homemade handmade valentine's your boys won't hate

I've noticed the last few years that gifted Valentine's are more and more either the pre-made store-bought sort, or the mom-made sort, and that's all well and fine, but as a kid I used to live for the chance to make special little paper-made gifts for each of my friends and classmates.  As much as I love a good project, and a super-fun result, I want to let my boys have those fuzzy memories of creating, imagining, considering, choosing, and gifting just the right little something for the people they share their days with.

My boys and I went through so many different Valentine ideas before we settled on one that is just the right amount simple, and just the right amount personal.  I was able to give them a bit of a head start with parts of it, and they were able to give them artistic touches and personalize them with names.

Here's how we did it - 

Step 1 -

Use a ruler and a permanent marker to trace 6 bookmark-sized rectangles running from side to side on a 8x10 sheet of paper, leaving about a 1/4 inch border all the way around.  That means each rectangle will be about 7 1/2 inches long and the width of the ruler (about 1 inch) wide.  I recommend using a heavier cardstock, or even watercolor or sketch paper, but we used plain old printer paper. You can make your lines solid, dotted, however you want.  It's fun to make each one a little different!

Step 2 - 

Doodle some simple Valentine-sy designs within the rectangles.  I made up a scrap paper with a few ideas first, and then made one page with my final favorites.  Nothing needs to be too perfect about these.  If we wanted perfect, we wouldn't be doing them by hand when there are plenty of other options out there.  Since Valentine's is a gooey icky sticky lovey holiday, I tried to stick to things I knew my 6 and 9 year old boys wouldn't be embarrassed giving - silly faces, arrows, X's and O'x, bolts of lightning, stuff like that.

Because we planned on gluing candy on and writing each kids' name on them, we left spaces for that.

Step 3 -

Now that you have your basic design all set, take the paper to your printer and make however many copies you need, keeping in mind that each copy has 6 Valentine's on it.

Step 4 - 

Break out the crayons, markers, or watercolors.  We went with watercolors.  This is where the boys get to make the Valentine's into exactly what they want!  They loved doing washes (watercolor with generous amounts of water that leave a light see-through layer of color on the paper), splatters, and painting parts of the pictures more exactly, kind of like a coloring sheet.  Whatever they choose to do, it turns out fun, and it's THEIR awesome creative work.  

Step 5 -

Lay the papers out to dry.  Once they are dry, or if your kids' colored them instead, simply cut between each of the rectangles to get your bookmark-shaped Valentines.

Step 6 - 

Let the kids write the names of their classmates on each of the Valentines.  

Step 7 -

Help the kids hot glue (for reals, help 'em - that stuff hurts!) the candy of their choice onto each Valentine.

We chose Jolly Ranchers for our candy, and all of the sayings on each of the Valentine's uses the word "jolly" in them.  The kids love that!  I'm sure you could come up with a cute phrase for any candy you think of.  If not, Pinterest is the place to look!

My boys couldn't be more thrilled with the paper gifts they created with their very own hands for their friends (even though that smile couldn't be more fake!), and I know they are going to love the feeling of handing them out to their classmates on Valentine's Day.

It's almost as exciting as opening up the Valentine's you receive, isn't it?  I was such a sappy girl about this stuff that every single year I hoped some boy would confess his love for me on Valentine's Day.  Never happened, but it sure makes me laugh to remember it!


Martie said...

Very COOL Valentines! And what handsome boy!!

Janalee said...

Very cute. And to think, we just hurriedly snatched up the Fundips at Target because it also had the To/From already written on it. Too easy, no memories. (But with 33 kids per class, we needed seamless and quick!)

I used to read way to much into the valentines from the boys - "did he really mean that?" and eagerly hope so.

Katie Richins said...

Jana - ABSOLUTELY - read into every little thing. Good times!