DIYing is a great alternative to overly commercialized Valentine’s day symbols and decorations, or to waiting in a line to get your gifts wrapped. It is fun to decorate something with hearts and ribbons, or sign it with hugs and kisses and words of love – and that’s pretty much enough, especially if you are concerned about crossing the line between ‘pretty’ and ‘much.’
So, why not give it a try? Greeting cards were also once hand-written before they were replaced by printed ones, but nowadays handmade versions are renowned again, just like handmade gifts, for their unique potential of showing someone you really care. Here are a few quick and easy ideas to use as your basic tools:
1. 4 Your Heart
This idea is cute for making valentines – the result looks like a heart flower or a special kind of lucky 4-leaf clover. Fold the paper in four, then fold the rectangle once again so that it becomes a triangle. Draw the upper part of half a heart, so that you don’t cut anything at the bottom.
When you unfold this after cutting it out, you can use it to trace around it on thicker paper (for valentines), or use a variety of such 4-heart shapes for decorating walls, tables, gift boxes and greeting cards. 4-heart shapes can also be cut out of fabric (this may require a bit of ironing), and you can make flowers for Valentine’s Day with both paper and fabric ones using fuzzy wire, a craft material that is inexpensive and easily found.
2. 3D paper hearts
Anyone who has ever tried drawing a heart shape has probably often found the results asymmetrical. This can be fine, as your heart shapes do not have to be perfect and all identical, but if you want better results, fold the paper in half and draw only half a heart, then cut it out and unfold. Both sides will look the same or almost the same. You can also create 3D paper hearts.
There are lots of ways to decorate with paper hearts, especially if you make lots of paper hearts in different sizes and colors.The simplest one is scattering them on the table or the floor. Scattered rose petals, though being somewhat cliché, though look beautiful, but I do not have the heart to behead the flowers to tear them to petals. Use paper hearts instead, or cut your heart shapes out of fabric so that you do not have to throw them out after Valentine’s Day. You can reuse them later in other creative projects.
3. Fuzzy hearts and flowers
Fuzzy wire is a multi-functional material perfect for making heart shapes as it is, or even bracelets, chains and garlands of heart shapes if you like – easy and fun even for kids. As fuzzy wire is flexible, it is ideal for making flower stems with a variety of materials used for DIY flowers. Just wrap it around … does it get any easier than that? Yes, it does! You can use it with fresh and dried flowers, too.
Want to entwine your wine glasses or a bottle of champagne, a vase of chocolates or a gift box with roses or other flowers? Easy! Remove the long stems (leave about 1-2 cm) and replace them with green (or maybe red) fuzzy wire wrapped around the remains of the stems.
Twist and bend to entwine something with such a flexible kind of flowers. Connect several pieces of fuzzy wire to create the length you need, and you can also add another flower at every spot where you connect the wires – you will get a garland-like result or can make a mini-wreath this way.
4. Wearable hearts
While the idiom ‘to wear one’s heart upon one’s sleeve’ has originated from literally wearing the name (or other element indicating one’s love) on a sleeve, we do not have to do that to express our feelings. A little bit of that long-lost tradition still survives in the form of tattoos, but there are easier ways to proudly wear expressions of love.
Personalize and decorate a T-shirt using textile markers or paints. No special skills needed – just some heart-shaped template, or several of those in different sizes, and the words of love. Simple words of love can be enough without any other symbols.
If the instructions on the packaging mention that ironing your creative design is necessary once the paint is dry, this is an important part. Just do not place the iron directly on it, cover it with another piece of fabric or with baking paper.
5. Heart stencil
Heart cutout stencils and templates can help you make lots of paper, cardboard or fabric hearts, and also to create different heart patterns and designs using paint or markers. Printable ones can be found online, but basically when you cut a heart shape out of cardboard just once, you get two useful tools: one to be traced around, or covered with paint to produce prints, and another to paint inside the cutout area to get a perfect heart anywhere you wish.
Both can be used to decorate mirrors (easy, colorful and washable), cards, posters, homemade gift wrap or gift boxes, but if you have textile markers or paints (easily found online and in craft stores), you might crown yourself a DIY king or queen.
Again, these ideas are not just certain projects to copy but something you can use as your basic tools for creating unique designs and decorations of your own. Some can be used on a regular basis. If you fail to do anything else, just write words of love on the bathroom mirror – with paint, lipstick or even toothpaste – on Valentine’s Day or any other day, for a bigger surprise.