I love finding new ideas to celebrate the holidays! Especially when it involves my children. So when I stumbled on these cute Valentine’s at Smartschoolhouse.com, I had to try making them for myself.
The problem I had with the instructions is that they weren’t very specific or in-depth. I like details. I get along much better the less I have to question something. It also included a video but I found it even less helpful really.
So after watching it and reading the site instructions, I had a ton of questions- how many sheets of foam do I need? How many bags of gum balls? How did they cut out perfect heart shapes? What were the steps they used to glue the plastic to the heart? But surely since the video made it look simple enough, I could figure it all out easily…
Let me just say, while these are by far the cutest Valentines I’ve ever made, they were the hardest and the most time-consuming (five hours). I have three kids. I don’t have five hours to do stuff like this.
But I’m ridiculously persistent. I wouldn’t allow this project to defeat me. So now that I have successfully completed these Valentine’s, I’m hoping my tips will help you if you wanted to do the same ones!
What you will need:
- 4 pieces of Red Foam Paper (made 22 Valentine’s; found at Michael’s for .99 a sheet)
- 5 bags of Double Bubble mini gum balls (yielded 12 gum balls per Valentine with left overs to enjoy; found at The Dollar Tree)
- 2 Heart Shaped cookie cutters close in size (I found a 4 pack of ranging sizes at The Dollar Tree)
- At least 10 quart freezer bags (I bought the kind that had writing on one side so I was required to use more bags than this)
- Household scissors
- Glue Gun (I used 6 glue sticks to complete this project)
Note: I omitted the use of string for tags as I didn’t have enough time to add them.
Take your larger heart-shaped cutter and press firmly on your foam sheet. This allows an imprint to be made so you can cut identical shapes! Be sure to start as close to the corner edges as possible and keep your imprints tight if you wish to do the amount I did (22). You want enough space to make a lot! Don’t overlap your lines though as this will mess up your shapes.
Now you need to make the double-lined heart shape that goes on top. To do this, you will take the larger heart cutter you previously used in Step 1 and place it on a foam sheet. Don’t press down yet! Now take the next size smaller and position inside so it follows the larger shape. Remember to start at the corner of your foam sheet so you can make more Valentine’s. Now, press firmly on both shapes, simultaneously, then lift.
Now it’s time to cut out your shapes! For the double-lined heart I just stabbed the center with my scissors and cut around the inside
Cut your bags in half! I had to use more bags because one side had the company logo and writing on it. No need to worry about perfect lines here. You just want to make sure the finished product fits over the heart like in the picture above. Once you get the gum balls in there, it rises up the plastic a little so you just need enough extra space for this when cutting. Now is a good time to turn on that hot glue gun!
Break out your bubblegum balls! I put mine into a bowl because it was easier than going through each bag and potentially dropping them on the floor. Again, my project called for 5 bags of these from The Dollar Tree which equated to 12 gum balls per Valentine. It was the only place I was able to find the smaller gum balls but maybe your city will have more options. Now you put your gum balls in the center of the heart then take your glue gun and trace along the heart’s edge with a thick layer of glue. Try not to touch the gum balls.
Place the plastic over the gum balls squishing lightly around the glued edges since they will be pretty hot. Try to squish around and inward to keep the gum balls from falling out of the center and into the glue.
Note: other sites say to put the plastic bag over the gum balls THEN run a line of glue along the edges but this did not prove successful for me. It actually burned a hole through the plastic forcing me to start over.
Now that you have all the bag halves glued onto you heart, you’ll want to trace over the plastic with your glue and attach the double-lined heart cut out. Press firmly because the near dry layer of glue below the plastic might make it difficult to get the top piece flush and you don’t want any openings in your heart.
Make sure the hearts are cooled down completely (this will only take a moment), then begin to cut around your edges with scissors. In doing this, I realized the plastic still shows around the edges. I’m sure you could take an exacto knife and get a closer cut but I didn’t want to hastle with it. Most 8 year-olds wouldn’t even notice it.
And here you have it!
I think they came out pretty cute! Even if they weren’t the easiest of projects. I’m hoping this will help those of you who have seen this idea get a better picture how to do these without having to trial and error like I did in the beginning.
I’d love to see some of your own Valentine creations! Were they as easy as you thought they’d be?