30+ Unique Graduation Gift Ideas for 2021

Color changing photo mug that comes in different colors and styles

30+ Unique Graduation Gift Ideas for 2021

Graduation is a huge milestone in everyone’s life. One of the best ways to congratulate your friend or family member on their accomplishment is to give them a thoughtful, handcrafted present. It can be difficult to come up with original present ideas—you don’t want to just hand the graduate a check or a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” If you’re stumped on what to give the young adult who has everything, we’ve picked our favorite unique graduation gift ideas just for you.

DIY Presents For Graduates and Unique Graduation Present Ideas

We’ve gathered a unique list of over 30 of the best graduation gifts for both high school and college graduates. We found high school graduation gifts that help students with the stresses of study groups and finals. We’ve also included DIY gifts for college graduation, that will be useful to graduates who are about to enter the “real world.” Your graduating friend or family member will love all of these unique presents. We also have an array of personalized gift options, from beginner to expert craft levels. The following unique graduation gift ideas are sure to let the graduate know just how much you care.

1. DIY Money Wreath

If you want to give a new graduate cash, but don’t want to just hand them a check, this money-filled wreath is perfect for you. You can use any dollar amount that you want, and you can customize the decorations on the wreath too. Explore this fun DIY tutorial, so you can make your very own wreath for loved ones.

2. Personalized Jewelry

personalized necklaces, charm bracelets, cuff bracelets and charms

Jewelry is a sweet choice as a graduation gift for girls. Instead of buying something mass produced, opt for a personalized charm to add to a necklace, bracelet or keychain. Every time your new grad is feeling homesick, they’ll have your gift to remind them that they’re cherished. If you aren’t crafty, but still want a gift that is completely custom, this is perfect gift idea that you can create on Shutterfly.

3. DIY Tie Dye Bag

A young woman is making DIY tie dye tote bag

This cool DIY canvas bag will bring you back to the ’70s with its tie dye design. Before you begin tie dyeing, use vinyl lettering to write a phrase that fits your graduate’s personality, and then tie dye around the letters. From books to groceries, your graduate will love toting their things around in this cute bag. This is an easy project, that even a novice DIYer will love creating.

4. Personalized Graduation Photo Collage

Graduation collage full of beautiful pictures and images of friends hung above study desk

No matter if you are creating this for a high school or college graduate, your elated senior will love that you took the time to make a personalized graduation photo centerpiece of some of their best memories. Glue photos onto papier-mache letters that spell out ‘GRAD’. Then, decorate the outsides of the letters with sparkly sequins. Or, decorate using the graduate’s initials, making it a perfect display that doubles as dorm room decor. These are one of our favorite affordable DIY graduation gifts.

5. Motivational Printable Wall Art

Motivational printable wall art piece for graduation with quote in black wooden frame

Include a picture of their special day along with a quote to wish your new grad on their future endeavors. Include pictures your new grad will cherish and love to see while displayed on their walls in their dorms or apartments.

6. Mini Zen Garden

Mini zen garden perfect gift for any grad gift

Starting in a new school, or living on your own for the first time, can be a stressful time for many young adults. To help your friend or family member relax, give them this mini zen garden. Start by filling a small dish with sand. On top of the sand, place a miniature rake, rocks, crystals, small plant cuttings. The small wood rake is great for creating soothing patterns in the sand. It instantly destresses the mind.

7. Gourmet Toasted Cookie Dough

Is your graduate a real foodie? Cookie dough is tasty, but it can be dangerous to eat if there are raw eggs and raw flour in the dough. Use recipes that are is completely eggless and it uses flour that’s toasted in either the oven or microwave to avoid any food allergies. This results in a safe and delicious batch of chocolate chip cookie dough when your graduate needs a pick me up.

8. Rainbow Friendship Bracelet

This homemade rainbow friendship bracelet is both fashionable and meaningful. To make the bracelet, use a leather cord, a few different colored paints, and a bead to hold the bracelet together. Explore the fun DIY jewelry project for more detailed instructions. Use different colors to match various wardrobe options.

9. Caffeinated Chai Tea Mix

Color changing photo mug that comes in different colors and styles

There’s nothing tastier than an aromatic, spice-filled cup of Chai. You can also attach different Chai recipes to your jar—your graduate will love getting to try new versions of their favorite drink. A warm beverage that helps them wake up faster is always a win in a young adult’s world. Let them enjoy their Chai tea their new favorite color changing photo mug.

10. Customized Phone Case

custom android and iphone cases with mail and keys

No one goes without their smartphone nowadays. Instead of buying the same ol’ case everyone else has, gift your grad a customized iPhone case or personalized Android case. Not only will it keep their phone protected from clumsy moments, their phone case will be as unique as their style. Use pictures or favorite quotes to help their personality shine through.

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11. Hand-Painted Mini Cactus

These adorable little faux cactuses are simple to create and make a sweet desk companion. All you’ll need are some round river rocks, a few mini pots and green and white paint. Unlike real plants, you won’t have to worry about watering these—they’ll stay green forever!

12. Delicious Peanut Butter Granola

If your graduate is about to live in their own space, it’s a smart idea to get them some versatile kitchenware. Instead of just gifting it to them in the box, fill these pretty glass jars with their favorite snacks. It’s a sweet treat that your graduate will love having available for breakfast or a late-night snack.

13. DIY Travel Kit

Is your graduate studying abroad for a few months? Crafty storage is a must have! You’ll feel like MacGyver as you create this travel kit out of nothing but a washcloth and some ribbon. You can sew the ribbon on, or you can make a no-sew version by using either iron-on hem tape or fabric glue. This cute gift is simple to make and very useful for a student getting ready for college dorm bathrooms.

14. Personalized Back-to-School Pencils 

Pencils with customizable text.

These vibrantly painted personalized pencils will inspire your graduate as they enter the next phase of their life. Every time your graduate goes to write, they’ll see your messages and feel encouraged.

15. Homemade Wooden iPhone Dock

If you’re handy with power tools, try making this DIY wooden phone dock for your graduating friend or family member. This phone dock will allow your graduate to easily charge and display their phone. You can also add a few decorations to the dock to give it a personal touch.

16. Shutterfly Gift Card

Gift cards don’t have to be impersonal, allow your grads to get anything they want with a Shutterfly gift card. They’ll be thrilled to get new decoration, personalized home goods and printable pictures that will keep them energized as they take their next big step in life. Let your grad decorate their new dorm or apartment with personalized canvases and wall art to make their space more like home.

17. Leather Loop Wristlets

custom wristlet with picture perfect for any new grad carrying keys and wallet together

Your graduating friend or family member will probably have to start carrying a key for their new dorm or apartment. With this leather loop wristlet, they’ll always know where their key and wallet is. The design for this leather wristlet is super cute, and it’s also simple to make. Pick fun colors or designs that will impress your graduate.

18. Custom Pillows

Custom pillows designed with uploaded photos

Make your grad a personalized pillow with a picture, their name or a great graduation quote to give them a little piece of home while they’re away in their dorms. Include pictures of family members, pets and their friends to give them lasting memories of their loved ones at home.

19. Personalized Mugs

personalized photo mugs with different designs and photos

To make tasty chocolate mug cake, all your graduate needs is a microwave and a ceramic mug—something that can be found in the even the sparsest of college dorms. Place a mixture of powdered chocolate cake and powdered angel food cake in a pretty jar, and then write the recipe for the microwave cake on the jar. Gift the new grad a that they will use for their easy dessert.

20. Custom Journals

Custom journal for a graduation gift idea

If you need high school graduation gifts, try taking plain brown journals and creating intricate designs on their covers. Once they start college, there will be plenty of note taking. A journal with a personalized cover will make lectures more fun.

22. Photo Blankets

Fleece blankets 3 in different colors sizes and pictures displayed

Choose between different photo blankets – fleece, plush, sherpa and photo to gift to your new grad. This gift is perfect for both high school and college graduates. A high school graduate will love having the homey item in their dorm, and a college graduate will be able to proudly display the quilt in their apartment. This is especially great for those who will be traveling somewhere with a cooler climate.

23. Care Package

Every graduate needs some first aid essentials for their new living space. Care packages can include anything from band-aids, snacks, and cold medicine to cookies, movie tickets, and a new blanket. Customize your care package to the needs of your graduate.

24. DIY Calendar/Planner

Monthly planner with empty calendar space to put all plans with a customized cover

Both high school and college graduates need a good planner to keep track of classes, work commitments, and plans with friends. This adorable, customized planner will help even the busiest of graduates keep track of their schedules. There are also empty pages in the planner where the graduate can jot down thoughts or ideas. Explore the tutorial for step by step instructions.

25. Smart Cookie Printable Tag

Is your graduate a habitual snacker? Instead of gifting them regular snack food, try sprucing it up to show them you care! Show your graduate that you know they’re one smart cookie with this adorable printable gift tag. Bake your graduate’s favorite type of cookie, and place them in a bag with this tag attached.

26. Laundry Day Piggy Bank

Laundry is a real drag, especially when the washer and dryer are located outside of your house. Create a DIY Mason jar piggy back so they won’t even have to smash open the piggy bank to get to the coins inside—simply unscrew the top and dig in. Bonus points if you pre-fill the gift with quarters for your graduate.

27. Custom College Survival Kit

Looking for high school graduation gifts? Try a college survival kit that’s jam-packed with everything a new freshman needs. Take a paint can and customize the outside with patterned cardstock that fits your graduate’s new alma mater. Then, fill the paint can with gift cards, candy, laundry detergent, shampoo, toothpaste and anything else you can think of that will make the transition to college easier. If your graduate needs a bit of everything, this is one of our very favorite DIY graduation gifts. You don’t need to be too crafty, for this to still look creative.

28. DIY Laptop Sleeve

Homemade fleece and felt laptop sleeve will keep your friend or family member’s computer safe and snug all day long.  Just get the measurements for the graduate’s computer, and then you’ll be all ready to create your very own.

29. Coffee Tumbler

If your graduate has a great sense of humor, this gift is for them. This DIY travel tumbler is portable, and perfect for class or the office. Young adults don’t often have too much money lying around, which is why this refillable cup is great for iced coffees and teas from the house.

30. Emergency Car Kit

A car is often overlooked, but it’s a great idea to stock some essentials in there in case of emergencies. Chances are your new grad is about to become much more independent, and won’t have the same luxuries they’re used to. Try to include unique items like Kitty Litter to give tires better traction on ice, booster cables for a stalled car, hand warmers, an emergency blanket, a first aid kit, Fix-a-Flat tire sealer, an LED flashlight, bottled waters, and nut bars.

31. Simple DIY Bag

A mesh bag can be used for a wide variety of purposes, from carrying laundry to toting toiletries to the dorm bathroom. These are incredibly handy for holding hair brushes, bathing suits, makeup, and small electronics. Pick a fabric/pattern that your graduate will love. These airy tote bags are especially great for summer months.

32. Homemade Nutella

Does your graduate have a sweet tooth? Forget purchasing a new shirt or book for them, and give them what they really want! Homemade Nutella is one of the best DIY graduation gifts for anyone that loves desserts. Your graduate will be in heaven when they dip a spoon into this sweet jar of Nutella. These are great for a late night treat.

33. Magnetic Board

This framed magnetic board makes a great organizational tool as well as unique graduation present. Simply add your graduate’s favorite photos to the design and pick out some fun magnets. The board then can be used for everything from scheduling, to memorabilia, to decoration.

34. Personalized Laptop Case

photo laptop case graduation present

Once upon a time school supplies used to be textbooks, binders, and pencils. Now, most students can get away with using their laptops for most classes. Give your grad something special to carry from class to class or even just for the everyday. These personalized laptop cases are the perfect mix of useful and unique.

Resources Related To Unique Graduation Gifts

Still looking for some other options for great DIY graduation gifts? Browse our personalized graduation gifts such as mugs, blankets, pillows, stationery, canvas prints, and more. You can also visit our list of graduation quotes and messages to complete your graduation card.

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