Etsy Journal

Explore ideas and inspiration for creative living

23 Unique Ways to Personalize Gifts

by Aleksa Brown

Jan 29, 2017

Give a gift that's just their style — we'll show you how.

Photo by: Brittani Rose Paper

There's a lot of hype around personalized gifts—and with good reason. Gone are the days of generic, one-size-fits-all gifting; today, it's all about showing up to the party with something made just for them. No matter what the occasion—be it a birthday, wedding, new baby, or housewarming—it's easy to find personalized options from the creative community here on Etsy. If you're looking for something personalized, but need a little inspiration to get started, you're in the right place. Scroll on for a comprehensive list of ideas for personalizing a gift, each guaranteed to get you inducted into the personalized gift hall of fame.

1. Name

Shop nowName puzzles by Russet Road Kids Want to make baby's first toy or a pet's bowl feel more special? Personalize it with their name. Tip: Be sure to double-check the spelling before you place your order!

2. Initial

Shop now: Initial clock by Coconutgrass  Use the first letter of their name as inspiration, then explore the many ways (a custom clock! metal-stamping!) to bring it to life. Tip: Use two first initials for BFF or couples jewelry.

3. Monogram

Shop now: Monogram pouch by Jill Brodeur Personalizing with a monogram: little effort, big payoff. Seriously, this is one of the easiest ways to turn a luggage tag into their luggage tag—simply by adding two (or three) little letters to the mix.

4. Birth date

Shop now: Personalized picture block by Sophia Victoria Joy Celebrate the birth of a new baby by having their date of birth engraved, stamped, or painted onto a piece of jewelryor an ornament, come holiday season. Pro tip: Birth date pieces also make great gifts for new parents.

5. Astrological Sign

Shop now: Zodiac pillow cover by Jillian Rene Decor Is your loved one into astrology? If so, consider something made with their sign in mind—astrological tea, constellation earrings, or even a cool cushion cover. It's not quite custom, but it still shows you did your homework.

6. Numbers

Shop now: Number rings by Elegant Jewel Box Go the extra mile personalization-wise with numbers, as they can mean — er, a number of things! Think birth order, their numerology sign or their lucky number. Bonus: There's something particularly cool about a trendy piece of jewelry with hidden meaning.

7. Roman Numerals

Shop now: Roman numeral ring by Capucinne Do the hidden meaning motif one better with Roman Numerals.

8. Anniversary Date

Shop now: Cutting board by Wood KRFT The benefits of this personalization method are twofold: 1. It's thoughtful and romantic. 2. They'll never forget your anniversary again. (Pro tip: You could also use this method to personalize wedding favors.)

9. Geographic Coordinates

Shop now: Keychain by Mesa Dreams You know how they say, location, location, location? That is also true when it comes to personalization. If your gift recipient has a special connection with their hometown or a favorite vacation spot, look up the geographical coordinates and have it added to the inside of a dopp kit or stamped on a piece of jewelry. Perfect present: achieved.

10. Address

Shop now: Return-address stamp by Worthwhile Paper Another way to do location is with an address – particularly the return-address stamp. This practical approach is perfect for celebrating the purchase of a new home or office.

11. The Moon Phase on the Day You Met

Shop now: Moon phase necklace by Gemagenta Want to get super romantic? Go with a personalized moon phase. Dreamy!

12. Birthstones

Shop now: Ring by Artemer Birthstones are a classic approach to personalization, and with so many jewelry designers on Etsy, the possibilities are endless. From delicate minimalist rings to ornate vintage brooches, there's a birthstone piece for everyone on your list. Tip: Order more than one stone to represent partners, children, siblings or friends.

13. Portrait

Shop now: Portrait by Jordan Grace Owens Custom portraits offer endless gifting possibilities – family portraits, pet portraits, home illustrations – even paper dolls crafted in their likeness. A word to the wise: Be sure to get your order in early if you have a hard deadline for gifting – these masterpieces take some time to complete.

14. Morse Code

Shop now: Necklace by Betsy and Iya Did you know that you can get a piece translated into Morse Code right here on Etsy? Well, you can! This approach lends itself to commemorating an inside joke, or even saying something like "I love you" for the first time.

15. Sound Waves

Shop now: Poster by Newton And The Apple Audiophiles, rejoice! Custom sound wave posters documenting all sorts of sounds – from your loved one's voice to their favorite songs – are officially a thing.

16. Map

Shop now: Map by Ello There Add your own personalized touch to a map of your choosing  with stickers to show where you've been – and places you want to go together.

17. Favorite Pastime

Shop now: Stamp by The Small Object Buying a present for a hardcore hobbyist can be puzzling, but when in doubt, there's a stamp for that. "Handmade by," "From the Library of" and "Baked by" are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to special-interest stamps available on Etsy.

18. Handwriting

Shop now: Platter by Prairie Hills Pottery Have a special message for your gift recipient? Put it in writing – your own handwriting, to be exact. Another idea: Commemorate a favorite family recipe by having it transferred onto a serving plate or cutting board.

19. Braille

Shop now: Necklace by Make Pie Not War Have a word or phrase stamped in Braille.

20. Fingerprint

Shop now: Ring by Slowack Jewelry Take commitment to the next level with a custom fingerprint engagement ring. Like your love, no two are alike.

21. Family Tree

Shop now: Family Tree by Eva Juliet A custom family tree will become an instant heirloom.

22. Photo

Shop now: Clutch by ANGEE W. From T-shirts to puzzles, personalizing a gift with a photo memorializes a moment. Pro tip: Be sure you have a high-quality photo so the finished product is crisp and clear.

23. Silhouette

Shop now: Necklaces by Once Again Sam Save their silhouette for all time with a custom art or jewelry piece showing the shape of their features.
What's your favorite way to personalize a gift? Leave your response in the comments.

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Aleksa Brown

Aleksa Brown is a writer, editor, and brand storyteller based in Brooklyn, NY. Some of her favorite things include burgers, bike rides, and being outside with friends on sunny days. Read more of her work on the Etsy Journal.