By Katherine Walden FEB 2015
Valentine”s Day projects for the whole family
Valentine’s Day has almost trumped Christmas in the amount of money spent on delivering good wishes for the season. Children spend hours preparing their valentine messages to let their loved ones know they are special. They like to present cards to both that special someone in the next desk and for Mom and Dad. The pressure is intense to outdo siblings and classmates in making or buying the showiest Valentine card of all. It is madness. As parents, we have witnessed the meltdowns when all of the cards are not addressed for sharing in class or when the object of one’s affections may not realize the awesome valentine was made just for him or her. Now is the time to step up and encourage that creative streak, so they can forget about the wasteful store-bought messages d’amour.
Get out the scissors and the construction paper, of course, but look around at all the scraps of fabric, wood, doilies, or odd pieces of metallic trim packed in that storage room. Bring it on. Settle the children down on the floor or at the kitchen table, and make a game of creating the valentines of their dreams. Anytime children are given scissors or any other tool that may involve danger, an adult has to be there to supervise. So join in the fun! We’ve all made cards from construction paper and trimmed them with remnants of lace from the sewing box, but this time, glitz it up.
Here are some ideas that will hopefully gear up your creative juices:
- Glue on sequins to spell out a message or a name on any valentine creation.
- Using two pieces of felt for a front and back, cut out a heart. Stuff with cotton ball, and glue or sew edges shut. Decorate with sequins. Using construction paper or finer paper stock, fold the paper in half to make a card. Adhere your heart with glue (glue gun is preferable) to the front on your card.
- Using construction paper or finer paper stock, fold in half to make a card, and use glitter or sequins to form a simple and chic heart on the front of the card.
- Buy white porcelain plates from Walmart, Target, or a thrift store. Use a non-toxic sharpie pen or marker to paint, draw, or write on the plates in freehand or with a stencil. Make it a Valentine”s Day theme, of course. In order to be dishwasher safe, they must be baked in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the plates in to cool down.
- Make a construction paper or doily heart by folding the paper in half, then draw a half heart with the middle of the heart on the paper fold. Cut the doubled sheet following the half-heart outline. Punch tiny holes in the edges of your paper valentine and lace crochet or embroidery yarn around it. Make three sizes of hearts, placing the small one on top, then glue or stitch the hearts at the fold. This results in an airy Valentine. The three hearts can be the same color, or you can use different colors for each heart.
- Buy a couple of metallic ink pens to write sweet messages on Valentine’s cards.
- Check out Lowe”s Kids Build and Grow and Michaels Kids Club for craft opportunities near Valentine”s Day and every holiday.
Some of the most delightful and memorable valentines we have made in our family started with new or used (and clean) plain, short-sleeved tee shirts purchased at a non-profit clothing shop. My granddaughters taught me how to cut the opening of each sleeve in tiny strips that created a fringe look. The next step was tying each strip in a little knot on the end of the strips to prevent fraying.
On the front or back of each shirt, we used fabric pens with thick ink to draw a huge valentine in the middle of which was drawn something important to the recipient. The drawings were not professional pieces of art—some had dogs or cats which loosely resembled favorite pets, some had stick figures of best friends. For a pal that played the piano, there was a keyboard; for a soccer player, the sketch of a soccer ball and, for the tennis player, a racket. Now, those were extraordinary valentines—wearable art for BFFs.
In our workshop out back, there were lots of scraps of wood. From some of that wood and with the help of Dad, we cut square blocks, sanded them until there were no sharp edges, and carved with a wood burning tool, B E M Y V A L E N T I N E, one letter to each block. What a treat that was for one of the toddlers in our family! Watching him roll those blocks over until he found the letters was worth the effort.
Everyone has scraps of something that can be repurposed. So, let Valentine’s Day serve a dual purpose—both to convey love and to recycle! #