Call me a cynic, but prior to kids, I viewed Valentine’s Day as a holiday devilishly customized to depress people who don’t have a partner or close friends. And if you have loved ones, it’s a day when one feels hard-pressed to demonstrate their affection with gifts.
My reaction, therefore, when my daughter suddenly announced, “Valentine’s Day is coming!” was an image of red (non-recycled) paper hearts, plastic toys, and petty exclusion.
Thank goodness my local Green Moms group gave Valentine’s Day a prettier face. I regularly commune with these parents locally and online for support living a greener lifestyle. In this case, we celebrated the fun and love of Valentine’s Day without the materialism or exclusion that repelled me for years. Over a potluck lunch, we shared a collection of recycled Christmas cards, an assortment of papers from cereal boxes to packing paper and other craft scraps to create “new” Valentines out of recycled materials.
Here’s how easy and fun it can be:
1. The evening before the party, I laid out large pieces of packing paper from Christmas Fed Ex deliveries. I cut spare coffee filters in the shape of hearts and laid them on top.
2. Using watercolors (I like liquid water colors for this project), Jasmine (4 1/2 years old), Chloe (1 1/2) and I painted the paper with hearts, splashes, and other patterns. The idea was to coat the majority of the papers with paint, so Chloe was actually helpful when she dumped entire cupfuls of paint on our projects.
3. We hung our watercolors out to dry overnight. (It actually takes about 3 hours, so you can do this the same day as well.)
4. The morning of, we took old Christmas cards and covered the outside with glue. We laid our colorful packing paper on top of it. Then, we laid various heart shapes on top of this (we cut some hearts out of a pink cereal box, for example), sprinkled glitter and added other bits of recycled “flair” in the form of fabric, golden hearts cut out of candy bar wrappers, and yarn.
5. For the inside of the cards, it depended on where the writing was, but it was easiest to cover up existing writing with second piece of blank old card. It was nice when the covering piece was a pink or other light color that complimented the colors of the card.
That’s it! We had a couple example cards to give people inspiration, but it was amazing how quickly kids and parents just fell in love with the materials and got to work.