Store-bought Valentine’s Day cards run the gamut from cheesy to churlish, inspiring legions of lovers to seek alternatives. Making your own card is just the solution. Homemade cards tend to be more heartfelt, better received, and, from a purely selfish standpoint, they’re much more fun to give. Even if it’s not glossy or well-designed, a handcrafted card is sure to make the recipient smile (or laugh out loud). For the eco-conscious and thrifty, some of the following homemade cards can be made from your trash (how’s that for romantic?).
I love making collage cards; my most recent was a birthday card for my dad in the shape of a “D” (for Dad) with cutouts from his favorite magazine, the New Yorker. Collage cards are easy to make, but it does take a little time to find the perfect pictures, graphics, images, and phrases to put on the front.
- What you’ll need: scissors; a thick piece of paper or cardboard; magazines, newspapers, or other periodicals of interest; photos; glue.
- Instructions: Decide on a shape for the card. For a Valentine, it could be a heart, initial of your partner, the word “love,” etc. Cut out desired shape. Cut out images from periodicals to paste onto shape; the more images, the more interesting the card. Trim edges to clean up. Write inscription on back.
Comic Flip Book.
To commemorate a trip we took to Mexico, I made a comic sketchbook for three of my friends. Although I can’t draw worth beans, it still captured the essence of our trip and was pretty funny. For Valentine’s Day, try making this a flip through memory lane.
- What you’ll need: scissors; pieces of blank paper; pens; staples, or a hole-punch and some twine.
- Instructions: If you’re using normal printer paper, cut it in half to make your pages. Draw as many scenes as you want—images of the first time you and your beau met, first date, funny dating episodes, pictures of favorite places, etc. Make a cover sheet. Staple together or punch out two holes on the seam and twine together.
A friend of mine recently stayed home one weekend to make a diorama and I thought she was crazy. Now I’m rethinking that. What a fabulous way to create a suggestive Valentine’s Day scene, without saying a word.
- What you’ll need: cardboard shoe box or other similarly shaped box; modeling clay; figurines, if desired; pens; glue; paint.
- Instructions: Start out by deciding what the scene is you want to create: a scenic representation of you two on the beach? You and yours on a mountaintop? Your boyfriend, bound, gagged, and wearing leather? Create the scene by painting the background and then molding clay to create characters. Write inscription on floor or sides of diorama.
- What you’ll need: a basic cookie and frosting recipe, see, Cookie Decorating Isn’t Just for Christmas; heart and other Valentine Day’s-shaped cookie cut-outs; red food dye.
- Instructions: Make cookies in desired shapes and decorate with red and pink tinted frosting. Paint on your Valentine’s Day message. Since you’ll have a dozen or so cookies, you can write a lot of different messages or hand them out to numerous Valentines.
In case you’re sleeping with a hippy …
- What you’ll need: a large flat leaf; twigs, flower petals, pine needles, bark; glue; access to an outdoor space to collect items
- Instructions: Find a large, flat leaf (such as a palm frond), rock, or piece of bark that will serve as a suitable surface for a card. Once you’ve found that, you can arrange flower petals, grasses, and other nature items to create your own scene on the front. Best part: totally biodegradable.
If you’re making cards for or with children, check out this Accordion Card Project, which can be tailored to fit Valentine’s Day.
Photo courtesy of djean911