I'm thinking about making my own effect stompbox or getting a cheap one and customizing it. Advice and personal stories are welcome.
Buildyourownclone.com has a special where with your first order you get a simple clean boost pedal to make, it's very easy and a good place to start. I'd get something like a fuzz face or a treble booster, build that and the clean boost. In the process of making those, you'll get the hang of it and you should be able to make pretty much any other pedal without too much trouble.
cheers roc, i've looked at them previously but they are a bit expensive, however it would be almost impossible to get a pcb with the right holes and stuff.
That's as cheap as you're going to find, I think. Generalguitargadgets.com can be a bit cheaper for some things, but unless you're doing your own perf board layouts (which it doesn't sound like you're ready for) that's definitely the cheapest option.
You can get schems for a fuzz or clean boost online and buy the parts and build it instead of buying a kit. It would be a bunch cheaper, but a bit more difficult.
Jackson RR5 ivory w/ EMG 81/85
Jackson DX6 w/ SD Distortion & Dimarzio Super Distortion
Fender Starcaster Sunburst
Mesa/Boogie DC-3
Johnson JT50 Mirage
Ibanez TS-9
Morley Bad Horsie 2
Boss CE-5

ISP Decimator
Boss DD-6
Korg Pitchblack
General Guitar Gadget has some nice cheap kits.
Another great beginner project is modifying a wah. Especially a Vox v847. The pads are big and spaced far apart so it's pretty easy to solder/de-solder. There are instructions all over the internet too.
Buy a PCB from GGG, then parts from Smallbear and Effects Connection. Pretty easy if you know what you need.
Schecter Hellraiser Deluxe
Boss DS-1
Crate GTD65

GAS List:
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster