How To Make Valentine’s Day Cards for Your Friends

Feature image by Anna Kurzaeva via Getty Images

It’s my favorite month! The month of love! It’s like Ashton Kutcher says in Valentine’s Day: Why can’t we make every day Valentine’s Day and leave only one day for hate and negativity? While the logistics of that actually scare me a bit, I think he makes an excellent point. I’ve been trying to work on showing more gratitude and appreciation for the people in my life on a regular basis. Just the other day, I told a friend “thanks for not giving up on me,” and I think that’s the goal with creating little love messages for your friends: We’ve been through shit, and sometimes we need to thank the people who got us through it.

This Valentine’s Day, consider sending your BFFs one (or all) of the following vessels of love.

DIY Valentine’s

Valentine DIY supplies, including red heart cutouts, a glue gun, scissors, a pencil, ribbon, and a box

nastya_ph via Getty Images

Remember in second grade when you spent an hour cutting up red and pink paper and gluing shiny things to it so your teacher could hang them up for the week? Or maybe in fourth grade when you were required to come in with little cardboard Valentines Day cards for everyone in the class? Let’s bring this back (but only for people we actually like)!

This particular expression of appreciation isn’t so much about the message as it is about the craft. You don’t need to be a DIY expert or even that creative. The end product should give 1st grade school project. Grab some colored paper, glue sticks, glitter, or anything that feels like love to you, and stick it all together! You could go for the classic heart cutout, or if you want to get really crafty you could print out a picture of the two of you to tape on with a bunch of fun stickers.

Pros: It’s nostalgic and heartfelt
Cons: It requires physical supplies and at least a few days of prep work

Card-Printing Services

A printed red Valentine in a pink envelope with small hearts emanating from it

Anna Kurzaeva via Getty Images

We’re talking places like Tinyprints, Shutterfly, or even Canva. Because these platforms have made basic graphic design super accessible, your creative options are endless. You can choose pre-made Valentine’s designs or make your own. You can upload personal photos to add to pre-made designs, too. Ideally, you would want to create a card you could send out in bulk (so, not super personalized). Since one of my resolutions is to become the friend I want to be (the helper, not the one always in survival mode), I opted for the Canva card this year. I don’t want to share too much detail since they are on their way to my friends’ mailboxes now, but I included a fun photo of me with the phrase “YOU’RE A BAD$$. Never forget how much you are loved!”

Pros: It’s creative and heartfelt
Cons: It can get expensive and will require planning in advance

Virtual Valentine’s

Hands holding a pixelated heart

Malte Mueller via Getty Images

I feel like I’ve only ever received these from distant family members or semi-questionable bosses, but I think it’s time we reclaim them! Jib Jab, Renderforest, and Smilebox are a few of the sites that come to mind, but you can find them everywhere nowadays. Each site will pretty much walk you through how to create one of their cards, so all you’ll really need are the photos you want to use (close-up photos are the best) and your friends’ email addresses. The mood of these cards is typically energetic and over-the-top, so goofy pictures are encouraged!

Pros: There is practically no prep time involved and it’s typically free
Cons: People will know that you spent practically no time on it

A Good, ‘Ol Fashioned Email

Digital illustration of woman's hands tying on a computer keyboard with candy heart keys.

Juj Winn via Getty Images

I came up with this in college. It’s not that it’s any revolutionary idea, but for a broke student with no time it seemed pretty inventive: all the love, none of the investment. Instead of a flashy email with moving pictures and audio, this is a straightforward, deeper version of a “thinking of you” text, which I guess is the modern version of an Anne Lister diary entry/love letter.

The typical outline I use consists of: setting up the context with a little explanation (this is a love letter to you, my friend), an overview of all we’ve been through over the past year or so, a genuine list of qualities you love about them, and a note of gratitude. The more specific and descriptive, the better! It could take you 10 minutes or an hour, but the easy part is sending the email straightaway.

Pros: It’s free and allows you a lot of space for all your feelings
Cons: Not as flashy and can visibly come of a little like a business memo

No matter what avenue you choose, remember the one thing these all have in common: love. As long as your thoughtfulness shines through, you’ve done it right. Now go spread the love!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Em Win

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Em now lives in Los Angeles where she does many odd jobs in addition to writing. When she's not sending 7-minute voice messages to friends and family, she enjoys swimming, yoga, candle-making, tarot, drag, and talking about the Enneagram.

Em has written 73 articles for us.


  1. Thanks for the reminder about making Valentine’s Day cards

    A few years ago I participated in a queer craft night where we made Valentine’s Day cards. It was so fun! In fact, I had so much fun doing it that I went home and made a bunch more. And now I make handmade cards for any and every occasion. During the lockdown, I made cards for all of my loved ones and it really felt I was putting my love into physical form and sending it off.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!