The holidays are a time for giving, but sometimes it feels like we have to choose between giving a lot of gifts and giving thoughtful gifts. But when you make custom gifts, you can have it both ways!

“But, Daniela. I’m not crafty! I don’t have a Cricut! I can’t knit or paint or even draw a stick figure!”

Worry not (knot?), my friend. I gotchu! And so do my longtime compadres over at Printful.

Printful is a print-on-demand service with no minimums, so you can custom print t-shirts, leggings, sweaters, sweatpants, workout clothes, cups and mugs, hats, fanny packs, die cut stickers, and so much more. You can order matching pajamas for your whole family, matching hats for your friends annual turkey trot, custom gifts for your secret Santa at work (no matter where in the world they are!), gifts for your team at work…

You get the idea.

Go ahead and pin this post for later, because everything in this guide applies to birthdays, anniversaries, or even when you want some custom swag to make your new J’s pop off.

What kinds of gifts can you personalize with Printful?

One of the best things about Printful is that there is literally something for everyone on your list. And because you can design everything yourself, even with Printful’s design maker, you can be sure that your gift is personal and thoughtful. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

For the Family Member Who Has Everything

Die cut stickers in their favorite shape or style. They’ll love being able to use them on their laptops, water bottles, notebooks—anything and everything! Some sticker inspo to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Their favorite type of dog (or even their dog)
  • Their favorite flower or plant
  • Something aspirational to keep them motivated at work (like a sailboat if their retirement dream is to buy a boat and sail around the world)

For the Sustainability Enthusiast

Printful offers a variety of sustainable print-on-demand products. What kinds of things will the planet-lover in your life use most? Perhaps they’ll carry their groceries home in a set of sustainably sourced tote bags. And if they have a message to share with the world? Boom, go ahead and print it! Some ideas:

  • A picture of the Earth with calligraphy text like “Our Home”
  • Simple text: “Earth without art is just eh”
  • A funny face, or their favorite emoji

For the Friend Who Loves to Workout 

A custom printed water bottle or set of workout clothes. They’ll love that you were thinking of them while they’re sweating it out at the gym! And your gift doesn’t even need to be holiday-themed. You can create a custom print in their favorite color, or with a funny saying. Here are some ideas:

  • Leg Day, Then Rosé
  • First Gym, Then Pizza
  • Thick Thighs and French Fries

Create stylish leggings in minutes!

For Secret Santa at Work

Let’s be honest: Getting paired with a Secret Santa you don’t know very well can feel pretty awkward and embarrassing. And asking them to coffee to get to know them better riiiight as Secret Santa is approaching gives away the surprise. A custom coffee mug or set of stickers with a Funny Saying is a safe option to give them something fun that’s sure to come in under the cost limit your team agreed on. No matter where in the world your office mate is from, they’ll appreciate a good laugh. Here are some ideas:

  • I’m With the CEO
  • World’s Best Employee
  • 99 Problems But My Job Ain’t One

They’ll love that you put some thought into their gift—and your boss will be seriously impressed by your creativity!

How to Design Custom Printed Gifts Without Drawing, Calligraphy, or Using Photoshop

Can I tell you a secret?

I can’t draw worth a dang. Even my smiling jack-o-lanterns come out looking all smirky, like they’re judging how I drew them on the pumpkin wrong. Uncool!

If you’re in the same poorly-drawn boat, don’t let sketchy artistic skills erase your dreams. No shade – we’re among friends!

Design Personalized Gifts Using Canva

Canva is a free graphic design app that you can use either online or on your phone to design almost any kind of graphic you want. You can use Canva to create beautiful designs for your products, even if you don’t have any design experience. Canva’s library of fonts, graphics, and photos is beloved by amateur and professional designers alike. It’s super easy to use—simply choose a product template and start designing!

Personalize Gifts Using Professional Artwork

If you have a small budget for art, why not order some professional designs through Creative Market? Creative Market is home to millions of designs in just about every style you can think of. I’ve created taco-patterned pants, nautical-themed leggings, Disney Villain T-shirts and so much more using art I’ve purchased from Creative Market. You can, too! Printful even has a handy little feature to help you pattern your designs in professional-looking ways. 

We all have that friend who would wear this to the gym just to make people look.

Customize Professionally-Made Art using PlaceIt

Another option you can use is a tool I love called PlaceIt. They have made a tool where you can customize pre-built t-shirt styles. And it doesn’t just have to be a t-shirt. These designs could go on a water bottle or a tumbler, or just be stickers on their own.

I’m a huge fan of the Ugly Sweater designs on PlaceIt because they feature a knitted texture that makes it look like a real sweater texture. I think that’s a really nice touch and makes it feel so much more festive and fun – dare I say jolly? I know it doesn’t like literally feeling anything but it’s printed to look like it does, and I think that really adds something extra to the design.

You can customize your design or use the design that’s already there. It’s yours  to use on whatever you want.

Ho Ho Ho. Merry Catsmas.

Tips for Achieving Professional Quality with Printful

Adjust the Resolution Using Drag and Drop

When designing your print file, you want to keep it at around 300 Dots Per Inch (DPI) to ensure a really high-quality final product that makes your design look professional and crisp. At this resolution, it won’t come out looking blurry or pixelated (aka, “potato”) or with weird edges. The drag-to-resize feature in Printful will show you your DPI with color-coding: Red for bad, Yellow for meh, and Green for “you’re Gucci!”

Make the Background Transparent

Printful, Canva, and PlaceIt all have the ability to remove the white background from your design in just one click. This one detail elevates your design from “DIY” to “A-list!” It’s so easy, you can’t not do it. 

Don’t believe me? Try for yourself!

No matter who is on your list this year, Printful has got you covered with personalized gifts that won’t break the bank. So what are you waiting for? Start designing your custom printed holiday gifts today!