Happy freaking Valentine’s Day … and stuff + the best Valentine’s gift idea I’ve ever had (tutorial) – life+running

Happy freaking Valentine’s Day … and stuff + the best Valentine’s gift idea I’ve ever had (tutorial)

I had a really great Sweet Tunes Thursday post scheduled for today about all the records that Mark and I bought this month (it’s a lot!), but I realized it’s Valentine’s Day today (and for those of you who care, that record post is happening next week — PROMISE).

For the first time in years, I really, really, don’t care. I think it’s because I’ve been with Mark for more than 3 years, and he doesn’t need a day to prove his love to me. He does that every day by making dinner and doing mundane chores around the house when I’m busy, and by running errands for me when I’m equally busy (don’t worry, I’ve brought him dinner at work when he gets busy — and April will be interesting with both of us crazy busy!).

So yeah. Valentine’s Day.

We did an impromptu Valentine’s date last Saturday. We’d planned to go to Iowa City and dink around, but mostly eat at Masala (yum). Instead, we decided to go to Des Moines, hit up Gong Fu Tea, eat sushi, and peruse record stores.

A couple hundred dollars later, we concluded we don’t need to buy any more records for a few months. And that we no longer had a budget to eat sushi for dinner. So we split an entree at a local Mexican place instead.

How romantic. I even made him pose for a picture when I hijacked the rest of his margarita. Though after 3 failed attempts, he decided that part of his face and a straw was good enough for Instagram.


So, since we didn’t really do anything super special this year, I decided to delve into my archives and give you a crafty project for Valentine’s Day. I maintain that this was the best Valentine’s gift idea I’ve ever had. It’s personalized. It’s geeky (and you all know I love myself some geekery), and it’s portable. You and your sweetie’s faces can go with you (and/or your sweetie) anywhere.

It still bothers me that I wasted this idea on College Boyfriend because Mark actually has and uses Rubiks cubes. Le sigh.

I published this on craftster.org in 2008. I edited it a bit so it makes more sense as a tutorial, and not just a random thought dump.

Edit: I was tapped to participate in a Groupon UK contest this AM, so I’m adding their badge. I typically make most of my gifts for all occasions, but making gifts still requires supplies. And since I’m running low on time right now I’m more apt to buy a gift anyway, so I could use the grand prize of 500 pounds-worth of groupon vouchers (about $1000). Who knows … we could go on vacation somewhere tropical — which would be an epic Valentine’s gift, if you ask me. 

Love for shopping

Photo rubiks cube

I always do a homemade romantic present for Valentine’s and I was tapped out of ideas in 2008.  All the other ideas I had took way too much time and too much money.  This photo rubiks cube was the *perfect* solution.

Here’s the finished product:
valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com

I bought the original Rubiks cube after searching FOREVER to find just the plain-Jane regular one.  They have electronic ones now, in case you were curious.

Here’s how I did it.

  1. I didn’t have a ruler, but I ended up with close to the right size on the first try for the squares. The size of the squares I created was .637″ x .637″.  If you’re not too good at trimming, I’d go a hair bigger (.65″). 
  2. I edited some images in Photoshop and sized them down. 
  3. I decided that part of the fun of a Rubiks cube is the fun bright colors.  I added some color in the background of the photos that I used to spice it up a bit.  It’s easier to tell the difference between the sides if the colors are more different than just a regular photograph, I think — which means it might be easier to solve, right?  Or something.  Anyway, I just really like bright colors, so I put them on/in everything.  Smiley  I’m also currently obsessed with Mr. Retro Machine Wash filters … and I used some for the backgrounds. 
  4. I opened a new Photoshop document and dumped the photo in there and duplicated it in a grid. 
  5. I flattened that image and copied and pasted it into another photoshop document that was letter-sized (so I could print all of them on one page!).  E-mail me if you want the photoshop template (if I still have it!). 
  6. Once I figured out the sizing and all that, I printed this out on semi-glossy photo paper on my inkjet printer.
  7. I peeled off the stickers on the cube and used tacky glue to glue each of the images down.
  8. I waited for that to dry and carefully modge-podged over each image making sure not to get in the cracks of the cube.
  9. I repeated the modge podge layer after the first was dry.
  10. After this was all dry, I used some clear nail polish (Sally Hansen Speed Dry Anti-Chip Top coat to be exact) to complete it.  I didn’t like the look of modge podge and the brush marks were more apparent before the nail polish.

Here are the images I used (editor’s note: I removed some of them because College Boyfriend is a fan of anonymity).

valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com
A recent goofy pic of me that he is in love with for some reason?

valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com
The sexy retro guitar pic that was taken recently for another venture.

valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com
My favorite picture of the two of us (New Years 2006) Editor’s note: still a cute photo, regardless of who the dude is.

valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com
One of his favorite pix of me (New Years 2006) Editor’s note … holy buckets I was 21 there, in case you were curious. 

Here’s the finished product. 

valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com

valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com

valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com

valentine's rubiks cube tutorial // lifeplusrunning.com


Happy Valentine’s day! Doing anything special? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given or received for Valentine’s day?

The best gift I’ve ever received for Valentine’s Day is a bunch of flowers made from pipe cleaners and an EP with 3 songs — 2 written for me, and a cover of “our song”.

pipe cleaner flowers from college boyfriend // lifeplusrunning.com

Oddly, that was from College Boyfriend too. Okay, Mark, you might want to step it up.

Edit: Mark reminded me about the time he had to work over Valentine’s day (like 3-4 days of 14+ hrs) and made up for it by surprising me with a wine / gelato tasting (though it made me think he was going to propose to me 3 years ago), and the fact that he is adorably cute. 

11 Comment

  1. I love this gift idea!!!! So creative and cute!!!!

  2. You are too adorable. I love all the pics you included on the rubixs cube. And what a fun idea–if you’re crafty. Unfortunately, I’m not. So, instead, Bob will have a very special dinner made for him this evening (bison filet mignon).

    1. chimes says: Reply

      oh man … bison filet mingnon? winner, winner … bison dinner.

  3. Happy valentine’s day! I remember a few valentine’s spent at that same mexican restaurant. Nothing says I love you like a monster margarita challenge!

    1. chimes says: Reply

      it’s the greatest! we split some Yolandas. I actually really want to do the margarita challenge. Maybe when Mark graduates and Im’ done with classes this semester.

  4. You two are freaking adorable together so I hope you enjoy this Valentine’s Day.

    P.S. I miss you. 🙁

    1. chimes says: Reply

      awww I miss you too! We’ll be going to Chicago at least 2x this summer, if not more. Looks like June 22nd is a wedding, potentially July 5, and I’m thinking of going to the pitchfork music festival in July (my friend has tix).

  5. SO FREAKING COOL! You are probably the most creative person I have ever met- and I was an art teacher for 8 years!! I love this. I want to make one of the dogs.

    1. chimes says: Reply

      OH MAN. Doggies would make an awesome rubiks cube.

      I’m an art-teacher in training. Well, kind of. Design. Kind of art. 😉

  6. LOVE this!

  7. […] The BEST Valentine’s Gift I ever had tutorial  […]

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