strap, small case for picks

    Fingerless gloves/mittens

    A special, personalized "cookie jar" with coupons for 'cookies of the month' (this was a gift from his younger sisters).