diy project: vintage typewriter tin valentine

With February now here, I thought I’d share a little project you can make for your Valentine. I picked up a few vintage typewriter ribbon tins from my local flea market for a couple dollars each. You can find them quickly online, but by keeping your eyes open at estate sales and flea markets, you are bound to find some for a great deal. By combining the tins with a love letter applied to twill tape, you can create a handmade valentine that is just as sentimental as it is lovely to see. Enjoy! — Ashley

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • twill tape
  • t-shirt transfer paper
  • typewriter ribbon tin
  • scissors
  • iron
  • paper cutter (optional)


1. Create your letter using computer software that allows for “mirrored images” and landscape orientation. I used Photoshop, but there are plenty of other options. To keep with the typewriter theme, I chose Splendid 66 (18 pt) for my font. When creating your document, you want to keep the width of your twill tape in mind. You also want plenty of space between each line of your text. Once you have written your letter, you will mirror the image (flip the image horizontally). You can now print it onto t-shirt transfer paper.

2. Cut out each line of text, leaving enough room on the top and bottom of the text to overlap the width of the twill tape. Trim the ends of each strip.

3. Starting with the first line of your letter, begin ironing the paper onto your twill tape following the instructions that come with the transfer paper. I recommend using a sheet or thin towel underneath that you don’t mind getting transfer paper on. Once you iron on the strips, the top and bottom will adhere to the towel underneath. By extending the transfer paper the complete width of the twill tape, the surface of the twill tape will be consistent. Let the paper cool before removing from the ribbon and towel.

4. Trim the excess iron-on paper from the edges of the ribbon.

5. Roll your letter up and place it inside the tin.

6. You’re done! You can combine it with a few other tins to make a fun gift for your Valentine.

  1. Lesley says:

    I LOVE this idea!

  2. fantastic! love your blog more and more.

  3. So lovely. Love the vintage-esque ribbon!

  4. sb Lyngo says:

    Give thanks you shed a new light on crafty clever. More love.

  5. racheldenbow says:

    This is so sweet! I love vintage and DIY in the same post!

  6. Xam Z. says:

    That’s my new fab for valentine!!!
    I’ll do it right now!!

    Actually I have totally forgot that yes!! The most lovely day of the year is just about to come!!!

    Big kisses and have a nice day!

  7. Thelateafternoon says:

    This is amazing! The patterned fabric layered with the printed twill tape is beautiful! I will be trying this!

  8. corinne says:

    excellent ! can be used also for other occasions ! Merci :)

  9. cottageofstone says:

    Super cute!

  10. Dacia says:

    oooh i would’ve never thought about iron on tape with the ribbon. love it! :)

  11. heather says:

    If someone gave me this valentine I would just melt from happiness. Great use old ribbon tins – which are amazing enough on their own. I love this project!

  12. Célèste says:

    Wow. This project is so beautiful. What a great idea! Thanks for posting.

  13. Heather says:

    Wow! Everything I’ve been reading lately suggest photoshop (I may give in soon and get it)! But what other programs (preferably free) would you suggest to be able to mirror image the text?

  14. What a great idea, love it! This idea could work great for branding your business or for other gifts. Thanks!

  15. Tram Pham says:

    This is such a clever idea! Where did you get the floral fabric that lays underneath the gift tag (photo #6)? Thank you!

  16. AshleyAnn says:

    Heather, you can use Microsoft WordArt to create a graphic of the text and the flip it. I’d also recommend doing a google search for the programs you already have to see if there are any tutorials or hints on how to mirror your text.

    Tram, the floral fabric is actually a clipping from a vintage sheet. I purchased it here:

  17. giozi says:

    Is an excellent idea, I thought that the lace was printed, but she did all, great.
    I would like to use that idea for my boy’s birthday, but I don’t have idea that where can I get a transfer paper.
    Ohhh I didn’t say anything, my husband just told me that we have this paper, yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah
    I’m going to use this idea !!!!!! for this saturday.

  18. lizzie says:

    aww! how cute is this?! i don’t have anyyyy time for another diy, but this is tempting enough to try this weekend…

  19. What a terrific idea! I can’t wait to try it this weekend.

  20. cris says:

    I have done this before with running the tape through a printer but I think that this process will be much easier and less of a strain on my printer. Thanks for the DIY – will probably try this for my Save-The-Dates.

  21. Awww .. these are so perfect. Can you imagine getting this as a gift? Lovely!

  22. wait a minute. i love this idea. i have a love for typewriters, typography and words themselves. i have to do this for my valentine!

  23. britt barney says:

    yay! what a great idea! thanks!

  24. meg duerksen says:

    this is the cutest craft!
    i love this!
    i want one.
    i want some one to make one for me!
    and i want to make 100 for everyone else too!

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful project! <3<3<3

  26. BelfastKate says:

    Thanks for sharing the idea. What a brillant way to make a really extra special gift!

  27. hearttypat says:

    it’s a great idea to use the transfer paper to make your own personalised ribbons!

  28. Catherine says:

    So many ways to say I love you…

  29. What a great new idea! being a painter and mix media artist my guy has gotten more than a few painted or crafted it is really the words that matter.

  30. Fe says:

    Lovely idea! Can you tell me what transfer paper you used? I tried using normal light ink jet transfer paper but it left a white background around the wording not transparent. I hope this makes sense. Please help. Thanks.

  31. I love it! So many things I can apply this idea to… Thanks so much for sharing!


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