Valentine’s Day is quite literally the sweetest holiday around. Since the 18th century this once religious day has been marked with chocolates, flowers and declarations of undying adoration. It’s a time to show those you care about just how much they mean, a time to be grateful and in my world a time to get crafty.

Now, I don’t subscribe to the idea that crafts are a strictly female endeavour. Some of the most successful players in the creative game have XY chromosomes. Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Ludwig van Beethoven are three men who made it big in the creative industry and I’m willing to bet none of them were above taking scissors to a stack of coloured paper when offered the opportunity.

Crafts are also a brilliant way to spend time with your children. While you create something together you learn new things about them. Their new favourite colour, what they want to be when they grow up. Conversations had over glitter and paint are often enlightening.

So without further ado, here are five valentines’ crafts that suit different ages, budgets and skill levels. Enjoy.

Homemade Sweethearts

NZ Dads SweetsThese sweet little candies are the pinnacle of a typical American Valentine’s day, well, according to pop culture they are anyway. Conversation hearts are small pieces of heart shaped candy with sweet little messages like ‘be mine’ and ‘xoxox’ printed on them and this recipe means you and your kids can create your own and write personalised messages on them.

It isn’t very complicated but requires some patients which means that it might not be suited to smaller children.

You will need:

¼ cup of water

1 teaspoon of unflavoured gelatine

1 teaspoon golden syrup

450grams icing sugar

Flavouring/essence of your choice

Food colouring of your choice

Method:

  1. Mix water, gelatine and golden syrup in a microwave proof bowl. Zap for fifteen seconds or until the gelatine has dissolved.
  2. Use an electric mixer or bench top mixer to mix the water mixture with the icing sugar. Add the icing sugar incrementally. You’re aiming for a stiff, slightly sticky consistency.
  3. Lightly dust some baking paper with icing sugar.
  4. Place the dough on the baking paper. Knead until the mix is no longer sticky, adding icing sugar as needed.
  5. If you want to use different colours and/or flavours now is the time to divide your dough into as many different portions as you want colours/flavours. Work with one portion at a time, adding colouring and flavouring and combining well. Keep all the portions you aren’t working with in bowls covered with glad wrap or zip lock bags as the dough dries out fast.
  6. When you’ve finished colouring and flavouring all the dough roll it out to a half cm thickness. Use a heart shaped cutter or template to create the desired heart shapes.
  7. Leave the heart shapes for twenty four hours. If they’re still too wet when you decorate them the colouring will bleed.
  8. Use a toothpick and red food colouring to write your personalised messages on your homemade conversation hearts.

Love heart string art

Love heart string - NZ DadsThis one is a little more challenging and would be best suited to older kids or those who just love to work with their hands. I ended up finding it more difficult than I first expected and realised I have an incredible talent for nailing crooked every single time. This particular craft may need a bit more parental supervision and help than others as it can involve some hammering and pointy objects.

You will need:

String – You can use any kind you want depending on the look you’re after.

Nails or pins

Canvas/Cardboard or even some scrap wood

A pencil

A sheet of paper
Method:

  1. Prep your board. If you’re using wood give it a quick sand and maybe even a lick of paint. Paint would also work well if you’re using card or a canvas.
  2. Create a template for your design. Either draw it by hand or use the computer to create a design and print it off. Cut the design out and lay in the perfect spot.
  3. Nail or pin around the template before removing it.
  4. Tie your string to one of the nails and then weave the string around your nails. The different patterns and styles are endless. You can go for a haphazard, messy design or try for something more symmetrical.
  5. Once you’re happy with your design tie the end off around a nail and cut off its tail. All done!

Love bugs

These happy little fellows are great for little ones, especially because you can cut out the shapes and create a simple place and glue style craft for kids who aren’t yet ready to weld safety scissors. I managed to create three loved up insects using things I found around the house. It didn’t take all that long and although I went a little over the top with my ladybug and she ended up getting some last minute surgery thanks to our home scanner they were simple, fun and low mess.

You will need:

Coloured paper

Scissors

Glue stick

Some coloured pens

Method:

‘Bee mine’Bee mine - NZ Dads

  1. Cut two large yellow hearts, one large yellow oval, five black stripes, two small black ovals for eyes and a medium sized pink heart.
  2. Now that you’ve probably developed scissor overuse syndrome (It might be a real thing, you never know) it’s time to glue them all together and create a bumble bee.

 

 

‘Lovely ladybug’

  1. Love Bug - NZDadsUsing your trusty scissors cut one incredibly large heart, a second smaller heart in a different colour, a black circle around the same size as the second heart and a smaller black oval. You can cut some antenna and little heart shaped eyes too if you’re feeling adventurous, otherwise a dash of coloured pen will work just as well for those.
  2. Assemble. Glue and decorate your lovely ladybug with heart shaped dots.

 

 

‘Kisses and cuddles the caterpillar’

  1. Love Bug - NZ DadsFor the final love bug all you need is a series of coloured hearts. The quantity varies on just how long you’d like to make your sweet little bug. I used size medium sized hearts for the body, one large heart for the head and two tiny little hearts for the tops of her antenna.
  2. Once you’ve cut out all your hearts and glued them down use a black pen to draw on her antenna and lots of little legs sticking out the bottom of her heart body.

 

 

Did you or your children recreate any of these Valentine’s Day crafts? Let us know in the comments below how it went! Happy V-day!

 

 

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