Included are a variety of options for a variety of price ranges and skill sets. If you don’t have the funds or the means to thrift it cheaper, use the project as inspiration for something else. If you don’t have the skills or know-how necessary ,but your man does, consider it a good opportunity for bonding. Some projects are practical, some playful, some sweet. You know him best, so you choose.
2. Laptop Skins
Make your own laptop skin with contact paper from the dollar store. I’ve done this to both my laptop and my boyfriend’s. We love it. It’s pretty simple, but check out the tutorial here. In the same vein, but even easier, apply dollar store decals as shown here.
3. Athletic Afghan
Some guys love knit/crochet things. Some are even brave enough to do it themselves. Hopefully, famous Gladiator star Russell Crowe, who is rumored to be a knitting enthusiast, will get more men to follow suit. But if your fella is yarn-shy, you better make sure you pick something he’ll like. If he’s into sports, try making an afghan featuring his favorite team’s logo or at least their colors.
4. Wooden Watch
One rarely comes across a DIY “accessory” project this cool for a man. Refurbish a watch face with a wood sample for a delightfully rustic-looking timepiece. It will take some time and effort, but with a little courage and this instructable, you’ll do just fine. I have faith in you.
6. Custom Cardboard Cabinetry
Unleash your inner architect and design a custom piece of furniture…out of cardboard. Use this guy’s instructions as your guide.
7. Can Lanterns
If you’re having a barbecue and the people coming over are your guy’s friends, too, he should have some say in the decorations. Maybe he’d prefer these can lanterns over Chinese lanterns. But you’d probably better ask.
8. Alien Abduction Lamp
If your fella is a sci-fi geek or just generally quirky, he might appreciate this imaginative lamp. And, oh yes…it should only cost you about five dollars to make. Score. Here’s the tutorial.
Does your guy like retro/vintage stuff like vinyl records and such? If either of you have any electrical savvy, you might enjoy trying to rig up a glorified retro iHome with a thrift store phonograph as a weekend project like these folks did.
10. Netbook Book
If you liked the idea of pimping his laptop, but not so much the idea of applying something directly to it, you might prefer this option. Make a laptop case out of an old hardcover book.
11. Time Capsule
This one’s pretty neat, especially if you have a sentimental fella. I wouldn’t recommend this one, however, if you haven’t been together long or don’t plan to be. It might be pretty awkward/painful five years from now or whenever you dig it up. Get ideas here for what to put it in your capsule and how to preserve it.
12. Instrument Wall Hanger
This one’s pretty simple, but it’s great for a few reasons. 1. Mounting an instrument on the wall will free up floor space. 2. Instruments on the wall make for pretty cool decor. 3. It’s a demonstration of support. There is little nicer than knowing that the people you care about support you in everything, even your hobbies.
Another simple concept, but very useful. Most camp chairs have cup holders in them, but some don’t. Neither do the lawn chairs and benches you sit on around the fire pit in the backyard. A lawn drink caddy isn’t the most romantic gift in the world, but it is practical. (All the same, though, I wouldn’t recommend giving this for a Christmas, birthday or anniversary gift for most people. But as a “just for so” gift, it would be nice.)
14. NES Controller Coffee Table
I’m not going to lie to you—chances are you can’t make this project. But if you can, you are a miracle worker. This is not just a coffee table that looks like an NES controller…it IS an NES controller…a JUMBO one. Yes, it actually works. If you can figure out how to do this, God bless you, you’re a keeper.
15. Hand-shaped Wooden Bowl
Give him a hand! Or two. Give him a place to empty his pockets that isn’t the floor or the kitchen table. There are all kinds of ways you could go with a project like that, but I like this one with the wooden hands.
16. Wood Slice Turntable
This one’s in the same vein as the earlier iPhonograph project, but it doesn’t incorporate any new technology; it just gives an old technology a makeover. I love the rustic look of this wood slice turntable. (Unfortunately, there’s no tutorial with this one.) If you already have a slightly beat-up or just boring looking record player or you can find one cheap at a thrift store, this is a great project for you. But a word to the wise—don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re not super electronically minded, choose a very basic turntable to cannibalize for this project, because after you take it apart, you’re going to have to put everything back…
(By the way, the site the link will direct you to is the Man Made DIY blog. It is one of the most awesome blogs out there and it has lots of other “manly” project ideas to pursue. This blogger is brilliant. You may find yourself wanting to marry him, but alas, he was recently married.)
17. USB Desk Lamp
Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, “I am poor and technologically illiterate. I can’t make this project.” But you are wrong. The parts for this easy-to-make lamp can be bought at the dollar store.
18. “52 Things I Love About You”
This is another sappy one, but it has potential. It’s basically a deck of cards that says something you like about him on every card. The one in the picture is a little feminine, but you can design it however you want. Give them to him all at once or give him one a week every for a year (52 weeks in a year/ 52 cards in a deck=1 year) and bind them together at the end of the year. Everybody likes compliments.
Once again, the thumbnail picture is a little girly, but the concept is good. You’ve probably seen duct tape wallets before, but I think this one is a little more brilliant than most. But don’t take my word for it; go ahead and shop around. There are lots of great duct tape projects out there.
20. Tech-Organizer Book
I present to you another cool project concealed inside a book. Make your man a bookish travel case for all his cords and things to go with his bookish laptop case.
21. Instrument Makeover
Again, this one is about showing an interest in your partner’s interests. If you are artistic, in addition to being crafty, this could be a good fit for you. A while back I used a wood burning tool to burn a design into my boyfriend’s guitar. That went well, so he asked me to paint the pick guard for his bass, too. (Later today, I actually plan to work my magic on a ukulele.) Check out my posts on the process here and here.