5 DIY Gifts You Should Make for Your Geek This Valentine’s Day

James Bruce 10-02-2014

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, but you’ve got about a week left so don’t panic if you haven’t got them anything yet. Presents you make yourself are a thousand times more meaningful than some store-bought rubbish. So here are 5 awesomely geeky projects to have a go at – even if you’re not so talented in the craft department.


Make a USB Digital Trove of Goodies

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The modern equivalent of the mixtape, you can put together your own romantic digital treasure chest filled with memories and media to evoke emotion. Here are some ideas for exactly what to put on the drive:

Try to be creative with the physical drive too if you can – there’s a variety of novelty USB sticks, so pick something appropriate (like a humping dog, perhaps?).  You could even mould your own if you’re artistically gifted. Don’t forget to rename the drive (right click -> rename on Windows; or right click -> get info on OSX) !

Whatever you do, please don’t propose via a .txt document.

8-bit Accessories

Any self-respecting geek loves 8-bit versions of stuff: it represents a time when gaming and computers were pure. No freemium mechanics ever graced the screens of arcade Pac-Man, and the only thing that stood between you and ultimate control of the computer was a few lines of BASIC code. Evoke that nostalgia with some 8-bit accessories made from kid-friendly Perler Beads, the most amazing craft material since pipe cleaners.


Even a fat-fingered and hopeless-with-crafts buffoon like me can make something cool with these delightful things: lay out the beads on a template board, then use the heat of an iron to fuse them together. Sheer. Genius.

Hair bows, bow ties, plaques and badges are all easy with this stuff. Here’s the best tutorial I’ve found and along some super cute designs (pictured below): GlitterMint.

8bit hairbows

QR Code Treasure Hunt

Already stocked up on lots of silly little gifts to give your love? Make them work for it! Record a series of unlisted YouTube videos giving clues on where to find the next gift; then encode the URLs as QR codes and leave a trail of them around your house and garden. Simple text clues can be encoded too, of course.


valentines qr

Your last clue can be something silly like “turn around”, where you’re waiting on one knee with an engagement ring. Squeal – how romantic!

Seriously though, treasure hunts are just fantastic. If you fancy something a little more elaborate, set up a wide scale one with GPS co-ordinates 4 Ideas for a Fun Date Using a GPS Smartphone and Some Romance Almost everybody has a smartphone with a GPS these days, but they're still sorely underused when it comes to creative days out of the house. If you're a geek looking to impress a date with... Read More .

Upcycled Tech

You’ve probably got a box of old cabling and circuit boards somewhere (I know you have, us hoarders aren’t limited to digital media 8 Essential Tools For the Digital Hoarder Yes - I'm a digital hoarder - and my hard drive was so full I had to buy a 4TB NAS. Movies, music, photos, eBooks, stock footage -- I just know I'll get around to... Read More ) – so make them into geek-chic-cool jewelry accessories.


Techcyled is a commercial site, but it’s good inspiration none the less. Cutting a nice bit of circuit into a heart shape is pretty easy – add a chain and you have a lovely cyberpunk necklace.

circuit necklace

Unfortunately Oh! has a great tutorial for a circuit board and USB necklace, and this Instructable will help you make a motherboard bracelet. Bonus points if you can figure out how to fit some new LEDs and make it light up.

motherboard bracelet


Warning: The dust created while cutting circuit boards can be toxic. Wear a proper mask designed for building work particulates, not a cheap fabric painting mask.

Love Potions

Officially known as “Skittles Vodka”, you can’t really go wrong with sickly sweet alcohol. Label with assorted names: pink for a love potion, blue for mana or green for magic if you’re a Zelda geek, red for health potion, etc. Simple, beautiful, and a perfect little gift for the geeky drunkard in your life. Are you reading this, wifey?!

love potions

Follow this Instructable, or the original recipe at MixThatDrink. They take about 3 days to prepare, but the process is fairly simple. Separate skittles colours out and dissolve them in vodka, then filter through coffee filter paper, before presenting in Orangina bottles. If you’d like to be a little more classy, try these small bottles with swing stoppers.

Made one of these? Or maybe you have better ideas? Let us know!

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  1. Megan
    February 11, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks for the shout out to Techcycled! It all started long ago in a lab deep within NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where we turned a dead memory chip into a crude the full story here: