Handmade Gamer Gifts

The holidays are upon us, and ’tis the season for the usual agonizing over what to get your favorite gamer as a gift. With the way the economy has been for the past few years, however, splurging on a brand new hardcover might not be as feasible as it once was. Low-cost PDFs and print-on-demand are wonderful things which I support whole-heartedly. But consider this: people like to receive handmade gifts from their friends. This is no less true for gamers. In keeping with Michael’s post from earlier this week, I want to present to you some ideas for handmade gamer gifts that you can create yourself.

The GM screen might not be as ubiquitous as it once was, but it’s still a useful tool that can help the GM keep important information easily at hand. Professionally produced screens often come bundled with supplementary tools and materials, but they only contain information for a single game. Try this: take a manila folder, or a piece of posterboard cut and folded into two or three sections, and use brass fasteners to hold sheets of paper printed with the information the GM needs for the particular game at hand. Decorate the outside, or use more fasteners to bolt on an appropriate cover! This requires minimal monetary investment and, depending on how elaborate you wish to be, very little time as well.

If you’re good with your hands and have some patience, a hand-sewn dice bag is always a treasure. While store-bought bags (or the stereotypical Crown Royal bags) are easy to find, you can make a bag out of a lot of different fabrics, and you can control the size. Add in drawstrings or buttons if you’re crafty, or tie it shut with a pretty piece of cord. The primary investment here is time, especially if you sew the bag by hand.

Coming off the handmade GM screen idea, how about a folder to help keep a character sheet and ancillary notes together? Decorate a manila folder with your own artwork, stickers or pasted pictures.

Lastly, free games can be printed on folded pieces of paper to make small books. Especially interesting is the PocketMod, a format Microlite20 is available in. Alternately, you can create a character sheet that can be folded up, complete with a front cover design. This of course requires a printer and ink, as well as the skill to design the layout if you do your own.

These are just a few inexpensive ideas. There are hundreds of gifts you can create for the gamer on your holiday list. Happy Holidays!

Andrew M. Modro is a 36-year-old father of one living in southeastern Ohio. He has been a gamer since 1982. He is the editor of Warrior, Rogue & Mage from Stargazer Games and co-author of Resolute, Adventurer & Genius. His current favorite RPG is Adventure! from White Wolf.

4 thoughts on “Handmade Gamer Gifts”

  1. Great ideas, Andrew!

    Even if it's not Christmas, self-made dice bags or a customized manila folder are great gifts for your gaming group. And if you want to convince your GM to run that free game your recently found on the net, why not print it out and give it to your GM as a present after the next gaming session?

  2. If you have woodworking skills, why not a dice bowl or dice tower? What about covers for those game books? They can be fabric or paper. I know that the ones I haul around can get pretty beat up, but a book cover prevents some of the wear & tear.

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