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Try these DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts

Liz Miller Learn Robotics

About the Author, Liz Miller, Founder/CEO @ Learn Robotics

Liz graduated with a degree in Robotics Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and researched drones at UPenn's GRASP Lab. Liz is a former Raytheon Engineer, where she managed major $MM automation projects worldwide. Today, she's the driving force behind Learn Robotics, offering the Robotics Career Blueprint for Engineering Professionals and beginner courses through the Online Robotics Class. Liz is a third-generation entrepreneur who is all about the application of innovation in robotics, automation, and AI. Follow Liz on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and what better way to show someone you care than to make them a gift by hand. In this article, I’ve compiled a list of DIY Valentine’s Day gifts that will surely impress your girlfriend or boyfriend or that special someone in your life!

1. Soldering Valentine’s Day Gifts

When I think of Valentine’s Day projects, I think of LEDs and soldered circuit boards. You can opt to use a soldering kit or design an LED heart necklace or badge from scratch. There are lots of options out there, so I recommend selecting the path that makes the most sense for your skill level and interests. If you’re brand new to soldering, I recommend going the heart kit route. On the other hand, if you’re looking to challenge yourself, wiring up a perf board or creating a custom PCB, might be more appropriate.

Soldering Heart Kits

For this project, you’ll need to pick up a soldering kit and have access to a soldering iron, snips, and solder. I recommend choosing a kit that you think looks cool and matches your soldering skill level. If you’re entirely new to soldering and wanted a reason to learn, this is a great project to start with!

Here are a couple of kits worth checking out.

Once you have your kit, heat up your iron. A pair of helping hands makes things a whole lot easier. If you plan to solder quite a bit, then this is a must-have tool to add. Then use the included schematic to lay the components out on the board. Make sure they sit flat on the PCB and that they look nice before you solder them down.

Design an LED Heart Necklace or Badge

Another soldering project is to create a custom electronics Valentine’s Day gift. You can use a perf board, wire up some LEDs, and solder it together. Then program an Arduino to control the LEDs in a variety of patterns and brightnesses.

LED heart circuit for Valentine's Day

Or you can take the project a step further and design a completely custom circuit board using EDA software such as KiCad, Altium, or Eagle. Then, you can have your board printed for a reasonable price on Oshpark or PCBWay. Oshpark also has Shared Projects, like this 8bit Heart, that you can use for inspiration.

custom heart PCB with LEDs for Valentine's Day

There are so many options when it comes to creating custom projects like this, so be creative, and think about personal touches that will make the gift unique to your significant other.

Materials for this Project

Weller 40W Digital Soldering Station -WLC100 Black
Variable power control dial adjusts power from 5 watts to 40 watts for accuracy; Tested and meets independent safety standards

2. 3D Printing Valentine’s Day Projects

If 3D printing is more of your forte, or if you’re looking for a reason to use your 3D printer, then these DIY Valentine’s Day projects will be right up your alley.

3D Printed Heart Mugs

The first project is a 3D printed set of mugs. While I don’t know the durability or usability of these mugs, they do look very cool. I wasn’t able to find the exact STL file for immediate print, but if you plan on making this project yourself, you can use Fusion 360, SketchUp or your favorite CAD software to model a custom set of personalized heart mugs. You’ll also gain hours working in CAD, which is an added bonus!

3D Printed Candy Hearts

Another idea is a 3D printed spin on the classic Candy Hearts. These are very affordable (roughly $0.25 per dozen) and you can make them 100% customized for the recipient. Use some red PLA filament for added flair.

Maker Valentine's Day project gift ideas

First, download the STL File from Thingiverse. You can make modifications to file including the conversation phrase and thickness. Then import it into your favorite 3D printing slicer. I like to use Cura.

Adjust the infill settings to about 10%. I scaled the model to 1″ (25.4mm) so that they’re smaller Valentine’s, but you can make them whatever size you’d like. Lastly, I used the multiplier tool to add additional copies of the part to the print layout. If you’re planning to do batches, it’s a good idea to let the slicer figure out the optimal placement for the multiples.

Prep your 3D printer, load the file, and watch the candy hearts print!

3. Arduino Valentine’s Day Projects

Arduino is one of the most popular prototyping platforms. It’s no wonder you’d want to make something for Valentine’s Day with it! In this section, I’ve listed a few ideas for making DIY Valentine’s Day gifts using Arduino.

IoT Connected Valentine: Send a Valentine from Anywhere

One of the coolest, Arduino Valentine’s Day projects is the “Internet Valentine.” There are two ESP8266 devices that send and receive “Valentines” via the Internet. And while you could just send a heart emoji or give someone a quick call instead of making this project, I think there’s plenty to be said about the power of IoT devices. Plus, this is just pretty darn cool!

You can make the devices using breadboards, perf boards, or even developing custom PCBs. The possibilities and features are limitless, but this should give you a good starting point if you’re looking for a more “high-tech” Valentine’s Day gift to give your girlfriend or boyfriend.

Materials for this Project

Heartbeat Art: Share a Piece of Your Heart

Give someone a piece of your heart(beat) this Valentine’s day.

Using Arduino and an EKG sensor, you can “record” your heartbeat and print it out as a gift. All you need to do is configure the EKG shield with your Arduino, take a couple of readings, then copy the EKG wave into a photo editing software. Add Valentine’s Day sayings, print it out, and voila! you have a very unique and heartfelt gift!

Materials for this Project

Complete wth SHIELD-EKG-EMG-PA and SHIELD-EKG-EMG-PRO; Eveyrthing you need for quick and fun Arduino EKG

4. DIY Valentine’s Day Projects for Kids

In this section, we’ll explore a DIY Valentine’s Day projects for kids. The best part about these projects is that they don’t feel like work. So if you’re a homeschool parent, STEM teacher, or are looking for ways to tie Valentine’s Day into technical learning, then here are some tangible ideas.

Light-Up Circuit Valentines

What better way to introduce electronics to kids than to have them build their own circuits! This project replicates Candy Hearts but with an electronics flair. The Light-Up Circuit Valentine’s are super easy to make that even early Elementary school kids can get involved!

light up circuit valentines for kids

Materials for this Project

Energizer 2032 Battery CR2032 Lithium 3v, 5 Count...
Lithium battery for long lasting life in remote entry and electronic devices; Comes five to a pack in individually sealed foil backed blister packaging
$6.99 −$0.79 $6.20

First, design the hearts on the computer. Add some phrases to make the Candy Hearts more conversational. Some examples are “You’re Electric,” or “You light up my life.” Then, print the hearts on colored construction paper.

Place the LED and resistor on the heart. Next, attach the battery with some copper tape. Then, draw an outline around the edge of the heart to connect the LED to the battery. You can fold over a piece of construction paper with copper tape to create a switch to control the LED.

The original project doesn’t use a resistor. But because the circuit isn’t continuously on, there is less chance of burning out the LED. If you want to use this project in the classroom, you can relate it back to Ohm’s Law. Here’s the math to help with your lesson plans.

(1) $ V = IR $

(2) $ R = \frac{V}{I} $

(3) $ R = \frac{3V – 1.8V}{0.025A} = 48Ω $

Note: The forward voltage of Red, Yellow, and Yellow-Green LEDs on 3V is 1.8V and the desired maximum current draw from an LED is 25mA or 0.025A.

48Ω isn’t a standard resistor size, so we jump to the next common resistor size available (51Ω). 100Ω is fine too, just know that the higher the resistor value is, the dimmer the LED will appear.

Spinning Hearts Device

LittleBits are a great way to teach kids electronics because they’re easy to connect together and build circuits. Similarly to the IoT project, you can press a button on one device and it will spin the heart on another. The recipient can then send a valentine back by pressing a button on their device.

This project works anywhere so long as both devices are connected to the internet. I recommend giving this project a try if you have access to littleBits or you’re looking for something more challenging than the Valentine’s Day Light-Up Cards.

littleBits DIY Valentine's Day project for kids

Materials for this Project

What did you build for Valentine’s Day?

Let me know in the comments below. And, if you’re hoping to receive one of these projects as a gift, feel free to send this article to that special someone to drop them a hint. ?

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