Kevin Paredes/Photography Editor Last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts don’t have to be ugly. For those with a creative side, making your own presents is the perfect solution in a time crunch.

Valentine’s Day can be stressful, especially if you’ve waited until the last minute to get a gift for that special someone. Do-it-yourself gifts are an easy and cheap alternative to a cheesy chocolate box when you don’t know which direction to turn.

Chalkboard paint succulent pot

The beautiful thing about succulents, like a jade plant or popular pincushion cactus, is that they aren’t as sensitive as flowers — they’ll last long past a bouquet of roses.


— Chalkboard paint

— Medium rounded-tip paintbrushes

— Succulent of your choice

— Quick-draining soil

— A handful of white gravel

— Flower pot, any size

— Chalk


1. Set down a few paper towels on a hard surface. Place the pot on top and paint the exterior and the rim with the chalkboard paint. Let dry.

2. Once dry, fill half of the pot with soil. Place your succulent on a surface and cover it with a small amount of soil. Arrange the gravel on top.

3. Using the chalk, write a personal message on the exterior of the pot such as, “Like this cactus, our love will never die!”

Adapted from Gardenoholic.

Carved candle

A great-smelling candle can light up any home — or dorm. Turn a plain candle into a meaningful gift for your valentine by carving your own initials or a short inside joke.


— A light-colored pillar candle of your choice

— Hand engraving tool or small needle

— Ballpoint pen

— Gold leafing pen

— Tape

— A simple design either printed or drawn out on paper


1. Begin by taping your design onto the candle. Make sure it holds and won’t move around.

2. Firmly trace your design with the ballpoint pen, pressing into the candle.

3. Remove the taped design to reveal the tracing. Use the engraving tool or needle to carve out the pattern. Take your time with this, making sure the grooves are deep enough to fit the tip of the gold leafing pen.

4. Go over your carved design with the leaf pen. You may need a second coat to get to the level of gold you want. Let dry.

Adapted from Hello Glow.

Love coupon book

Put a fun twist on the traditional Valentine’s Day card with this personalized DIY. You can create your own creative messages or opt for traditional love coupons like, “Free hug,” or “Date night of your choice.”


— Colored paper or cardstock

— Markers, paint or colored pencils

— Valentine’s Day stickers

— Scissors

— Hole punch

— Yarn


1. Begin by stacking the cardstock or paper, using as many sheets as you want. Cut the sheets into small rectangles or hearts.

2. Decorate the border of each sheet with stickers or drawings of your choice. Make sure to leave room in the middle to write your message.

3. Make your love coupons as personal as you’d like. Relate your ideas to hugs, kisses and special dates to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

4. Once you’ve created each individual coupon, stack them back up. Hole punch the top left corner.

5. Cut a medium-size piece of yarn. Tie the string into a bow through the hole.

Adapted from The Dating Divas.