(Published on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, in The Daily Citizen, Dalton, GA.)
Recycle & Reuse: Do-It-Yourself Valentine’s Day Gifts
Materials from your home’s recycling bin can be the starting point for creative gifts this Valentine’s Day. Set aside an hour this week to make a few of these crafts for friends and love ones. Some of these are so simple even a child can make them.
• Tree of Hearts: Make a greeting card that can stand on its own as a piece of art. You’ll need several magazines, glue, marker, scissors, white paper, and paperboard from a cereal box. Optional, a picture frame with a plain border. To get started cut a piece of paperboard into the shape of a rectangle or square. This will be the backing for the artwork. If you’re using a picture frame cut the paperboard down so it fits in the frame.
Glue the white paper on top of the paperboard, this will provide a clean background for the artwork. Alternatively, you could paint one side of the paperboard white with acrylic paint or gesso. Also, glue white paper or paint the opposite side. Trim excess paper from the edges. Reserve one side for the artwork and the other side for your special Valentine’s Day greeting like, “you make my heart grow” or “our love keeps growing”.
Look thru the magazines for photos and backgrounds that are red. Tear or cut out the red printed pages and set them aside. These will be used to make hearts. Also look for green photos and tear those out. The green pages will be the base of a tree. To make a tree shape you could trace your hand, or that of your child, onto a larger piece of green paper. The fingers will be the branches while the wrist and arm represent the trunk. If desired, tear or cut the green pages into the shape of a tree in a style you like.
Cut out heart shapes of various sizes from the red pages of the magazine. The hearts represent a growing love and will also be the leaves for the tree. When placing these around the tree trunk keep the bottom of the hearts pointing towards the tree branches. If you don’t have enough magazine paper you could use construction paper instead, or also paint or draw missing elements. Arrange the shapes in the desired pattern then glue each piece to the paperboard backing. Place in the picture frame when dry.
• Glass Candy Jar: Fill a glass jar with Valentine’s Day candy for your sweetheart. You’ll need a small glass jar with a lid, candy, cupcake liners and bakers twine with a red and white color scheme. To get started clean the glass jar and lid with warm soapy water. Remove all labels and dry thoroughly. Fill the jar with candy then seal with the lid. Finally, cover the lid with a cupcake liner, then secure the liner with twine. Instead of a paper liner, you could use a coffee filter, fabric, or other paper.
• Upcycled Pillow Box: Pillow boxes are very small boxes distinguished by their puffed up or rounded shape. Make your own pillow box to fill with candy, a gift, or your Valentine’s Day greeting using paperboard tubes.
You’ll need an empty toilet paper roll tube or a paper towel tube cut in half, colored paper with a Valentine’s Day color scheme, scissors, twine, and glue. If you want to cut a tube down to size use bread knife to saw the tube in half with out crushing it. You can easily find paperboard tubes inside the paper towel and toilet paper rolls. These are of course recyclable with other clean and dry paper, however, their round and sturdy shape make them good candidates for upcycled pillow boxes.
To get started flatten one of the paperboard tubes so it makes a rectangle shape. Press down on the both sides to get an even crease. Gently squeeze the sides so that the tube opens up. You should have a tube with openings shaped like an almond instead of a circle. Next, press down on one of the sides of the opening so that it folds down into the tube. Press the opposite side in, and do the same on the other end.
Decorate the outside of the tube with by gluing a colorful piece about two inches wide around it in a horizontal direction. Then tie twine around the paper to make a small bow. Pop open one of the ends by lifting the folded in edges and fill the tube with candy, a greeting card, or love notes. Close the end then tie twine in the opposite direction to help secure the ends.