Valentine’s Day Message in a Bottle

I bet you’ve been trying to come up with something different to give your loved one for Valentine’s Day haven’t you? Something memorable, but not cheesy, something romantic, but not expensive.

This universal gift idea is perfect for Valentine’s Day but can also be adapted to an anniversary, a message for a dear friend, a birthday gift, or even words of encouragement. When you think about it, this project can be tailored to fit just about any occasion.

[If you are looking for a fun Valentine’s craft to do with your kids, try these Conversation Marble Magnets or these Valentine Egg Carton Lollipop Flowers.  Need a colorful edible? How about these yummy Valentine Cookie Pops that are so bright and colorful you would swear they were made of play dough!]

This was actually my 16 year old daughter’s idea. She’s a frugal young lady with a compassionate heart. She really wanted to come up with a thoughtful gift for her boyfriend that would A) not cost a lot B) be straight from the heart, and most of all C) be appreciated. She asked me if I would help her turn this idea into a reality, so here’s what we did.

She typed up a lovely note on her computer in a pretty font and then printed the letter on some antique looking paper. We used an empty wine bottle, some sugar and a few doo dads for decoration, finishing it off with SnoTex paint. We used sugar instead of sand for this because she wanted it to be more of a snow scene than a beach scene. Because I had most of these things on hand, this craft only cost us about $1.00 (for the paper).

Did he like it? YES. He loved it. It went over very well and I was really proud of her for being so creative! We talked about different ideas for this project and felt that a small photo of the two of them rolled up in the letter could be a nice addition as well.

Message in a Bottle
(instructions are for winter themed bottle listed, but you could adapt this however you please – see below other themes)

empty wine bottle with cork (you can buy corks at the craft store if you need one)
24″ thin red ribbon
sheet of antiqued stationary paper
1 cup granulated sugar
red and green craft jewels, beads, or confetti
18″ wide red or silver ribbon
SnoTex paint

Remove all labels from bottle, wash and dry. Print note or letter on to antiqued paper. If you are going to include a monetary gift, attach it to the letter with a small piece of tape. Roll up letter tight enough to fit inside the opening of the bottle. Tie the letter with the thin red ribbon, leaving one end of the ribbon long, trimming the other end. Attach the long end of the ribbon to the bottom of the cork with the thumbtack. Set aside.

Pour enough sugar into the bottle to about 2 inches deep, or deep enough so that when the letter is placed inside the neck of the bottle, the top portion of the letter will remain in the neck. This way the letter can easily be removed.

Drop confetti, beads or craft jewels into the sugar. Note: if using craft jewels, they may end up upside down. To avoid this, glue craft jewels together, back to back, so that no matter what side it lands on, the jewel will show.

Insert the rolled letter into the neck of the bottle, make sure the long end of the ribbon is in the neck as well, and insert cork. Tie red or silver ribbon around the neck of the bottle into a bow, trim ends. Use SnoTex paint to decorate the outside of the bottle. Let dry.


I was brainstorming ideas for adapting this to other occasions, here are some that I came up with:

Traditional: use sand and small sea shells; antiqued paper for the note; jute to tie the note; and burlap around the neck of the bottle.

New Baby: use white sugar; pastel colored buttons dropped into the sugar; pastel colored paper for the note (a note from a dear friend, parent, sister, etc – great way to include a gift check!); white or sheer ribbon to tie the note; pastel or white wide ribbon for the neck, maybe with little baby booties hanging from center of bow.

Valentine’s Day: Mixture of red and white sugar, or even turbinado sugar; confetti hearts sprinkled inside; white or pink paper or a heart themed stationery; red or pink ribbon to tie note; gold, red or white wide ribbon for bottle neck.

Anniversary: Color scheme could be based off of your wedding colors or your spouse’s favorite colors; sand or sugar, depending on the gift (especially if there’s plane tickets to a tropical paradise!); matching ribbons and confetti.

Teen Girl Birthday: White and colored sugar; white paper – tape money or gift check to paper; purple yarn or ribbon to tie paper; purple and yellow confetti or buttons in sugar; yellow bow for outside; use acrylic paint to add purple and yellow polka dots to outside of bottle.

There are so very many different ways that this could be used. Definitely a great gift idea!

For more fun projects from Amanda, follow along on her craft blog Crafts by Amanda and her food blog Amanda’s Cookin’.


  1. Joey says

    Amanda you are so crafty, i LOVE it. And I love how your daughter has taken over your creative gene. This Message In A Bottle is simply brilliant. LOVE LOVE. What a perfect idea for your daughters boyfriend or for any of the occassions you listed above. I just thought of putting Valentine M&M’s on the bottom of a bottle w/ a note or a picture.
    I was at a wedding in September and the bride made hundreds of those Conversation Marble Magnets scattered over everyone’s table. She wrote words such as Believe, love, hope, inspire or a heart. I have 4 and i have them sitting on my kitchen window ledge. They kept falling off my fridge.
    I smiled when I saw this article was from you. Love your ideas!

  2. ekiertclan says

    I plan on doing this craft with my daughter for her boyfriend also, I love the idea of the M&M’s….
    I also had the idea of using this to give to my friend….we recently went on a trip to florida together and I have a picture of us on the beach, if I can get a clear bottle I could use it sideways and make it the “frame” we collected shells while were there so i can stick some small ones inside with the picture…..
    thanks for the great ideas….keep them coming!

  3. BarbaraJ says

    We have done messages in bottles for our kids teachers. We used colored bottles of different shapes and sizes. We printed labels for the bottles with their name on them. Inside the bottle we had a message for the ocassion and also a treasure map. This map would lead the on a journey that would end up at a restaurant or spa. Fun ideas.

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