Pop Quiz Hotshot; it’s a few days before Valentines and you have less than fifteen dollars to last through week. You also have a special geeky someone who you want to impress. What do you do? Instead of shooting the hostage why not make them a creative and unique present from scratch? The best Valentines Day gifts always come from the heart and show appreciation for the people who receive them. Here are just a few quick gifts you can make on a very tight budget. Just don’t let the bus go under fifty miles an hour.
1.Make your own Valentines Day card
This one seems like a gimme, everyone wants a card with a personal touch. By making your own card for Valentines day you can customize it to make it sentimental and unique. There are several different ways you can make a card, starting with just printing something out at home. If you have any type of photo editing software you can download an image from online and pull it into the software to create front cover of the card. Make sure to download a high-resolution image otherwise when you scale to the size of the front of the card, it will become pixellated. Another option is to scan in some artwork of your own and use that for the cover.
If you are looking for something more intricate or unusual you can try your hand at making a pop-up card or a card that has moving parts. There are several websites that give tutorials on making these but Instructables.com is hands down the best. If you are handy with an exacto knife then these intricate cards can be an easy and make impressive gift for anyone to receive.
2. Love Robot or other clay figure
If paper carving isn’t your thing that consider using other media to express your true feelings. Once such media is polymer clay. Polymer clay is great for creating small figurines. If your special geek loves Portal, a small companion cube would be quick and easy to make. You can find polymer clay at any craft store and they come in a variety of colors. You can also mix two colors to create a new one if you are not finding the color you need. For more complicated figures, or anything really with appendages, you may need to build a metal skeleton or at very least metal arms or legs. The metal skeleton inside will help keep the clay from sagging during the baking process and any metal will do. Last year I made the robot above and used uncoiled paper clips for the arms. The paperclip arms were able to support the heavy clay heart the robot was holding but I still had to prop the heart on something during the baking process. The great thing about polymer clay is you can bake it in the oven. Never, NEVER, try to bake clay in the microwave. Any polymer clay you pick up will have the baking instructions on the side and during the baking process make sure to keep the kitchen area well vented so you don’t have the smell of burning plastic wafting through your home.
3. Spatula from Spatula City
What better way to say “I Love You” than a spatula. And where can you find the largest selection of spatulas at low low prices? Spatula City! If you get the reference than you know how fun it would be to get this gift on Valentines Day. To make a spatula from Spatula City all you need is a good spatula and some letter stickers. Stick the letters onto the handle of the spatula and make sure to wrap a bow on it before handing it over at a candle lit dinner.
4. Origami flower bouquet
Going back to paper crafts, origami flowers are another way to express how you feel with a personal touch. There are thousands of origami flower patterns to choose and some of them can get pretty intricate. If you are new to origami start simple with a flower such as tulips. You can find video tutorials online through YouTube and after a few practice runs you can build up to more complicated flowers.
The Kawasaki rose is one of the most intricate flower patterns and can several tries to accomplish. Once you have mastered the flower portion all you need is some wire and floral tape to create the stems. If you have some time before Valentines day, and a lot of patience you can create a floral bouquet that will last longer than any roses you can buy.
5. Mixed Tape Thumb Drive
If you are of a certain generation you’ll remember the ultimate sign of affection was a mixed tape. Music sharing has progressed from tape to CD to now MP3’s on thumb drives. Even though by sharing your love of music with someone is highly romantic, handing someone a thumb drive can be a little lack luster. Thats why you beef up the romance with a custom tape cassette case. To make the case just find an old cassette tape case and remove the inserts in it. Then, using a photo editing software, (or just hand drawn with pencil or pen) you can design a custom insert that will make them laugh with surprise. Load up the music to a thumb drive and secure it in the cassette holder using a little piece of tape. This is a great gift to give someone who you are just getting to know. They will get a unique and fun gift and also get to share in your appreciation of your kind of music.
6. Macaroni Art
Macaroni art comes from the heart. You could make macaroni jewelry or a masterpiece to hang on the wall. Either way it will bring out the kid in your Valentine and at least get a good laugh. All you need is some uncooked macaroni, some glitter, a poster or other paper, and imagination. If you are having a hard time with inspiration just think about your Valentines favorite movies or TV and use a quote from there. You can make it as intricate as you want or as simple as “I Love U” written in macaroni. And don’t forget the glitter, that’s what really makes your macaroni art shine.
This year ditch the flowers and chocolates and make something from the heart. In the end Valentines Day is about showing appreciation to your loved ones and making them a gift will always mean more than a last-minute teddy from the gas station. Just be yourself and it will all work out.
Laurel Way is a writer for film, television, websites, and blogs. She is based in Phoenix, Arizona in the U.S., and has two fat cats and a loving husband. Laurel is a geek to her core and loves all things within horror, sci-fi/fantasy, and more. When she is not writing films, she is watching them, and her go-to movie snack is popcorn and Milkduds.