Dating, Friendship, Gift giving, Relationships

Struggling to find a gift for your valentine? Make a DIY board game!

DIY board game gift

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Megan Pavek. Find her on Instagram at @megan.pavek. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Tis’ the season for spreading love and showing that you care through thoughtful tokens of affection. I know that not everyone excels in the art of gift-giving and maybe you’re stressing over what to give your valentine this year. Handmade gifts are easy to personalize, allow you to be more creative, and create a memorable experience for those on the receiving end!  This year, take the time to make the person you love a DIY board game gift and create fun memories playing it together.

Materials You’ll Need

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Materials You’ll Need 

  • Create your own board game set 
  • Permanent markers
  • Ruler
  • Your favorite photos  

The create-your-own-board game set is available on Amazon and will make this endeavor much easier! It includes a blank game board, generic game pieces, a blank deck of cards, dice, a spinner, and a game board box for storage. This set will serve as the bones of your DIY board game gift, but if you prefer to make one entirely from scratch feel free to substitute your own materials for any of the parts listed. After all, nothing is more romantic than creative reuse and upcycling- now that’s hot!

Permanent markers are a must- you don’t want any smudging to occur on your masterpiece. The ruler will provide an edge to help you trace straight lines as you map out the spaces on your board. The pictures add a nice personalized touch. Be sure to include your favorite snaps of your loved one, or photos that remind you of them such as their favorite places, foods, animals, etc.

Create An Objective

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Every game needs an objective and a way to win. An easy game objective is making your way across the board from start to finish. You win by being the first player to do so, and you move across the board by rolling dice which dictate how many spaces you travel each turn. For example, the classic board game Candy Land has the same objective. Players make their way across the board and win by being the first to arrive at King Kandy’s Castle.

Our favorite board games can serve as inspiration for the ones we create. Whether you grew up playing Monopoly or your loved one prefers Clue, you can choose a classic to spoof or you can choose to incorporate various aspects of multiple games.

Choose a Theme

This is arguably the most important step as the theme presents the perfect opportunity to personalize the game for your loved one. Here are some ideas: 

  • For the travel lover, map out points of interest along the board game that resembles some of their favorite destinations. Incorporate memories you’ve made together in these places, or memorable stories they’ve told you about these trips.
  • For the romantic couple, highlight memorable dates you’ve gone on with one another, or milestones throughout your relationship and incorporate a sweet memory.
  • For the galentines, make a drinking game! Keep it interesting by including truth or dares, and opportunities to take more shots. 

For the sentimental, showcase your loved one’s life story and highlight all of their accomplishments and any funny anecdotes. For example, if you’re making a board game for a family member, you can show their journey from birth up until today. One point of interest could be their 10th birthday party where they fell and knocked out all of their teeth. The next could be their wedding or the birth of their first child.

Next Steps


Reply to @earthgiantemerald @justinhaugbro explaining how he made the board game for me! 😊 #diygift #diygiftideas #diygifts

♬ Another Day of Sun (From la La Land) [Piano] – JAIME CÓRDOBA

Once you’ve settled on the basic structure and theme of your game, the next step is to map out a rough draft. Take a piece of paper and roughly trace the shape of your journey across the board, what the spaces will look like, and draw anything else that helps amplify the entire concept. Think about what colors, shapes, and any other additions you would like to add to the visual component of your game. 

Next, solidify the rules. These can be written on blank cards. In typical board game fashion, incorporate drawing cards as part of each turn. You should also consider adding special rules to certain spaces on the board, such as “go back 2 spaces” or “return to start”. This keeps the game interesting- it would be too easy if all you have to do is move forward with no obstacles or setbacks.

Once you’ve finished the planning stage, it’s finally time to bring your DIY board game gift to life. Remember to include as many personalized details as possible and research existing games if you’re needing more inspiration or are feeling stuck. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day spending time with loved ones, and let the games begin!

Do you have a favorite board game or an idea for a DIY? Will you be making a DIY board game gift? Share with us in the comments below!

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