How to Use Tech to Make DIY Father’s Day Gifts

Father’s Day is coming up, and instead of just reaching for a new pair of socks or box of macaroni, why not enhance your gift, and bring these classics into the future with a little tech magic?

With an app for everything, and tech add-ons available to give an old-school gift a little boost, the lead-up to Father’s Day can resemble a science fair or computer camp. Kids of all ages can add things from the cloud, and even tech hardware, to their gift-making toolbox — making great gift possibilities virtually endless.

Here are a few ideas on how to enhance your Father’s Day gifts using technology.

Screen Time for Dad

Set up an Instagram account and fill it with photos of you and your dad. For the final one, shoot a short video — you can wish him a Happy Father’s Day, or even sing 15-seconds of his favorite song. Be sure to include a hashtag you’ve specialized just for him — you can use it again in the future, tying together all of your Father’s Day gifts to come.

Enhance this gift: You can even print the photos out as decals, allowing the gift to live on your dad’s phone, as well as the walls of your home. You could even create a custom case for his smartphone, featuring a collage of the photos (there’s an app for that, too).


An interactive scavenger hunt is a terrific way to bring the tech world into the real world. Wrap a present for your dad, then take a photo of it in a secret location. Upload it to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and include a series of hashtags that act as clues as to where the gift is. If he’s stumped, he can let you know via a comment, and then you can continue giving him hints through the comments section until he finds it. This would work especially well as a gift if you are not able to be together on Father’s Day.

Photo Painting

Do you have a favorite family photo? Use the Waterlogue app to turn it into a work of art that will not only live on your dad’s devices, but also in your home. In order to make a high quality print, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps. You could even take a photo on Father’s Day, and gift your dad with it later.

Finger Painting

For younger kids, there’s an app that will bring their finger painting to their father’s phone screen. You could also bring your masterpiece off the small screen by setting it as desktop wallpaper, or printing it out for the refrigerator door gallery.

If you want to give your dad a place to store your physical pieces of artwork, get the app for him — this will bring all of your growing collection right to his smartphone, where he can share his kids’ artistic genius with friends and colleagues.

The Classic Tie, With a Tech Twist

For a more traditional route, you can transform a tie into a wearable wallet, or even a wearable charging station or phone holder. All you need is a tie, a sewing kit (or machine) and some extra fabric. Rip the seams (carefully) on the back of the tie, and create a pocket that you can sew into the back. Make sure this is a bit larger than the size of your dad’s phone.

Enhance this gift: Drop a small portable charger in the pocket so your dad’s battery is always charged.

The Gift of Battery Life

Making a custom iPhone dock is easy. After you think of a theme, all you’ll need is a few materials and a USB cord. This project can be complex (here’s a tree branch dock) or very, very simple (make a clamshell box out of recycled materials).

Remember making macaroni necklaces? You can still do that, while bringing this classic DIY piece into the future. Why not make dad a macaroni keychain that will charge his devices in a pinch? To do this, use a USB cord (the newer ones will fit through ziti) as the string and a small portable charger as the pendant. You can use anything from a paperclip to string to a more sophisticated clasp to close it up and attach it to a key ring.

Plan a Trip

You can plan a Father’s Day adventure using the Tripomatic app, which allows you to create a daily itinerary, and will sync your plans across all of your (dad’s) devices, as well as to mobile apps. The app has great photos, and will help you plan your big day out with recommendations.

Bonus: Another great resource that can help you bring your gift to the next level is DIY (find the app here). They have plenty of hi-tech DIY ideas, and will even teach you how to make them.

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