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DIY Craft Tutorial: Heart Valentine for Long Distance Relationship
My husband and I will be spending Valentine's Day apart this year. He will be traveling, but it's not a big deal. It's also not the first time we've been separated on Valentine's Day. We lived in different states when we first started dating and spent many holidays apart. But this year I wanted to make him something special for Valentine's Day to let him know that I'll be thinking of him.
This special valentine features a ruffled heart made of recycled map pieces and a heart-felt message of love: "Together Forever, Never Apart." Although I made my valentine as a framed piece of art, you could also use this same technique to make a larger heart wreath or a smaller heart for a Valentine's Day card.
You can also use other materials like scrapbook paper, tissue paper or paper doilies if you do not want to use map pieces. You can use a variety of materials to make your valentine personal and truly special.
Materials for Making a Ruffled Heart Valentine
- 5 or 6 sheets of paper featuring map design (like from an old atlas) or other decorative paper or doilies - this paper should be two-sided as both sides will show
- 1 or 2 sheets of coordinating decorative or scrapbook paper (for backing and frame)
- (optional) a 1 to 2 inch round paper punch - you can also just use scissors but a large paper punch will be faster
- hot glue gun and white craft glue or glue stick
- ruler, pencil, and scissors
- (optional) a pre-made frame for displaying your heart valentine
How to Make a Ruffled Heart Valentine
1. The first step in making your valentine is to decide on the size of your heart. You can make a larger heart to make a piece of art to hang on the wall, or a smaller heart to decorate a special Valentine's Day card. Once you decide on your size, you need to find or make a heart template. You can either look for a heart shape online and resize it for your project, or make your own template.
I made my own heart shape, and it is quite easy. I knew I wanted my ruffled heart to be about 8 inches square. So I took a piece of paper and folded it in half. Along the fold, I marked my 8 inch measurement. Then I measure9 4 inches away from my fold (half the width of my final heart) and drew another mark. This created a box which I could use to cut my heart. Using scissors, I cut half my heart shape out of my folded paper. When I unfolded my paper, I had a perfectly shaped heart.
2. Now take your heart template and trace that on to a piece of paper that you'll be using to make your ruffled pieces. I made my ruffled pieces from pages from an atlas, so I traced my template onto another atlas page and cut out my heart.
This background piece will show in places between your ruffles, so you will want the background of your heart to match your ruffles.
3. Glue your decorative heart on to your backing paper using white glue or glue stick. This backing paper can be a folded sheet that you plan to use for your card or a larger piece of paper for a framed artwork.
Then put your heart to the side for now.
4. Take your other atlas pages, or whatever paper you want to use for your ruffles, and begin to cut a bunch of 1 to 2 inch circles. A large round paper punch will make this process easier, but I just traced a cardboard paper towel roll to make my circles and cut them out with scissors. These circles do not need to be perfect.
How many circles you will need depends on the size of your heart. My circles were about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and I used about 50 circles to make the ruffles to decorate my heart.
5. Once you have a bunch of circles cut, start folding them to create the ruffled pieces. For each circle, fold your piece in half, but do not crease it. Then fold your circle in half the other way, again trying to avoid creasing the paper. The result might look a bit like a fortune cookie.
It your pieces will not stay folded, you can put a little piece of tape down by the point to hold your open ends together.
6. When all your pieces are folded, start attaching them to your heart around the outer edge. Working slowly and only about an inch at a time, put down some hot glue and quickly stand your ruffled piece in the glue with the point end down.
Glue your ruffled pieces so they are all facing in the same direction and try to tuck them together as closely as possible.
7. If you have trouble getting your pieces to stand up in the glue, you can trim off a little bit of the point so you have a flat surface to stick in the glue.
8. Start by lining up your pieces around the outer edge of your heart, then begin to fill in the center. Work slowly.
9. I lined up all my ruffled pieces going the same way along the edge of my heart. Then for the next round inside my heart, I faced my ruffles going the other way. I continued in this pattern to fill in the center of my heart.
Finishing Your Ruffled Heart Valentine
There are many ways to complete and decorate your ruffled heart valentine.
- If you are making your heart into a card, you can add your Valentine's Day message and sign your card.
- If you want to use your heart as a piece of artwork, you can place it into a frame with a decorative border and also add a sweet message.
I put my heart into a 12 inch square frame. To add some extra color, I cut a paper frame out of some coordinating scrapbook paper. On this paper frame, I wrote my valentine message "together forever, never apart." I found this anonymous quote on a website by searching for quotes about long distance relationships.
Adding Lettering to Your Valentine
Creating lettering for a handmade item can be quite daunting, but there are some easy ways to add words to any project:
- most craft stores sell letter stickers or rub on letters in a wide variety of sizes and styles. These letters are easy to use, but usually only come in a few colors.
- craft stores also sell letter stencils that you can trace or letters already cut out of decorative paper that you can glue on your project.
- you can use a Circut or a Silhouette machine to cut out vinyl or paper letters to use or to trace. These machines can be expensive, but offer a wide variety of typefaces and sizes that you can make your letters.
- there are also some easy ways to use your own handwriting to create decorative lettering:
How to Turn Your Own Handwriting into Decorative Lettering
Here are two easy ways to use your own handwriting to create decorative lettering for a variety of projects:
- you can make formal, fancy lettering
- you can make colorful, playful lettering
How to Use Your Handwriting to Make Fancy Lettering
First, how to make fancy lettering:
1. Write the word you want to use in either a light pencil or a fine point marker. When writing, leave a bit more space between letters than you might ordinarily. Try to add a few more loops and connect a few of your letters if it feels comfortable.
2. Next, draw another line to the left of each letter in the places where you make a downward mark (or move your pencil down to form the letter). For instance, I moved my pencil down to form the bottom loop of my "g".
3. Now fill in the space between your two lines to make a thicker line on your downward strokes. As you work, smooth the transition from this thicker areas to the thinner marks in your letters.
When your letters are complete, go over the whole thing with a dark marker to unify the look of your lettering
How to Make Fun, Colorful Lettering
This lettering is fun to do and great to use on invitations or posters.
1. Write the word you want to use with a light pencil. Again, leave a little extra space between your letters. Try to make your letters as simple as possible.
2. Now, in pencil, draw an outline surrounding each one of your letters separately. When done, erase your original letters inside your outline.
3. Color in your outline using colored pencils, watercolor, or tempera paint. During the coloring process is a great time to sharpen your letters and straighten any lines so your lettering looks clean.
Have fun playing around with your handwriting to make some fun lettering for your project!
Copyright © 2016 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.
Looking for more holiday and decorating ideas?
Check out my other holiday craft projects and tutorials!