Best Gift Ideas for Makers 2019

I’ll admit, I’m proud of my small-but-efficient workshop, and it’s thanks to some key items I can’t live without. Here are my suggestions for what to get the maker in your life this holiday season.

Canary Box Cutter

The Canary box cutter is safer than a utility knife for opening boxes and cutting cardboard, and allows you to cut curves in cardboard more easily than a regular blade. I like the versatility of the Canary and find myself reaching for it more often than any other cutting tool. While it is still possible to cut yourself with its serrated edge, it’s much more difficult.

Small Fire Extinguisher

I always keep a few portable fire extinguishers around when I’m working with any tools or materials that are potential fire hazards, like butane torches, solar-concentrating lenses, soldering irons, laser cutters, CNC machines, etc. Give the gift that says “I hope you don’t die in a fire!”

Hobby Creek Helping Third Hand Tool

I absolutely love my Hobby Creek helping hands tool. The reconfigurable arms are tipped with premium helping hands including clear plastic grip covers, and the milled aluminum base has two catch trays for small parts. This workholding accessory is great for electronics makers, fly fisherpersons, jewelry makers, and more.

Hakko Soldering Iron

For beginner to intermediate electronics makers, a new Hakko soldering iron is a real treat. The base station manages the power, which frees up the pencil to be lightweight and small, which is a big upgrade the cheap-o all-in-wand irons that beginners often get.

Premium Solder Sucker

Much in the same way the Hakko is a big upgrade, this silicone-tipped solder sucker makes the chore of undoing a solder joint into an absolute joy. The silicone tip doesn’t melt like its cheap-o plastic alternative, but instead stretches to the shape of the area to be slurped. The vacuum pump makes a particularly satisfying noise when it deploys. I talked about this tool on the Cool Tools podcast.

3D Printer & Filament

This year I was gifted a Creality CR-10s Pro 3D printer, and I absolutely love it. It was very easy to set up and get printing right away. For me it was a big upgrade from my old MakerBot Replicator 2, featuring a large heated print bed and much bigger build volume.

I’ve repeatedly enjoyed using PLA 3D printer filament by Hatchbox or 3D Solutech.

Plastic Storage Bins

As a collector of hobbies, organization is key. These small stacking Sterilite storage bins make great homes for electronics components and circuit boards, jewelry or sewing supplies, drawing and journaling, etc.

For hobbies with bigger tools and supplies like leatherworking, painting, scrapbooking, metalworking, etc., these larger stacking Sterilite plastic bins are a treat.

Palomino Blackwing Pencils

Every maker needs to write stuff down and sketch stuff out! Palomino Blackwing pencils are the most pleasurable pencils to use that I have ever tried. The versatile soft graphite and adjustable eraser are perfect for sketches and todo lists. Get ’em a bunch because they’re that good. Personally, I keep them scattered around such that there’s always one within reach.

Sketch Book

For the maker with everything, get ’em a place to put down their future flow of ideas with a Canson Mix Media sketchbook.


If your gift recipient has recently become interested in 3D printing, machining, jewelry making, or other hobbies involving precise measurements, the Mitutoyo calipers are an absolute treat.

E6000 Adhesive

Any maker could use a pack of small tubes of E6000 adhesive. This glue can be used on a surprisingly large number of materials and dries clear, flexible, and permanent. Several small tubes are better than one big one, since the glue tends to dry up after you open it.

To beef up this gift, get the E6000 big box. Dear Santa, please get me this.

LED Tracing Pad

Old, giant lightboxes are out, LED tracing pads are in! This ultra thin gadget is USB-powered and has adjustable brightness. Great for illustrators, embroiderers/needlecraftspersons, quilters, tattoo artists, and more.

Thanks for reading! You can browse more of my favorite products for makers on my Amazon storefront.

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