Thrifty Valentine Gift Ideas
Written by on Monday, February 1st, 2016

Over the next 2 weeks or so, you’ll probably find yourself bombarded by a lot of shows & websites

offering you TONS of Valentine’s Day gift suggestions…. mostly sponsored (by the company selling the item) and usually expensive.

So, I’m taking a different route

and offering up some heartfelt gift ideas that we’ve given in my family

because they are creative, somewhat easy, inexpensive and might just make someone in your life feel extra special too

on the annual day of “hearts”… February 14th

IDEA NO. 1 – Personalized Tile Coasters

Cost – less than $15

coaster and glass

You will need:

4-1/4″ x 4-1/4″ Ceramic Tiles {you’ll find these at DIY stores like Home Depot & Lowe’s for less than 20 cents each}

4″×4″ Personal Photos, in color OR Black & White {create & print yourself or at your local print shop or drugstore… like Walgreens}

Foam Brushes for Painting {found at discount mart, DIY or craft stores}

Mod Podge {found at discount mart & craft stores}

Clear Acrylic High Gloss Sealer (Coating) Spray

{Note: if you are using different brands of products, the results may vary}

Paint the rough, unfinished side edges of the coasters.

After that dries, trim each of your photos into a square 4″ x 4″ square to fit the top of your tile.

HELPFUL HINT: if you create a 4-box grid, in a word document on your computer & in the same 4″ x 4″ size,

you can drop a photo into each grid box}

Apply Mod Podge to the back of the photo with a sponge applicator, then carefully & neatly press down a photo onto a tile.

Allow to dry completely.  HELPFUL HINT:  make sure each coat dries completely before applying the next coat.  Keep in mind that this craft is one you should take your time with, possibly a few days, so each coat will have time to dry completely for many hours before applying the next coat.

After the applied photos are dry, apply another layer of Mod Podge with your sponge applicator, but this time – carefully across the top of the photo.  Use even (left-to-right) strokes.  You will notice lines in the Mod Podge, but that’s normal & will disappear when dry.

Allow to dry completely.

Repeat with 2 more layers of Mod Podge, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next.

Once you have applied 3 layers of Mod Podge & they are completely dry, take the tiles outside.  Place your tile coasters on wax paper, or something else you don’t mind throwing away after your complete your project.  Coat them completely with your clear acrylic sealer spray.  Apply 5 coats, allowing each one to dry completely before applying the next one.  The Acrylic Sealer is a very important step ~ it will seal & protect your photos by ensuring they are waterproof & can handle wet glasses sitting on them as they will now be coasters!

Apply self-adhesive felt dots (available at discount, craft or DIY stores) on the back of each tile, in all 4 corners,

to protect tabletops during coaster use.

tile back

Here are the 4 coasters one of our sons made for my hubby and I for Christmas.


He chose pics of our puppy who has passed, our current puppy, our 4 boys flying in an open cockpit bi-plane {one of our Family Fun Day Christmas adventures!}

and a younger days photo of my hubby & I.   I have to be honest… I cried when I saw them!

So, expect the same results if you give a set as a gift.

This is a heartfelt gift that can be used for any Valentine… a significant other or maybe someone in the family who is now alone and

might enjoy having a few of their treasured memories to set out and enjoy.  Suggestion:  always include the pet(s)! ♥ LOL

IDEA NO. 2 – Art from the Heart

Cost:  around $12.00

s_completed canvas3

Long-time Seasonal Home fans will remember this project.

For our newbie readers, click on the link below to view the original post –

Art from the Heart Gift Idea

This project is another easy to create a personalized and inexpensive Valentine gift! 🙂

IDEA NO. 3  – Memory Pillow

Cost:  less than $10.00

shirt pillow

If you have a Valentine who has an old, favorite shirt, this is the perfect gift idea!

It doesn’t necessarily have to be sports-related…

it could be an old favorite that is too small or tattered to wear anymore or

maybe has a sentimental attachment (like a concert they attended),

Whatever the reason, the fact that they don’t want to part with it is “Cupid’s Cue” that it could be used to create a memorable gift!

Also keep in mind… if you have a family member who lost their beloved Valentine,

this idea makes a great “surprise” Valentine gift for them because of the sentimental value.

Turning a special shirt into a pillow will give them comfort in the form of a visual reminder of their love and

become something sentimental to hug and hold on to.

You can utilize a sewing machine, no-sew tape, or hand stitching to create this project.

You will need:

(Pillow inserts come in all shapes & sizes.  The size you’ll need will depend on how much of the shirt’s front & back

are in good enough shape to be cut out & utilized as a pillow cover.

These areas will also help you determine the pillow insert shape, i.e. square, rectangular, etc. )

baseball shirt

First decide if you want to use a tee-shirt or button down shirt.   Next, decide whether it will be a clean shirt or if you want it to be an “as is” pillow… in other words, with all of the wearer’s essence remaining on it.

Once it’s washed (if applicable), turn the shirt inside out.

Iron if necessary.

Examine the shirt to decide what area of it will become the pillow, then lay it out neatly on a flat surface.

Using chalk or a pencil, mark the measurements/dimensions of your pillow insert onto the area of the shirt you will be using as your pillow cover, adding at least 1-1/2 to 2 inches, all the way around {this allows for the thickness of the pillow insert when you cut-out your shape}.  HELPFUL HINTS: 1) when you’re deciding what part of the shirt to use, mark the backs of the buttons or any special emblem with some pieces of tape to help you center or place them on the pillow cover exactly where you want them.  Doing this will also avoid having any buttons end up in the middle of your cutting lines/

Now, it’s time to cut-out the shape.  HELPFUL HINTS:    1) it’s a good idea to cut a little extra just in case you have purchased an extra fluffy pillow insert to use.  You can always trim more, but you can’t buy more of the shirt and 2) the quickest method for cutting out your pillow cover is to cut the front and back layers at the same time.   Then, once it’s cut, you can immediately pin the front & back together & everything will stay lined up as you sew.

Sew your pillow shape together, with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Sew rounder corners if your fabric is too thick to create a square corner.  Leave apx. a 3″ opening for turning the pillow cover right-side-out.  HELPFUL HINT:  If you’re using a button-down shirt, you will not need to leave an opening because you can simply reach inside the shirt front & unbutton it to turn it right-side-out.  Before you turn it right-side-out, trim the fabric in the corners.

By the way, here’s a couple of photos of what button-down shirt pillow looks like…

     images    index

Finally, turn your pillow cover right-side-out and insert your pillow form.  If you chose a tee-shirt & left a 3″ opening, hand stitch it closed.

 IDEA NO. 4 – Spotlight their Interests!

Cost:  less than $5

If your Valentine is into something that involves characters or pop culture,

why not choose one of those and spotlight them, but in a way that shows your love?

Use your artistic talent to paint the character on an inexpensive canvas (apx. $5 with a coupon at a craft store),

but have the character represent your love.

My son drew the art below, featuring one of his wife’s favorite “characters”.

He added a little of his “heart” to the character

to make sure his message of L-O-V-E came across for Valentine’s Day.


What I also like about these gift suggestions is that, unlike flowers & chocolate, they will last and be there to represent your love forever.

At the very least, I hope these 4 inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift ideas help you stay on budget

so you can celebrate the “Holiday of Hearts” in thrifty style because I have always found that

time spent is much more appreciated than money spent. 🙂



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