The Crafty Mom: Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

By Mary Lyon

Here's an easy way to win hearts and minds! Make a very special pin for Mom, Grandma or another Valentine sweetie. You can customize this as much as you like. With just a little bit of help from a grown-up, kids of all ages can create this special brooch in less than an hour. You can use a favorite photo, a collage of photos, or maybe even a gorgeous little drawing by the family's star artist, and transform it into wearable art. Your lucky recipient will treasure this gift long after Valentine's Day is over.

What You Need

  • a favorite photo, small collage of photos, special drawing or other beloved kid art

  • red pipe cleaner

  • sparkly jewel, bead, charm, small silk flower or pretty button

  • pin backing from a bead or craft store

  • scissors

  • medium-heat glue gun

  • double-sided tape and clean scrap paper (optional)

What You Do

1. Fold the pipe cleaner exactly in half. The folded point will be the upper point of the heart. Then take each side and curve it around and down so the pipe cleaner starts to form a heart shape. Select the best part of your photo and position the pipe cleaner heart over it to determine the perfect placement. Then twist the bottom ends of the pipe cleaner closed. There should be about an inch-and-a-half left over. To make your heart even on both sides, simply make sure the ends of the pipe cleaner, beyond the twist, are the same length.

2. If your photo is a color copy or part of a drawing, reinforce it by attaching the clean piece of scrap paper to the back with double-stick tape.

3. Glue the pipe cleaner in place, to frame your photo/art. Start with a little drop of glue at the top of the picture, and glue the folded point of the pipe cleaner heart to it. When the glue sets, start working your way down one side, and then the other, with small drizzles of glue to secure the rest of the pipe cleaner heart in place. Work slowly, bit by bit, allowing the glue to set each time before proceeding. By the time you reach the twist at the bottom of the heart, the ends of the pipe cleaner beyond it should still be sticking out.

4. Coil both of those loose ends in a tight spiral - up into the bottom of the heart, like a rosette. Apply another tiny spot of glue to the center of the rosette. Then add the jewel, fancy button, pretty bead or other small decoration. Let the glue set until it's completely dry - for a couple of minutes or so.

5. Turn the heart over and glue the pin backing to it, and let that dry completely. Then you really can wear your heart on your sleeve!