Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Valentine's Day Banner with air-dry heart ornaments

This little project that we kind of made up as we went along may be one of my most favorite things we've made yet. I just love how it turned out. And, once again, it fits my criteria of cheap, easy, and kid-friendly. It's very adaptable according to interest and season, but here's how we ran with it for Valentine's Day.

valentine's day banner with air dry heart ornaments

The little hearts are made from a mixture of water, baking soda, and starch. This blogger has the very straightforward recipe. I'd only add that when it thickens, it thickens fast. You sit there stirring, thinking, "When will this mixture get thick?" and BAM! it's the consistency of mashed potatoes. So watch out. Also, ours took two full days to dry.

Originally, I though we'd make different-sized hearts, but then I discovered most of my heart cookie cutters disappeared in the move (or I'll unearth somewhere years from now) so we had to make do with one lone cookie cutter. (And a shamrock, but that's just me getting ahead of the game.) I used a straw to poke holes near the top of each heart.

Then, I splurged on a set of pearlized paints ($2.99), and we got to work. The colors were really pretty, and the painting process took several days because of attention spans and painting fronts and backs. Actually, that's one of the greatest qualities of this project: it lasts for awhile. You do a little here and a little there, but it's not hard to set up or clean up and can fill short periods of time that need an activity. 

valentine's day banner with air dry heart ornaments
To prevent cracking, make sure to reflatten your ornaments immediately after cutting. Trying to flatten them semi-dry causes the cracking. Lesson learned.

We considered various options for the hearts but finally settled on writing HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! on them and hanging them from the mantel.

valentine's day banner with air dry heart ornaments

I made the main rope by braiding three yarn strands and then tied each heart on with a bow. Tying them on was a great technique because I could adjust where each hung and respace as needed.


Maggie and I are both loving how they turned out, and they hang just high enough that Leo can't destroy them. I also love how we've managed to commemorate this stage of art interest: painting and letter tracing. If only we had thought to add glitter glue!

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