DIY for Dad: Happy Father’s Day from MAKE, a Gift Guide for Dad


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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, 2007. Started by Sonora Dodd to honor her father who raised five children alone after the Civil War, President Coolidge supported the idea, Lyndon signed a proclamation, and in 1972 it was official.

Father’s Day is over a week away, but we’re putting out suggestions and ideas early so you have time to make something (and save $ on shipping). The MAKE team has put together some fun gifts to make, buy, and give this Father’s Day. That said, simply telling Dad some of the things he’s done in your life to get you where you’re at now is perhaps the greatest gift of all. Over the years, many of my friends seemed reluctant early on to become Fathers, but now, I cannot imagine them without children, and neither could they; their kids are the center of their lives and it’s wonderful. I think the hesitation comes from all of us never quite finishing being children ourselves. We were all children once, even Dad. Dad might be a little grey, but he’s still young at heart, curious, and playful.

Happy making and Happy Father’s Day from MAKE!
– Phil Torrone, Senior Editor

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Picture Frame: Lots of people give Dad a frame with a photo, but this is 2007, c’mon! And you’re a maker so hack up a digital photo frame and swap out pictures every once in a while for Dad! Here are a dozen or so different ways to make a photo frame, most of them super cheap.

  • The $11 LCD photo frame – Link.
  • LED Popsicle stick picture frame – Link.
  • Cheap ‘n easy digital picture frame under $100 – Link.
  • Homebrew picture frame – Link.
  • Digital photo frame – Link.
  • Digital picture frame – Link.
  • The DIY digital photo frame – Link.
  • $20 Juice Box photo frame – Link.
  • Juice Box picture frame – Link.
  • DIY CD jewel case photo frames – Link.
  • Monochrome digital picture frame – Link.
  • Make a digital picture frame out of an old laptop – Link.

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DIY for Dad: Get Dad a MAKE gift subscription! A gift subscription to MAKE starts with the latest issues AND Dad gets the Digital Edition for free! A gift of MAKE is one that gives all year long. The latest issue of MAKE (Volume 10) has our editor-in-chief, Mark Frauenfelder, and his daughter Sarina on the cover doing a fun project together–how timely! – Link (Use code CMAKE and get an additional $5 off, just for Dad!).

Oh! And when you order a gift subscription, we’ll send a notification to your recipient. But we want to give you the option of notifying them in style. Here’s a special PDF just for Dad that you can print out and give this weekend. – Link

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Ties: For eons, Dad will get ties, but don’t give Dad a boring tie–go handmade. Designed and made by Bethany Shorb, each of these ties is “handmade of the finest and most unusual materials in our top-floor studio in downtown Detroit. Formed in 2005, the Cyberoptix TieLab has fashioned a line of neckwear appropriate for both outed and closet rockstars.” See tons and tons of photos – Link & get one @ Cyberoptix – Link.

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DIY Tie Rack: Get one of those cheap wire tie racks and mod it up a notch, MAKE-style for Dad. – Link.


Cuff Links: If Dad wears a tie, he might need some cuff links too. Here’s a nice set (made with microchips) that you can buy or build – Link. Here are some more to think about, to buy or (re)make….

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Level cufflinks – Link.


Watch gear cufflinks – Link.


Ethernet cufflinks – Link.


Wallets: Make Dad a wallet! Ah yes, the venerable gift for Dad each year … the wallet. There are dozens and dozens of wallets you can make for Dad, and here are some of our picks.

  • Make a wallet out of tape – Link.
  • Make a paint chip wallet – Link.
  • Make a knobby, all-terrain rubber wallet – Link.
  • Make an inner-tube wallet – Link.
  • Make a duct tape wallet – Link.
  • Make a Tyvek FedEx wallet with change pocket – Link.
  • Make am EMI-shielding wallet – Link.

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Smokey Meat: Dad likes meat, charred, burning, smokey meat–well, most Dads seem to–so why not cook up a DIY smoker for him? Heck, you can build it together and make a feast!

  • DIY smoker – Link.
  • Condo-Q (DIY smoker) – Link.
  • Cardboard box smoker – Link.

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Tool Belt

Tool Belt for Grilling: while we’re on the subject of high temperature food prep with fire, Dad will totally flip (meat) with the Grillslinger. It’s like a tool belt, but for BBQing – Link.

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Mmmmm, Beer: Dad likes Beer, it goes with the territory. The “Mr. Beer” DIY Brewing Kit – (starting at $39). Give him the gift that keeps on fermenting – Link.


MAKE Pocket Reference: We kept asking ourselves, “If there was just one tool that no Maker (Dad) should be without, what would it be?” This may just be the tool we’d pick. This great little book is a concise all-purpose reference featuring hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants & conversions, and it still fits in your shirt pocket! Packed with mathematical formula, tables, standard conversion ratios, scientific facts, technical specifications, electric wire size vs. load, resistor color codes, Morse code, sun & planet data, earthquake scales, nail sizes, geometry formulas, currency exchange rates, carpentry, automotive, physical science, water friction losses, charts for battery charging, lumber sizes & grades, floor joint span limits, insulation R values, periodic table, and as they say, much, much more! It’s no wonder The Pocket Ref was featured in MythBusters – Link.


Matching Shirts: Good for younglings, this is still one of my favorites, a shirt idea for Father’s day from the Craftster forums: matching “Who’s your Daddy” and “I’m your Daddy” shirts. Here’s are some how-tos and articles on making shirts to get you started, all super cheap.

  • How to silkscreen shirts – Link.
  • Make T-shirt stencils from freezer paper – Link.
  • How to silkscreen posters and shirts – Link.
  • Cheap screen printing – Link.


MAKE: Warranty Voider: Leatherman “Squirt” P4 (plier version) or E4 (electronics version). Small enough to fit on Dad’s keychain, the MAKE Warranty Voider is the perfect companion for mobile fixing, hacking, and MacGyvering. This is a limited offering with custom “MAKE: Warranty Voider” lovingly etched with care using a 35W laser – Link.

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MAKE Dad a Hammock: an instant hammock! In MAKE, Volume 09, page 41 (Heirloom Technology) we showed you how to make an instant hammock–here’s how! – Link.

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MAKE Gift Cards: Give Dad a gift card he will REALLY like … you enter the amount and delivery method after you add to cart. Unlike gift cards from the big box retailers, ours never expire! – Link & gift PDF (just add the gift card part).

And that’s it for now!

Previous DIY for Dad @ MAKE:

  • Father’s Day Duct Tape Festival – Link.
  • Happy Father’s Day from MAKE – Link.
  • MAKE’s Last Minute DIY Gift Guide for Dad – Link.

Have suggestions, ideas, gifts? Post them up in the comments. Have stories about Dad getting YOU into making? Post them up too–we’ll select one and send out a special gift!

4 thoughts on “DIY for Dad: Happy Father’s Day from MAKE, a Gift Guide for Dad

  1. Whamodyne says:

    I made my dad a Pair of Big Brass Ones.
    Instructable at:

    Because every dad needs a spare pair.

  2. 23waystofirstbase says:

    23 Ways to First Base..In the tradition of the Guinness Book of World Records and The Book of Lists comes the ultimate smorgasbord of sports information.It was nominated by Bill Simmons (ESPN sports) as his TOP 5 bathroom readings. This is a must for the sports fanatic and even those who are just curious! It has information from How many sports cameos were on The Simpsons to every first picks in the NFL draft since 1936. It’s a for sure Father’s Day gift! For sale on amazon!

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