Welcome to the another installment of Make A Thing, where we make handmade gifts for people. Or ourselves. Who doesn’t need something special in their life? Join in on the DIY fun and avoid the unnecessary consumerism of the world (and I promise you’ll save a few dollars while you’re at it).
Header by Rory Midhani
So, Valentine’s Day, huh? A good day to give someone a thoughtful thing you’ve made, even if your Valentine this year happens to be your best friend or your cat. Oh, what’s that you say? You don’t need Hallmark culture to tell you when you need to be a hopeless romantic and do something nice for your partner? You’re wrong. You still need to do something nice, material or otherwise. Let’s make Valentine’s Day cards and resist the terrible urge to pick up grocery store chocolates, flowers, and singing stuffed animals.
There are a lot of beautiful Valentine tutorials out there. I’ll highlight those after my tutorial, I promise. This one is less I-Want-To-Marry-You-And-Have-Lots-Of-Sex-And-Babies and more of an understated You’re-Pretty-Cool-And-Maybe-I-Love-You, which is sometimes what you should go for. Your sweetheart is going to be impressed.
Watercolor Paper Cut Valentine
Supplies Needed: Two sheets of watercolor paper, watercolor paints, paint brushes, exacto knife, double-sided tape or glue (ruler and scissors are optional)
Level of Difficulty: Significantly less painful than watching the movie Valentine’s Day
1. Paint an abstract design with watercolors. Make sure you start with damp paper so the colors blend better (I spritzed mine with a spray bottle, but painting it with a clean wet brush would work, too). Use whatever colors suit your delicate tastes and sensitive feelings. The point is that this will only show up in small parts so don’t stress about it too much. Good rule of thumb: use your Valentine’s favorite colors. This seems obvious, but really, there’s something to be said for paying attention. Set this piece of paper aside to dry.
2. Trim your card down to size. Apparently even with two artists/crafters in my house, there’s no fucking rulers. Use a straight edge of some sort. Home Depot paint sticks will do in a pinch. Make sure your card is an exact inch measurement, such as 4″x6″ or 5″7″.
3. Cut a heart template. I trimmed my heart to be under an inch to make the next few steps easier.
4. Trace a 1″x1″ square grid onto the inside left part of your card. You will align your heart template inside of the 1″ squares to make sure everything is lined up and pretty. This is going to be covered up, so don’t be too precious about how nice it looks. You can erase later. I used the very technical straight edge of my iPhone box for this step, as you can see.
5. Trace the left edge of your heart template inside of the squares. You will only be cutting out half, so no need to waste time tracing it all. I got a little crazy (I’m a serious party animal, duh) and cut out a full heart as a little accent. Do this or do not do this. It is entirely up to you and your heart cutting preferences.
6. Okay, get to it. Cut the heart halves with your exacto knife. Go slow. Take deep breaths. Maybe listen to soothing music. Don’t try to hurry and fuck it up. Can you hurry love? No, you’ll just have to wait. You gotta trust and give it time, no matter how long it takes.
7. What were we talking about before I started singing the Supremes? Oh, yes. Cut cut cut. You’re done with that? Erase your pencil smudges so they don’t show when you fold your heart out.
8. Fold out all of your little hearts and lay your card flat. Trim your incredibly painted watercolor artwork to size.
9. Attach your watercolored paper to the inside left of your card with double sided tape or glue.
10. Write something nice on the inside.
11. Give it to your Valentine and wait for them to be so impressed with your talent and devotion to them.
DIY Valentine Tutorial Round-Up
Here are some handmade Valentine’s Day cards I wouldn’t mind receiving, with difficulty levels ranging from Print This Out On Nice Paper to Weave A P
1. Tutorial for the cutest printable foodie-themed Valentines.
2. Gorgeous woven heart card tutorial.
3. Can you tell I’m a sucker for paper cut cards? This card is so adorable!
4. My lady and I are suckers for owls. This is an easy printable that would be perfect for kids, too.
That’s it for this small round up. Any cards that you’re copying or lusting after this Valentine’s Day?