11 Valentine's Day Gift Packaging Ideas Guaranteed to Make Your Loved One Feel Special
Surprise everyone you care about with something truly special—a Valentine treat you've made yourself. Our ideas turn simple homemade goodies or store-bought treats into personalized gifts, just right for your sweetie, your friends, or every kid in the classroom. Chocolate lovers will adore a box of dark, rich tartlets. Heart-shaped boxes provide a sleek backdrop for a rainbow of paper hearts. Make a large version for a party or miniature ones, each sized for two to share.
Martha recalls some of her fondest memories of Valentine's Day as gift-giving among her family and friends. After all, handing out handmade Valentine's greetings loaded with sweets to classmates, neighbors, and loved ones is one of the kindest gestures you can make. There are so many ways that you can incorporate classic elements of Valentine's Day spirit—from roses to chocolate and heartfelt gifts—into a package. The following ideas and how-tos can be crafted with the whole family on a fun February afternoon, and they're perfect for teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors, too.
And if your little one has something sweet in mind, we have a few ideas for incorporating handmade treats that move way beyond convenience store candy. Try adorning greeting cards with candy dots, for example; or creating little goodie bags made with glassine sleeves full of your favorite candy in bulk. Folded cupcake liners make up swoon-worthy decorations. To start your family off with a bit of heartfelt inspiration, we're rounding up the sweetest ways you can gift something on Valentine's Day this year.
Kraft Heart Box
Delight your valentine on February 14 by surprising him or her with a handmade box filled with their favorite sweet treats, as Martha does. Customize the contents of each one—she did this for Truman; her granddaughter, Jude; her daughter, Alexis; and her dear friend Kevin Sharkey—and top it off with a big bold ribbon.
Cupid's Care Packages
A truffle sampler is sweet but gone in a few bites. Spoil a friend (or sister, or sitter) with equally tempting ideas that will last longer: hand-made note cards and an elegant felt-tip pen, fragrant tea and organic honey, or fancy French soap. To prettify plain cardboard boxes, gather cupcake liners in a few different sizes, fold them into halves and quarters, and arrange them on the lids how- ever your heart desires, securing them with double-sided tape. Fill the boxes with crinkle shreds and nestle gifts inside.
Shop Now: Factory Direct Craft Papier-Mâché Heart Boxes, $1.03 each, amazon.com. Celebrate It Paper Crinkle, $4 for 4 oz., michaels.com. Arpa Handmade Small Card Set, in Pale Pink and Salmon, $15 for 6, orangeartstore.com. Marvy Le Pen fine-point marker pen, in Fluorescent Pink, $1.75, jetpens.com. Bee Raw Customer Favorites Honey, $28 for three 5.4-oz. jars, beeraw.com. Compagnie de Provence Orange-Blossom Bar Soap, 3.4 oz., $9, compagniedeprovence.com.
Heart Candy Boxes
You can make these boxes in many sizes so they'll nest. Print the heart templates. The largest heart is for the lids; the two smaller hearts, for positioning the edges. Trace the largest heart onto mat board twice, and cut out with a craft knife. With a marker, color along the cut edges of the mat board. Spray one side of the mat board heart with spray adhesive, and attach to colored paper. Cut along the edge with a craft knife. Repeat on the reverse side, and then with a second heart. Position the medium-size template on one paper-covered heart, leaving about 1/8 inch all around, and trace with a pencil to create the guideline for gluing the edge. Position the smallest template on the other paper-covered heart, leaving about 3/8 inch all around, and trace with a pencil to create the guideline for gluing the edge. Cut box edges according to lengths on template: Make four 1-inch-wide strips of watercolor paper and eight 7/8-inch-wide strips of colored paper. With marker, color the exposed edge and about 1/4 inch down the sides of the mat board. Working with a few inches at a time, squeeze glue along the guideline, and bend side strip to attach. Repeat with all side strips, and let dry. Using spray adhesive, attach colored paper to both sides of each strip, exposing some of the marker-colored edge. Fill with candy, and close.
Dressed in apricot moiré fabric and trimmed with satiny cord, a luxurious pink bow, and an array of faux gemstones, this box is no mere vessel. It's a treasure on its own. With a note, a photo, or some sweets tucked inside, it would make the perfect keepsake for Mom or anyone who appreciates a touch of luxury.
To make the box: Using a ruler and craft knife, cut four strips of mat board: two 1 1/8-inch strips (for base) and two 1-inch strips (for lid), all the width of board (32 inches). Print templates for the box base and lid; cut out. Trace two of each template onto mat board; cut out. You have two bases and two lids; set one base and one lid aside. Place the remaining base on a flat surface. Working in sections and starting at the heart's inner point, affix one end of one strip to base with hot glue. Hold until the section dries, about 20 seconds. Continue gluing until you reach the bottom point. Rest base on its side; trim excess strip carefully so strip ends match up neatly. Repeat to attach a strip to the other side. Repeat to add strips to one lid piece.
To cover the sides of base and lid: Cut a long strip of moiré fabric that is 1/8 inch wider than the base's side and long enough to wrap around side of box. Working in sections and using découpage glue and a brush, align the edge of fabric with the side's top edge; pat in place, and trim any overhang. Repeat to cover the side of lid in fabric.
To add the decorative base and lid: Cut two large squares of moiré fabric, a few inches larger than heart. Brush the top of second base piece with découpage glue, and press it onto the center of 1 fabric square. Trim fabric to about 1 1/2 inches around the heart. Make a series of snips in the excess fabric; glue the flaps to back of base, overlapping as needed. Repeat with remaining lid piece and fabric square. Using découpage glue, attach cording tape to the back of both pieces, so the cord runs along edge; let dry. Hot-glue the covered base and lid to the bottom and top of box, respectively.
To embellish the box front: Using wire cutters, snip gemstones from a costume bracelet or necklace. Using a hot-glue gun, attach gems to the lid in a pattern. Tie ribbon into a bow; secure with hot glue to the center of the lid.
Shop Now: Finer Fabrics Apricot / Soft White Gingham Moire Upholstery Fabric, $5.38, amazon.com.
A Healthy Sampler
This gift box bearing treats has all the delights of a Valentine's Day package, but its nutrient-rich contents are a treat for the heart as much as for the taste buds. Put a box together by arranging cupcake liners inside and filling them with dark chocolate, dried or dehydrated red-colored fruit (strawberries, cranberries, red plums, and goji berries), and low-sodium vegetable chips (beet and red potato).
If you're thinking of hand-delivering an edible valentine this year, consider slipping an oversize cookie into one of these hand-folded envelopes. The freezer-paper lining keeps the package free from grease marks and smudges. To make one, start by cutting a 7-by-7-inch square of freezer paper, and another of patterned medium-weight paper. Place freezer-paper square on top of the other square. Fold each corner of the combined square in, so all four points meet in the center. Tape along two bottom seams; insert your treat. Tape down last flap and attach a label. Optional: Tie a bow with bakers' twine.
Shop Now: Roylco Origami Paper, $9, dickblick.com.
Heart to Heart Garland Gift Boxes
Show a plainly wrapped gift a little love—with pretty punch-and-link hearts. Using a heart-garland punch, cut out shapes from colored vellum, then link them together using the tabs and notches. Arrange the linked hearts around a wrapped box, and secure them in back with clear tape. No need for a gift tag—simply write the recipient's name on one of the hearts. Try alternating colors, layering rows in different shades, or adding in a few metallic-paper hearts.
Shop Now: Cridoz Vellum Paper, 8.5" by 11", $10 for 45 sheets, amazon.com.
Wood Veneer Heart Box
Skip the doilies and ruffles this year—instead, give a wood-grain chocolate box that's chic and sweet. You can make the whole gift from scratch, fashioning the package from poster board, topping it with stick-on veneer, and filling it with bonbons tucked into mini baking cups. Or cover a store-bought box with the veneer.
For the top and bottom: Use a craft knife to cut poster board into four 8 1/2-by-11-inch pieces. Print templates onto two pieces. Use spray adhesive to back each printed template with another sheet of poster board, then join a veneer sheet to each pair (so you have two three-layer pieces with templates showing on one side of each). Cut out according to templates, making one top and one bottom. For the sides: Join two more pieces of poster board with spray adhesive. Adhere four 17-inch-long strips of veneer tape to poster board; cut out. Dab hot glue along the edge of one strip. Position onto the top piece of the box according to the template, starting at the top V of the heart; work carefully and add more glue as needed to align strip. (We glued veneer facing in.) Repeat, adding second strip to box top. Trim ends at the bottom of the heart for a neat point. If desired, use a marker matching in color to the poster board to fill in any cut-paper edges for a seamless look. Repeat for the bottom of the box.
Shop Now: Up&Up Neon Poster Board, 70¢ per sheet, target.com. Arc Crafts Barc Cherry Veneer Adhesive Sheets, $4 for 8 1/2" by 11", amazon.com. Arc Crafts Barc Cherry Tape, $7.20 for 1" by 15' roll, amazon.com. Martha Stewart Craft Knife, $8.49, michaels.com.
Stenciled Truffle Boxes
Adorned with graphic designs in neon pink and orange, these boxes can be used and displayed well after the holiday. Stencil the patterns onto veneer and use it to top shallow cardboard boxes (the kind usually used for gifts of jewelry).
Shop Now: Arc Crafts Barc Cherry Veneer Adhesive Sheets, $4 for 8 1/2" by 11", amazon.com. The Crafter's Workshop Sunburst Stencil, 6" by 6", $8.50 each, store.thecraftersworkshop.com. Martha Stewart Family Friendly Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint, $2.49, michaels.com.
Foil Chocolate Bars
Play Willy Wonka and make the most of the shiny foil on a bar of chocolate—it will show through punched patterns on a paper band. All of these designs were created with a half-heart punch, so you can fold the flap back for a three-dimensional, bicolored effect; you can also overlap cutouts for intricate looks and make toppers for boxes (top left and bottom right). Look for chocolate bars with a foil wrap beneath their printed labels. These bars are often in the grocery store's baking section.
Shop Now: Hygloss Metallic Foil Paper, starting from $4.80, dickblick.com.
Candy Crush Boxes
Use colorful treats to make your feelings known—or even spell them right out—in Pop Art–style arrangements. Start with a transparent-plastic candy box, then create letter or heart shapes from paper. Fill the shapes and the area around them with candies in contrasting hues. Smaller candies work best in these boxes—they fit snugly inside the shapes. Try hot cinnamon candies, candy-coated chocolates, mini jelly beans, and tiny hearts.
Shop Now: Box & Wrap Round Clear Candy Boxes, starting from $2.50, boxandwrap.com.