Two Valentine's Day Gifts to Make from Goodwill® Finds

Photo of Valentine's Day Candy Dish and Book.
Here are two really great gifts you can make from Goodwill® finds. The candy dish is a sweet and easy project that can be assembled in a few minutes. The book gift is a little more involved, but is a nice, romantic surprise for a special sweetheart. Either way, that special someone will love these thoughtful Valentine’s presents, and your purchases will help Goodwill create jobs for people in your local community — a doubly sweet deal!

Book with Secret Compartment

Book with secret compartment
Hardcover book
White glue, decoupage glue, or acrylic gel medium
Plastic wrap
Masking tape (or any low tack tape)
Utility knife
Goodwill always has tons of used books, so you’re bound to find the perfect one for this project. Maybe you’ll find one that has your sweetheart’s name in the title, or something with a romantic or personally relevant title. I chose my book because it was red without a title on the front cover. It also was a lonely volume from an encyclopedia set—somehow it had been separated from all the other volumes in the set. Plus, the letter of the volume is the initial of the person I wanted to give it to.
I have to admit, choosing a book for this project was tough for me. I have always been taught to respect books, so the idea of cutting one up was a little painful. However, because it came from a set that was missing, I felt this was the perfect book to repurpose since it had sort of lost its usefulness. Plus, it had some water damage, and dirt that needed to be cleaned off, so it was no longer in pristine condition.
Images showing hand wiping cover of book and selecting interior pages.To make the compartment in the book really secret, start the hollowing out process a few pages in. Choose the page you want to be on top of the hollowed out section, and turn it, so it’s bunched with the other pages that won’t be cut. Wrap those first few pages in plastic wrap and secure with some low tack tape like masking tape.
Graphics showing book sealed in plastic wrap plus paintbrush painting inside cover.Mix some white glue with water (about 70% glue, 30% percent water), so it has a runny consistency. This will help the glue seep into the pages, so they stick together. Paint the inside back cover with the glue-water mixture. Close the book. Paint the exposed page edges with the glue-water mixture. Don’t worry if the glue drips; it dries clear. Place something heavy on the book and let the glue dry.
Graphics showing the cutting and marking of book pagesMark the stack of pages that will be cut at least an inch inside the edge. Cut the pages with a utility knife. To make really straight cuts, it helps to use a straight edge for the first cut. Also, make sure the blade is really sharp. Cut the pages a few at a time, and change the blade throughout the process when cutting becomes more difficult.
Graphics showing more gluing and repositioning of pages.Once the desired depth is reached, paint the inside edge with the glue-water solution. Re-coat the outside edge, and seal up any openings that may have been made during the cutting process. Then paint the top edge of the opening. Remove the plastic wrap. Carefully place the reserved top page onto the glue. Shut the book and let dry about an hour.
Cut the final page and then use it to display a gift
Neatly cut the top page to expose the opening. Cut a nice ribbon for a bookmark, and place a Valentine’s gift inside.

Candy Dish

Candy Dish
Bowl, mug or goblet
Clear cellophane
Twist tie
Gift tag
This is a great project to do while you’re waiting for the glue to dry on your hollow book. I was lucky enough to find a Valentine-themed bowl at my local Goodwill. However, don’t despair if you can’t find one with hearts or Cupid. Look for something red or pink, or just use a plain white bowl and dress up with a red ribbon. If you can’t find the right bowl, use a mug, goblet, or glass for the same effect. The one thing I love about Goodwill is you never know what you will find, and that helps to get the imaginative juices flowing.
Filled candy dish wrapped in cellophane
Fill the bowl with your sweetheart’s favorite candy and chocolates. Wrap with cellophane and secure with a twist tie. If needed, trim the excess cellophane.
Lollypop stuck into candy dish
Push the lollypop stem into the cellophane, add a gift tag, and cover the twist tie with a ribbon tied into a bow.
Goodwill is the perfect place to shop for Valentine’s Day. You’ll always find something you can’t find anywhere else, and Goodwill’s employment programs promote independence and dignity for people who need support to provide for themselves and their families.