Flowers are nice and chocolates are sweet (pun intended), but few things are as sentimental and appreciated as a handmade gift. This Valentine’s Day, surprise someone you love with a DIY present that’s as good for the spirit as it is sustainable.

Our new project this month is all about love. A beautiful, rustic wood heart mounted on a sturdy background serves as a pretty piece of décor, or you could size up to make a headboard. Add pegs and you’ve got a place to hang coats and keys in the entryway of your home or put it in the kitchen to display a few ladles and spatulas that won’t fit in the kitchen drawers.

You’ll need a few extra tools this month, but many DIYers will have all the necessary gear in their garage or basement already, and any additional equipment is a good investment for projects to come.


Step One: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Just like cooking, you need to get all your necessary items together before you get to work. This includes:

  • Real Milk Paint in three colors: Soft White, Sweetheart, & Flag Red*
  • 1 Pallet – we recommend using a second pallet to cut on
  • Wood glue
  • Jigsaw
  • Trim or finish nailer
  • Nails
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Hammer

*Feel free to customize with your favorite colors to match your loved one’s preferences or your existing decor.

Step Two: Break Down Your Pallet

DIY Valentine's Day ProjectPallets are the workhorses of the crafting world; they can be used for so many things. Anytime you see one set out on garbage day or offered up for free on a sale site, grab it. It’s easy to break them down, too. Use your hammer to knock off the back blocks and detach the top planks, then remove all the nails.

Step Three: Form the Backboard

Glue together the cross supports for your backboard; this will make it stronger and give you an easier way to lean or hang your finished piece. If necessary, depending on how big you want your finished product to be, trim down your pallet slats, then nail them side by side to the cross supports. Let the glue dry.

Fun Fact: Wood glue sticks to Milk Paint! Because Milk Paint is porous just like wood, it’s ok to pint both sides of the board and glue after.

Step Four: Paint, Cut & Assemble the Wood Heart

Now for the artistic part! Mix up your milk paint (make a wash, so aim for a roughly 2:1 ratio of water to powder) and apply it to your pallet slats. Let dry, then cut your painted slats into random triangles. You can be as exacting or free-form as you like. We used different-sized triangles; the more sizes you have, the easier it will be later to reassemble your pieces into the finished heart shape.

Finally, arrange your triangles into a heart shape on your backboard. Lift them up one at a time, apply glue to the back, then stick to the backboard, retaining the heart shape.

Let your wood heart dry, and you’re good to go!