Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and panicked lovers everywhere are racking their brains for unique gift ideas. While there are many pre-assembled things you can buy at the store that will surely make your loved one happy, going the homemade approach is almost always the better option. Giving a present you made from scratch shows how well you know someone, and it makes for a great Valentine’s Day story for days to come. Check out these tutorials to help you get started right away.
1) Chalkboard heart
The quickest way to make a DIY chalkboard is by using chalkboard paint that can be bought from a craft store. To make things interesting (and make your attempt to be crafty a little more challenging), follow this tutorial to make your own chalkboard paint using affordable materials that can be bought from a hardware store. You can even use different colors of paint to customize the look of your chalkboard.
Once you have your DIY chalkboard paint, all you have to do is find a surface to use it on. The tutorial already has a lot of great ideas for things to use the paint on, but for Valentine’s, you can try sourcing plywood that you can cut into a heart shape or finding a pre-cut piece at your local craft store or thrift shop.
2) Bath bombs
Is your Valentine fond of luxurious baths? Then bath bombs are the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. This particular tutorial is vanilla cupcake–scented, but you can customize it to whatever you like. Use your loved one’s favorite aromas for bonus points.
You can buy bath bomb molds from craft stores or online at places like eBay, but there’s no reason why you can’t just use silicone ice cube trays that can be bought from the dollar store. Pro tip: You can buy citric acid from Walmart.
3) Mason jar glitter lamps
Here’s a really simple DIY project that’s pretty and practical. Ignore the Christmas theme of this video: Glitter mason jar lamps not only make a really good “anytime” gift, but they also can help you set the mood in your home, for when you get back from the most perfect Valentine’s Day date with your beloved. This tutorial uses super affordable materials, so go ahead and make a bunch!
Feel free to use many glitter colors as you want.
4) Arm-knitted blanket
Valentine’s Day is a great night to spend indoors with your beau. You can cozy up on the couch, get all your favorite snacks, and put on a movie your partner has been dying to watch (if you’re not into rom-coms or chick flicks and they are, now would be the time to suck it up and make an exception). Make it extra special by gifting them a blanket that you can knit yourself.
This tutorial promises you can make this in only 45 minutes, but if you’re a knitting noob, just go ahead and give yourself leeway and start making it now. You can try buying the yarn used in this tutorial at your local craft store (or any big-box store that has a knitting section) or online.
A couple of notes: The “working yarn” is the side that’s still connected to the ball of yarn, while the slack she initially measured out is the “tail.” Also, she uses 18 stitches as her blanket’s width, but there’s no reason you can’t add a few more to make your blanket wider. Just make sure your knots are tight enough so there aren’t any gaping holes in the finished product, but loose enough to make it easy for you to transfer from one arm to the other.
5) Candy boxes
Chocolate and candy are both crucial to this particular holiday, but here’s a way to give sweets to your sweetheart in pretty, tiny gift boxes rather than your conventional gift wrapper.
Whether you decided to draw the template yourself or print the pattern provided in the tutorial, your loved one will certainly appreciate your effort to be artsy either way. If you’re good at measurements, you can try increasing the box’s size (more candy!).
6) Heart string wall art
Has your loved one been tugging at your heartstrings for a long time now? Show them how much they mean to you by giving them a cute and memorable piece of art to adorn their home.
This particular tutorial is Pinterest-inspired, so you know it will look good when photographed, making it a great gift to give Instagram addicts as well. Feel free to use many yarn colors, but stick to red and pink hues to keep the Valentine’s Day theme intact.
Does your Valentine have a green thumb? Give the gift of a terrarium! Terrariums are glass containers that can be used to display and grow plants indoors. They can also be a great gift for someone who’s not super great at gardening (but would like to try caring for plants); terrariums tend to last longer and take little effort to maintain.
You can get your glass containers from a Goodwill or any store that sells glassware. For decoration, use tiny figurines you think your significant other will find cute; we suggest heading to a dollar store or any toy store.
8) Heart cupcakes and cookies
Who wouldn’t want a homemade sweet treat on Valentine’s Day?
The cupcake tutorial above assumes you already have the actual cupcakes made—you can bake them yourself using some of the links provided with this tutorial or buy pre-baked ones at the store, if you’re pressed for time (or are worried about giving your beloved a stomach ache with a failed bake job). And if your partner is more of a cookie lover, you can make cookie pops instead, with this sugar cookie recipe as the base.
Make sure the lollipop sticks you use are not made of plastic.
Illustration by Max Fleishman