DIY Christmas Gift Ideas for Men, Boyfriends, Moms, Etc

by on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

If you want a sentimental and personal Christmas gift idea, let me share with you something inspired by Marilyn Monroe. While shes’ not my favorite actress of that time period (Audrey Hepburn stole my heart, tyvm) I was watching the CBS news when they talked about how they were auctioning off some of Marilyn Monroe’s personal items and clothing.

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

One idea, done about a bazillion ways!

One item really struck me as something that you can recreate. The item was the CECIL BEATON TRIPTYCH. It’s a picture frame that folds out with three sections. The middle is a photograph from 1956, taken by photographer Cecil Beaton. It was Marilyn’s favorite photo of herself. And then in the two other slots are the two pages of a letter he wrote to Marilyn.

The selling price for this Marilyn Monroe item (which she owned and cherished) is $145,500. But you can put this time kind of priceless gift together for a friend or family member for under $20!

Think about it. All you need is a picture frame (up the ante by having it engraved, if you want), a photo (you can turn it black and white if you want. It can be a photo of them at a younger age. It can be taken by you or even a self photograph), and a letter that you write to your subject, that someone else has written to them (their mentor, a favorite professor, a celebrity, a beloved family friend), or even something they wrote themselves (such as a diary page from their younger years, or a letter they wrote to themself for a school project.)

If you give this as a gift to a younger person or as a gradation gift, you can write the letter about your hopes for their future and how much love and support you have for them.

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas for Men / Boyfriend

Tips: Use a photo of the both of you. Or a photo of them you took. Or maybe a photo of them as a child. Keep it looking professional and they’ll certainly want to put it in their office.

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas for Mom

Tips: See if you can find a letter you wrote to your Mom as a young kid to frame. Or use one of her favorite quotes. You could have something printed that says “We support you and believe in your dreams” and then have family and friends all sign around the quote. There are endless possibilities.

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas for Anyone


  1. For the frame search for “triptych picture frame” but also look for picture frames with three sections, no matter what they’re labeled as. You can try online for “three section picture frame” “hinged picture frames” “5 by 7 triple frame” and “triple picture frames.”
  2. You don’t have to have three sections. You can have just two sections. That makes it smaller, easier to place on a desk, and you don’t have to write as long of a letter. Heh!
  3. Look for a picture frame with a matte built into it for it to look super polished.
  4. Check out Target and Marshalls for tons of picture frames on sale! They always have a huge variety.
  5. Use a special pen. Much beloved by people with Moleskin journals are the Pilot G2 series of gel pens. They are cheap and don’t bleed through paper. The Cross Tech3 pen is highly reviewed as is the Fisher Space Pen (which also writes upside down – handy.)

Picture Frames Under $20

  1. Malden Linear Wood Black Picture Frame
  2. Linear Black Picture Frame 5×7″ Double Vertical

Picture Frames Under $30

  1. Lawrence Frames Black Wood Hinged Double Picture Frame Matted to 5 by 7 (Favorite Option because it has a matte. Available in Black or Walnut or a Three Frame option.)
  2. Lawrence Frames Antique Pewter Hinged Triple 3×5 Picture Frame – Beaded Edge Design
  3. Lawrence Frames Hinged Triple Black Wood Picture Frame, Gallery Collection
  4. Lawrence Frames Hinged Triple (Vertical) Metal Picture Frame Pewter Finish with Delicate Beading
  5. Lawrence Frames Polished Silver Plate 5×7 Hinged Double Horizontal – Bead Border Design
  6. Lawrence Frames Hinged Triple Vertical Metal Picture Frame Oil Rubbed Bronze with Delicate Beading

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