Valentine's Day Punchboard for your Secret Messages

Ever heard of “punchboards” or “punch boxes”? They were essentially used for gambling at the local drugstore, similar to buying lottery tickets today… Anyway, here’s a sweeter design so that your beloved can enjoy 9 days (or 9 minutes) of sweet messages from you.

For my kid, to keep him from dying of embarrassment, I mostly inserted jokes and a couple of tiny treasures.

You’re probably crafty enough to figure this all out without assembly instructions. But in case you are in a last-minute Valentine’s rush and your brain no work good:

  1. Use the PDF (linked below) to print out your 9 strips of paper, on which you’ll write your 9 secret sweet things.

  2. Then use the SVG (also linked below) to cut out several thick layers of hearts with holes so that when stacked your heart has holes about 15mm deep. I used 4 layers of corrugated cardboard. It’s cheap, light, burns beautifully and stacks up exactly right.

  3. Cut a final heart with holes out of some pretty cardstock, wood, etc. to make a nice looking top layer.

Now turn off / ignore the holes layer, and just cut just the simple heart shape for:

  1. A bottom panel (something rigid but thin, e.g. cardstock or thin wood)

  2. Lastly, the paper that will be “punched” e.g. rice paper, wax paper.


Glue all the parts from steps 2 and 4 together.

Roll up your messages, tape or glue them shut, drop them in the holes.

Finish up by gluing your top layer (step 3) to your punch paper (step 5) and gluing those on as a lid to secure your messages.

If you used corrugated cardboard, the sides will look pretty industrial and fugly so glue on some colorful yarn or some cut ribbon or feathers…

Download the SVG for the cuts and the PDF for the strips of paper here: (3.2 MB)


Gosh, I remember those (probably showing my age here)! Thanks for the file, and the trip down memory lane!


I have never heard of such a thing, but I am happy to have learned something today. These look fun. Thanks for sharing the design and the story.

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Super cute! Love it!

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omg. i frickin’ love this! i remember these. vaguely. thank you so much for sharing this. it’s great!!!

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Fun! Thank you for sharing!