When people think about a romantic evening, most of the time, they’re thinking of a fancy night out on the town—usually sitting at an expensive restaurant in your best clothes at a dimly lit table while perusing a menu where even the basic appetizers are $20 or more.
Being fun and romantic doesn’t have to break the bank, though. That’s why I’ve come up with 10 artsy date night ideas to help you and your partner make intimate memories without spending an arm and a leg. You’ll even have a nice little memento too!
1. Paint & Sip
The classic paint and sip. Who doesn’t like enjoying a good drink while painting whatever comes to mind? Now you may be able to find somewhere in your area to guide you through a more professional experience with some high-class wine. You can also do it at home for cheap, though, too.
All you need is a couple of canvases, some paint brushes, and a set of paints to get you started. Then pick your poison and let the creativity flow! Whether you and your partner want to paint a theme, put on an episode of Bob Ross, or go with whatever comes to mind, it is sure to be a fun night.
For the romantics under 21, you may not be able to hit up the official paint and sip businesses, but you can still make something special for the night and paint at home. Artsy date nights don’t necessarily need to involve alcohol, after all. Hot cocoa or apple cider can be great too.
Prices may vary depending on where you get your supplies, but we could snag all the art supplies for under $15.00. The brushes and paints are reusable, meaning next time, you’ll just need new canvases!
2. Disposable Cameras
Next time you want to see things from your partner’s perspective, hit up your local Target and grab some disposable cameras. They’re easy to use, and it will be fun getting to spend some time away from your smartphone while you snap photos of whatever grabs your attention.
To really make the most out of your cameras, suggest heading somewhere you’ve never been before and documenting the experience with your cameras. Maybe you decide to explore a new part of your city or just head into the forest for a nature hike. Either way, it will be exciting to develop pictures and see what moments each of you managed to capture.
The best part is that the cameras can be found for less than $20 a pop, and CVS stores will usually be able to develop the pictures for cheap too.
3. Decorate Picture Frames
Whether you decided to grab disposable cameras or not, I’m sure there’s some photo of you and your partner you cherish, right? So why not put it in a special picture frame? You can either decorate one together or grab two, and each have a copy of the same photo. The point is to have a special picture of you both in a frame you made with them. You’ll get to make a memory on top of a memory.
If you want to get creative, you can modify a regular picture frame, but arts and crafts stores usually have frames made to be decorated too.
What you do with the frame is totally up to you. Maybe you draw on it, or maybe you decide to use small tokens from your time with your partner. Old movie/ concert tickets are great for jazzing up picture frames. They make your memories together more tangible, and most people think it’s incredibly sweet to save things like that too.
The total cost here varies depending on how fancy you want to get with it, but they can be as cheap as $2 if you really want to stay basic.
4. Collage/ Scrapbooking
If you really liked the decorative picture frame, then maybe scrapbooking is for you. You’ll basically get to do the same thing, but instead of just once, you can fill a whole book up with photos of you and your partner surrounded by artwork, small trinkets you’ve collected, and even some fancy washi tape.
If you’d rather keep things to a single creation instead of a whole book, you can try your hand at collaging. With collages, you can either go the sentimental route and use your own pictures or grab whatever magazine is nearby and use the pictures to create something a little more abstract.
Whatever you choose to do, the most important thing is to have fun with something new and creative.
The cost will vary wildly for these artsy date night ideas since there are so many different ways you can jazz up your creations. Collages are a bit less expensive, especially if all you want to grab is some glue, a magazine, and a big piece of paper.
The total amount you spend here could be anywhere from $5 to $50+, depending on the supplies you want. Regardless, I’m sure you’ll be able to have a memorable night with your loved one.
This is probably the messiest artsy date night idea on the list, so be very careful if you decide to do it. Tie-dying is usually a summer activity for bored kids who want to get a little messy and are easily entertained by bright colors.
That doesn’t mean tie-dying is just for kids, though. There are tons of tie-dye projects for adults that will yield some amazing results. Tie-dying also isn’t just limited to plain white shirts — you can actually tie-dye whatever you want. Now the “tie” part of tie-dying does make some materials a little tricky but let’s not get caught up in the little details.
There’s no end to the number of materials you can dye if you put your mind to it. From shoes to scarves, even stuffed animals can work. Anything that has fabric can be dyed. You and your partner can pick whatever you want and experiment. Just make sure you also use gloves and cover anything you don’t want to get dye on accidentally.
A typical tie-dye kit will run you $15-$30, then add on whatever it is you’re dyeing.
6. Exchange decorated trinkets/ phone cases/ rocks
If you’ve ever wandered through an arts and crafts store, I’m sure you’ve noticed how many items there are to paint or decorate. While it can be fun to paint them for yourself, it’s even more fun to paint them for someone else.
What you paint or decorate may depend entirely on where you go and what time of year it is. If you want to keep with a season or holiday, you can trade painted pumpkins (either real or fake), or you can find something that looks fun. You can also just pick up a smooth rock and paint that too.
My friend and I were bored while traveling once, so we grabbed a set of tiny garden gnomes and set up a little studio in our hotel room. It was tons of fun to hang out and talk about what color scheme we wanted to follow or give each other suggestions.
The art supplies will cost you around $10 if you go cheap, and then all you need to do is find something to decorate and exchange. If you want to get fancy, you can also check out how to make molds of you and your partner holding hands and decorate that.
7. Tie Blankets
Tie blankets are a fun and cheap way to make something you’ll actually use. Head to the nearest fabric store and pick out two types of fabric. They can be patterned, plain, or whatever you want. You and your partner can pick a side to share the blanket or make them for each other again.
Once you have your chosen fabric (we recommend fleece), figure out how big of a blanket you’d like. When you know how big you want it, make sure to add about 6 inches extra and buy that much fabric.
At home, take a pair of scissors and start cutting the edges of the fabric. You’ll want each piece of fabric to have chunky pieces of fringe that are about 1-2 inches wide and 3ish inches long all the way around the piece. Once you have all the strips cut, you can start tying them together with another piece of fabric. Once you’re done, you’ll end up with a warm, soft dual-sided blanket that holds a precious memory for you and your partner.
The price of fabric may be slightly different depending on what you choose and how much you want, but you can usually find 2 yards of fabric for $15-$30.
8. Up-cycle Old Clothes
If you or your partner have old clothes you don’t wear anymore but can’t quite get rid of, try making an evening out of up-cycling them.
The idea with up-cycling is to create something new you’ll use with something old that you don’t need anymore. Depending on what materials you’re working with, the difficulty will typically change, though the cost will still be pretty low.
You can turn old sweatshirts into bags, old t-shirts into patches, or you can revamp them into something entirely new. For this artsy date night idea, you may want to brush up on some sewing skills, though. It won’t be quite as easy as the tie blankets.
If you’re good with your hands or just want to practice some manual dexterity, try out origami. You will need special paper if you want to do it right, but regular paper can also work in a pinch.
There are a million ways to fold paper and get some amazing shapes out of it, but you’ll probably want to start small. Going too big too soon will be frustrating. My suggestion is to start with paper cranes. They’re easy but look really fancy, and there are even stories about making them too.
While it doesn’t sound like the most romantic night to just sit around folding paper, there’s way more to it than you might think. If you really want to wow your partner on a date night, learn how to fold origami ahead of time and walk them through the process. You’ll get to show off a little, and you can even impress them with some history about origami too.
Origami is a beautiful art and is pretty easy to pick up too. Not to mention a pack of origami paper will only cost you about $5.
10. Pottery making
The last artsy date night idea I have for you is pottery making. If you can find a studio in your area that provides clay and a kiln, that’s great too, but it isn’t necessary to have some fun making pottery.
Air dry clay is decently cheap and a great way to have fun making things at home without any extra equipment. You can make bowls, cups, mugs, little statues, stands for your glasses, small dishes to hold jewelry; the sky’s the limit.
Just make sure that whatever you make does not go into a dishwasher! Air dry clay will not hold its shape when subjected to hot water. Anything that might touch food or water should be waterproofed, and hand washed only.
Air dry clay is available in a variety of colors. You may need to do some digging, but you should be able to find a good variety for around $10.
At the end of the night…
When you spend a romantic evening with your partner, the most important thing is that you enjoy each other’s company. Sure it’s nice to go out every once in a while and eat at a fancy restaurant. It’s also nice to spend time together experiencing something new and making something that will last longer than the time it takes your stomach to digest a steak.
Enjoying your partner’s company outside of traditional “date” environments will go a long way to making your relationship last. It will also help you get to know them better and maybe even fall in love more.
So next time you’re trying to figure out what to do on your next date, don’t sleep on the artsy date night ideas.
If you liked these date night ideas, check out our Top 5 Date Ideas.
What kind of artsy date night would you like to do with your partner?