It’s that time of year again – time to start thinking lovey-dovey thoughts about your sweetheart, bring out those stale conversation hearts (that for some reason I can never resist) and get ready for my favorite holiday of the year: Valentine’s Day!
I just adore this time of year, not only because I have the most fabulous sweetheart in the world, but because it gives me yet another excuse to break out the paper, scissors and glue to create valentines for my friends and family. As many of you know, I love to create with my children. So, here are some fun and festive craft ideas to get you and your loved ones ready for the sweetest day of the year.
For some reason or another, old valentines make me smile. My mom saved many of mine from elementary school, and there’s nothing better than a first-grade poem scribbled in ill-spelled writing on a cut-out construction paper heart. So, this year, my boys will be handing out valentines to their classmates and friends featuring their own artwork. I asked each of them to draw a picture of themselves that we could then glue onto a cut-out paper heart. Let your children’s creativity run wild with their portraits. You can have them draw with crayons, pens, paint – anything their hearts desire.
Then, if you have a computer scanner, scan the picture in and print it out in multiples on a nice quality cardstock paper. Cut out the figures and paste onto handcut paper hearts, or die-cuts from a craft store. (There’s also a wonderful assortment of blank cards in valentine colors at Michael’s, Richard’s and Jo-Ann’s to use as a base.) Add a greeting and you’ve got completely adorable, totally personal, utterly savable valentines that will surely be the hit of the classroom party.
Another really cute valentine card design is what I call the “Hugging Heart.” Just take a piece of flesh-colored construction paper (I like “peach” from Michael’s craft store and use it constantly in my artwork). Fold it in half and from the folded side, cut out a long arm ending in five fingers. Once that’s been cut out, unfold the paper and you’ve got hugging arms.
Paste a cut-out heart and glue at the center of the arms. Fold the arms in toward the middle of the heart and you’ve got a heart that looks like it’s being hugged by someone. Write a cute greeting inside and mail hugs to your friends and family.
Flower Cupcake Toppers
Now, I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a loon when it comes to paper, but I really believe there’s nothing you can’t make out of paper, scissors and glue. Take cupcakes for example, those delicious little creations that are a staple of most Valentine’s Day parties. Imagine how adorable those yummy little treats would be with handmade flower toppers.
Take some papers in reds, pinks and whites and other romantic colors and cut out flower shapes —circles, petals — be bold and fun and don’t worry if they don’t look exactly like flowers — that’s what makes these so great. Then add two little green paper leaves to each flower and you’re all set. Using a little invisible tape, affix each flower to the end of a toothpick, insert into the top of the frosted cupcake, and you have a veritable bouquet of whimsical and beautiful flower cakes that your kids will love to dive into.
Have fun this Valentine’s Day making handmade cards and other fun creations. I’d love to hear what kinds of great valentine crafts your children are making this year. Upload your pictures or post your ideas in the comments section below. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in the Walnut Creek Patch February 2011