Upcycle Paper Bags into Valentines
By janice@mommawords on February 11, 2013
While you can get valentines fairly cheaply, I found it very satisfying to make good use of some materials I had laying around at home to make our own valentines. It saved me a trip to the store, a few bucks, and I didn't have to throw any plastic packaging away that usually surrounds each box of valentines.
Not only did I do all of the above, but the kids and I created a card from the heart made with love. It was a much nicer experience than last year when I bought valentines from the store. Last year it seemed like a grueling task just to write the twins' names on 24 cards. Is that strange? Uh, yeah. It took me a lot less time to write their names than it did to create these cards but I enjoyed creating these cards much more. :-)
Making use of items we already have in our house is a lesson I want my children to learn early. I want them to know that when we throw things "away" they don't disappear. Just because that landfill isn't in our backyard, doesn't mean it won't effect us. So, I've made a priority of throwing less away. There are many ways to upcycle items into "new" stuff and making these valentines from paper bags that would have wound up in our recycle bin is just a small example of how little things can make a difference. If you can use it, do. The energy that it takes the truck to pick up our garbage and dump or recycle it could be spared if we came up with a new way to use it! If I can't make good use of an item anymore you can bet that it will find a good home through donation.
- Brown paper bags
- Raffia (twine or bits of yarn from other projects will work well too)
- Construction paper (color of your choice for the hearts)
- A hole punch (I used a heart shaped one)
- A glue stick or nontoxic adhesive of your choice
- A heart shape to trace from (I had a wooden one but a cookie cutter or cardboard would work great)
- Non-toxic marker or pen and pencil
I began this craft while the kids were napping for the day. You may notice my e-reader in the picture. I highly recommend playing an audio book while crafting away on a quiet project like this one. It makes the time fly by!
Trace hearts onto colored construction paper. I traced red hearts for DS's valentines and pink ones for DD's valentines. After tracing the number of hearts you will need (depending on how many cards you want - one heart per card) cut them out and save them for later.
Next get out several small brown paper bags or a couple large ones (I used small paper bags I got from purchasing items from the bulk bins at a local health food store). Tear the bags at the seams and open them up flat. Cut them large enough to fold in half, fit the heart in the middle and leave enough room for the hole punched border.
After cutting all the cards from the brown paper bags, take each card and fold it in half with the printed side on the inside. Punch heart shaped hole punches all around the open edges, leaving the folded side untouched.
Glue a heart onto the center of each card with a glue stick. After each heart is glued write a message on the heart. You could use the traditional "To" and "From", write some punny saying or do what I did and write "Friends" *heart* followed by your child's name.
I chose to leave the valentines simple and finish by threading raffia through them and closing with a bow. You could use yarn, ribbon or twine - basically make use of whatever you have at home! If you want to get fancy you could put a special treat inside the fold before lacing it closed! As an extra bonus you wind up with heart shaped confetti from the hole punches which can be used on another craft!
For additional cute ideas for homemade valentine cards, check out Mindful Momma, Kanelstrand, Almost All The Truth and Non-Toxic Kids. And if you have a tutorial post on homemade valentines please leave a link and description in a comment.
Read more from Janice about twin parenting, cloth diapering and green living at http://mommawords.com
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