Upcycled Valentine’s Gifts

Yesterday all my good intentions went out the window.  I try to start each week with good news, which I did, but then I had to follow that up with bad news.  I’m sorry but I had to vent and get it off my chest and hoped you would understand. 

So today I will lighten it up a bit with two upcycling projects that became Valentine’s gifts. 

I could call this a before and after, but I forgot to take before pictures.  I should be better at this by now, but you know how it is when you have a little one excited to try a new craft and this was all hers. :-)  You will just have to take my word for how the items looked and what they originally were.

This first one was a plastic box which held a music box mechanism.  My neighbor had found this and I wanted to add it to the found jewelry box I gave my youngest granddaughter.  She loves her music box but the plastic case wouldn’t fit inside the jewelry box. I couldn’t toss it out, it’s plastic! 

When the little one asked if I had anything heart-shaped she could use to make her mom a Valentine’s gift this came to mind.  She spotted some tissue paper I saved from someone’s Christmas gift that is red with sparkles on it and asked if she could use it along with glue.  When I realized where she was going I offered her the modge podge for a long-lasting finish and here’s what she came up with.

mommy's heart

No matter how many times I tried to photograph this heart box I couldn’t get a decent picture of the color, but it really is cute.  Because the lid fits inside the box rather than over it she thought it might be hard to open and found a piece of red ribbon.  Using a yarn needle she inserted the ribbon through and I tied a few knots on each end on the underside to keep it in place. Now mom can easily lift the lid with the ribbon.

Mom was taken care of but she now wanted something for dad.  Staying on the box theme I remembered the small plastic box that came with my Dremel for Christmas.  The box only held a few of the attachments so I switched them to a slightly larger metal container I had which held all the pieces. 

I handed her the box and she immediately said this had to be blue and she would paint it.  Using regular acrylic craft paint she carefully painted the outside of the box and lid. Once dry she searched through stickers she saves Yes, if she receives stickers she only uses a couple and brings the rest here to store in her craft box.  Here is what she came up with.

daddy's box

A coat of modge podge will keep the paint from peeling


While she knew exactly how mom and dad should use their boxes, mom should store jewelry in hers and dad should store his thumb drive in so he can’t get it dirty or lose it, she wanted to put something inside them as a gift.  She informed me chocolate would be good.  I got my hands on a few Hersey Kisses and gave them to her. Three went in each box while reserving two, one for her and one for me for a “good day of crafts”.  We worked on another project I’ll share later.

valentine gifts

This is a better example of the colors on the finished boxes.

Do you buy Valentine’s gifts? What is the best gift you have given or received on Valentine’s Day?


36 thoughts on “Upcycled Valentine’s Gifts

  1. I so love those gifts… They mean so much more to us than any bought ones.. I still have many little gifts my children made me.. Like a Mothers Day brooch made of fired clay from my daugher.. And a small dinosaur from my son which still sits on my window ledge :-) These are the Gifts of the Heart! :-) xxx


    • Sue, I too have items my boys made me. One is a necklace and earring set my oldest made from seed beads when he was about 10. It’s red and green as he made it for a Christmas present. He still laughs when I wear it on Christmas.


        • Yes, the children are very eco-conscious. You should hear them rant when they find trash on the ground and see them separate the trash picking through the recycling to ask if we can do anything with it instead of sending to the recycling bins. Nature is where they love to be, and are very careful about the wildlife and insects encountered. Last spring my granddaughter walked around saving all the worms that were on the driveway after a hard rain, carrying them to the garden beds where they would be safe. I enjoyed that so much.


          • Wow, the savings of worms is so precious!! I once owned a house where we had tenants in back of us. When I would do some gardening the little girl who lived in the apartment would come out and help me. She was probably 7 at the time (a good several years ago). Every time I would spot a worm or some crawly thing I would say to her ‘Look! Sylvia Slug has come out to say Hi to us!’ Or, ‘Hi Gladys Worm, how are you today? I see you are working hard to churn the garden soil’, or ‘Peter Spider wants to help guard my garden’. I did this all the time when the little girl would visit! And one wonderful day the child looked up at me and said with the most precious innocence you ever heard, ‘How do you remember all their names?!’. And I turned to the child with the biggest smile and heart filled with such joy and said, ‘They visit me everyday, and wish to help me like you do. These are wonderful blessings I could never forget’. And with that we happily discovered new friends together amongst the cherry tomatoes and bell peppers :)


          • I love spending time in the garden with children. How cute that you named your garden visitors. I bet that little girls never forgot her time with you and probably has a garden of her own now because of you.


    • Christy, she loves giving things to others and sharing what she has. Today she arrived with a coloring page she did for me. She says she likes to give presents because it makes people happy, but she doesn’t like to buy them because “people like things I make”. n I think it’s a combination of she enjoys crafting and she enjoys receiving handmade gifts so she wants to return the feeling.


  2. I love that you are teaching your granddaughter the value of recycling and living simply. These are two lovely gifts and appreciated all the more because they were made by her hands.


    • LuAnn, for her she only sees it as crafting time and while she helps to save items she and her brother are only now starting to realize that we are repurposing items to keep them out of the landfills. They have fun and I get to feel good about the crafts that leave my house. She has a shoe box here that she can add little things to when she finds them to crafft with later. Btw, she let out an excited squeal the other day when she emptied a roll of toilet paper. Her parents got a good laugh because she came running out to show us what she had and announce she could make something now. :-)


  3. Valentine’s Day is simple for me, I ignore it. I don’t buy presents, I don’t give presents. Valentine’s Day is not a part of my culture, I see it just as a money-grab for commerce. No sentimental meaning.

    I know, I’m old and boring.



    • Dar, she has her own craft box (small shoe box) of supplies here. It’s filled with many found items little bits and pieces that she can go through whenever the crafting mood strikes. I listen and add things such as special glue when I realize her school glue won’t do the trick. She also knows where I store the paints and will ask to be allowed to go through that. There is no need to direct her as children are very creative on their own.


  4. What a heart warming story! Your granddaughter has learned valuable lessons from you on recycling and DIY that will stay with her forever. These gifts will mean so much more than diamonds, roses or candy not only because she made them herself but because she thought about what would be pleasing and useful to her parents. Too often even homemade gifts are mass produced in class without regard for what the recipient would like/use or without the child being allowed to use her creativity. Now that it is just my husband and I, we don’t usually exchange gifts because we have so much already. I cannot drive so I can’t buy cards(though I save any he gives me) so I do ecards. It is hard for me to eat out so we make a special dinner at home. Last year we were in Florida after the birth of our grandson and offered to babysit the one week old so our daughter and her husband could go out to eat for Valentines day and have a little time together before we had to head home. My daughter could hardly stand to be away from the baby for an hour and a half, but it was a wonderful treat to have him to ourselves. Our son was born right after Valentines day, so that was my special gift 24 years ago. I am hoping I will have a chance to do crafts with my grandchildren one day. My daughter in law is in grad school for art therapy and is very creative, she sends us homemade cards, the last 2 years she has given us sketches or paintings she did herself for Christmas. Our son handsewed gifts for friends when he was in college. They are both very thrifty both by necessity and by personal belief that they do not need meaningless material things. My son is very sentimental and might wear an old wool hat that belonged to his grandpa, but that would be the only hat he had. I don’t like to label them as minimalists because there are too many assumptions that go with that label, they just are practical people who are not interested in having the latest style or gadget just the things they really truly need or that are really truly meaningful.


    • Maryalma, I enjoy hearing more about your family I wish I could meet you all in person! Valentine’s Day is so over blown with excessive spending, just like Christmas that it’s good hear of young people who have sen through the commercialization of these special days. I will cal my son and his wife (the ones out of town) and wish them a good day and mail a small card to their daughter. As for family here, my grandchildren I expect will color me a picture but that would be as far as gifts would go.

      I still remember the crafts went home from school when my boys were little, they were so repetitive it was hard to find ways to display them.


  5. How creative and thoughtful, these gifts will be really nice surprises for her parents!
    I look forward to reading your posts, they are always interesting and inspiring.
    Cathy P.


    • Thank you, Cathy. She couldn’t wait to give her presents to her parents she was too excited to show them what she made and share how fun it was. They were shocked by how she thought through each one to come up with how they could use them to make the gift useful.


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