Some people think the hardest part of Valentine’s Day is finding a valentine. But we all know the most difficult part is avoiding buying into a Hallmark holiday and becoming Cupid’s cliché.
Since there is nothing more tired than spending a ridiculous amount of money in the name of love, we’ve partnered with Extra Gum to present this romantic, DIY gift guide.
We scoured Pinterest, and -- well, mainly Pinterest -- for the best ideas for handcrafted, handmade and heartfelt presents you can give to your loved ones this Valentine’s Day.
Leave Love Notes Inside a Mason Jar
You’ll need: Jar with lid; colorful paper cut into note-sized squares
The gift: Taking a note -- or, literally, lots of notes -- from a Dublin-based 27-year-old who goes by TheOnlyOne87 on Reddit, we suggest composing handwritten love notes for your significant other (SO) and/or loved ones and packaging them inside a mason jar.
The original gifter composed 365 notes (one for every day of the year) and color-coded them accordingly, giving yellow notes for “moments and memories,” green for “quotes & lyrics” and pink for “reasons I love you.”
Put a personal spin on things by determining your own number of notes -- maybe one for every day you’ve been dating? -- and what messages you want to send.
Serve Coffee in a Personalized Mug
You’ll need: Two mugs; various-colored oil-based sharpies; access to a kitchen/oven
The gift: Give your caffeine-crazed loved ones a reminder of how you feel by decorating the vessel that holds their coffee every single morning. Add your own design or special message to a generic coffee mug with an oil-based sharpie. Here's a tutorial. (Lost for words? Try the punny “I Love You A Whole Latte,” or go for something a little more heartfelt.)
Let it dry completely for 24 hours, then bake the mug in the oven for two hours at 225 degrees to ensure the ink stays put.
Once out of the oven and cooled down, it’s ready for gifting. Quick tip: If you want to preserve that shiny new mug, don’t put it in the dishwasher!
Cook Heart-Shaped Bacon for Breakfast
You’ll need: Bacon; baking sheet; access to a kitchen/oven
The gift: You can cook with love, but inserting the emotion itself into something edible had been unheard of -- until now. Bacon Hearts (which are really just heart-shaped bacon strips) are easy to make and even easier to eat.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and slice each strip of bacon in half. Make a heart shape with two halves on a baking sheet with raised edges to avoid grease dripping down into your oven (pictured above). Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, let cool, then enjoy!
(Disclaimer: While, yes, bacon is delicious, Bacon Hearts are most appropriately served as a side dish.)
Craft a Jar Of Cheap Dates
You’ll need: A jar of any kind; cardstock paper; paper clips; cash (optional)
The gift: Instead of giving one big gift this Valentine’s Day that you may or may not need to return, give a jar full of smaller gifts you know your SO will like.
Create your own customizable cheap date ideas and write them down on paper cutouts. Place them inside the jar. For ideas, think of what you and your SO like to do together. The possibilities -- a Netflix movie marathon night (their choice of movies, obviously), a free massage, a round of Skee-Ball at your favorite bar, splitting a cheap bottle of wine -- are endless.
Throw in a few dollars for each prompt amount: $5 for ice cream, a roll of quarters for Skee-Ball, $10 for wine, and so on. Clip the cash to each date prompt, drop them inside the jar and decorate it as you see fit.
Make, Then Serve, DIY Tea Bags
You’ll need: Coffee filters; string; loose tea; construction paper/paper; stapler; glue
The gift: To show your cup of tea that they’re your, ahem, cup of tea, this clever DIY tea bag idea should do the trick -- but you’ll need to break out your sewing skills.
Take two coffee filters and cut out two identical rectangles. Stitch around three sides, then fill the now-pouch with loose tea. Stitch up the top of the tea bag so it’s completely closed, then fold over the top two corners. Insert the string in the middle of the bag, then fold the top of the bag over the string. Staple the top together to secure it.
Now, for personalization! Staple a paper heart cutout or another message to the end of the string to make it unique for the receiver. You’ll be relaxing over a cup of tea in no time.
Create The Most (Adorably) Meta iPad Cover Ever
You’ll need: The box your iPad came in; hair elastics; notebook (with pages removed)
The gift: Since there’s a lot of steps to this project, refer to this tutorial for a step-by-step guide. The short version is you’ll need to remove paper from a composition notebook and use the plastic insert from the iPad packaging box.
Carefully (more on that here), take measurements and cut the box to create a border inside the notebook that will safely and snugly hold your iPad. Then, sew hair ties onto each outside corner using a needle and thread that will secure your iPad, like this.
To make this meta-fabulous gift that costs less than $3 even more heartfelt, decorate it with cute quotes or a photo collage of the two of you.
Count The Ways You Love Them (No, Really)
You’ll need: A deck of playing cards; glue; note cards or paper cutouts; scissors; hole punch; binder rings or ribbon
The gift: What better way to tell someone how much you love them than by actually telling them...52 times?
Before you start on this crafty deck of cards project, think of 52 things you love about the person you’re gifting this to, and write them out on note cards or paper cutouts. Then, paste one reason onto each of the cards in the deck.
Use a hole punch to punch two holes on the top and bottom left hand corners of each card, then bound them together with binder rings -- or for a more delicate appearance, ribbon. You’ll be sure to win over your SO’s Queen of Hearts with this one!
You’ll need: herbs, spices or fruits for flavor; vodka, whiskey or another spirit; mason and/or infusion jars; coffee filters; about two weeks of distilling time
The gift: Celebrating your relationship calls for some spirits, don’t you think? Toast the occasion with homemade infused whiskey (or vodka, or rum … whatever your partner is into).
After sterilizing your jars, add flavorful fresh ingredients like herbs, spices or fruit. Fill the rest of the jar with liquor, and secure the lid tightly back on. Shake it up, and continue to do so a few times a day for the next three to five days.
While you wait for the finished product, store your jars in a cool, dark place. Once it’s ready to taste (the longer you keep it locked up, the stronger the flavor will be), use a mesh strainer or paper coffee filter to get rid of remnants from the flavoring ingredients.
Serve like any other liquor. Cheers!
Write a Public (Non-Embarrassing) Love Note
You’ll need: Chalk and/or chalk marker
The gift: Sending a love note is quite possibly one of the most romantic things you can do for your SO -- so why not make it a public spectacle that can help them smile throughout the day?
Use chalk or chalk marker to write endearing, heartfelt and/or funny messages on your bathroom mirror, in your driveway, on the sidewalk or even on the car windshield -- basically, anywhere your partner is sure to look on his or her way out of the door in the morning.
This is an especially sweet gesture if you don’t see your partner first thing in the morning ... and way easier than holding a sign declaring your love, outdoors, in the middle of the winter.
Got another Valentine’s Day DIY gift idea? Leave it in the comments.
Make meaningful connections with others this Valentine’s Day through these small acts of kindness, presented by Extra Gum.