Hands-On Crafts: Send Your Valentine a Bookmark Greeting

’Tis the season to send greetings of love to friends and family. No valentine will be more dearly cherished than one that is homemade with love. Kids can have a great time making this greeting that is also a gift: a bookmark. Since this easy project doesn’t even require glue, the mess is minimal and even young crafters will find success.

Ages: 3 to 12

Time: 1 hour

Skills required: cutting, folding, decorating, following directions

Materials: construction paper or cardstock, scissors, ruler, hole punch, clear contact paper, colored tissue paper, wax paper, old crayons, potato peeler, iron, heavy brown paper bag, heart-shaped confetti, markers or crayons, ribbon or yarn

Make a Bookmark with Heart

1.Begin by cutting a piece of construction paper or card stock into a 5-inch by 6-inch rectangle.

2. Fold the paper in half so that you now have a rectangle that is 2.5-inches by 6-inches. Crease this fold firmly. Fold the paper in half again (along the same side) so that the paper is now 1.25-inches by 6-inches. Only lightly crease this fold.

3. Cut out a half of a heart shape along the lightly creased fold. The heart shape should be about 1 inch from the top of the paper and should extend to within 1/4 inch of the unfolded side of the paper. Then unfold the paper to reveal a heart-shape cut through both sides of the folded paper.

4. Use markers, crayons, stickers or whatever you like to decorate the construction paper (not the area that is inside the fold). You may want to add a Valentine’s Day greeting or a special message, such as “Read to your heart’s content.”

5. Cut a piece of clear contact paper 5.25-inches by 6.25-inches. Unfold the cut construction paper and lay it in the middle of the contact paper, so that the decorated side of the paper is stuck to the sticky side of the contact paper and the undecorated side is now facing up. There should be a small edge of contact paper around the construction paper.

6. Now your children can choose what they would like to use to decorate the heart “window” of the bookmark. Here are several ideas:

• Cut small squares of colored tissue paper (pink, white and red are the colors of the season, but your children can choose any colors they like). Lay the tissue paper pieces on the exposed sticky contact paper. Only decorate one of the heart shapes, since the other side will be folded on top after the window is filled. The pieces can overlap and be laid over the edge of the heart since they will be sealed in the middle of the two pieces of contact paper. When the whole window is covered, refold the paper, sealing the two sides together with the outer edge of the contact paper.

• Use a potato peeler to shave off bits of old crayons onto a piece of wax paper. Use different colors and spread the shavings out to cover a small area of the wax paper. Place another piece of wax paper on top of the shavings. Lay both wax paper pieces inside the heavy brown paper bag and lightly iron the bag for a few seconds to melt the crayon shavings. (Make sure only adults use the hot iron!) Cut the melted wax paper so that a piece will fit within the folded construction paper, filling the heart shape. Place the piece in between the folded construction paper and then refold the paper, sealing the two sides together with the outer edge of the contact paper.

• Place a few pieces of heart-shaped confetti in the heart of exposed sticky contact paper. Then refold the paper, sealing the two sides together with the outer edge of the contact paper.

7. Punch a hole in the top of the bookmark, above the heart. Thread a piece of ribbon or yarn through the hole and knot the tassel in place. Your kids can add beads or feathers to the tassel if they like.

8. Your children can now deliver their bookmark greetings to their friends and family!