Sunday, February 12, 2012

Preschool Valentine's Day Cards

I had two goals for Valentine's Day Cards this year: (1) No candy, and (2) The kiddo (age 3) had to actually help. Regarding goal #1, I love candy and my kiddo does too, and I will not prohibit her from eating other goodies that she receives. Instead, I just wanted to prove that it didn't have to be candy for her friends to enjoy it. And goal #2 is because I remember sitting up last year, after the kiddo was long asleep, writing her name on cards and taping the cards to pre-packaged Rice Krispy Treats. Not exactly authentic!

For inspriation, I consulte Pinterest of course. I searched all sorts of phrases and came up with mostly ideas to make homemade crayons and trail mix (with M&M's or sweethearts candy). But I found one cute idea to use glow-sticks that double as bracelets. While the original glow-stick valentine I found were just on an index card with a cute phrase, I imagined a glow-stick arrow piercing a heart.

To provide an outlet for my child's creative ability, I thought about stickers, glitter, paint, and the like. But I finally decided on stamps instead.

The finished product

Supplies needed (all from Hobby Lobby unless noted, prices are retail before sales):
(to make 17 cards - 14 classmates, 2 teachers, and one for my kid too, of course )
10 sheets two-sided cardstock 8x12
Stamps (love-themed barrel of 15 for $8.99), & 1 ladybug in clearance for $1
2 ink pads (in the children's crafts section, cheaper than the adult crafts section where smaller ones are $6.99)
1 pack of 25 pipe cleaners ($0.88)
3 tubes glow-sticks (Target, $1 bins at front of store)
Exacto knife
Cutting board

I got all of the Hobby Lobby items for 50% off, so my total cost was about $14.50, but we have stamps and inkpads leftover for future projects and fun.

Step 1: Hearts. I folded all the cardstock in half and cut at the fold. I took a scrap piece of paper the same size as a 1/2 sheet, and folded it in half lengthpiece, and sketched half-a-heart. Then cutting the scrap paper, you end up with an even heart. This served as my template and I cut out 20 hearts.

Step 2: Stamps. I laid out some paper on the table so ink wouldn't get everywhere, and let the kiddo practice stamping on a few of the extra hearts. She ran with it quickly, though, and stamped her heart away for a good hour. I left her stamp all of the "backs" of the hearts, figuring she would get better as she went.

Step 3: Message + More stamps. Stamp ink dries quickly, so I flipped each heart over and wrote this message with my blakc Sharpie: "You make my heart GLOW!", personalizing it with each classmates name, and substituting the word heart with a heart stamp. Then I signed each one with my child's name. She subsequently went happily along with more stamps surrounding the card's message.

Not perfect, but authetically a 3-yr-old's creation

Step 4: Arrows. All that was left was to create the arrow in each heart. I used the exacto knife to quickly cut two 3/4 inch slits in the heart, not measuring at all or being too precise. Through each pair of slits, I slid two glow-sticks through (being careful not to bend them, which releases the chemicals inside that make them glow). I could have stopped here because they were pretty cute, but I had already bought the pipe cleaners to fashion them into more of an arrow. This took a little bit of trial and error. The easier part of the arrow was the "feather" end. I had my daughter fold the pipe cleaners into thirds, and I cut at the folds. Each piece (3-4"), I wrapped about an inch up from the end of the glow-stick, with a quick twist to secure it. The "point" end of the arrow was a little tricker, and I had about 5 variations of how I made it as I went along. Thus, no picture explaining that step -- just figure out what works best for you to make a triangle and get it to attach to the glow-sticks.

That's all! They definitely don't look professional, but I'm happy that they look like my child helped, because she did a lot of the work. That's what Valentine's Day is all about right?