An Upcycled Valentine’s Day

Use recyclable items from your home’s bin as a starting point for sweet Valentine’s Day crafts. Start with scrap paper and draw or paint your own unique artwork.

Use recyclable items from your home’s bin as a starting point for sweet Valentine’s Day crafts. Start with scrap paper and draw or paint your own unique artwork.

Before you know it, Valentine’s Day is going to be here! Are you ready? This particularly romantic holiday has a reputation for being super expensive. Thankfully, it really doesn’t have to be when you add a little bit of do-it-yourself magic. Here are some ideas for an upcycled Valentine’s Day that will have you looking at your recyclables in a whole new way.


Children and adults can make unique greeting cards with just some paper scraps and paint. Take some paper scraps and paperboard boxes from your recycling bin then cut them into a rectangular shape to make the base for a card. Use your paints, crayons, or markers to make hearts or another creative design. Glue on extra heart shapes, ribbon, glitter, or any other type of material that may match your card.


Sometimes choosing a fun greeting like, “Owl be yours!” can help you design on what to paint. With this greeting you can add an owl. The phrase, “Bee mine!” can have a cute bee with hearts on its antenna. “You’re the apple of my eye!” can be a painting of an apple or two with a smile. Or “You’re the sweetest!” could be a drawing of a cupcake.


If you’re not good at drawing hearts, you can make a heart shaped stamp from a paperboard tube to decorate your cards. You’ll need at least one toilet paper roll tube, or a paper towel tube cut in half, red paint, and a surface to paint on. Lay the tube flat on the table so the openings are on the sides. Gently flatten the roll to create a crease on each side. One crease is the bottom v-shaped portion of the heart.  Hold the tube with one of the openings facing you and push in one of the creases. This will create the top of the heart with the shape of two rounded humps.  If desired tape the side of the tube to keep the heart shape in place.


Pour a thin layer of red paint in a scrap paper box or tin, and then dip one end of the paperboard tube. Quickly press the heart shape onto a piece of scrap paper then lift to reveal the outline of a red heart. Set aside to dry before adding additional paint. To add more variety to the colors, you could add white paint to the red and make pink hearts. Since the paperboard tube is large it’s easy for toddlers to hold allowing them to make cards for grandparents and other relatives. Make the heart stamps extra special by painting them on a blank white canvas instead of paper.


Sometimes a special message on a print of one of your favorite couples or family photo can double as a card and a keepsake. Photos are less likely than paper cards to be thrown away and may end up proudly on display in a frame made from recycled materials or in a family album. Make your photo memorable by including the phrase, “I love you” in another language. For example, in Spanish you would say, “Te amo.”  And, in Hawaiian “Aloha wau ia oi.”


A cute gift you can make with scrap paper from your bin is an I.O.U. booklet. The booklet can be about five by three inches and tied together on one end.  On each piece of paper write down something you will do for your loved one.  For example, wash dishes, detail the car, or kiss them a hundred times.  Five to ten items will do.   


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.