Valentine's Day Crafts
Wear your heart on your sleeve. Transform any sweater into a romantic fashion statement by tweaking store-bought elbow patches ($7.98 for two; mjtrim.com).
Simply cut a heart-shaped pattern out of scrap paper (ours measured approximately 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"), then use that pattern to cut out a heart from each patch. Lastly, hand-sew the patches to the backs of your sleeves with a simple blanket stitch in a darker shade of thread.
This nifty project pairs up fabric scraps and heart-shaped cookie cutters ($7.68 for six; amazon.com).
Step One: To construct the base of each pincushion, place the sharp side of a cookie cutter atop a thin piece of Styrofoam (we used a produce tray from a grocery store). Press the cutter down to imprint the Styrofoam; then cut out the heart shape.
Step Two: Cut a heart-shaped piece of fabric that's about half an inch larger, all the way around, than the Styrofoam shape. Lay the fabric, right side down, on a flat surface and cover the back with Aleene's Tacky Glue ($2.99 for eight ounces; amazon.com); then press the Styrofoam against the fabric. Pull the excess fabric up around the Styrofoam's edges and secure with more glue; let dry for 30 minutes.
Step Three: Meanwhile, cut a square of fabric that's at least three inches larger, all the way around, than the cookie cutter. Hold the cutter, sharp side up, on your lap and lay the fabric right side down over the cutter. Push fiberfill stuffing ($7.98 for 20 ounces; amazon.com) into the cutter until the fabric protrudes about three-quarters of an inch past the cutter, forming the pincushion. To close the cushion, fold over the remaining fabric and secure with a running stitch.
Step Four: With the cushion still inside the cutter, cover the cushion's bottom with a generous coat of glue. Push the Styrofoam into the cutter so that it presses against the glue; hold in place for three minutes. Let dry for 30 minutes.
Snappy Bow Bracelet
It's a cinch to craft this arm candy from a strip of leather ($14.98 per yard; amazon.com).
Step One:Download, print, and cut out our bracelet templates. Use the templates to cut out a large, oblong piece of leather as well as a thin center band.
Step Two: Wrap the thin band around the center of the larger piece to form the bow's middle, using the photo above for guidance. Secure the band on the bow's wrong side with hot glue. Let dry for five minutes.
Step Three: Lay the bow on a flat surface, wrong side up. Following the package instructions in a snap-fastener kit (Line 20 snap kit, $6.49; amazon.com), make the bracelet adjustable by attaching two snap studs on one end, centering and spacing them about half an inch apart; repeat on the other end with snap sockets.
Custom Jewelry Box
Follow the steps below to bring personality and purpose to a plain craft-store box (from $1.99; hobbylobby.com).
Step One: Sand the outside and inside of your box with fine-grade sandpaper; wipe clean, then use a pencil to lightly sketch a name on the box's top. Trace over the first letter with a glue pen (Aleene's Tacky Glue pen, $1.79 for .63 ounces; joann.com). Immediately cover the letter with a thin leather cord (one-millimeter-thick leather cord, $1.99 for two yards; hobbylobby.com), cutting or connecting the cord to the next letter as you go. Continue this process until the entire name is covered. Let dry for 30 minutes.
Step Two: Spray the entire box with two coats of white matte paint, allowing at least 30 minutes of drying time after each coat.
Step Three: Measure the inside width and depth of the box's bottom. Cut a piece of felt ($5.99 per yard; hobbylobby.com) to one yard long and a width slightly narrower than that of the box. Next, accordion-fold the felt: Beginning at one of the felt piece's shorter ends, make a fold that's slightly shorter than the depth of the box; secure with a thin line of hot glue. Carefully fold the felt back the other way and glue in place to complete one accordion fold. Repeat for the entire felt piece.
Step Four: Insert the folded felt into the box; trim off any excess material. Secure the felt to each upper and lower inside corner of the box with hot glue. Let dry again before stashing your baubles inside or presenting it as a gift.
Paper Airplane Love Notes
Give your love notes a lift. Take an aerial approach to letter writing with pint-size paper airplanes. CL contributing editor Cathe Holden designed this high-flying stationery. All you have to do? Print out a copy of the 8"W x 11"L PDF, jot down a note, then cut off the attached folding instructions and follow them to send your sentiments soaring.
Give yarn an opportunity to bloom. Crafter Lauren De Bellis came up with this genius way to keep vases stocked with fresh flowers — even in winter. The key to creating these allium-like blossoms: pom-pom makers in three different sizes ($6.50- $7.50 per two pack; clover-usa.com).
Wrap yarn around the tool's arms, then follow the package instructions to make your own buds. Add a dab of hot glue to the end of a thin twig and insert into each pom-pom's center. Hold in place until the glue dries (about 10 seconds) and arrange.
Make Valentine's Day cards out of paint strips — in seconds. Jodi Kahn, author of Simply Sublime Gifts ($19.99; Potter Craft), turned us on to this sweet idea for repurposing free color swatches: Press inked stamps onto the strips to form phrases like XOX (similar stamps, from $4.50 each; black ink pad, $4.95; paper-source.com) and let dry for five minutes. Kahn's trick for ensuring that the ink adheres? Coat each paint strip with aerosol hair spray before stamping.
Stitch custom artwork from family photos. These striking embroidered portraits — featured in Sania Pell's The Homemade Home ($24.95; CICO Books) — can each be hand-sewn in under an hour.
Instructions: How to Make Embroidered Portraits
Step One: Make a copy of your photo to avoid destroying the original; if desired, enlarge the image to fit your frame and mat. Affix the copy to watercolor paper ($9.99 per 11"W x 15"H pad; joann.com) with artist's tape ($2.99 a roll; dickblick.com).
Step Two: Using a pin to punch holes through the photocopy and paper, outline facial contours, features, hair, and clothing. To create solid lines, punch closer together; for dotted lines, leave more space between holes.
Step Three: Remove the photo and use a threaded embroidery needle to sew a running stitch or backstitch along the holes, swapping in thinner thread as desired. Trim the paper to fit your frame and mat.
Lavender Heart Card
For a thoughtful gift, create one of these simple lavender-filled-heart cards. First, cut card stock to desired size and fold vertically in the center. Cut two heart shapes from printed muslin. Stitch them together, outsides in, leaving a small opening; invert the hearts and loosely fill with lavender. Stitch the opening closed and attach the heart to the card.
Make your Valentine's Day sweeter with this cute cupcake craft.
Instructions: Cupcake Craft
To Make the Cupcakes
1. Bake: Make cupcakes using your favorite boxed chocolate cake mix, or follow the recipe for Easy Chocolate Party Cake.
2. Frost: To give the buttercream frosting (recipe below) a satiny pink hue, use Ateco's Spectrum gel food colors. Blend 3 drops of Deep Pink with 4 drops of Chocolate Brown, then mix into the frosting 1 drop at a time until the desired color is achieved. For picture-perfect peaks, spoon a dollop of buttercream on each cupcake, then smooth it out to the edge. Add a dollop more, then with a demitasse spoon or a small offset spatula swirl the frosting to create a fluff peak on top of the cupcake.
3. Decorate: Accent each cupcake with a vintage-inspired paper-and-wire topper, like the one seen here, designed by craft artist Melissa Neufeld.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
Continuously whisk 1/2 cup egg whites and 1 cup sugar in a large, heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water until the mixture is frothy, thick, and very hot to the touch (about 160 degrees F). Remove from heat and beat with a mixer on high speed. The mixture should then become cool and glossy and triple in volume. Beat in 2 cups cold unsalted butter (4 sticks), cut into 1/2 inch cubes, a few pieces at a time. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until fluffy. Makes 3 cups.
To Make the Handle for Cupcakes
1. Cut a length of silver glitter pipe cleaner that is long enough to tuck in each side of the cupcake to create a handle.
2. Thread 3 glass beads -- you can choose any bead you like or use vintage mercury glass beads, such as the ones we featured -- to center of pipe cleaner.
3. Print "Valentine" onto paper, cut out, and attach to side of pipe cleaner.
4. Attach handle to cupcake by tucking both ends into cupcake.