If the idea of making construction paper valentines summons up memories of crooked hearts and fingers sticky with paste, you are not alone. Even though cards, stickers and stationery celebrating Valentine’s Day flood the market, nothing beats a classic construction paper cut-out valentine. You can make the look your own by adding unique embellishments.
Making Heartfelt Cards
Cover work surfaces. Simple newspaper serves well for this project but, if you want to introduce paint, a vinyl tablecloth stands up to paint and water spills. Place small pieces of cardboard, paper plates or paper cups on the side to hold dabs of glue, rinse water or small dollops of watercolor, tempera or poster paint.
Assemble your craft materials. The basics are scissors, glue, construction paper and doilies. Note that you can move beyond the basic red and white colors for valentines. Pink makes a great accent color, especially if you have silver foil doilies instead of white paper doilies. Poppy orange and fuchsia add a glamorous look when paired with gold foil doilies.
Draw a template for the valentine on white paper. Trace a heart image from a book or freehand it. Cut out the paper and trace it onto thin cardboard, such as an old notebook cover. Cut out this cardboard for use as a template. Some children prefer working without a template. They can draw simple hearts or fold the construction paper in half and draw half a heart along the fold. They can also draw a full heart on the fold to create a double heart cut out.
Cut out the heart shape. If you are using the folded paper technique, remind children not to cut on the fold itself. Encourage children to cut out several hearts in different colors and sizes, using different templates or freehand drawings. They can also cut out hearts within other hearts to create a heart-shaped frame.
Select a backing paper and doilies. Have children place hearts in different patterns and color combinations before settling on a final design. Once they have the elements in place, they can use a Popsicle stick to apply paste or a paintbrush to apply glue in dots along the corners of the hearts. Remind them to hold each element against the backing for a count of ten to be sure the papers adhere well. If a child uses excess glue, set the card aside to dry for a longer time before attempting to write on it.
Write a message. Use candy hearts with messages for children to copy, or encourage them to write and draw pictures in their own words. Have them start with pencil and then go over messages in crayon, marker or paint. Older children enjoy cutting out inspirational words and phrases from magazines to glue onto collage-style construction paper valentines.
Embellish the construction paper valentines. Children can add their personal style to valentine cards with rubber stamps, stencils, stickers, glitter, sequins, collage images and small beads.
- Children may be impatient and want to write and draw on cards before glue has dried. Keep them busy by having them work on two or three cards at once.