Super-easy DIY Valentines

Lately, I’ve been focusing on making things organized and easier to find around my house. I’m horrified by how much work is going into this (apparently monumental) task because it reveals how awfully unorganized I have been. I’ve even mentally planned some posts on the topic, but haven’t really felt ready to share. They are a’comin’ though! April 1st is my deadline for finishing my list of organization and, ahem, tidying projects. With all that activity, the crafting and cooking has taken a backseat.

But Tuesday is Valentine’s Day – a big deal in our house because our 4 year old daughter is very excited about it (after all, there are hearts and pink and red and so on), so we couldn’t pass that up from a crafting point of view.

If you are still in need of some cute cards for the big day, we have two ideas to share – we made one kind of Valentine for preschool and the other kind for daycare friends. And these are great opportunities to involve little hands – my daughter loved doing both projects.

Unconventional Bubble Heart Valentines: 

Many crafty folks have fun little sayings that go with the items they attach to Valentines (like these very cool ideas from Prudent Baby – love how simple to make and clever they are!). These greetings are lacking in mine. Feel free to spruce them up with your own phraseology.

My daughter was able to do 90% of these Valentines on her own!

These are the Valentines which actually included forethought (not my usual M.O.). I bought the cute felt hearts during the Christmas clearance at Target (they made it down to 70% off in our stores, so each three-pack cost just 30 cents). Perhaps the fact that they didn’t exactly scream Christmas helped in terms of the selection still remaining even at the 70% clearance point. I picked up a few super inexpensive packs of heart stickers a while back (I tend to buy stickers directly following any given holiday, during the clearance sale, then stick them in storage until the next year – stickers are small and we end up using them, so it’s been a good strategy). Also used for these: Target-sourced bubbles (from the Valentine’s section – 16 count for $2), some stamps I already had, and colored card stock. The only equipment used was a hole punch. Major plus: no glitter and no glue!

Great colors!

I let my daughter choose colors of the card stock for each friend and I wrote the “To: Child’s name” and “From:” and she signed her own name. She also peppered each card with her desired set of stickers and stamps. I punched a hole in each card and showed her how to thread the felt hearts onto the card. Since the hearts were intended to be Christmas tree decorations, they came with those gold loop strings attached. We just stuck the loop through the punch hole and opened it up and stuffed the heart through the loop. My four year old found this pretty easy to do. While she attached the hearts, I stuffed the bubble vials through decorative holes in the felt heart to hold them snug. Done!

Kai-lan Rainbow Crayon Valentine’s

These are the Valentines we made from things we had around the house. We made them today. We are taking them to daycare tomorrow. Since my kids are part-time at daycare and don’t attend on Valentine’s Day, I was going to skip out on the whole exchange thing… until I was reminded that we did that last year and I felt uber-guilty when Immy received a bag full of Valentines the next day that her friends had left for her. It is suddenly wintery here in NC (we’d been escaping with a wonderfully mild winter prior to today) and I had zero desire to venture out of the home… plus that kind of weather lends it self to crafty endeavors.

Kai-lan Valentines in progress

For these, I sought out the oodles of “restaurant crayons” (you know, the ones you get when you go out to eat)… 2 kids X 2+ years of collecting them and we have a lot of restaurant crayons in our house. I also culled the broken crayon nubs from the box in our art cabinet. My daughter and I set out to remove the papers from each crayon. Warning: removing paper from crayons takes (a LOT) longer than you might think, loses its novelty after crayon number three, and can actually really hurt (crayon paper and wax under fingernails is less than fabulous). Also, while my daughter lasted longer than I thought she would at the task (around 30 mins), I was left to finish up.

Over the past few years, I’ve picked up some silicone molds whenever I saw them marked down. I got a 12 heart mold from IKEA last time I was there (it cost $2). I hadn’t used it yet, so I broke that puppy out. We filled it with crayon bits, stuck it in a 275 degree oven for 10 mins or so (until the crayons were melted, but before they turned into a homogeneous brown-gray mud puddle) and then let them cool (at first on the counter, then in the freezer). Each batched was popped out of the mold and the mold refilled and rebaked. We had enough crayon nubbins to do this four times (that’s 48 heart crayons – enough for her class, my son’s class, plus leftovers for at home).

After that, I simply visited nickjr.com to find some cute coloring printables. My daughter loves “Ni hao Kai-lan” and we chose a coloring printable that said “Friends make my heart feel super happy!” Perfect for a rainbow heart crayon Valentine, right? We added “Happy Valentine’s Day!” (using Heartland free-font from dafont.com) to the bottom of each page, then printed it and stuck it into a baggie with a crayon (probably not the most inventive presentation, but it does the trick).  Each kid will have a crayon and something to color! Of course, we made a few extra so my kids could enjoy them – they were a hit!

Since these Valentines used only things we had around the house, they were very inexpensive and required $0 additional spend specifically for them! Way awesome!

So, there you have it: Valentines two ways. Are you (or your kids) exchanging Valentines this year? What are you planning on giving?

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