Last Updated: February 11, 2021, 11:19 pm

5 cheap, easy Valentine’s Day gift ideas


Valentines day gifts don’t always have to be big gestures. Here are five creative gift ideas for this Valentines Day. Photos by Bailey Chamberlain.

You don’t need a fat wallet to put together thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts for your loved ones. Whether you’re looking to save money or utilize your artistic talents, these DIY gift options are sure to bring a smile to your sweetheart’s face.

Dixie State University students weighed in with their suggestions for treats and crafts this year. Here’s five ideas just for you:

Homemade Valentine’s Day cards

Sierra Davis, a senior nursing major from Hurricane, said, “I don’t personally plan on making anything, but my grandma makes watercolor Valentine’s Day cards every year.”

Watercolor is a fun and inclusive medium to make Valentine’s Day crafts with, and the possibilities are endless for what to paint.

Here’s a quick tutorial for how to make a simple watercolor heart card:

  1. Fold a sheet of watercolor paper in half widthwise.
  2. Wet your paintbrush with water and trace the shape of a heart at the center of the card; you can even draw a heart in light pencil first to help guide yourself.
  3. After the heart shape is completely wet, saturate your paintbrush into the first paint color you want to use and gently trace the outline edge so it accentuates the shape.
  4. If the center of the heart is dry, add a bit more water so it pools.
  5. Choose a different color, or colors, and add small drips of paint within the outline of the heart.
  6. When you’re satisfied with how it looks, let the card dry for at least two hours.

The trick with watercolor is to make sure the paper is thick enough and to outline what you want to paint with just water first, then add the paint to the water puddle shapes for a soft shading effect.

The materials needed for this project are watercolor paper for $3.99 and a watercolor paint set for another $3.99.

Wonder Forest also has some adorable design ideas and tutorials for watercolor cards if you’re seeking inspiration.

Friendship bracelets

If painting isn’t really your thing, DSU alumna Cadence Summers said she plans on making friendship bracelets for herself and her boyfriend this Valentine’s Day.

This Valentine’s Day gift is extremely affordable, and the result is a wearable reminder of the love that can be cherished for years to come. 

Summers said: “It’s super inexpensive — maybe 50 cents per bracelet — and if you seal the knot with a drop of clear nail polish, they will last forever. They don’t have to be fancy; it’s the sentiment, not the complexity that matters.”

Here’s how to make an easy friendship bracelet braid:

  1. Cut six 20-inch lengths of embroidery floss.
  2. Tie the ends of your strings together in an overhand knot, but only on one end.
  3. Tape the knotted end of the floss to a piece of cardboard for stability.
  4. Separate your six strings into three groups of two.
  5. Take the farthest right group of strings and place them over the middle group, making them the new middle group.
  6. Next, take the farthest left group of strings and place it between the other two groups, making it the new middle group this time.
  7. Keep this pattern going until you’ve braided all the way down with about two inches left at the bottom.
  8. Tie the bottom with another overhand knot and remove the bracelet from the taped cardboard.
  9. Tie each end together around your wrist.

The material needed for this project is embroidery floss for 62 cents per skein.

If you’re feeling brave, you can also try a more complicated braid from Purl Soho or this chevron pattern from Spruce Crafts.

Treat bags

Arts and crafts aren’t the only options for Valentine’s Day gifts, though. Willard Dalton, a sophomore psychology major from Ely, Nevada, said he’s going to make Crumbl Cookies treat bags for his friends and classmates in his Japanese course.

Dalton said Valentine’s Day is often presented as a couples holiday, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Dalton said: “Time with friends is just as good if not better. Plus, it’s a fun holiday to put a bit of creativity into.”

Cookie bags are fantastic low-effort Valentine’s gifts, and all of the supplies you need can be bought at any store. The instructions for this option are as simple as buying goodie bags, putting the cookies or treats and card inside, and tying the top of the bag with a ribbon.

The materials needed for this project are treat bags for $2, Crumbl cookies for $3.48 for one, $10.98 for four, $27.58 for a dozen, and ribbon for $2.

TikTok matching hoodies

This next gift idea is inspired by a TikTok trend: making matching hoodies with your best friend or significant other. Hobby Lobby in particular has some adorable iron-on appliques you can use, and some duos have even gone as far as using tie-dye to make their hoodies extra colorful.

It’s a little on the expensive side, but it sure beats dropping $100 on a fancy dinner just to find out that the portions are microscopic.


  1. Using your favorite colors, tie-dye your hoodie. Instructions will vary slightly from kit to kit, but you can click here for some basic guidelines.
  2. After the hoodies are dry, use iron-on appliques to embellish them. Some ideas include ironing your initials on your sleeve and a heart or matching symbols on the front.
  3. When ironing, remember to have a dish towel or handkerchief between the iron and the applique.
  4. Press and hold for 30 to 45 seconds, then flip the hoodie inside out and iron the other side for the same amount of time.
  5. Let the hoodie and applique cool completely before wearing.

The materials needed for this project are hoodies for $17.99 each, iron-on appliques for $1.99 to $5.99 each, and a tie-dye kit for $19.99.

Chicken nugget bouquet

Finally, if you’re more into the food aspect of romance, you can make a McDonald’s chicken nugget bouquet.

It’s equal parts humor and deliciousness, and if your intended recipient doesn’t eat meat, you can easily substitute the chicken nuggets for morsels of fruit like cantaloupe, pineapple, grapes and strawberries.

Here’s how to make a bouquet you can eat:

  1. Place the sauce cartons that come with the nuggets into the center of a Mason jar.
  2. Skewer one chicken nugget onto each dowel rod.
  3. Put the dowel rods in the Mason jar around the sauces so it’s positioned like flowers in a vase.
  4. Voila! You now have an edible arrangement.

The materials needed for this project are a McDonald’s 10 pack of chicken nuggets for $4.49, dowel rods for $3.99, and a Mason jar for $1.99.