With Valentine’s day on the horizon, couples around the world are gearing up to demonstrate just how much their partner means to them. Hundreds of thousands of red roses, greeting cards and heart-shaped chocolates will be bought, further marking Valentine’s day as one of the most meaningful times of the year for couples.
However, the notoriety and ubiquity of the holiday has made gifts like roses, cards and chocolates a bit rote and mundane. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to run down to the drug store and quickly pick up a dozen red roses, an “I love you” card and a box of chocolates, and your partner is bound to know this. So how can you show your partner that you actually care for them enough to go beyond the cliche gifts so often seen during this holiday, and truly get them the best Valentine’s gift?
It’s simple, actually; the best way to show your affection and dedication for your partner is simply by getting something that shows how well you know them. Whether it’s a small addition to a collection of theirs, an accessory to enhance one of their hobbies, a handcrafted gift that took time and effort to make, or even a room remodel, are all great ideas that might just be the best Valentine’s day gifts of 2021. Here, we’ve brainstormed some of the best Valentine’s day gift ideas that will make your partner swoon on sight!
1. A handmade photo frame with a photo of you and your partner
No matter what your partner enjoys doing, no matter your shared interests, one thing is for sure: if you spend a bit of time and effort making them a project like this, it’s sure to be one of the best Valentine’s day gifts you could get them. This one actually isn’t too difficult to make either, and doesn’t require much specialized equipment beyond a handsaw and a mitre box, so almost anyone can do it! What’s more, it’s a very tangible gift, that one can hang onto for a lifetime and display fondly on a desk or wall.
The first thing you’ll need is some picture frame rabbet, which is the wood which you will use to make the picture frame out of. This can be purchased at most hardware stores, or from online retailers, and shouldn’t cost you much more than $20 or $30. Once you’ve got that, you’ll need a simple handsaw and a mitre box, some wood stain and lacquer and some fine grit sandpaper.
Once you’ve got your supplies together, making the actual picture frame is simple; just measure and cut the wood to size, using the 45° notch on the mitre box, and then glue the pieces together using wood glue. Once you’ve glued the pieces together and added a couple light staples for some added sturdiness, you’ll need to sand it down to get rid of any sharp edges or excess wood glue; then it’s time to stain!
Staining is simple; just take an old but clean rag, dip it in the stain, and rub it evenly over the surface of the wood. You’ll want to wear gloves for this, as the wood stain won’t wash off easily! Once the wood stain has dried, you’ll want to apply an even coat of lacquer with a foam applicator. Then, simply add a couple of picture clips and a sawtooth picture hanger, and you’re all set!
Now, the best thing you can put in this picture frame is a memory that’s dear to both of you; a vacation you took together, a picture from your first date or whatever else holds meaning for you. It might be a bit out of square or unevenly stained, but to them it will be the best Valentine’s day gift they could receive.
2. A pillow embroidered with a heartfelt message
If you’re not into woodworking, why not try an embroidery project? A pillow embroidered with a simple message is not particularly difficult to make, but it might just be the best Valentine’s day gift you could get them! For this project all you need is some embroidery thread, some high thread-count cloth, an embroidery hoop, a needle and some pillow stuffing. A sewing machine will also come in handy if you don’t want to sew the pillow up by hand, but it isn’t necessary.
First, you’ll want to put some thought into what you want to write on the pillow, and what shape you want it to be. It can be a simple “Love, [your name here]” on a square pillow or a more detailed message on a heart shaped pillow; just get creative with it!
Once you’ve thought of a shape, you’ll need to take the cloth and double it over, and then mark out the pattern on its surface with a pencil. Then, take a pair of heavy duty scissors and cut out the shape of the pillow, being careful to give yourself about half an inch of extra space for the hemming. Then, mark out the message you want to write for your partner on the cloth. Now you’re ready to sew!
An embroidery hoop is a simple tool that simply stretches out the fabric you’re embroidering and holds it in place so that the embroidering is even. It’s easy to use; just put the smaller hoop down on a flat surface, lay the part of the fabric that you want to embroider over the top of it, and then firmly push the outside hoop down on the smaller hoop so that it traps the fabric in between, holding it tight.
The actual embroidery is simple, but a bit time consuming; start by cutting a liberal allotment of thread, then doubling it. Once you cut a good amount of thread, thread the needle and pull the thread through the eye until both ends are even.
The actual embroider is simple; just knot the end of the thread and start at the beginning of the first letter by pushing the needle up through the fabric from underneath and then making a 2mm loop and pulling the thread tight. After this, simply continue making full loops along the length of the pattern. If the lettering is taller than about 4 cm, you’ll probably want to go two or three loops wide; once one row is finished, move on to the next; then simply repeat this process until the embroidery is finished.
Once you’re done embroidering, it’s time to stitch the two pieces together and fill the finished product with stuffing. Turn the embroidered cloth inward and then line up the two halves on top of one another. Stitch along the edges until you have just enough space to push in the stuffing. Then, turn the pillow inside out, and fill it with stuffing. Once that’s done, just sew up the opening and voila! You’re done!
3. Get them an accessory for their hobby
Everyone has a hobby; whether it’s playing online games or painting nature landscapes, it’s a way to get away from stress and put everyday troubles as far from mind as possible. Whatever hobby your significant other has, if you observe them carefully and casually talk to them about it, chances are you’ll be able to find something they want or need, but don’t have.
If they’re into gaming, maybe it’s a new mechanical keyboard to replace their old membrane one, or a new gaming mouse with programmable buttons. If they’re into photography, they might appreciate a neat but inexpensive analogue camera, or a personalized camera strap. If they like fishing, a nice new reel, if they enjoy painting, why not get them some new paints and brushes or perhaps even a canvas or two? Whatever it is, the simple fact that you know them so well is sure to make whatever you get them one of the best Valentine’s gifts of 2021!
If you want to really up the ante, why not try crafting something to enhance their hobby? A simple shelf to hold their model airplane accessories and decorate their man cave, a handmade camera bag, or something else that adds to their experience. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, it’s the thought that counts. Just get creative with it!
Whatever you make or purchase for your partner, the most important thing is that it comes from the heart. Avoiding the cliche gifts that are so frequently purchased for Valentine’s day is a great way to show that your partner means a lot to you. Putting time and effort into your gift will show your love and leave you something that will stand the test of time and be treasured for years to come; so here’s to a happy Valentine’s day!