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Valentine craft fun: Have a heart

With Valentine's Day arrives an opportunity to communicate one's feelings to another, whether friend, family or romantic interest. What better time to devote to this colorful tradition than a wintry or rainy day?


White paper
Colored paper
Construction paper or cereal boxes
Posterboard (optional, lightweight cardboard (optional)
Tissue (optional)
Paper doilies (optional)
White or clear school glue
Glue stick (optional)
Markers, crayons, colored pencils
Foil (optional)
Glitter (optional)
Old magazines or catalogs
Old greeting cards
Gift wrap paper (optional)
Hole punch (optional)
Child-safe scissors
Bits of ribbon, fabric, lace, bits of styrofoam
Newspaper or old sheet to cover work surface

Parent Directions:

Cover work surface making sure the material is firmly attached. Part of this experience is the gathering of materials within the context of a game to promote your child's individual creativity. If you don't have a heart stencil or shape, print one from here. When all materials are together, check for safety and sanity (you don't want to sacrifice your heirloom greeting cards to this project).

Child Directions:

Take a lined piece of paper and write the names of everyone on your Valentine's Day list. Now you know how many cards or gifts you'll need!

Tape or glue several different sized heart shapes to pieces of cereal box and cut along lines. These will be your patterns.

Use regular paper, construction paper or cereal boxes for cards and bookmarks. Use cereal boxes, posterboard or lightweight cardboard for picture frames, treat boxes, heart boxes, crowns.

Place heart patterns, right side up and upside down, on material to be used, trace and cut. Note: if you are using pictures from catalogs or magazines, glue or paste them to cereal boxes/cardboard first. This way, you only have to cut along the pattern once. Always paste decorative pages on the printed side of cereal box stock, then the plain side is ready for your personal designs and decorating.


Multi-tiered: Cut five heart shapes in graduated sizes. Lay the largest heart, right side up on your work surface. Take the next-largest heart (right side up) and center it over the first. Arrange 3-5 small pieces of styrofoam or thick cardboard, spaced evenly, under the second heart, where they are out of sight. When you have this all lined up, glue spacers to first heart, then center second heart and glue to spacers. Continue on in this fashion until you have all of the hearts (3-5) glued in place. Use the final (smallest) heart for your Valentine message, school picture or special decoration.

Folded-photo: Take a full sheet of paper or construction paper and fold in half. Measure the photo or picture you want to use and match the size to a heart pattern. Trace the heart pattern on the front of the card and cut out of the center. Place your photo/picture on the inside of the card so it shows through the cut-out heart shape on the front. When you have it centered, paste, tape or glue down. Write your Valentine message inside the card and decorate the outside. Note: if the photo is too small for the opening, just make a paper frame and glue it over the photo on the inside of the card.

Other cards: For non folded cards, just cut your heart shapes, decorate with bits of cloth, lace, ribbon, natural foilage from the back yard, crayons, markers, glitter, bits of torn tissue paper, doilies, buttons, beads, feathers -- just about anything that pleases you. For folded cards, place heart pattern on folded paper and cut so it hinges at the top, bottom or side of the card. They will stay together without tape if you remember not to cut through the entire fold.

Headband, bracelet, belt, crown: Measure your head, waist or wrist. Cut a 1" strip the length of that measurement, plus 3", out of fabric, cereal box, construction paper. Trace and cut enough hearts to cover the strip, out of different colored construction paper, magazines or regular paper. Decorate the hearts, if desired. Place the hearts, with every other one pointing in the opposite direction, on the long strip you cut earlier. When you are happy with the arrangement, glue or tape together. To make a fastener, punch holes in each end and lace with ribbon or kite string or attach a small piece of velcro to the ends.

Bookmarks: Cut a strip of cereal box or construction paper 5" X 2". Trace and cut heart shapes the same width or smaller than 2". Decorate and paste hearts onto bookmark base. Punch a hole in the center about 1/2" from the top of the bookmark and lace it with a piece of ribbon or raffia. Snip the bottom of the bookmark base into a V shape. You can also trim the edges with decorative edged scissors or cut little designs with your regular scissors.

Valentine treat box: Ask a parent to print the pattern. Cut out pattern and tape to cereal box. Cut out (don't forget the handles!) cereal box. Follow the lines and pre-fold. Hint: folding over a ruler or straight edge makes the creases easier and neater. Decorate. First fold on the X lines toward the inside of the box. Make first folds along all designated lines. Next, fold A & B toward the outside. Arrange into a rectangular box shape and glue the C flap under J, lining up the bottom and top of the box. Next, glue the folded A flap over the H (note the dotted line that shows where the A flap will end). Do the same with the B flap over the I.. Gently flatten out the bottom of the box and set aside. Hint: clothespins or alligator clips can hold glued parts while drying. Next, fold D & E , then F & G towards the inside. You'll see how the handles come together in the shape of a peaked roof. They can be laced together with ribbon or raffia or left open. These make fun gifts for friends or gift boxes to house little treasures.

Heart trinket box: Trace and cut 2 heart shapes 4" wide X 3 3/4" high (for height, measure center line). Cut 2 strips 1" X 6" and 2 more strips 5 5/8" X 15/16". Roll strips around film cannister to slightly curl. Shape strip, following line of heart base on one side. Repeat on other side. When both strip meet at top and bottom, tape together, then glue down to heart base. Place a medium weight book on top to help hold in place until dry. Repeat with cover. When completely dry, decorate and line with pretty tissue or piece of cloth. Hint: You may want to ask a parent to glue with a low temp glue gun.

Valentine's Day cards and gifts are a welcome sight for young and old, male or female and part of the tradition is creating handmade treasures, with love.

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