December has finally arrived and there’s only a couple of weeks left to get all your Christmas shopping sorted. A lot of the more organised among us will already have most of it done and will now only be struggling with the people who are trickiest to buy for. Others might not start thinking about it for another week or so yet. Either way, it’s more than likely that there will be a friend or two whose gift you can’t quite peg – nerds, after all, can be notoriously difficult to buy for.
As a group of people, they are known for indulging their passions, for collecting and meticulously curating memorabilia or their favourite fandoms. Their collection might be very specific, in which case it can be difficult to know what they need next. Their collection might be really vague and vast, so it can be difficult to tell what they need to add to it at all.
One of the best ways to ensure that your gift is truly unique is to go indie. Independent creators do what they do because they love it, so you’re bound to find something that will excite any eager fan, and they work from pure imagination so the chances of finding something you know will be a surprise are much higher.
The creator of these cool wristbands first got into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles way back in the 1980s, when her young son was obsessed with them. He is now an adult with a daughter of his own and the passion has not abated over the years. With the resurgence of the Turtles that came along with the 2014 movies, she took the opportunity to pass the fandom onto her baby granddaughter. And to make these fun bracelets.
You can get any one of the four turtles so you can show just how much attention you pay to your friends’ favourite characters as well as fandoms. The bracelets are made of 550 strength paracord, so they’re durable enough to withstand any adventures they might get into too.
One of the most feverishly discussed cliff-hangers of the year, the brutal murder at the end of the season six of The Walking Dead made Negan one of the most eagerly awaited killers in television history. He and his grim baseball bat, Lucille, have become iconic almost overnight. These cute earrings from Bobby’s Boutique make a perfect tribute to any of the bloodthirsty survivor’s fans.
They are incredibly detailed pieces of jewellery, right down to the blood and grime embedded in the wire along the shaft of the bat charms. The gore really twinkles in good lighting. The artist creates a truly beautiful juxtaposition by turning deadly weapons known for their brutality into dainty decorations. She even goes one step further by wrapping them in colourful tissue paper for delivery.
For anyone not into jewellery, the same charms can be bought as keyrings. The shop also sells handmade jewellery and trinkets from all kinds of other fandoms, including classic Disney and Harry Potter.
Comic book artists Gary the GeeK was inspired to create his unique silhouette art while drawing Doctor Who. He says he saw the imprint of a previously drawn picture beneath the one he was drawing and the idea of drawing characters within characters came to him. His first silhouette piece was Matt Smith’s Doctor, followed by Peter Capaldi’s and then a whole host of other cool characters.
Instead of typical colouring and detail, Gary’s silhouettes are filled into with the outline of the characters that surround them, most commonly those that oppose them. As well as making for some really interesting art, it also creates a brilliant juxtaposition between pop culture’s biggest heroes and the villains without whom they would be out of a reputation.
Each image can take anywhere between seven hours and a full day to make. Once a piece has been planned out – and work like this really needs to be planned out to be so finely detailed – it is pencilled, then inked with three different pens, and finally finished with brush-tipped pens. It’s a lot of work but it does make for a really unique and thought-provoking tribute to anyone’s favourite character from movies, games or comic books. It offers the kind of artwork that only truly be appreciated up close, that you could spend hours studying and still not have fully absorbed every minute detail.
Along with the online store, Gary can be spotted at conventions, where he has attracted the attention of a number of actors he’s depicted. Sean Astin, Jonathan Ke Quan and Peter Blake have all noticed his work and cons and have even signed certain pieces for giveaways and competitions.
Craftsman Dominic Marriott studied carpentry in Germany where he grew up. He launched his own business just 18 months ago, initially making wooden toys, home décor and other traditional wooden goodies. A lifelong Dungeons and Dragon player – and still a Pathfinder veteran and Dungeon Master – it wasn’t long before he began making these personalised dice boxes for tabletop gamers.
Each box is built entirely by hand – beginning with the initial designs, then engraved, sanded, dyed and oiled individually to create the perfect gift for any RPG enthusiast. The boxes come in a variety of styles to suit any player’s preferred class of character, not only in terms of engraving, but also in the fundamental box design. For instance, some come with sections specifically for magic users to keep track of their remaining spells.
The selection of existing designs offers something to suit any player’s style, though Dom not only welcomes but relishes the opportunity to work with customers in creating unique pieces. You are encouraged to come up with the perfect personalised design for any gamer, whether that means you want to include their name, their favourite character, a key quotation or any other flash of personality.
To see more of Dominic’s work, follow him on Facebook.
The soft fleece used in these cool Pokémon scarves makes some beautiful craftwork, not to mention the perfect accessories to ward off the winter chills. Each scarf takes around a week to make and they are all intricately detailed with both patience and love.
Charlotte, the artist behind Fandom Factory, taught herself to sew when she was in second grade and has been creating her own toys and accessories throughout the fourteen years since. The pieces she sells in her Etsy shop are all hand stitched, with only the more complicated pieces demanding the use of a sewing machine. The money she raises supports her during her college education.
The first scarf Charlotte made was based on the mythical Pokémon Mew. The Eeveelution designs offer you the chance to tailor this gift to your lucky friend’s preferred Eeveelution or even their wardrobe.
As well as the selection immediately available on the Etsy shop, Charlotte also takes requests for custom pieces, whether that’s an Eeveelution scarf or a different Pokémon or a plush toy, which she makes to game accurate specifications. Don’t hesitate to contact her about other fandoms – her repertoire includes work inspired by Neko Atsume, Overwatch and Steven Universe.
Finding the best way to indulge someone’s love of comic books isn’t always easy, especially if they’re the kind of hardcore fan who already has all the official merchandise. What do you get for the nerd who has all the comics, the DVD adaptations, an intricately detailed cosplay, stacks of prints and a cabinet dedication to figurines and prop replicas? You get them Everything But That.
Even for the fan that has found all the obscure memorabilia out there, Everything But That can create something unique and unexpected to add to their collection. Using old comic books that need a new purpose in life, the creative team can turn just about anything into a tribute to a beloved comic – hip flasks, chairs, even high heels for anyone looking to add a touch of glamour to their nerdiness.
The creators use glossy modern comic bought from collection groups on eBay and Facebook to give each piece a long-lasting colourful design. Images cut out of the books are carefully brushed into place and painstakingly sealed with a waterproof base and a lacquer top. Hip flasks take a couple of days to make. Mirrors usually take three to five days, and the shoes can take more than a week to finish.
The shop keeps a regular stock of the most popular comics, but will happily source more niche characters and stories to create custom designs.
The cutesy art style of all the products on the Cosmic Ginge Etsy shop gives a world of personality to everything from butterflies to planets to uteri and other body parts. It also makes for this really original tributes to some of the most iconic Star Wars characters reimagined as Russian nesting dolls.
All four of the wooden rebels – and the teeny tiny Darth Vader helmet at the heart – are hand painted as finished with a gloss varnish to keep them in prime condition.
The illustrator behind the shop shares a lot of her work on her Facebook and Instagram pages and her blog, showcasing her designs for new badges, plushies and all kinds of cool prints. Everything incorporates her fun cartoony style and love of science and sloths.
The Star Wars nesting dolls aren’t her only nod to legends of nerd culture. October saw her transform dozen of characters into sloths for Inktober and you can find a hand painted Guardians of the Galaxy ukulele also on her Etsy shop.
Escaping the chill weather in the snuggly warmth of scarves, mittens and all the layers you can swaddle yourself in is all part and parcel of the festive season. Bundling up toasty warm to venture out ice skating or snowball fighting or taking in the magic of Christmas markets, having the perfect accessories to keep warm can make or break your outdoor activities.
The selection at Pam’s Happy Hats provides not only the perfect way to keep the chill off your head but also a fine opportunity to show off your favourite characters. Every hand crocheted hat is available in any size from newborn to X Large for adults and is designed to pay homage to the most popular characters around.
The designs on offer span superheroes like Wonder Woman and Batman, Disney characters ranging from Dory to Princess Leia to Elsa, and all the cutest Pokémon. All the hats are available with matching wristwarmers on request, or with any customisation you fancy, whether that’s flaps to keep the recipient’s ears warm or shoulder-length plaits, or any other tweaks to the design or decoration to make it unique.
For many people, there are few pleasures so simultaneously simple and luxurious as soaking in a hot bath. The transition between the chilly winter weather and the steamy water makes it all the more special at this time of year. Give someone’s relaxation time a touch of nerdy magic this Christmas with the range of pop culture inspired bath bombs from the Fizzy Fairy Apothecary.
The range takes inspiration from all kind of fandoms – Pokémon and superheroes and Hogwarts Houses and anime are just the beginning. The selection of bath bombs come not only in different visual designs but also with a variety of scents and skin nourishing abilities. Some even come with miniature figurines inside so you have a memento to keep of your wonderful nerd bath.
If you like the idea but aren’t entirely convinced by the bath bombs, the shop also stocks soaps and candles, which take inspiration from the same fandoms. It also takes customisation requests for the design and even scent of the gift you have in mind.
For anyone looking to really splash out on their gifts, check the range of limited hampers and baskets, each of which includes a collection of handmade pieces and exclusive merchandise and memorabilia. You can find everything on the Etsy shop and Facebook page.
Part of what makes sci fi and fantasy so appealing is the way it satiates wanderlust without you ever have to leave the comforts of your own surrounds. You can explore magical kingdoms and far off galaxies from your bed, or the bath, or the bus to work. For those adventurers whose love of fantastical lands is rivalled by Earth-bound explorations, these leather passport covers engraved with Lord of the Rings quotations make for perfect gifts. Both practical and beautiful, they would delight every nerdy globetrotter.
Portland Leather began life as the passion project of two eager crafters in a basement. Their pieces are simple yet elegant and always meticulously well made. Now, the leather workshop is a much bigger affair, but with the same dedication to quality handmade pieces it was founded with.
As well as the passport holders, the shop’s range spans phone cases, mug holders, luggage tags and two different kinds of journals for explorers to keep track of all their adventures. The selection of designs include Tolkein quotations, Harry Potter crests and all kinds of other quirky ideas. If you’re after something really unique, you can ask for a name, initials or even a customised quotations or picture.
For too long, people have believed that there is a division between femininity and a love of nerd culture. The creator at the core of Beyond Ordinary Objects is part of the community tearing apart such pointless attitudes, blending style, fashion and geek culture in everything she makes. As well as cute piece of jewellery, the shop is populated by funky hand crafted accessories including notebooks, bows and clutch bags.
Each piece is a labour of love, created in her spare time. Her main job is altering wedding dresses, so you can trust that her craftsmanship is always on point, ensuring top quality products, designed not just to look cool but to last.
The diverse range of bags offers something for nerds of every fandom, be it Jaws, Marvel, DC, Pokémon, Disney, Doctor Who, Star Wars or even Rugrats. There are a handful of more generic designs based on animals and aliens and other quirky prints for anyone uncertain of the best choice of gift. Or, if you have something really specific in mind, she encourages requests that give her fun new projects to jump into.