Valentine’s day & crepe paper streamer lettering

Happy Valentine's day from Permanent RiotHappy Valentine’s day! I hope your day was full of lots of love and sweet treats!

I don’t know about you but I was never all that into decorating for Valentine’s day or making a production about it before I had kids. I like to tell my husband that I love him every day, not just on designated days where flowers cost twice the usual going rate. All that aside, as soon as kids came into the picture it seems like holidays took on a whole new meaning. I remember waking up as a kid on Valentine’s day and my mom had decorated the whole kitchen and set the table with a red table cloth and a small treat for each of the kids at our seats. Those kinds of overnight transformations were always so magical. Being a kid is awesome – anything can happen while you’re sleeping.

I didn’t have huge plans for Valentine’s day this year but after we got the kids in bed I decided that it might be fun to fill the kitchen floor with red balloons. I really wanted to get heart shaped balloons but I guess maybe I should have thought of it sooner than the day before? I sent Ben out on a mission to buy some balloons and while he was gone I started hanging up some streamers and making more recycled mail decorations to go with the hearts that Amelia and I had made earlier in the week. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of small colored hearts already cut out from several years ago when I took the twins’ first Valentine’s day photo. I started hanging them up in the doorway – and, well, I think you can see where this is going. I got a little carried away. It was totally worth it to see the look on the kids’ faces when they woke up. They loved everything (especially the balloons).

Valentine's day - Permanent RiotMy very favorite part of all of the decorating we did was the giant “I love you so” scrawled in cursive along the top of one of the walls. It was actually Ben’s idea and I am absolutely sure we will be repeating this concept in the future – it’s so easy! Crepe paper streamers are the perfect medium for this kind of project – they’re stretchy and not likely to break, they keep their shape when they’re creased and are very lightweight so they stay up with just the tiniest bit of tape. I freehanded my letters as I went, but I’m sure you could sketch out your pattern on the wall ahead of time if you’re worried about getting it just so. If you’ve ever used the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator or drawn a spline in a CAD program, this lettering is the same idea. You only need to tack down the letters at “anchor points” where the streamer is curving or changing direction, not along the entire length. I actually used very little tape for this project, considering the final effect. The whole thing probably cost us around fifty cents. (as a nerdy side note, if you have some free time on your hands, check out the shipbuilding origins of the computer spline)

Valentine's day decor - Permanent RiotThe day went by in a blur of crafting and chaos (as they tend to do) – and we even managed to make some cards for the kids to take to the “friendship party” that they had at preschool this morning. I really wanted them to be a part of making the valentines so I asked them to paint with watercolors on sheets of white paper. After the paint was all dried they cut out circles from their drawings with my hole punch and wrote their names on the back. By the time they finished writing their names on every paper they were pretty burnt out of crafting so I finished them up on my own – but it would be pretty impressive if they could write in cursive, wouldn’t it?

Preschool valentines cards - Permanent RiotOverall I’d say the day was a smashing success. Once the kids were in bed, Ben and I cooked up some amazing mini chocolate souffles (I had no idea they were so easy to make – I’ll be making them again soon for sure!) and watched a terrible cheesy romantic comedy. I hope your Valentine’s day was just as much fun!

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Valentine’s day & crepe paper streamer lettering

Easy last-minute valentine’s day decor – mail hearts

Ridiculously easy DIY valentine's day decor - repurpose junk mail into art - Permanent RiotI don’t know about you but I can’t stand junk mail. CAN’T STAND IT. I have signed up on a few lists and websites that promise to cut down on the amount of trash mailing you’ll recieve but so far I haven’t noticed any difference. It breaks my heart to go to the mailbox and pull out a mountain of paper, only to dump 90% of it directly into the recycling bin. Sure, recycling is better than trashing, but in the old “reduce, reuse, recycle” slogan, recycle is a last resort if you can’t reduce or reuse. Lately I’ve been making it my mission to reuse things that come into our house before I throw them out, and this morning I had an idea for what to do with just a small handfull of that dreaded junk mail.

See, I love decorating for holidays, but always get a twinge of guilt at using up perfectly good, brand new materials to make my projects that I know won’t last… or even worse, going out to buy supplies to make a project that I know won’t last. So why not use something I’ve got a lot of lying around (paper) and make it into something better? This project was so easy even a child could do it – in fact, my four year old did. Amelia cut out almost every one of the hearts. She’s a crafting machine. They don’t have to be perfect, they don’t even have to be close. In fact it’s the randomness and texture that makes this so neat, don’t you think?

Ridiculously easy DIY valentine's day decor - repurpose junk mail into art - Permanent RiotMy kids loved doing this project with me and they also loved the final effect. The kept saying that the hearts looked like birds flying off the wall, which is quite lovely, don’t you agree? I used these hearts for a backdrop for the kids’ valentine photo but that’s going to stay under wraps for just a few more days – you’ll see it on Thursday, promise!

Easy last-minute valentine’s day decor – mail hearts

Quirky cute DIY scratch-off valentines

Valentine’s day is just around the corner (how is it February already?!) and I love a good reason to make something new and crafty. I have been looking for an excuse to try out making scratch-off paint ever since I read a tutorial on DIY scratch-off cards last year, and valentines seemed like a perfect match. Who doesn’t like a little surprise in their valentine??

Being on a bit of a drawing and hand-lettering kick I decided to draw something out rather than design on the computer. I always feel so much more free with a piece of paper and pen in front of me, don’t you? I had the idea for the sheep first but once I started I just couldn’t stop coming up with new phrase and animal combos. I’m a sucker for a good pun. Once I had all of my ideas sketched out, into the computer they went to get cleaned up and neatly arranged, all ready to be printed out on cardstock and turned into your super awesome valentines. If you love them and want to make a few (or a hundred) for yourself, just go download the PDF file, then follow along with this easy tutorial and you’ll be sending out scratchable love notes in no time!

First up – what you’ll need:

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Once you’ve printed out the PDF onto a sheet of cardstock and assembled all of your supplies, start by cutting a small square of contact paper and tracing the hearts onto the contact paper. Make sure to trace onto the shiny surface on the front and NOT onto the paper on the back. The pen may bubble up a bit, but that’s ok, because you will want to cut to the inside of your line anyway. Since the hearts are all hand-drawn they aren’t entirely symmetrical and tracing on the paper side of the contact paper would produce a mirror image, which we don’t want. Once your hearts are traced and cut, peel off the paper backing and smooth them down onto the cards. I like to use the back of a pair of scissors to make sure that all the bumps and bubbles are out.

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After all the hearts are prepared it’s time to mix the paint. This is not an exact science but you want to use about two parts paint to one part dish soap – I used one part red, one part white paint to make a bright pink. When applying the paint to the hearts I like to go a bit outside the contact paper and onto the cardstock. That way if your recipient gets carried away with the scratching you know there will still be an outline of the heart left around the edge that they won’t be able to take off. It’s best to apply the paint in thin, even layers. You’ll probably need a few coats (between three and four depending on what color you use), so make sure to let them dry thoroughly before moving on to the next

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Once the first coat is on, go and grab a quick coffee and admire your work so far – looking good isn’t it? Make sure not to move on until the paint is fully dry to the touch or it will take longer for the next coats to dry as well.

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Once you’ve finished all the coats of paint and everything is dried, it’s time to cut apart your cards. Scissors will work just fine but I prefer to use an exacto blade and straight edge for an extra clean look.

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And that’s it! You’re done! That was easy, wasn’t it? The hardest part is resisting the urge to scratch all of the cards yourself before you hand out your valentines.

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If you’re feeling extra crafty you might even whip up a few little envelopes to stash your valentines inside. You could even include a penny and a little hint that the heart is scratchable. So cute!

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Happy valentine’s day, and happy crafting!

Quirky cute DIY scratch-off valentines