Wait, Valentine’s Day is today today? If February 14 has snuck up on you way too fast, and you find yourself embarrassingly empty-handed, don’t worry, there is still a teensy bit of time left to save face and show your sweetheart some handmade love. With a little ingenuity mixed with ingredients you might already have in your pocket, purse, or desk drawer, whip up something on the fly that is so heartfelt your valentine will never suspect your procrastinatin’ ways.
The clock is ticking, and you might not have time to sit down and carve a stamp! Time to to turn to your own two hands to get the job done with some fingerprint stamping. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the chances are, you didn’t forget to bring your hands with you, even if you did forget about Valentine’s Day. (Fear not, your secret is safe with me.)
While you might not have tried this most immediate of stamping techniques since you were a kid, don’t discount this five-fingered foray into card-making. Try printing overlapping fingerprints to create a heart, drawing inspiration from Ed Emberley. Stamp your fingerprints all over a page to create an impressionistic image. Draw on the prints to turn your prints into a favorite animal, portrait, balloons, bouquet, or a cheeky reference to an inside joke. This token of your affection will literally have your special touch all over it.
Dollar, Dollar Bill, Y’all
Got a buck to spare? You won’t need to dig too deep into your wallet to find the materials to make this ring of bling for your sweet thing. Fold a dollar bill into green jewelry to show your Valentine who is #1.
Make a mini missive for your one and only with this matchbox tutorial, free download included. All you’ll need to do is print the template, cut it out, fold it up, and fill the mini box with your own lovey dovey message, a tiny finding, a homemade coupon or DIY gift certificate, or maybe even one of those bling rings (above)! Decorate the outside with whatever odds and ends you might be able to MacGyver together in a pinch or draw a pattern or an image (surely you can rustle up a pen of some kind?).
Etsy is also full of all kinds of downloadable goodness for sale. Peruse Etsy for more downloadable valentines.
Key to My Heart
Step one: Dig out your keys from your pocket. If they’re anything like my keyring, chances are you’ll find a key to an apartment from long ago, that bike that got stolen, or other locks unknown. Use this key tutorial as not only a chance to lighten your jangly load, but also a key component for your Valentine. Attach a key to a string, ribbon, twine, or scrap of fabric to make an instant necklace. Add some color with a permanent marker, paint pen, or nail polish. Stash it in one of those mini matchboxes (above) with a note bearing a clever key-to-my-heart type pun to unlock a smile (or a groan) from a pun-loving lovebird.
Write a love letter with this button card (downloadable template include, for the drawing uninclined). And hey, if you’re in a really serious pinch, maybe you happen to be wearing a coat or a cardigan with an extra button sewn in the seam!
What else could you make from that rubber band, metro card, loose change, or lint in your pocket? Let us know your super last-second Valentine’s Day ideas in the comments below.
Julie Schneider is a Brooklyn-based artist, teacher and punster. When she's not working on Etsy's community team, she's writing, drawing and making cards and papercuts. Keep up with her latest creations on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.