The romantic pressure for all of us goes up once February rolls around. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, lovers (or those wishing to find one) are racking their brains for what to buy, the gift that will both keep them in good graces with their significant others and hopefully garner some extra smooching.

Hey, there is no need to pretend these gifts are completely altruistic. After all, we are looking for a valentine, right? However, what many may fail to realize is that it isn’t really diamonds and fancy dinners that win hearts. Most people just want to feel that they are important to someone else, and perhaps the best way of showing that is by doing something, making something, for those with whom we want to share love.


Now, for a real sense of nostalgia and personalization, something truly romantic, creative valentines can be made anew from old things that carry real meaning.

1. Reclaimed (Pallet) Wood Sign

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Repurposing pallet wood has become an environmentally kind and creatively invigorating pastime lately, but repurposed wood can come from lots of sources: old shelves, replaced doors, dresser drawers, etc. The idea here is to get some strips of wood, sand them, color/stain them (probably red), and then paint a simple heart, perhaps even a “Be mine” or “My love.” It makes for a beautiful wall-hanging, inside or out.

2. Scrap Material Quilt Heart

Whether it’s scrap materials that have been collected for other projects or just a collection of t-shirts, socks, underpants (humor is sexy, too), or jeans, taking old pieces of material and sewing them into a heart, or a heart-shaped pocket that can be stuffed with other scraps of cloth and/or aromatic herbs like lavender to make a pillow. For those who don’t trust their sewing skills, cutting a heart shape out of an old sweater works, and it can make for a snuggling Valentine’s card.


3. Special Message in a Bottle

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Often we have hung onto cool uncorked bottles, or they can be found at thrift shops. A clever and super romantic gesture is writing a heartfelt message, stuffing it in the beautiful or cute bottle, and giving it to that special someone. Delivering the right message is the obviously important thing for the sentiment, but packaging it in such a notable way is what will be what makes it a remarkable gift and garner the “ahhhhh” from friends who hear about it.

4. Lovely Grocery Bag Garlands

Plastic bags aren’t particularly popular with us in the green crowd, but we know that they happen, be it from the grocery store or simply from packaging we can’t avoid. Most of us hoard them in such quantities that we eventually throw them away anyway. Instead of doing that, use them to make upcycled garlands. Cut out hearts, the letters for the word “love,” and/or other Valentine classics. String them together and hang them above the bed or in the window.

5. Romantic Wine Cork Stamp Set

Wine corks are another thing that seem to congregate around the kitchen. Many of us save them for sentimental reasons, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to realize all of that sentimentality in the form of a gift. Draw a picture (hmm…a heart maybe) or backwards letters (“L”, “O”, “V”, and “E” perhaps) on the end of the cork and carve the cork from around it. Then, all you need is an ink pad and some paper. For added oomph, put a special note on the side of the cork.


6. A Deck of Sweet Nothings

Who knows how it happens, but somehow we end up with six decks of cards, despite the fact (perhaps because of it) that we play a game of cards once every blue moon. Take one of those old decks, punch holes in the corner of each card, and bind them together. Write 52 things that you love about your lover onto small pieces of paper and paste each on to a different card. It’s simple. It’s silly. And, it’s effective.

7. Recycled Paper Heart With Seeds

With some old newspaper or useless documents, tear the paper up and soak it in some warm water. The paper can be colored red/pink by adding food colorings (or beet juice for those who really get into it). After a couple of hours, the paper will turn to a pulp. Drain away an excess water, but don’t squeeze it dry. Mix some small seeds into the pulp before spooning it into a heart-shaped cookie cutter atop a splatter screen (or old window screen). Let it all dry. Then, carefully remove them. They can be given as is or attached to a Valentine’s card.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t have to be an expensive thing. In fact, for those who put their hearts into it, using their creativity and time to produce something special, the reward is usually much greater: True love.

Lead image source: Osipovfoto/Shutterstock