Forget Flowers: 9 DIY Gifts Under $10 Sure to Melt Your Valentine’s Heart
Valentine’s Day is all right.
In the past, I celebrated Galentine’s Day. But this year, I’m kind of excited to celebrate the sappy day with my boyfriend.
However, the holiday looms in the shadow of my Christmas hangover. It falls at a time when I’m still nervous to look at my bank account after spending way too much during the holidays.
So instead, my boyfriend and I resolved to save money on gifts this year by making them. You know… from the heart.
9 DIY Valentine’s Day Pinterest-Inspired Gifts for Less Than $10
When in doubt, Pinterest it out.
I always turn to Pinterest for crafty inspiration; it never fails. But instead of sticking with the more typical 52 reasons I love you gift or the love coupons, I decided to think outside the box. (Although one of the ideas is actually a box.)
And because crafts can sometimes become too expensive, I gave myself a price cap of $10.
Ready for the Pinspired presents?
1. Cheers with a beer candle.
I always say candles are my go-to presents when I’m totally stumped. But I love the idea of hand-making one — especially one this inventive.
And let’s not make candle-making any harder than it has to be. Simply buy some sticks from your local craft or decorating store — even Target. Pick your favorite color and scent — and don’t spend more than $5.
Next, pick your loved one’s favorite beer. I also won’t judge if you choose it based on looks.
I might choose Coors Light for my boyfriend or a Denver Broncos can of Bud Light (his favorite team). Or, if I want to mix it up a little, I’d go for a craft beer can of Fireside Chat — a hipster, historical feel.
Then, simply follow these directions, prepping the wick and pouring the wax. (The piece of fern is not required.)
Now you can light that romantic candle and pair it with your favorite brew.
2. Customize a coffee mug.
I love my collection of coffee mugs, and anyone who feels the same would love a personalized one from that special someone. It can also act as great pen holder or succulent planter.
All you need for this are some oil-based Sharpies and a Dollar Tree plain white mug, per the Destination Decoration blog. In fact, the Dollar Tree mugs are said to be best because of their lack of glaze.
Find your favorite design. I went on Pinterest for inspiration.
Feel inspired? Once you craft your cup, follow these baking instructions to make your creation permanent — just like your love (hopefully).
3. Frame your first conversation.
I’m not going to share with you the first thing my boyfriend said to me because it’s very awkward, and he’d feel very embarrassed. It was also via a dating app.
Anyway… depending on the conversation and its medium, quoting your first interactions can make for a sweet, meaningful present. Plus, it’s super easy.
4. Cross-stitch something clever.
My entire Southern family used to love these things — hence the framed gems placed randomly throughout my house, my aunt’s house and my Mimi’s house.
It might seem old-school, but I swear these things are coming back (probably courtesy of hipsters…). Regardless, cross-stitching is easy once you get the hang of it.
I recommend starting with a counted cross-stitch kit, like this one for a little over $10. If you already have the hang of it, go ahead and get the hoops, thread and cloth in bulk — and a lot cheaper.
You can also customize your patterns, and there are tons of printable, already made ones on Etsy for less than $5 (like this Stormtrooper one).
Either way, this classic craft is easy, fun and personal.
5. Get romantic with… Jenga?
Childhood game and romance? It’s possible, folks.
If you don’t have an old Jenga game sitting around, invest in one. I found one on Amazon for $5.99.
Next, break out a Sharpie, and write sweet nothings on the wood pieces. You can write your favorite things about your loved one or fill-in-the-blank phrases such as “I love your…”
Or, if you want to spice it up, write something naughty — but we’ll leave those ideas up to you.
6. Map out your relationship.
When in doubt, map it out.
I’ve contemplated tackling this gift for my boyfriend. It’s perfect for travel-lovers (Get it? Lovers? Valentine’s Day?) or long-distancers.
Simply find maps online and print ’em out — it’s free. If you want it to look a little more legit, try printing them on matte photo paper.
Use a printout heart stencil if you aren’t so steady with the scissors or go ahead and crop the map prior to printing it. (I just use Microsoft Word!)
You can display your favorite places in a picture frame or on a canvas. Find a pretty font, use letter stamps or hand-write captions displaying the city name or places of significance.
7. Put it in a photo box.
Scrapbooks can get real pricy. You’ve got the book, the stickers, the paper… I could easily dip $100 into one.
After sanding the wood and adding a quick coat of primer, you can use acrylic paints to create your own design. Or grab a bottle of Mod Podge, and create a collage.
Another option? Invest in a wood engraver. It’s not as scary or complicated as it sounds, and I guarantee you’ll use that sucker more than once. You can find ’em for under $20.
Fill the box with printed photos (we don’t have enough of those nowadays in my opinion), or let your significant other keep meaningful trinkets in it.
8. Puzzle ’em with a puzzle.
Because she has a “piece” of your heart. Or maybe he loves you “to pieces.” Perhaps she’s your missing “piece.” He probably just “completes” you.
Anyways, this is a nifty, sweet gift for your s/o. Make a puzzle of your favorite photographed memory.
There are plenty of sites that’ll do this for you, but I loved how inventive this Pinterest user was. Find an old puzzle around the house or at a thrift store. Print a photo to fit it. You can do this on your home printer or stop by an office supply store to get a big one.
Mod Podge the photo to the puzzle. After drying, use an X-Acto knife to trace out the pieces.
Next, plan a date night. Turn on Netflix, and spread the puzzle pieces out on the floor. Once you’re done, get it framed for the living room!
9. Transfer your love to a forever canvas.
This is a fan-favorite. Transfer your favorite photo to a canvas to hang onto it forever.
Our bookkeeper, Natalie Williams, has done this for her boyfriend. In fact, she made a whole table featuring their travels and adventures utilizing this method.
But I’d recommend starting small first. Also, YouTube video tutorials make everything in life easier. We found this one — and followed it step by step.
Start with a canvas — or a piece of wood if you’re willing to splurge a little. Print your photo in reverse on a laser printer (key). Slather your canvas with photo transfer medium gel (about $6). Smooth and press your photo face down on the canvas.
Let it dry (preferably overnight), then saturate the canvas with a sponge and water. With gentle effort, the paper will peel off.
Your Turn: Will you make any of these DIY Valentine’s gifts?
Disclosure: Our friends stopped inviting us over because we were always digging for loose change between their couch cushions. We use affiliate links instead so we still get invited to a few parties.
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.