11 Thoughtful DIY Thanksgiving Gifts

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Time and tide wait for no one; true to the saying, long-awaited holidays like Thanksgiving are always fast approaching. Do you have anything planned for the Thanksgiving holiday this year? Great! Whether you’re visiting your best friend or hosting, here are 11 thoughtful DIY Thanksgiving gifts your loved ones will appreciate.


1. Turn Signal Bike Jacket

Do you have a friend who likes to ride around town on two wheels for fun? They’ll appreciate this turn signal bike jacket.

Bike gear costs a ton, so giving them this turn signal jacket will save them money on a similar accessory. It’s stitched together with 16 Arduino-controlled LilyPad LEDs designed as turn signals to indicate the direction a cyclist is heading.

Combined with a reflector, the turn signal box will increase their visibility on the road and, therefore, their safety. Check out the Instructables guide for detailed instructions on how to complete this project. Here are some other portable Arduino projects you could do.

2. Arduino based arcade game

Want to inject some fun into your Thanksgiving night? Build a candy claw machine. It’s the one classic game that Millennials, GenZers, and Baby Boomers can collectively enjoy. Also, although frustrating, most adults still admit to being drawn to a claw machine, thinking, “Maybe today is my lucky day.” Everything you need for this project is well laid out in the Instructables guide. Check out these Arduino-based projects for beginners if you need an easier project to try first.

Roasted turkey is the centerpiece of the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. But why do we have turkey for Thanksgiving dinner? Sentimentalists argue that it was the main course for the very first Thanksgiving dinner, and realists believe that’s because it provides enough for everyone on Thanksgiving.

No matter which category you fall into, giving your host a 3D-printed Thanksgiving turkey is a great idea considering they’ve spent their day carving up a turkey and cooking a feast for you. Check out the Hackster tutorial to complete this project. Before you start working on your 3D printed turkey, it would be best to learn 3D printing on the spot with these projects to inspire you on how you can further personalize this gift.

4. Lockable gift box

Want to make sure your gift only lands in the recipient’s hands, whether or not you’re there when they unwrap it? So make this lockable gift box. It’s Arduino-based and comes with a potentiometer dial that you can use to type in the recipient’s initials and who they’re from. Check out the step-by-step DIY instructions, supplies, and code in the Instructables project.

5. Tide Clock

Got a surfer or loved one on your Thanksgiving shopping list? Giving them a tide clock is a good idea. As the name suggests, tide clocks tell you when the tides will be at their highest or lowest. They work like regular clocks, except instead of the numbers 12 and 6 found on a standard clock, they are marked with high and low tide respectively. Also, most of them have an extra 25 minutes on their full rotation time instead of 12 hours.

This Instructables guide features a DIY tide clock project concept that you can improve on. Here are some more amazing DIY clocks that you can build as a gift.

6. Real Life Coin Block

Numismatics is one thing. Coin collectors have an official name, numismatist, and before you bite your tongue, it’s pronounced “noo-miz-ma-tist”.

So, do you have a numismatist in your life? Or do you know someone who denies being one, but keeps a bunch of coins from different countries? This real coin block will tickle their fancy this Thanksgiving. It’s also a great gift for any Mario Bros fanatic who wants to test out what it’s like to get a piece from a block. Find out how to make this project on his Instructables page.

7. Marble Clock

A rolling ball clock is a fascinating timepiece. Instead of a regular mechanism consisting of cogs and springs, it uses balls and rails to move the hands of the clock. It’s an incredibly unique concept first conceived in the 18th century and improved upon in the 1970s.

The rolling ball clock is hard to find, especially now that we are in the age of smartphones and smartwatches. So gifting a watch enthusiast with one this Thanksgiving is a good idea. Find out how to build a DIY rolling ball clock in this Instructables guide.

8. Slow motion picture

We all have that friend who loves everything about decorating. They’ll talk decor for hours, drag you to decor stores you didn’t even know existed, and take away thousands for a quality piece with a smile.

This slow-motion DIY frame will prove that you’re paying attention and honoring their interest. The built-in real objects (you can use anything from roses to feathers) move so hypnotically that anyone will be stuck staring at the frame for hours.

This will undoubtedly serve as a central function that they did not know they needed. Check out the Instructables project for a detailed explanation of how to build it. Here are more moving art ideas to add class to any space.

9. Musical shoes

Imagine having sneakers that kick every time you hit the ground. It would be a great way to practice your moves without carrying a bunch of electronics to the dance floor. And if you know an avid dancer, such a pair will be a game-changer because it means they can show off their art anytime and anywhere. See the Instructables guide for the supplies you’ll need.

10. PCB Clamp

With everyone giving them something, it can be hard to get a gift for a dog lover in your life that they will use. If you hate your presents getting trashed after a while, build this PCB necklace to take your present to the next level as shown in the Instructables guide. It glows in the dark; so it’s perfect, especially if they tend to walk their pup a lot after dark.

Besides the glowing part that requires a custom circuit board to be made, you will have made it yourself, which makes your gift special. Here are some more amazing clothes to make for dogs.

11. 3D Origami Beating Heart

Origami is an art form that involves folding paper. It is a Japanese term derived from “oru”, which means to fold, and “kami”, which means paper. Although it’s a popular hobby, only a few people know how to pull off an origami piece.

Luckily, you don’t have to be an origami whiz to make this 3D “beating” heart a Thanksgiving gift for a loved one. Using the printed model, some cutting, folding and gluing is required, while an Arduino controls its LED lighting. Check out the Instructables tutorial for details on how to build it.

DIY a special Thanksgiving gift

Thanksgiving is very important, and the best way to show your loved ones how much you appreciate them is to go out of your way and create a gift for them. We’ve compiled some DIY Thanksgiving ideas and concepts to shake things up.

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