Valentine's Day is coming! And after all the hustle and bustle of the end-of-year holidays, you may want to keep your heart-day celebration simple. Luckily, your family can have plenty of fun making crafts with items you have on hand.

There is no reason to turn a day that is supposed to be about love into another long to-do list. Just wait for some downtime before V-day, pull out some supplies and jump into these simple crafts. These approaches create heart-felt results that will spark smiles during and after.

Put down a plastic tablecloth to make messy craft cleanup a snap. Crafts are listed from easy to complex to help you make the best choices for your kids whatever their ages.

Rainbow Heart Sun Catchers

  • Tissue paper scraps

  • Clear sheet protectors

  • Glossy Mod Podge

  • Foam brushes

  • Scissors

  • Scotch tape

Cut tissue paper scraps into one-inch squares. Use a variety of colors. Don't forget red, pink and white. Cut the edges off one plastic sheet protector and split it into two sheets. Spread one sheet for each heart with a thin coat of Mod Podge. Cover the page with overlapping tissue squares, using a bit more Mod Podge, as needed. When you are done putting down tissue, cover the entire page with a thin layer of Mod Podge. Let dry overnight. Bend page in half and cut into one large heart. Sun-catchers will last longer if you leave them on the plastic sheet protector and tape them onto sunny windows sheet-side-out with Scotch tape.

Seed Valentines for the Birds

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2.5 teaspoons)

  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup

  • 4 cups birdseed

  • 3/4 cup flour

  • Heart-shaped metal cookie cutters

  • Cookie sheet

  • Parchment or waxed paper

  • Drinking straws

Heat water to boiling in a microwave using a microwave-proof bowl or cup. Slowly sprinkle in gelatin, stir with fork and let sit one minute. Add corn syrup and stir.

In a large bowl, combine birdseed with flour. Pour a thin stream of liquid all over the top of the dry ingredients. Spray a large mixing spoon with non-stick cooking spray and mix until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Give it a light spray of non-stick cooking spray. Also spray the inside of the cookie cutters. Fill each cookie cutter with birdseed mixture, while inserting a short piece of a cut drinking straw all the way through each cookie. If you do not have straws, you can use a chopstick or something similar. If birdseed mixture is sticking, use more cooking spray, even on hands. Then push the seed cookie through the cookie cutter and onto the tray and let sit overnight.

Once dry and firm, thread the cookies with waterproof ribbon and hang outdoors where birds gather. Discard leftover seed mixture outdoors.

Every Pretty Thing Garland

Take a string of white lights. Then go around your house, dipping into craft, birthday and entertaining supplies and pull out anything red, pink and white that is heart-shaped, frilly, glittery or pretty. Attach cutout shapes or leftover cards, baubles, doilies, napkins twirled into roses - anything that says Valentine's Day. Use tiny clothespins or punch a hole and tie items on with ribbon. Tie snugly so items don't slide. Hang completed garland up a stairway, across a mantel or hutch or on a curtain rod. Unplug when not attended.

Suggested materials:

  • Fabric scraps

  • Ribbon scraps

  • Cut-out shapes

  • Gift tags

  • Doilies

  • Baubles

  • Tassels

  • Felt ornaments

  • Valentines

  • Paper dolls

  • Tiny clothespins

  • Hole puncher

Embellished Jewelry Boxes

  • Jewelry gift boxes

  • Acrylic paint

  • Glossy Mod Podge

  • Foam brushes

  • Tissue paper scraps

  • Glitter

  • Ribbon

  • Magazine cut-outs

  • Spray lacquer

  • Tacky glue

  • Leftover jewelry charms

  • Stick-on embellishments

  • Wire rack

Drying times will vary, but as long as you apply liquids in a thin layer, they will dry quickly. Paint box inside and out, as needed, or cover with Mod Podge and tissue cut into one-inch squares. Let dry on wire rack. Add a thin layer of paint or Mod Podge, magazine cut-outs and another layer of Mod Podge, and sprinkle lightly or thickly with glitter. Let dry, tap off excess glitter and then spray with a generous coat of spray lacquer to adhere glitter permanently. Let dry. Add charms, embellishments and ribbons using Tacky glue as needed. Let dry.

Glittery Mason Jars

  • Mason jars

  • Heart stickers

  • Blue painter's tape

  • Acrylic paint

  • Glossy Mod Podge

  • Foam brushes

  • Cotton swabs

  • Spray lacquer

  • Tacky glue

  • Double-sided sticky foam squares

  • Real or battery-operated votives

  • Kitchen tongs

Glittery Mason jars may be used as candleholders or as vases for real or artificial flowers. Use any size Mason jars. If you want candlelight to come through heart shapes, adhere heart stickers or hearts made of painter's tape to jar. Wrap mouth of jar in blue painter's tape to allow cover to screw back on. Paint entire jar with a layer of acrylic paint. While paint is still wet, carefully remove stickers or heart shapes. Let dry. Add a coat of Mod Podge, avoiding heart shapes, and add a liberal shake of glitter all over the jar except on bottom. Clear stray glitter from heart shapes using damp cotton swab. Let dry. Spray entire jar with a generous coat of spray lacquer to adhere glitter permanently. Dry overnight. Adhere ribbon around the jar neck using Tacky glue. Affix bottom of votive with double-sided sticky foam and place firmly inside the center of jar using kitchen tongs. Never leave lit candles unattended.


Author, journalist and writing coach Christina Katz enjoys whiling away the hours making crafts with her teenage daughter.